Four Winns H440 // Prestige Yachts 680 // Beneteau Oceanis 60 // 18 Reports - 06/17/2015
BoatTEST Newsletter June 17, 2015 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
15 year anniversary
- Beneteau Oceanis 60
- Grady-White Freedom 335
- Prestige Yachts 680
- Albemarle 360 Express
- Nordic Tugs 49
- Sea Ray L590 Fly
- Bryant Boats 233X
- Cruisers Yachts 380
- Four Winns H440
- Hurricane SunDeck 201 OB
- Regal 1900 ESX
- Tahoe 195
- Sailfish 275DC
- Tracker Panfish 16
- Volvo Penta EVC-E
- World Cat 255DC
- Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX
- Sea Ray 270 Sundeck OB
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Lesson

Beneteau Oceanis 60:
Short-Handed Sailing
in a 60-Something

Beneteau Oceanis 60
The striking Beneteau Oceanis 60 is set-up for short-handed sailing with a host of features to ease sail-handling chores.

Sailing the Beneteau Oceanis 60 short-handed in 20 knots of wind proved to be surprisingly manageable, according to our test team, and they reported that upwind performance was good. When reaching, the boat proved fast at 11 knots and an occasional 13 knots with the wind at 125-degrees apparent. Upwind and downwind the boat proved to be dry and handled the 4' to 6' (1.22 m to 1.83 m) seas without any issues. More...

Beneteau hulls and decks Beneteau hull and deck construction.

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New Captain's Report

Grady-White Freedom 335:
Freedom to Choose Marine Missions

Grady-White Freedom 335
The Grady-White Freedom 335 is designed to handle offshore sea conditions for salty anglers, yet keep the family and friends comfortable while cruising.

It's not immediately apparent that the Grady-White Freedom 335 is a hard-core fishing machine just like her siblings wearing the Grady-White logo. She features plush and stylish seating throughout the aft cockpit as well as in the roomy bow. Below decks is an overnight accommodation for two as well as a stand-up head. A mini-galley adds a functionality to the cockpit when the mission is entertaining rather than fishing. More...

Grady-White Builder Promotional Video Grady-White Freedom 335 promo video.

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New Boat

Prestige Yachts 680:
Filled with Clever and Innovative Features

Prestige Yachts 680
Large glass areas, both above decks and below, mark the new Prestige Yachts 680 as a yacht that will offer an open and airy feel throughout, along with top-notch materials and good build quality.

The all-new Prestige Yachts 680 motoryacht is loaded with features found on much larger boats, and in fact, she can accommodate as many people as most 100-footers (30.5 m). Many of the features are cleverly used to enhance functionality.  She is owner/operator friendly, yet has the interior space of a much larger boat that might require a paid captain. She comes with a three stateroom or four stateroom layout, something that is unusual in class. Perhaps most significant for a boat in her size range is her forward master stateroom just a couple of steps down from the main deck. More...

Price Quote
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Test Video

Albemarle 360 Express Fisherman:
High-Tech Pod Angler

Albemarle 360 Express Fisherman
Albemarle's 360 Express Fisherman is now available with pod IPS drives from Volvo Penta, adding the option of joystick control around the docks to her solid fishing reputation.

The Albemarle 360 Express Fisherman offers the efficiency of the optional Volvo Penta IPS600 power package. This system features “Sportfish Mode” which causes the drives to cant themselves outward and improves the steering capabilities when backing down which is very important when chasing a really big gamefish threatening to dump a reel. This boat also has Volvo Penta’s Digital Positioning System (DPS), which allows the boat to hold a static position against wind and current -- handy for making drops on deep offshore reefs for grouper and snapper. More...

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Test Video

Nordic Tugs 49:
Designed for Inland and Coastal Cruising

Nordic Tugs 49
The Nordic Tug 49 is seen here going 14 knots. She is powered by a single Cummins 610-hp diesel.

The mission of the Nordic Tug 49 is to offer a high-level of overall fit-and-finish in a distance cruising boat that is easily operated by a couple or even single-handed. This trawler-type design has a practical layout with plenty of size and space to accommodate as many as ten people on overnight passages. (Think: children and grandchildren.) Designed with the experienced cruising boater in mind, this yacht should appeal to those who are looking to move up and really do some cruising either as a couple or with family and friends. Overall, she's as solid as a rock. More...

Nordic Tugs 49 Features Video Nordic Tugs 49 features video.

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Test Video

Sea Ray L590 Fly:
A Touch of Class

Sea Ray L590 Fly
The Sea Ray L590 Fly offers a distinctive appearance underway and lots of glass provides plenty of lighting below decks. Her modern styling speaks for itself.

Subtle but impressive touches mark the build quality of the Sea Ray L590 Fly. Black inlays run the perimeter of the dinette table’s two sections. Cabinetry and doors are fabricated from quarter walnut with peppercorn highlighting. Chocolate leather pulls access the drawers. The stove is an induction type that only generates heat through special pots -- its surface will always remain cool to the touch. Those are just some of her premium-quality details. But most important is her main deck layout which we think is one of the most practical in class. More...

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Test Video

Bryant Boats 233X:
A "Forward Drive" Sportboat

Bryant Boats 233X
The Bryant Boats 233X we tested was powered by the optional Volvo Penta forward-facing, counter-rotating DuoProps, which means the boat can be used for wake surfing.

The Bryant Boats 233X is one of the first boats powered by Volvo Penta's "Forward-Facing" outdrive. It is an option that permits wake surfing in relative safety. The Volvo Penta “Forward Drive” moves the propellers to the front of the drive, well clear of the wake surfer. On test day, the boat got on plane in 3.1 seconds and accelerated to 30 mph in 7.6 seconds, topping out at 46.8 mph. The second big story on this boat is the exceedingly high quality of her finished work. More...

See the FWD Drive video See BoatTEST's FWD Drive video...

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Design and Style Review

Cruisers Yachts 380 Express:
High-Style Coupe du Jour

Cruisers Yachts 380 Express Coupe
The Cruisers Yachts 380 Express offers a wide variety of interior colors and materials to complement a choice of four exterior finishes.

The Cruisers Yachts 380 Express offers a choice of designer fabrics and upholstery for all interior furniture. A U-shaped lounge to starboard is fabricated in-house from multi-density foam to provide comfort. Dri-fast foam is also used in the cockpit to ensure that no one sits on a wet seat. Premium vinyls are French-stitched. Cherry and wenge wood finishes on cabinetry and a wide assortment of material choices distinguish this yacht from others in class. More...

Cruisers Yachts factory Inside the Cruisers Yachts' factory.

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Captain's Report

Four Winns H440:
Bowrider with "Salon" Below

Four Winns H440
The Four Winns H440 is one of the largest production bowriders on the market, but she also features a luxurious "salon" below decks.

The Four Winns H440 hides a comfortable "salon" and mid-cabin below her monster bowrider exterior. By eliminating a bulkhead and thinking out of the box, Four Winns' designers were able to create a functional "master" in a very small space. The wraparound bow seating takes advantage of the boat's 13’4" (4.07 m) beam, and the upholstery is plush -- what one would expect to find on a large express cruiser, but not on a bowrider sportboat. More...

Four Winns H440 exterior Read all about her...

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Test Video

Hurricane SunDeck Sport SS 201 OB:
Tested with an Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O.

Hurricane SunDeck Sport SS 201 OB
The Hurricane SunDeck Sport SS 201 OB is an affordable watersports platform with plenty of comfortable seating, ideal for day boating on small lakes and rivers.

The Hurricane SunDeck Sport SS 201 OB, powered by an Evinrude E-TEC 135-hp H.O. turning a 16" pitch prop, reached planing speed in 4.4 seconds and accelerated to 20 mph in 7.4 seconds. Top speed was 41.4 mph, at which speed she burned 13.5 gph. Best cruise was at 3500 rpm and 22.7 mph, at which she burned 5.6 gph. The H.O. stands for "High Output" and that means she produces nearly 150-hp. More...

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Test Video

Regal 1900 ESX:
Watersports with an Edge

Regal 1900 ESX
With edgy, eye-catching graphics and vibrant accent colors in the interior, the Regal 1900 ESX is designed to appeal to the younger demographic.

The FasTrac hull design of the Regal 1900 ESX draws air from the sides of the boat when the hull is on plane, channeling it across the running surface to break the surface friction and drag. The result is a faster and more efficient hull, according to the company; with a Volvo Penta 200-hp V6 sterndrive in our test runs, she ran 45 mph, and delivered 3.1 mpg. More...

Regal's FasTrac hull design See BoatTEST's video on Regal's FasTrac hull design.

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Captain's Report

Tahoe 195:
Affordable Sportboat w/ Fishing Features

Tahoe 195
The broad bow of the Tahoe 195 provides space for side-by-side swiveling fishing seats, a great setup for teaching the kids a few Izaak Walton secrets.

The Tahoe 195 is an affordable deckboat that includes some very useful fishing features, making her a true family crossover between catching wakes and catching dinner. The broad bow allows for two swiveling fishing seats side-by-side up front, or these can be transferred aft. In family mode, the Bimini includes a drop-down privacy curtain for changing and the in-deck storage can hide the trolling motor away -- or store the wakeboard or skis. More...

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Test Video

Sailfish 275DC:
Dual Console with Variable Deep-V

Sailfish 275DC
The new dual console Sailfish 275DC is a recent entry into the crossover market, offering plenty of family-friendly features as well as the ability to fish hard in all reasonable sea conditions.

With twin 150 Mercury 4-strokes, the Sailfish 275DC recorded a top speed of 45.9 mph at 5300 rpm while burning a combined 28.2 gph. Best cruise from a miles-per-gallon perspective was at 3500 rpm where we recorded a speed of 27.0 mph while burning a combined 10.2 gph, giving a range of approximately 432 statute miles, with a 10% fuel reserve. More...

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Captain's Report

Tracker Panfish 16:
Flyweight Aluminum Fishing Machine

Tracker Panfish 16
The Tracker Panfish 16 is an economical but highly efficient and comfortable little fishing machine ideal for small lakes and rivers nationwide.

The Tracker Panfish 16, with stick steering at the bow, makes it possible to run the boat on plane to a fishing spot, drop the trolling motor and start casting, all without ever leaving the padded swivel seat up front. This lightweight, shallow-draft aluminum boat can be towed by compact vehicles, and will fit in most suburban garages with ease. More...

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Features Video

Volvo Penta EVC-E:
Full-Featured Electronic Vessel Control

Volvo Penta EVC-E
EVC-E is Volvo Penta’s electronic engine control platform, connecting the engine, transmission, instruments and accessories in a single integrated system.

The Volvo Penta EVC-E system (Electronic Vessel Control) is much more than a throttle control. It provides digital access to all engine functions and even assists in automatic control of trim at the touch of a button. The system also links to a virtual instrument panel that provides a wide variety of at-a-touch display options to keep tabs on the engine and drive-system functions. More...

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Test Video

World Cat 255DC:
Versatile and Rugged Dual Console Cat

World Cat 255DC
The World Cat 255DC catamaran has perhaps the highest freeboard forward in her size range and class, and also provides exceptional cockpit space both forward and aft.

The World Cat 255DC is a heavy boat for her LOA at 6,500 lbs. (2,948 kg) but our test team found her performance impressive. Powered by twin Yamaha 150s, she jumped on plane in just 3.3 seconds, very quick for a rig of this size and sea-keeping capability. Top speed was 44.8 mph, at which she got 1.4 mpg. More...

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Test Video

Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX:
Smallest Jet in the Vortex Line

Chaparral 203 Vortex VRX
The Chaparral 203 Vortex VXR is powered by a single 1.5 L Rotax 4-TEC 250 ECT engine and had a WOT speed of 44.0 mph in our test.

The 203 Vortex VXR is the smallest model in the Chaparral jetboat line. By holding this boat’s dry weight down to 2,600 lbs. (1,179 kg) and the beam at 7’7” (2.31 m), Chaparral is able to get impressive speeds out of this single Rotax 1.5 L engine, yet keep the boat affordable. Rated passenger capacity is 1,500 lbs. (680 kg). The boat’s high windshield and reverse chines keep the cockpit dry when spinning the boat around with jet pump maneuvers. The hull graphics and styling speak for themselves. More...

Chaparral Vortex Summer Sizzle

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Test Video

Sea Ray 270 Sundeck OB:
Summertime Day Boat with Class

Sea Ray 270 Sundeck OB
Even though the Sea Ray 270 Sundeck OB has the standard 8’6” (2.59 m) beam, she seems much wider inside than normal. Overall, she is a deckboat on steroids.

Sea Ray designed the 270 Sundeck OB for folks looking for a summer day boat in which to entertain a large group. She actually has four seating venues: 1) the large bow with plenty of knee room in the footwell, 2) the double-wide helm and adjacent companion seat, 3) the wrap-around aft cockpit seating, and 4) the stern seating and swim platform. Put the kids on the stern, teen boys in the bow, teen girls in the aft cockpit and the adults at the helm. For the seating vinyl treatment we strongly recommend the optional Cognac (Carmel/Tan) with Mocha carpet for a very classy look. (See above.) More...

Sea Ray 270 Sundeck OB promo video Sea Ray 270 Sundeck OB promo video.

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(Advertisement from Evinrude)

Evinrude Ad
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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

What Should I Do If My Boat Capsizes?

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
Capsizing in a sailboat is much different than a powerboat. As you see in the picture above, you can help right the boat by getting up on the centerboard and using your weight to bring the boat back over. You will not be able to right a capsized powerboat.

This week Captain Steve goes over four lessons and guidelines on what the boater should do if their boat capsizes. First and foremost get a life jacket on. Stay with the boat and try to get as far on top of the boat as possible in order to keep ones body out of the water. Remember, one wants to keep their body temperature from dropping. Do not attempt to swim for help as it will just exhaust oneself. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of's USCG-approved boating course. Watch Captain Steve’s video boating lessons every week on

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