Cruisers Sport Series 258 // Jupiter 26 // Tigé Z1 // Prestige 750 - 01/29/2014
BoatTEST Newsletter January 29, 2014 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Cruisers Sport Series 258
- Volvo Penta SD Joystick
- Prestige 750
- Tigé Z1
- Princess 52
- Regal 32 Express
- Beneteau Sense 55
- Bayliner 642 Overnighter
- Formula 350 Crossover BR
- Evinrude E-TEC 150 H.O.
- Mako 18 LTS
- Meridian 441 Sedan
- Nitro ZV 21
- Manitou 23 Oasis
- Sea Ray 540 Sundancer
- Jupiter 26
- Nordic Tugs 39
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson

Cruisers Sport Series
258 Bow Rider:
A Premium Sportboat

Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider
The Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider powered by a single 320-hp MerCruiser 377 MAG reached 52.9 mph WOT during our test on a windy, sloppy day in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

The Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider is a low-profile, go-fast looking boat designed to appeal to boaters who want to look like they are in the hottest boat on the lake, but also want a comfortable, large and secure interior for family and friends. Even more impressive than her top speed was the way she handled the 3' chop on Sturgeon Bay. Interior upholstery and finish work is first class. Scoot over brand "x" and "y", there's a new premium boat on the block. More...

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Captain's Report

Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick:
Putting More Joy in Boating

Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick
When docking, simply get on the Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick and watch
the boat shuffle cards.

Because Volvo Penta was the first company to popularize the joystick for recreational boating over eight years ago, more boats are on the water with its joystick system than any other. As a result many boaters who never thought they could handle a larger boat have discovered the joys of docking. Perhaps equally important, mom and the kids can now dock the boat, too, which means they will take a bigger interest in the family vessel. And most of the best brands in boating offer the Volvo Penta system. More...

Cruisers Sport Series 328
Cruisers Sport Series
328 BR
Beneteau GT 44
Gran Turismo 44
Cobalt 323
MJM 36z
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Captain's Report

Prestige 750:
4-Stateroom Motoryacht w/ Hardtop

Prestige 750
With 4 staterooms and three heads, plus an optional crew cabin aft, the Prestige 750 makes an ideal boat for the charter trade -- or for large families who seek adventure. Note that she has a proper boat deck aft for the ship's tender.

The Prestige 750 is a large motoryacht that incorporates virtually all of the functionality of a 100-footer in a boat that is easily managed by a couple and perhaps an extra hand (to wash down the boat and sling a fender or two). Her master stateroom is on the main deck, something that is usually only seen in boats 100' (30.5 m) or larger. Her salon is large and there is a separate formal dining area. More...

Request customized layout.

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New Test Video

Tigé Z1:
Patented System for High, Long Wake

Tigé Z1
The Convex VX system on the Tigé Z1 adds an extension onto the back of the hull driving the prop wash down and under the wake, pushing it even higher, and longer. No other builder has anything like it.

The Tigé Z1 is an impressive boat with unique, patented design features for making the "perfect" wake across a broad spectrum of disciplines. She transitions easily into a family fun boat and that makes her even more appealing. Wake surfing and wake boarding are the Tigé Z1's strong suits and there is plenty of room aboard this 21'5" (6.55 m) boat for a large gallery of admirers. More...

Ask a wake surfing/wake boarding question.

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Design & Style Review

Princess 52:
Motoryacht with Aft Galley

Princess 52
For the first time on any of its models Princess placed the galley on the main deck abaft the salon so that it is handy to both dining areas and the stairs to the flying bridge. The counter doubles as a bar during cocktail parties.

The new Princess 52 is a motoryacht designed for entertaining a large group -- over 30 people by our count -- either underway, at anchor or at the dock. Her flying bridge is intended to be an observation deck as well as an entertaining and sunning deck. Best of all, when not hosting a party, she has the equipment and beef to take a family or three couples on a cruise to the islands in comfort. This week we take a look at her interior, décor and the materials that make her a class act. More...

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New Captain's Report

Regal 32 Express:
Innovation for More Utility

Regal 32 Express
The new Regal 32 Express has a LOA of 32’ (9.75 m), a beam of 10’4” (3.15 m) and a draft of 35” (89 cm). Note Regal’s new styling approach.

While some builders seem to feel that some lipstick is all that is needed on the same-old, same-old hull to create a new model, Regal begs to differ. It has challenged that mindset by creating a 32’ (9.75 m) boat with some of the cleverest uses of available space that we’ve seen lately. These innovations stretch the limits of how this versatile boat can be used. More...

Request factory pricing.

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Design & Style Review

Beneteau Sense 55:
3 En Suite Staterooms with a View

Beneteau Sense 55
Breakfast in bed? Queen for a day? Laptop work station? All of the above? Our interior boat inspector checks a handy sliding table in one of the Sense 55's three staterooms.

With the Sense 55, Beneteau's designers have virtually eliminated all of the hard chores of sailing and effectively eliminated most of the objections people might have to owning a large sailboat. By making the boat beamy she has the room of a powerboat. By putting lots of hatches and windows in her topsides she is bright and airy below. And she is, oh, so economical to operate. More...

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New Captain's Report

Bayliner 642 Overnighter:
Euro-Tested Cuddy for North America

Bayliner 642 Overnight
The 21'5" (6.53 m) Bayliner 642 Overnighter improves on the traditional cuddy sportboat in a number of ways -- including the two skylights seen here in the foredeck.

For many consumer products the North American market is the largest in the world. For that reason many companies often test market a new product elsewhere to iron out any kinks before dropping it into the big pond. It seems that Bayliner has done something like that with its new 642 Overnighter which was introduced first in Europe (thus the metric model designation). She is now available in the U.S. and Canada. She sleeps 2, and can be trailered most anywhere at 5,450 lbs. (2,472 kg), dry. She comes standard with a 135-hp 3.0 L sterndrive, with 4.3 L 220-hp Mercury as an option. Base price is $34k. More...

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Design & Style Review

Formula 350 Crossover Bowrider:
Big Dayboat & Weekender

Formula 350 Crossover Bowrider
The Formula 350 Crossover Bowrider is one of the largest of this new type of boat on the market. She has not only a large bow seating area and huge aft cockpit, but also a cabin below which is bigger than it looks in the pictures.

Normally when a company builds a "crossover" boat, it means she is designed for both fishing and watersports or cruising. Formula's take on the word "crossover" is one that combines the below decks accommodations of a cuddy with the open deck seating room of a bowrider. This is a new concept that combines the basic amenities of an overnight cruiser with the big, load-carrying characteristics of a bowrider. Because the Formula 350 CBR measures 35' x 10'9" (10.67 x 3.28 m), she is an entertainment platform that everyone at the yacht club will love. Did we mention that this bowrider is huge? More...

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Captain's Report

Evinrude E-TEC 150 H.O.:

Evinrude E-TEC 150 H.O. Evinrude E-TEC 150 H.O.
The Evinrude E-TEC 150 H.O.'s oil distribution system eliminates a break-in period; and the engine can run for 5 hours even if the oil runs dry. The system also fogs the engine for auto-winterizing. The Evinrude E-TEC 150 H.O.'s special fuel injectors eliminate the need for a fuel pump and its ignition system produces a longer spark for more complete combustion.

The Evinrude E-TEC 150 H.O. outboard engine is one of the most sophisticated engines on the market, in our opinion, and her features seem almost too good to be true. For example, it has about 200 fewer moving parts than a 4-stroke, she has auto-winterization which saves an annual yard bill, her iridium spark plugs have longer life, and she needs no scheduled maintenance for 3 years or 300 hours. But all of that is just the beginning of the Evinrude E-TEC 150's story. Take a detailed look...

Evinrude E-TEC 150 H.O. ThumbHave a repower question? Request technical specs.
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Captain's Report

Mako 18 LTS:
For Light Tackle and Game Fish

Mako 18 LTS
The cockpit of the Mako 18 LTS is recessed between two elevated casting platforms, clearly denoting this as a purpose-built fishing machine for flats, bays and shallow-water work.

Three power options are available for the 18 LTS, from 60 to 115-hp. We can easily see the 90-hp option being the popular choice for giving good midrange performance and economy. The 115-hp will obviously add more speed. Of course, if maximum economy is the deciding factor then the 60-hp will be the motor of choice. With the 60-hp engine and trailer the MSRP is $21,495, plus freight and dealer prep. More...

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Design & Style Review

Meridian Yachts 441 Sedan:
Lots of Space for Living

Meridian 441 Sedan
The main salon is an attractive gathering area that is as functional as it is attractive. Note the dark stained cabinetry and cocktail table that adds a big motoryacht look to the Meridian 441 Sedan.

When cruising with another couple or a family, everyone needs some private space now and again. The Meridian Yachts 441 Sedan does a good job of providing that with six different venues that can be occupied -- 1) One of the two staterooms, 2) dinette, 3) salon, 4) cockpit, 5) companion seat at the helm, 6) dinette on the flying bridge. The basic advantage of a sedan over a hardtop express is the enhanced visibility from the upper helm and the extra room it creates for a relative small increase in price. More...

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Test Video

Nitro ZV 21:
Multi-Specie Fiberglass Fishboat

Nitro ZV 21
Look, Ma, no hands! Our test captain, with rod and reel in hand, tests the maneuvering capabilities of the standard Minn Kota trolling motor with foot controls.

It's hard to find a multi-species boat quite like the Nitro ZV 21. Several world-class anglers collaborated with Nitro on its design, and with its raised casting decks fore-and-aft, she certainly has elements that relate to tournament fishing. The cockpit is 25" (63 cm) deep and the freeboard forward is somewhat higher than what will be found on Nitro bass boats. With a 250 OptiMax outboard and a tandem axle trailer, she sells for $49,995 plus dealer prep and freight. See the test...

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Design & Style Review

Manitou 23 Oasis:
A Moveable Living Room and Den

Manitou 23 Oasis
The Manitou 23 Oasis has one of the most functional stern areas we have seen on a pontoon boat. Note the large, comfortable-looking arm chairs facing aft. Café tables can be placed between the facing seats for tea-for-two x 2.

The mission of the 23 Oasis is to satisfy the needs of owners who often have a sportboat, but who want more room for friends and family and more seating for comfortable entertaining. By pricing the 23 Oasis between the builder's entry-level Aurora and the high-end Legacy and X-Plode models, Manitou has found a sweet spot that gives customers what they want at a relatively moderate price. See our full report and videos...

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Captain's Report

Sea Ray 540 Sundancer:
Day Boat at Home/Cruiser Afar

Sea Ray 540 Sundancer
Looking aft in the cockpit of the Sea Ray 540 Sundancer. We like the optional electric grill and folding deck chair. With 3 of these optional chairs the cockpit and helm deck seats 15 guests.

The Sea Ray 540 Sundancer has been in the Sundancer Series for several years and virtually every year the boat has been upgraded in its newest iteration. The result is that the boat has been improved and refined and seems to us to be capable of doing a good job of all its intended missions. As noted elsewhere in our reports, Sea Ray has upgraded its interiors, particularly on its largest boats, so those who haven't boarded one lately are in for a treat. More...

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New Snapshot Review

Jupiter Marine 26:
Smallest Jupiter in Orbit

Jupiter Marine 26
The new Jupiter 26 has a LOA of 26’5” (8.1 m) and a beam of 8’8” (2.6 m). She’s available with either twin 150 or twin 200 power.

Jupiter Marine has recently launched its newest model, the 26. It’s the smallest of the company’s lineup that now spans 6 models from 26’ to 41’ (7.9 m to 12.5 m) and she’s designed with the goal of providing, according to Jupiter, “a more affordable introductory level model that is easily trailerable and in line with today's economic environment." We think Jupiter has always had a knack for building quality boats, with a fishability rating as good as nearly any boat on the market. So, let's take a look...

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Design & Style Video

Nordic Tugs 39:
An Interior Made for Cruising

Nordic Tugs 39
The salon/galley of the Nordic Tug 39 is surrounded in wood and windows which make the boat's interior both bright and cozy at the same time.

The Nordic Tug 39 is a proven distance cruising boat as attested to by the many on the water -- and actually cruising. For example, it's impossible to cruise up the Inside Passage to the Alaskan panhandle or north to Maine and Nova Scotia without seeing them along the way. This trawler-type vessel is comfortable in a seaway and practical for a couple to operate. Let's look at her interior amenities...

Nordic Tugs 39 Watch the test video.

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Where in the World?

Picture of the Week

Picture of the Week
Find out where this picture was taken and when.

See the larger picture, when and who took it -- and where!

Send us your favorite boating images.

When sending a photo, let us know when, where and what boat you were on.

Expert Boating’s
4-DVD Boating Course

Smart Boating
Sometimes it's not what you know, but what you've forgotten. We have the perfect solution for you.

Based on the feedback we’ve been getting about's Video Boating Course it’s clearly not only for beginners, but also for veteran boaters as well. Perhaps that is why the NMMA started promoting the course after just one look. It's the most complete boating course available… period. Order your 4-disc box set...

Watch the trailer...
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Lesson of the Week

How to Trim Your Outboard or Sterndrive Boat

Captain Steve Smart Boating Cover
Trimming your drive correctly will give you a better, faster, safer ride and better fuel economy.

This week Captain Steve goes over seven video lessons and guidelines on how to trim your outboard or sterndrive boat. You’ll learn about the advantages of trimming your drive correctly, how to reduce bow rise, when to raise your drive and how to make sure you never run your engine dry. These are basic rules which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of’s Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

Order all lessons on DVD--, LLC
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