New Chaparral 203 Jetboat // New Tiara 50 // Oceanis 38 // 8 Videos - 04/02/2014
BoatTEST Newsletter April 2, 2014 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Beneteau Oceanis 38
- Tiara 50 Coupe
- Hatteras Factory Video
- Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX
- Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O.
- Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO
- Formula 270 Bowrider
- MJM 29z
- Prestige 550 Flybridge
- Princess Yachts 52
- Sea Ray 250 SLX
- Volvo Penta SDJS
- Sun Tracker Party Barge 254
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson

Beneteau Oceanis 38:
Remarkable Interior
Design Versatility

Beneteau Oceanis 38
The Beneteau Oceanis 38 moves well in light air because she is light and has a dinghy-like bottom.

Testing a sailboat is always a dicey proposition because one never knows what the wind gods have in store on test day. We hope for 12 to 18 knots because most people would like to sail in those conditions. We got light air, but that turned out not being so bad as we could see how the Oceanis 38 moved in the zephyrs that often abound in the summertime. We recorded it all on video. See how she moves...

Test Drive

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New Captain's Report

Tiara 50 Coupe:
A New, Exciting Express Cruiser

Tiara 50 Coupe
The new Tiara 50 Coupe is one of the largest boats in the 50’ (15.24 m) class.

With the introduction of the new 50 Coupe, Tiara is signaling once again that it is not resting on its laurels and will pull out all the stops to compete in the mid-size and large express market. Tiara has built a 50' (15.24 m) boat that is chock full of warm, dark woods, modern fabrics and materials that is sure to capture the imagination of premium-oriented boaters. More...

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Factory Video

Hatteras Yachts Facility:
Manufacturing Techniques

 Hatteras Yachts Facility
Seen here is a look at the hull for a new Hatteras motoryacht after the resin-infusing process has been completed.

In the world of luxury motoryachts some items not seen are actually more important than visible items such as finishes of the interior decor. Hatteras Yachts is generally considered in the industry to build one of the most rugged motoryacht hulls and substructures. For that reason we went behind the scenes at the Hatteras facility for an in-depth look at the resin-infusing process and techniques Hatteras uses to construct its hulls, stringers and bulkheads. For anyone considering a yacht from 50 to 100' and $2 million and up, build quality is critical. More...

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New Captain's Report

Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX:
New Jet-Drive Sportboat -- First Look

Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX
Introduction of the Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX jet-drive sportboat features a hull designed to maximize performance and handling from a jet-drive power package.

The Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX is a well thought-out, cleverly designed family jet-drive sport boat built with some of the best materials available. After experiencing this boat first hand, we feel safe in saying that consumers now have another viable option when contemplating a jet-powered sportboat. From the Kevlar reinforcement to the special design of the hull and high freeboard, this new model brings a long list of features to the table. This is our first look of what will be a three part series on this new boat. More...

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New Captain's Report

Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O.:
A New Engine with Added Power

Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O.
When it comes to raw horsepower and low-rpm torque, the new Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O.
will be hard to beat.

What happens when an engine company takes its 150-hp engine and "de-tunes" it down to 135-hp? In the case of Evinrude, the first thing they did was put the "H.O." (High Output) designation on it -- thus creating the "Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O.". It has 6 cylinders instead of 3, its displacement is 50% greater than Evinrude's next smaller, 115-hp outboard, and…since SAE rules allow the engine to have as much as 10% more actual horsepower than its designation, it is tuned to have 13.5-hp more, making it actually a 148.5-hp engine. H.O., indeed. Find out all about it...

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Test Video

Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO:
Towing Power Racing-Proven Handling

Yamaha FX Cruiser
The Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO is a sport performance luxury watercraft that is designed to be powerful, comfortable and feature-rich.

The Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO is designed as a performance luxury watercraft and with the new SVHO engine, our test shows it delivers on power. The important thing about power is not top end speed, but maneuverability. You need power to get off the line, to yank and bank, and especially when towing and there is plenty of in this machine. Climb on a see with our full test and review. More...

Yamaha Demo DaysYamaha is holding a special event called "On the Water Demo Days" around the nation which will allow you to test drive for yourself. Find a location and sign up here...

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New Test Video

Formula 270 Bowrider:
Performance and Luxury Comes Standard

Formula 270 Bowrider
Being at the top of the sportboat pyramid has its advantages -- when you've got it, flaunt it.

We think the Formula 270 Bowrider is one of this builder's best-kept secrets -- and at $134,420 (base MSRP) actually may be underpriced for what she is. Inside she can host a large party with two comfortable venues seating 13 people in luxury unexcelled in class, or serve as an aggressive platform for towing sports (0-to-plane in 3.2 seconds). Outside she has the same classic, to-die-for lines of the biggest Formula which is over $1 million, and for an extra $3,155 owners can have the dazzling, Imron-coated, hull color of their choice polished to a high (long-lasting) shine. More...

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Captain's Report

MJM 29z:
Classy Day Boat or Couples' LRC

MJM 29z
Long range cruising (LRC) might not be everyone's cup of tea, but entertaining around home -- including picnics -- usually is. The MJM 29z handles both jobs with aplomb.

The MJM 29z is the smallest model in the builder's line of five boats and she can be built with either a sterndrive diesel or outboard power. Either way she has the classic Downeast lines that make the hearts of many boat owners go pitty-pat. In many ways she is actually closer to the commercial lobster boat lines that gave rise to the whole Downeast cruiser concept than any other brand on the market. Like all of MJM boats, she is designed to be a day boat for entertaining around home, and a distance cruiser for a couple. More...

Ask a question Request a brochure

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Test Video

Prestige 550 Flybridge:
A Motoryacht with Balance

Prestige 550 Flybridge
Having a balance in one's life is important and the same holds true for boats. We think the Prestige 550 Fly is a good balance between function and utility versus a prudent deployment of assets.

There is nothing for most boaters that is quite so compelling as a moderately-large motoryacht. We say "moderately-large" because most people we know want to handle their own boat and not have the hassle or expense (and lose the piloting fun) of having a captain. We're talking 50' to 70' (15 to 21 m), 3 staterooms, flying bridge, cruising speed of 20 knots, seaworthy, and --affordable. It is on this last point where the wheels come off of the dream for most of us. Prestige knows that and as a result has created the 550 Flybridge which has a remarkable price. More...

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Design & Style Review

Princess Yachts 52:
Old World Craftsmenship in a Modern Hull

Princess Yachts 52
The salon is extra large in the Princess Yachts 52 which is the first boat by this builder with an aft galley.

The Princess 52 is built in Plymouth, England, not far from where the Pilgrims set off for the new world 394 years ago. By definition the shipwrights at Princess Yachts are old world craftsmen, but ones using modern techniques such as vacuum resin hull infusion to reach the ideal 60/40 glass/resin ratio for max strength and minimum weight. Their finish-work execution speaks for itself. Watch the video and see...

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New Test Video

Sea Ray 250 SLX:
Riding a New Wave of Style

Sea Ray 250 SLX
Sea Ray needs no introduction, but its new 250 SLX certainly does. Optioned out correctly she will give most any sportboat a bad case of dock-envy.

The mission of the Sea Ray 250 SLX is to blow the cobwebs off every mediocre, mid-sized bowrider on the market and give boaters a straight shot of adrenaline. The 250 SLX is intended to appeal to sophisticated boaters that have sharpened their visual acuity on the best that the nautical world of design has to offer. When it comes to luxury and performance, our video and test number speaks for themselves. More...

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Test Video

Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick:
Safety First, Then Maneuverability

Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick
We made an in-depth test of the Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick and in the process made some important discoveries.

All sterndrive joysticks are expensive, but not all are the same. We especially like two important safety features on the Volvo Penta joystick system that we think consumers should be aware of: 1) Before the joystick function can be engaged the throttle/gear sticks must be in neutral; 2) A special "Docking" button must be pushed to engage the joystick system. This simple two-step procedure avoids accidently hitting the joystick and having the boat respond when not wanted. See full report and video...

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Test Video

Sun Tracker Party Barge 254 XP3:
The 3rd Toon Makes a Trifecta

Sun Tracker Party Barge 254 XP3
The Sun Tracker Party Barge 254 XP3 is designed both for active watersports and for carrying a large crowd.

Because of Sun Tracker's refined construction techniques, high volume, low dealer margins, and Tracker's buying power, it is able to keep costs to a more manageable level. Sun Tracker Party Barge 254 XP3 has a national price of $43,995 (plus transportation and dealer make ready fees) with a 200-hp Mercury Verado outboard. But the real secret of this boat's popularity is her third toon which increases her carrying capacity and performance. More...

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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

Basic PWC Safety Tips

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
PWCs are subject to the same safety laws as boats and must obey the same rules of the road and guidelines.

This week Captain Steve goes over five lessons and guidelines on safely operating a PWC. While they may look easy and fun to drive they still require the driver’s full attention and must be treated like any other boat on the water, with caution and safety in mind. Capt. Steve will go over some key differences of operating a PWC from operating a boat and he will discuss the most important feature, the automatic shut-off and self-circling feature. 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
51 Bank Street, Suite 2A
Stamford, CT 06901

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