Cruisers Yachts 328 // Beneteau Monte Carlo 4 // Jeanneau Yachts 54 // 16 Reports - 08/05/2015
BoatTEST Newsletter August 5, 2015 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
15 year anniversary
- Jeanneau Yachts 54
- Tahoe 450 TS Outboard
- MJM 50z
- Beneteau Monte Carlo 4
- Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon
- Formula 292 FASTech
- Boston Whaler 170 Montauk
- Sea Ray L650 Fly
- Mercury 4.2L TDI Diesel
- Yamaha 212SS
- Maritimo M65
- Cruisers Yachts 328
- Bayliner 215 DB
- Tiara 50 Flybridge
- Chaparral 243 VRX
- Grady-White Express 330
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Lesson

Jeanneau Yachts 54:
World-Class Cruising Sailboat

Jeanneau Yachts 54
The Jeanneau Yachts 54 is designed to offer easy access to the water so that the whole family can enjoy the delights of gin-clear water in tropical locations or other places. Note the two aft-facing chaise lounge seats forward of the swim platform.

The Jeanneau Yachts 54 is the newest member of its sailing yacht family, sharing many of the design attributes and features of her big sisters, the 57 and 64 and incorporating a number of new innovations. The 54 is focused around family life spent on deck and in the water, as it should be on a luxury performance cruiser of this caliber. The 54 also carries her maximum beam (16’1”/4.92 m) nearly all the way to the transom, creating a generously-sized cockpit, over a third of the boat’s length, ideal for socializing, on-water activities, and all to enjoy under sail. She has been well-designed for her role as a cruiser with a rig that is set up for easy handling shorthanded. More...

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New Captain's Report

Tahoe 450 TS Outboard:
Agile, Value-Priced Runabout

Tahoe 450 TS Outboard
The Tahoe 450 TS Outboard provides a fuel-efficient watersports platform at a price that's affordable for many families.

The Tahoe 450 TS Outboard is a value-priced, turn-key package complete with a 90-hp Mercury 4-stroke outboard and matching trailer, sized to fit most suburban garages with a 20’3” storage length. She features useful standard touches like a tow-line rack hidden away on the bottom of the aft hatch lid and under-sole racks for storing running lights. The 16-degree deadrise proved a good compromise between quick planing and delivering a respectable ride in choppy water during our test runs. Handling was agile. More...

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Stability Video

MJM 50z:
Classic Lines in a Smooth Riding Downeaster

MJM 50z
The MJM 50z is among the lightest and narrowest boats in class, which means she's also easy to push with moderate power and stingy fuel consumption.

The MJM 50z, with a beam of just 15' (4.57 m), accelerates quickly and has a top speed of 40 knots powered by the standard triple IPS600s. And while a modest beam can mean a "rolly" boat in some hulls, that's not the case in this Downeaster thanks to her modest deadrise at the transom. Icing on the cake is her standard SeaKeeper gyrostabilizer. The half-ton mass of the gyro flattens out both bow-on and beam seas, smoothing the ride at rest and at speed. More...

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Test Video

Beneteau Monte Carlo 4:
Tulip-Shaped Bow, Ultra-Modern Design

Beneteau Monte Carlo 4
The nearly vertical stem and tulip-shaped bow makes the Monte Carlo 4 one of the most comfortable boats in class in a chop at speed.

The Beneteau Monte Carlo 4's hull features a 15-degree deadrise at the transom, which gives her stability, efficiency and speed. Our test team reported her ride is exceptionally comfortable, with the sharp tulip bow cutting cleanly through waves and wakes with no pounding or jarring effects. Powered by twin Volvo Penta IPS500s, she reached a top speed of 30.4 knots, consuming a maximum of 39.5 gph. At a cruise of 22.3 knots, consumption dropped to 26 gph, and range was a little over 224 NM. More...

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Test Video

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series:
Powered Up, Quieted Down

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series
The Evinrude E-TEC Pontoon Series is engineered to provide lots of thrust as well as to reduce noise and vibration, both big pluses when used on pontoon boats.

The Evinrude E-TEC Pontoon Series features lower gearing than standard Evinrude outboards of similar horsepower, with the 90-horse version geared at 2.36:1. This means quicker hole shots, better low rpm performance, and more thrust in reverse, among other benefits for pontooners. A softer engine mount reduces vibration up to 69% at speed, according to the company, and a remote oil tank allows for easy access, even on pontoons where there's no swim platform access to the engine. More...

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Captain's Report

Formula 292 FASTech:
A Gentleman's Performance Boat

Formula 292 FASTech
The javelin-like shape of the Formula 292 FASTech reveals her mission -- she is a dedicated high-performance boat, but with lots of quality touches that mark her brand heritage.

The Formula 292 FASTech has a twin step bottom design intended to improve efficiency by aerating the running surface. The steps also produce tail lift so that the boat’s ride is more level compared to a conventional V-bottom, according to the company, helping with rough-water handling. The Mercury stainless-steel propellers are “lab finished” by the company’s racing division to provide maximum efficiency and performance -- a standard feature here that costs plenty as an after-market tweak on most performance rigs. More...

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Captain's Report

Boston Whaler 170 Montauk:
Update of the Iconic Center Console

Boston Whaler 170 Montauk
The lines of the iconic Boston Whaler 170 Montauk are instantly familiar to boaters all over North America. She's still the choice of many seeking a no-pampering-required fish boat, a family runabout or a big boat tender with classic panache.

The Boston Whaler 170 Montauk is a true classic among center consoles, the right size for a wide variety of coastal and inshore missions, and her 16-degree deadrise should deliver a softer ride than some earlier iterations of this venerable line. Like all Boston Whalers, the injected foam "sandwich" that forms the core of the boat not only makes her unsinkable, but also provides exceptional sound-deadening and a solid feel. She's available packaged with a 90-horse Mercury 4-stroke and galvanized trailer for just under $30,000. More...

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Test Video

Sea Ray L650 Fly:
Good Performance and Stable

Sea Ray L650 Fly
The Sea Ray L650 Fly is the company's flagship and has been well-accepted by the boat-buying community.

The Sea Ray L650 Fly delivered good performance for the genre in our test runs. With the twin 1150-hp CAT C18 ACERTs turning 34 x 75 5-bladed Veem props, we reached a top speed of 30.7 kts at 2300 rpm. Best cruise is at 23 knots where she burns 90 gph. Dual Stidd helm seats ensure a comfortable ride for captain and "first-mate", and standard dual SeaKeeper gyros keep things stable for guests. More...

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Features Video

Mercury 4.2L TDI Diesel:
Lightweight V8 Turbo-Diesel

Mercury 4.2L TDI Diesel
The Mercury 4.2-liter TDI is a lightweight, clean-burning diesel V8 available in 335 and 370 horsepower configurations.

At just 836 lbs. (379 kg), the Mercury 4.2L TDI delivers lots of diesel power into a relatively compact and lightweight package. A pair of water-cooled turbochargers with variable-pitch vanes allow rapid spooling up, providing boost at a lower rpm and greater torque when needed to get the boat on plane, according to Mercury. A raw water intercooler cools the hot boosted air, making the charge denser and thus creating more power. More...

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Test Video

Yamaha 212SS:
A Twin-Jet Runabout Rocket

Yamaha 212SS
Bold graphics and a sweeping sheer add eye appeal to Yamaha's exceptionally quick 212SS.

With twin 1.8 liter High Output jet drive systems, the Yamaha 212SS is naturally a sizzler on the water, delivering a top speed of 56.0 mph and remarkable hole shot times of 2.2 seconds. The low profile of the engine box means there's easy access to the swim platform, and a pair of aft facing seats and a removable cocktail table for this area will make it a certain gathering spot. The design carries the 8'6" (2.59 m) beam well forward, providing seating space for four adults at the bow. More...

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Captain's Report

Maritimo M65:
Fly Bridge Yacht with Sky Lounge

Maritimo M65
The Maritimo M65 offers yacht-grade materials and fit-and-finish in a fly bridge cruiser with the ease of operation of a big sportfisherman.

The Maritimo M65 is designed for long-range cruising most anywhere that her full tanks will allow. The fully-equipped galley has standard Miele appliances, including a two-door stand-up refrigerator/freezer, a 25-bottle wine cooler, a four-burner cooktop, a microwave, a dishwasher, a full-size opening pantry with adjustable shelves and a double basin stainless steel sink. Four spacious staterooms finished in top-grade materials await guests below decks, while the roomy "sky lounge" adds lots more living space on the bridge. More...

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Design and Styling Video

Cruisers Yachts 328 Bow Rider:
A Sporty Mid-Cabin Bowrider

Cruisers Yachts 328 Bow Rider
The Cruisers Yachts 328 Bow Rider has an exceptionally roomy bow with seating for six, yet still tucks in a mid-cabin, galley and wet head below for overnights.

The Cruisers Yachts 328 Bow Rider offers striking lines in a large bowrider configuration. She comes fully-loaded with luxury features including an electrically-operated aft sun-lounge/chaise. Both the captain's chair and the companion seat are swiveling double-wides with flip-up bolsters, and multi-color upholstery with diamond stitching adds eye appeal throughout. Overall, we think this is one of the best executed crossovers in class. More...

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Test Video

Bayliner 215 DB:
Value-Priced Deckboat with Extras

Bayliner 215 DB
The Bayliner 215 DB offers eye appeal as well as seating for up to 12 in a roomy platform that won't break the bank.

Three-across chaise-type seating overlooking the swim platform is a high-end touch in the value-priced Bayliner 215 DB, as is the standard gel-coat color option. She delivered credible performance in our test runs. WOT with a 220-hp MerCruiser 4.3 L engine turning a 14.5 x 19 x 3 Black Max propeller was 45.7 mph. At that speed, fuel burn was 19.3 gph giving a range of 117 miles. Time-to-plane was just 3.8 seconds, a plus for tow-sports fans. Bayliner is making its boats better than before. More...

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Captain's Report

Tiara 50 Flybridge:
Premium Materials in a Flybridge Yacht

Tiara 50 Flybridge
Huge windows bring lots of light into the salon of the Tiara 50 Flybridge, and the backrest on the seat at the forward end of the lounge is reversible so the passenger can face forward when underway.

Premium materials throughout mark the quality of the Tiara 50 Flybridge. Decking is solid teak in the salon, lower atrium, utility room and in the VIP/forward stateroom. The electrically-actuated high-low pedestal table in the salon is also standard. Quartz countertops and an Isotherm drawer-style refrigerator add efficiency as well as eye appeal in the galley, and the queen bed in the full-beam master stateroom is a pillowtop innerspring mattress. More...

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Test Video

Chaparral 243 VRX:
2.0 Seconds to Plane w/ Twin Jets

Chaparral 243 VRX
The Chaparral 243 VRX looks fast and sporty, and she is.

The Chaparral 243 VRX displays the power and agility of her smaller siblings in the line thanks to twin 250 Rotax 4-TEC power systems. She topped out at 54.3 mph in our test runs, and got on plane in a remarkable 2.0 seconds -- comparable to many performance PWCs. Seating for 12 means she's a party animal. More...

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Test Video

Grady-White Express 330:
Blue Water Warrior w/ Overnight Capability

Grady-White Express 330
With lots of freeboard forward and aft plus a Carolina flair and tall windshield, the Grady-White Express 330 is clearly built to handle offshore conditions on a regular basis.

The Grady-White Express 330 has all the earmarks of a competent bluewater fishing boat, with an added touch of comfort in the cabin forward. She offers 5'0" (1.52 m) of freeboard forward and 3'8" (1.12 m) aft, and the self-bailing cockpit will put spray and rain back over the side quickly as well as making for easy washdown. The tall windshield should keep the captain and mate dry in snotty weather, and the bolstered and fully-adjustable captain's seat will keep the captain in position when it gets rough. 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

Fog Signals and Overview:
On Navigation Lights

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
Only official lights such as these are allowed to be on at night underway.

This week Captain Steve goes over sixteen lessons and guidelines on fog signals and navigation lights. It’s important to know what to do when fog suddenly comes rolling in and one is cruising along in pea soup or simply a restricted visibility scenario. Captain Steve also goes over the basics on navigation lights, what they mean, and what’s required when running at night, and at anchor. Learn about requirements for boats over 39 ½' (12 m), and what’s required for boats less than 23' (7 m). These are basic rules 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

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