Malibu 247 // Grady-White 251 // Maritimo M50 // 18 Reports - 04/15/2015
BoatTEST Newsletter April 15, 2015 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
15 year anniversary
- Boston Whaler 320 Vantage
- Formula 292 FASTech
- Bryant Boats 210W
- Maritimo M50
- Yamaha Jet Drive System
- Beneteau Monte Carlo 4
- Rampage 41 Express
- Malibu 247 LSV
- Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX
- Mercury Sky Hook
- Sea Ray 510 Fly
- Cruisers Sport Series 258
- Scarab 165
- Monte Carlo Yachts 86
- Grady-White 251 CE
- Robalo R222
- Tracker Pro 160
- Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 HP
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Lesson

Boston Whaler 320 Vantage:
Triple-Threat 33'6" Bowrider

Boston Whaler 320 Vantage
The Boston Whaler 320 Vantage is part of a Boston Whaler series designed for multi-purpose boating rather than pure fishing, but she shows the classic company lines and construction.

The Boston Whaler 320 Vantage, like others in the Vantage lineup, is designed for dayboating and entertaining as well as for serious offshore angling. The cockpit console with electric grill, refrigerator and sink can feed a crowd -- and can be optioned as a complete bait prep station. A unique feature is the dive door set into the starboard side of the boat, allowing easy access via a removable stainless-steel ladder. More...

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New Captain's Report

Formula 292 FASTech:
Very Fast -- and Built to Take It

Formula 292 FASTech
The Formula 292 FASTech looks fast both at speed and tied to the dock, and in fact she is -- the company says the multi-stepped hull will run around 70 mph with twin MerCruiser 350 MAG MPIs.

The Formula 292 FASTech is a gentleman's go-fast boat and she's built to take life at speed on rough water. Her 24-degree deadrise at the transom and stepped bottom design maximizes comfort, speed and control. Construction touches, including a chemically-bonded and then thru-bolted hull and deck joint that makes this boat strong enough to handle the G forces generated at the high speed. Dual McLeod electric-assist bucket seats direct from the world of offshore racing wrap around the operator and companion for a safe, comfortable ride at any speed. More...

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New Captain's Report

Bryant Boats 210W:
Adding Social Skills to the Bowrider

Bryant Boats 210W
The Bryant Boats 210W has a LOA of 21’ (6.4 m), a beam of 96” (244 cm)
and a draft of 30" (76.2 cm). Note her remarkable 4-level stern.

Bryant Boats is a premium-level builder that stays focused on lower volume and better quality. The 210W, for Walkabout, takes the company’s standard 210 bowrider package and adds in a few changes to the seating thus adding to the social comfort and creating a more comfortable entertainment environment. The result is also a boat that can embrace wakeboarding, enhanced with an optional tower and aft patio. More...

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New Test Video

Maritimo M50:
A Sea-Kindly Motoryacht Convertible

Maritimo M50
The Maritimo M50 offers the luxury of a motoryacht on an essentially convertible hull in order to deliver the best of both worlds -- the room and entertaining space of a motoryacht with the sea-kindly, rough water abilities of a convertible.

The Maritimo M50's fully-enclosed flybridge makes her an all-weather cruiser. Standard bow and stern thrusters make her an easy boat to handle around the docks (but there is a joystick option). A full-length keel and weight concentrated low near the center of the boat reduces roll and makes for predictable tracking, even in following seas, according to our test captain. More...

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Review Video

Yamaha Jet Drive System:
The Inside Look of a Jet Pump

Yamaha Jet Drive System
Yamaha's Jet Drive System is a simple but highly-engineered, durable and efficient water pump.

The Yamaha Jet Drive System makes it possible for PWCs and jet boats to operate in just inches of water as well as making hairpin turns and delivering incredible acceleration in lightweight hulls. The direct-drive system relies on controlling the stream of expelled water for steering and trim, and "thrust buckets" or deflectors assist with stopping, reverse and slow-speed maneuvering. More...

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Design and Style Review

Beneteau Monte Carlo 4:
Contemporary European Design

Beneteau Monte Carlo 4
The Beneteau Monte Carlo 4 has two roomy, en suite staterooms thanks to a beam that spans 13'4" (4.06 m) for much of her length, and both heads have separate shower stalls.

Layout of the Beneteau Monte Carlo 4 is open, lets in plenty of light, and is ergonomically designed for ease of movement. Inside and out her styling is contemporary, fresh, and reflects her European origin. The tulip-style bow combines a fine entry into the water with a nearly vertical stem, providing a long waterline for efficient operation at various speeds while making a visual statement that sets her apart from other boats in the harbor. More...

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Features Video

Rampage 41 Express:
Express with Upscale Interior

Rampage 41 Express
The Rampage 41 Express' low CG and bow with flare make her a seaworthy vessel, and the interior can be highly customized by the builder to fit specific applications.

The Rampage 41 Express is built by Cruisers Yachts, and displays the same level of luxury interior materials and fit-and-finish found in the express cruisers from this top-end builder. While the cockpit and helm deck are clearly designed for hard-core anglers, the main salon includes pleasing touches such as an L-shaped, Ultraleather upholstered settee wrapping around a solid cherry pedestal table. Wenge wood doors with elegant frosted glass inlays and oval tops are standard. More...

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New Captain's Report

Malibu Wakesetter 247 LSV:
Dedicated Tow Boat, Fully Loaded

Malibu Wakesetter 247 LSV
The Malibu Wakesetter 247 LSV has the classic lines of a dedicated tow-sports boat, but with extra length and a 102'' (2.59 m) beam, she has more interior space than many.

The Malibu Wakesetter 247 LSV is loaded with specialized features to make her an ultimate tow-sports platform. The Surf Gate system helps shape wakes at the touch of a button, and the "Hi-Flo" pump system fills the large ballast tanks rapidly. The adjustable Power Wedge II planing system, 20% larger than previous versions, helps get the boat on plane quickly when the ballast is full, according to the manufacturer, and also makes it simple to adjust the wake from the ideal shape for boarding or surfing to slalom skiing or barefooting. More...

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Test Video

Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX:
New Jet-Drive Watersports Platform

Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX
The helm of the Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX jet-drive sportboat features an adjustable wheel, and the instruments have a multifunction analog and digital display.

The Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX powered by a supercharged Rotax 250 jet system delivered low bow rise, a level running angle and quick responsiveness to the helm in turns, according to our test captain. The high freeboard offers a dry, safe ride, and abundant, comfortable seating and plenty of storage make it a good family watersports platform. More...


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New Review Video

Mercury Sky Hook:
Electronic "Anchoring" via Computer

Mercury Sky Hook
Mercury's Sky Hook digital anchoring system uses a GPS interface to "hover" multi-outboard-powered hulls in one spot without making use of the joystick.

The Mercury Sky Hook system makes it possible to fix the position of a boat within a few meters through computer-manipulation of throttles and gears on multiple-outboard installations. The system is activated at a touch, and keeps the boat hovering in one spot despite wind and current. The system should be especially useful to offshore reef fishermen making test drops on grouper and snapper numbers before going to the trouble of dropping anchor, and could also be handy when waiting for a spot at the fuel dock. More...

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Features Video

Sea Ray 510 Fly:
Modern, 3-Stateroom Motoryacht

Sea Ray 510 Fly
The Sea Ray 510 Fly has all of the major design and styling elements that define a modern motoryacht: 20-degree rake to the windshield, low top hamper, and large, in-hull side windows.

Our test captain liked the overall styling and aesthetics of the Sea Ray 510 Fly as well as the level of interior fit-and-finish. The multi-panel salon door is a full width sliding glass unit that can transform the salon and aft deck into an indoor/outdoor living space, and the entire yacht gave our reviewer a feeling of exceptionally open and airy space. More...

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Test Video

Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider:
Bowrider Deluxe

Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider
The Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider's helm with a sporty Bussi wheel has a sports car look, with all gauges in easy view. There is space for a moving map display in the middle of the dash.

One feature our test captain particularly liked on the premium-grade Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider is the graceful wrap-around windshield. It eliminates mullions in the sight-lines to the bow thanks to lots of curved safety glass. With a 22-degree deadrise, the hull delivered a soft ride in our test runs, and over 38'' of freeboard forward, plus plenty of flair, kept spray off that handsome windshield. More...

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Captain's Report

Scarab 165:
Entry-Level Jet Boat

Scarab 165
Split seat bottoms and backs add ventilation in the three-across bucket seating of the Scarab 165, a wet-and-wild jet boat powered by a 150 Rotax propulsion system.

The Scarab 165 is an entry-level boat for those who need a bit more space than is available on even the largest PWCs, and for those who just don't feel comfortable straddling the engine. The extended swim platform with two rear-facing seats provides a useful place for launching watersports of all types. Soft, textured material on the deck surfaces provides excellent non-skid protection. To find out how she runs, read our full report. More...

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Features Video

Monte Carlo Yachts 86:
Custom Finishes in a Production Hull

Monte Carlo Yachts 86
Luxurious custom materials and finishes in a near-endless variety of choices are a hallmark of the Monte Carlo Yachts 86.

The sky is pretty much the only limit in terms of interiors for the Monte Carlo Yachts 86, with literally hundreds of material choices awaiting the customer. Designer fabrics from Armani Casa, Hermès and Pierre Frey are among the selections. Furniture on the boat we reviewed was fabricated from pickled oak and walnut while heads were adorned with Italian stone and handmade Murano tiles with gold inlay. Doors were made of a combination of pickled oak and hand-stitched leather and trimmed in decorative bronze. More...

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Test Video

Grady-White 251 CE:
Inshore/Offshore Family CC

Grady-White 251 CE
The Grady-White 251 CE is designed as an inshore fishing boat that's also suitable for occasional forays off the beaches, as well as for general family dayboating and watersports.

A useful feature of the Grady-White 251 CE is the bow reboarding ladder, making it easy to get back aboard when the bow is tucked against the sand for a shore lunch. Add the optional bow table and sun pad and this hard-core fishing boat becomes a very functional family rig. The 14'' (.36 m) draft means she feels right at home in shallow backwaters, too. More...

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Test Video

Robalo R222:
Pocket Offshore Fisherman under $40K

Robalo R222
The Robalo R222 got on plane in 3.3 seconds and topped out at 42.0 mph in our test runs, powered by a Yamaha F200 outboard.

At 21-degrees, the Robalo R222 has one of the deepest deadrises of any boat in class, which should give her a good ride offshore. She also has lots of freeboard which helps keep her occupants dry and safe when things get sloppy. She has Kevlar laminated into the keel for extra strength and access to her head is from the forward quadrant of the console making entry easy. More...

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Captain's Report

Tracker Pro 160:
Lightweight, Ready-to-Fish Package

Tracker Pro 160
The all-welded aluminum Tracker Pro 160 is a "Ready-to-Fish" package appealing to anglers looking for an affordable option at $8,995, including a 20-hp outboard, trolling motor and a trailer.

The Tracker Pro 160 is compact at 16'2" long and 70" wide, but she packs all the necessities for a day of fishing in protected waters. A Minn-Kota 12-volt trolling motor, Lowrance X-4 fishfinder and an aerated livewell are all standard, as is a factory-matched single-axle trailer. Removable swivel seats add comfortable fishing perches fore and aft. More...

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Test Video

Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 HP:
5 Years of Protected Operation V6 Outboard

Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 HP
The Evinrude E-TEC G2 250, like others in the series, has 3 years of BRP Limited Warranty plus 2 years of BRP Extended Service Terms, and a five year corrosion warranty.

Servicing the Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 requires only changing the spin-on style fuel filter/water separator and checking the sight tube of the oil tank. Because the engine uses lube oil so efficiently with its targeted oiling system, the built-in 2-gallon reservoir should last a full season for most recreational boaters, according to the company. The engine-fogging feature in the engine’s computer software ensures storing the motor is quick and worry-free. 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.

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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

How to Survive and Treat Hypothermia

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
Survival in cold water will depend on how well you are able to minimize your body’s heat loss.

This week Captain Steve goes over four lessons and guidelines on recognizing the signs of hypothermia, how to help avoid it, and what you can do to lessen the effects on your body. Hypothermia does not only happen in cold water, even in 70 degree water you can still experience a significant loss of body heat. The videos presented this week are part of’s Smart Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

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