Grady-White 180 // Key West 239 // Manitou 25 // 13 Reports - 11/19/2014
BoatTEST Newsletter November 19, 2014 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Chaparral 223 VRX
- Key West 239FS
- Volvo Penta SD Joystick
- Grady-White Fisherman 180
- Prestige 550 Flybridge
- Manitou 25 SES
- Beneteau Gran Turismo 44
- Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 HP
- Nitro ZV 21
- Cruisers Yachts 45 Cantius
- Monte Carlo Yachts 86
- PowerTech Propellers
- Sun Tracker Party Barge 22
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson

Chaparral 223 VRX:
She Looks Fast and Is

Chaparral 223 VRX
The Chaparral 223 VRX we tested not only looks fast -- even with her Bimini up and out -- but she is fast: 52.9 mph WOT powered by twin 200-hp Rotax engines.

The Chaparral 223 VRX powered by twin Rotax 4-TEC 150-hp engines has an MSRP of $45,499 and is remarkably well-equipped. That price includes the sport arch, Kevlar reinforced hull, sound system, cockpit table and most everything else needed. The model we tested -- with the twin 200-hp engines -- has a base price of $48,900, and as can be seen above, she scoots. The boat starts at $52,500 with twin Rotax 4-TEC 250-hp engines and we wonder how fast she'll go. Oh, did we mention that she's a jet boat? More...

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New Captain's Report

Key West 239FS:
3.4 MPG at 26.5 MPH

Key West 239FS
During our test of the Key West 239FS powered by a new Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 HP engine we recorded a WOT speed of 48.9 mph.

The Key West 239FS has been designed to be both a fishing machine and provide reasonable comfort for a family in a center console. Couple this with a hull design that combines a narrow entry with a mild stepped bottom for performance at a competitive price and you have the picture. More...

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Test Video

Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick:
Fingertip Docking

Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick
Fingertip control is all it takes to dock with the Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick system.

Volvo Penta's Sterndrive Joystick system makes docking and close-quarter maneuvering safe, easy, and even enjoyable. Our test captain found the joystick control fully intuitive: Push the stick to port or starboard and the boat moves sideways. Twist the knob and it spins on its own axis. The system automatically drops rpm to a safe idle speed when activated. More...

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New Captain's Report

Grady-White Fisherman 180:
Inshore-Coastal CC Rider

Grady-White 180 Fisherman
The Grady-White Fisherman 180 has a somewhat higher freeboard than many bayboat CCs in this LOA giving her an extra measure of forward buoyancy.

With a draft of just 15'' (0.38 m), the Grady-White Fisherman 180 is a capable flats/bay boat. She's economical to run, according to company tests, delivering 4.70 mpg at 3800 rpms with a 150-hp Yamaha 4-stroke. Like all Grady-Whites, she comes fully-loaded for fishing. This model floats level if swamped. More...

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Features Video

Prestige 550 Flybridge:
A Practical Layout with Durable Materials

Prestige 550 Flybridge
Solid composite countertops, wall-to-wall carpeting and practical furniture maximize interior utility without unreasonably inflating the price on the Prestige 550 Flybridge.

One of the most practical details of the Prestige 550 Flybridge is the "split-berth" design in the VIP stateroom forward. The split berths pivot together and latch, making a queen berth. Apart, they are twin beds. Overall the 550 Flybridge has classic lines that we think will stand the test of time. More...

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New Test Video

Manitou 25 SES Flip SHP:
Performance Pontoon with Extras

Manitou 25 SES
The Manitou 25 SES Flip SHP is a premium quality, high-performance triple-toon loaded with standard features that often come as options on competitive boats.

With a top speed of 48.7 mph in our test runs, the Manitou 25 SES Flip SHP definitely delivers on performance. Upper-end touches like the heavy-gauge stainless steel swim ladder and safety rail aft, as well as stainless steel storage drawers rolling smoothly on ball bearings, make this several cuts above the standard econo-toon. More...

Dealer Contact Brochure Request
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Design & Style Review

Beneteau Gran Turismo 44:
A Cozy, Comfortable Cruiser

Beneteau Gran Turismo 44
The Beneteau Gran Turismo 44 mixes practical cruising necessities including a fully-equipped galley with stylish and comfortable amenities, but she can also be used for entertaining.

The Beneteau Gran Turismo 44 is an exceptionally "livable" yacht for the class: The aft deck is essentially a living area that eliminates the need for going below for anything short of a visit to the head. A large U-shaped settee, capable of seating 6 comfortably, lies to port with a table that is expandable for dining and raises and lowers depending on how the owner wishes to use it. Below decks, the staterooms, each with en suite heads, lie at opposite ends of the salon giving privacy to two couples. More...

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New Features Video

Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 HP:
A 21st Century 2-Stroke

Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 HP
Evinrude's all-new E-TEC G2 250 HP includes integrated hydraulic steering: Hoses coming from the steering assembly go directly to a casing integral to the outboard body itself. There's no external rod and cylinder exposed to corrosion and the outboard well is empty.

What goes around comes around in 2-stroke technology thanks to the folks at Evinrude. The blocks and heads of the new Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 HP have been configured to maximize combustion and reduce fuel consumption. All cylinders are fed by direct, in-cylinder fuel injection, rather than in the intake manifold, resulting in more accurate fuel delivery, fewer emissions, no premature combustion and increased power output. It is the newest 2-stroke design on the market and is state-of-the-art. More...

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Test Video

Nitro ZV 21:
Big Lake Fish Boat

Nitro ZV 21
One feature notable immediately on the Nitro ZV 21 is her extra freeboard which is higher than on bass boats. The twin consoles are also a plus on cold, windy or wet days.

The Nitro ZV 21 is a multi-species, hard-core fish boat designed for chasing walleyes, muskies, striped bass and other fish that live somewhere in big lakes -- usually on the other side. She's accordingly built tough: A 28" (0.71 m) high transom is made of all-composite fiberglass materials. The insulated deck hatches are aluminum plate supported by aluminum hat sections for strength. The 18-degree deadrise at the transom is a good compromise between comfort and performance. More...

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Design & Style Review

Cruisers Yachts 45 Cantius:
Spaceship for Weekenders

Cruisers Yachts 45 Cantius
Our test captain reports that the 45 Cantius from Cruisers Yachts represents a somewhat different perspective on the utilization of space, reflecting the changes in the way modern families use boats in this size range.

Cruisers Yachts' 45 Cantius is an interesting combination of express cruiser and luxury sedan. An electric sunroof with shade and power vent windows lets natural light and fresh air in -- plenty of breeze when wanted, but it can be buttoned up when it is time for the AC or heat. A sliding sunshade aft is similarly versatile. Most unusual is the yacht's mid cabin which sleeps three. Look here...

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Features Video

Monte Carlo Yachts 86:
Testing the Art of the Possible

Monte Carlo Yachts 86
The Monte Carlo Yachts 86 features a versatile bow which has uses only limited by the owner's imagination.

Our test captain reports that the Monte Carlo Yachts 86 brings Italian style and luxury as well as surprising accommodations flexibility to a production motoryacht market in a striking package capable of world-class entertaining and cruising. Plus, she is as seaworthy as any yacht in class and has a prodigious 1580 miles of range at 11.5 mph. More...

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Propeller Information

PowerTech Props:
Which is Better, 4 blades or 3?

Propeller Information
Both four-blade and three-blade props have a place in bringing out the performance of many boat and motor packages, says PowerTech, but modern four-blade designs fit far more applications today than in the past.

PowerTech engineers say that the geometry of modern four-blade propellers can enhance handling, hole shot, low-speed planing ability, fuel efficiency, load-carrying performance, big seas performance, following seas/down current performance, ventilation/cavitation resistance, and more, with little or no penalty in top end speeds on many boat and motor packages. More...

Propeller worksheet.

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Test Video

Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 XP3:
Multiple-Mission Family Fun Platform

Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 XP3
The Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 XP3 serves as an excellent entertainment platform whether the action calls for being on the water or in the water.

The Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 XP3 is a multi-duty pontoon boat that can handle up to 10 of your closest friends with ease. A nice touch at the stern is a double-wide aft facing sun pad/lounge to port. Underneath is a pop-up changing room along with additional storage. Having this lounge located inside the fencing allows it to be used even while underway. More...

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Where in the World?

Picture of the Week

Picture of the Week
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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...

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Lesson of the Week

Requirements for Recreational Boaters:
Inflatable Life Jackets

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
Captain Steve explains requirements for all boaters.

This week Captain Steve examines inflatable life vests in detail. He walks boaters through the benefits of this type of vest and demonstrates how to check indicators, perform maintenance and how to manually inflate one's vest. The videos presented this week are part of’s USCG-approved Boating Course. Watch these video boating lessons every week on

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