Barracuda 9 // Cruisers Sport Series 258 // Monte Carlo Yachts 70 // 12 Reviews - 10/22/2014
BoatTEST Newsletter October 22, 2014 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Robalo 226 Cayman
- Manitou 23 X-Plode SHP
- Volvo Penta D3 Sterndrive
- Cruisers Sport Series 258
- Formula 310 Bowrider
- Monte Carlo Yachts 70
- Chaparral 284 Sunesta
- Nitro Z-8
- Prestige Factory
- PowerTech Props
- Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18
- Beneteau Barracuda 9
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson

Robalo 226 Cayman:
For Coastal Family Fishing

Robalo 226 Cayman
The Robalo 226 Cayman has a LOA of 22’6” (6.86 m), a beam of 8’6" (2.59 m) and a hull draft of 12" (30.5 cm).

As the popularity of bay boats increases so does the lineup at Robalo. The second of three new models, the 226 Cayman comes with the wide-ranging ability to easily transition from protected coves and marshes to estuaries and even coastal work. With power options ranging from 150-hp to 250-hp, we took advantage of the opportunity to test her with the mid-range 200-hp Yamaha 4-stroke and reached a top speed of 45.4 mph. More...

Request brochure

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New Test Video

Manitou 23 X-Plode SHP:
A 50-MPH Pontoon Boat

Manitou 23 X-Plode
The Manitou 23 X-Plode was designed around Manitou’s Sport Handling Package (SHP)
triple tube design.

Gone are the days of a pontoon boat being thought of as a simple patio on the water lumbering across the lake. Now these rigs have performance that rival their fiberglass mono-hulled counterparts. Case in point is the 23 X-Plode from Manitou. She’s built atop a performance triple-tube design and packed 250-hp at the stern (with a maximum rating of 300-hp). She’s just as much at home pulling skiers and wakeboarders with the tunes cranking as she is sitting at anchor and entertaining a sunset cocktail party. And in our tests she topped out at over 50 mph. More...

Brochure Request Air Step Hull About Manitou pontoons.
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Test Video

Volvo Penta D3 Sterndrive:
Mid-Range Lightweight Diesel Power

Volvo Penta D3 Sterndrive
The Volvo Penta D3-220, a five-cylinder diesel producing 220-hp, fills the gap between diesels for smaller displacement boats, such as sailboats and trawlers and the larger D4 and D6 engines for larger powerboats.

The Volvo Penta D3 Sterndrive is a relatively light 220-hp package that delivers high torque and performance at the low end of the rpm range. It's appropriate for both single and twin-engine installations in boats that need relatively quick power to get on plane because they are carrying a heavy load or need the range that a lightweight diesel can provide. This makes it the right size for small offshore fishing boats of many types, in both single and twin-engine configurations. It also can be used in smaller cruising boats, such as pocket cruisers and express fishboats in both single and twin installations. More...

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New Test Video

Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider:
She Gives a Big Boat Ride

Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider
The Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider is a classy sportboat with lots of room, many amenities and a solid deep-V hull to deliver comfort in a chop.

Our test captain compares the Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider to the BMW 5 Series when it comes to size and handling, but to a BMW 7 Series when it comes to ride. Even on a choppy day and in hard over turns she showed no tendency to get pushed around -- she was always the boss. With a stepped hull and pronounced bottom strakes, she proved to be a good performer despite her heft. More...

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Design & Style Review

Formula 310 Bowrider:
Comfortable and Quick Dayboat

Formula 310 Bowrider
The Formula 310 Bowrider has the amenities, space and good looks to impress virtually all comers in search of a comfortable and quick dayboat with a top-grade build throughout.

The 310 Bowrider has three discrete gathering areas, one at the bow, one at the stern and one at the helm deck, providing lots of space for guests to stretch out. By designing “alcoves” into the seatbacks, Formula is able to add ancillary items such as drink holders and grab handles without impeding on the available space of the seat itself. Formula's execution of fit-and-finish details must be seen in person to be fully appreciated. More...

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Test Video

Monte Carlo Yachts 70:
Elegance in a Sporty Motoryacht

Monte Carlo Yachts 70
The Monte Carlo Yachts 70 looks more like a sleek and capable sport cruiser than a motoryacht, yet she offers all the luxury and amenities any big-boat owner is likely to request.

Powered by two MAN 1200-hp V8s, the Monte Carlo Yachts 70 is a go-anywhere cruising yacht (she has a CE "A" rating) that offers a remarkable level of elegance in engineering, style and materials. Multiple layout configurations are available to suit both crewed and owner-operator travel. But her charms don't end there. Did we mention that from bow to stern she was designed for entertaining? More...

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Test Video

Chaparral 284 Sunesta:
A First-Class Bowrider

Chaparral 284 Sunesta
Chaparral's 284 Sunesta combines more space at the bow with luxury appointments in a sporty and solidly-built XL bowrider.

Chaparral's 284 Sunesta combines lots of top-end touches that add comfort, eye-appeal and utility. With the touch of a rocker switch, the dual aft seats lay flat to form a sun pad, and then the inboard section lifts up to become a chaise lounge. Instead of the usual 28 oz. carpet, Chaparral uses 40 oz., and the reinforced stainless steel snaps promise years of durability. More...

Brochure test drive
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Captain's Report

Nitro Z-8:
Turn-Key Bass Tournament Machine

Nitro Z-8
Nitro's Z-8 is a fully-loaded tournament bassing rig that comes in a turn-key package, including factory-matched trailer and base electronics at a competitive price.

These days at Tracker Marine Group, parent company of Nitro, quality comes first, and production volume lets prices fall where they may. The Nitro Z-8 is loaded with much of the equipment pros expect and need in the top levels of tournament competition, including two 20 gallon aerated livewells aft with timers and pump-outs, a 70-lb-thrust 24-volt trolling motor at the bow, adjustable jackplate and a flush-mounted Lowrance Mark 5x Pro fishfinder in the dash. More...

Brochure test drive
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Inside the Factory

Prestige Factory Video:
21st Century Marine Wood Shop

Prestige Factory
The wood shop at Prestige Yachts is a state-of-the-art facility allowing near perfection in the furnishings, paneling and fittings.

Prestige Yachts employs a small army of expert wood craftsmen to build furniture-grade parts for their interiors. High-quality European and African woods are combined with an eye to both appearance and durability for the various applications. Precision machining is finished off with hours of hand fitting and sanding, and the completed parts are dried and heated before varnishing, assuring deep penetration for perfect color and finish. More...

Tested Prestige models. Ask a Question
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Review Video

PowerTech Props:
The Science Behind Selecting Props

PowerTech Props
PowerTech Propellers offers a wide variety of sizes and designs that can bring out premium performance for almost any combination of boat and outboard motor.

PowerTech offers a series of videos that can be very helpful in understanding the science behind selecting the right prop for a given boat and outboard motor combination, whether the owner seeks maximum top-end for tournament fishing, powerful hole-shots for tow-sports, or a combination of the two for all around applications. More...

Propeller worksheet.

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Test Video

Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX:
For Casual -- But Comfortable -- Fishing

Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX
The Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX is a stable and roomy fishing platform that provides considerably more comfort than the typical bass or multi-species aluminum boats.

The Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX is clearly no hydroplane, but with the 40-horse Mercury 4-stroke provided for our test run she reached 16.8 mph, fast enough to get around on most inland lakes and rivers. At best cruise, which was at 3500 rpm, the boat averaged 7.4 mph, burning just 1.3 gph and got 5.34 mpg, for a range of 168 miles from the boat's 32 gallon (121 L) fuel tank -- with a 10% reserve. More...

Brochure test drive
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Features Video

Beneteau Barracuda 9:
An Alternative for the Future

Beneteau Barracuda 9
The Beneteau Barracuda 9 is a pilothouse outboard-powered boat that's designed to handle rough, wet conditions when necessary. (Yes, thats a flying bridge on the aft-end of the coach roof.)

This boat has a lot going for her -- the most obvious thing being that a pilothouse has been placed in the middle of what otherwise might be a 29' (8.84 m) center console hull. But her innovations don't stop there: the Air Step hull of the Beneteau Barracuda 9 reduces the drag of surface friction for higher speed and fuel efficiency. More...

Air Step Hull Beneteau's Air Step hull. Ask a question
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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

Performing Boat Maintenance

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
If a boater is a handy or hands-on type they have to make sure to use genuine marine parts when servicing their boat.

This week Captain Steve gives us five video lessons for doing one's own boat maintenance. In these lessons, Captain Steve will also go over some tips on marine head maintenance, and battery care. These are basic procedures 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--

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