BoatTEST Newsletter September 14, 2016
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IN THIS ISSUE
- Sailfish 325 DC
- Express Cruisers 25’ to 29’
- Hatteras 70 Motor Yacht
- Scarab 195 HO
- Wellcraft 221 Fisherman
- Monte Carlo Yachts 86
- Riviera 445 SUV
- Regal 2000 ESX
- TAHOE 500 TF
- Fortress Anchors FX-7
- Beneteau Swift Trawler 30
- Bavaria Sport 450 Coupe
- Ocean Alexander 72
- MAKO 284 CC
- Hargrave 125 Gigi II
- Sea-Doo RXT-X 300
- Andros Boatworks 26
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
Sailfish 325 DC:
Multi-Mission DC w/ High-Tech Build
All the usual fishing features are present on the Sailfish 325 DC, including abundant heavy-duty rod holders, an aerated livewell, and jumbo fishboxes. But she also comes with welcoming comfort features like a cockpit galley with sink, a mini-cabin with optional microwave in the port console, enclosed head with sink, a ski tow pylon, and party-time seating for up to 15 guests. The Fusion stereo comes standard with an amplifier, subwoofer, Bluetooth, and USB port. She has Kevlar in the hull and carbon-fiber in the deck.
Express Cruisers 25’ to 29’:
We Pick 4 of the Best
Formula 290 Sun Sport
Four Winns Vista V255
Regal 26 Express
Cruisers Sport Series 275 Express
The “express cruiser” has been one of the most popular type of boat for decades because it serves both as a dayboat for entertaining and cruising, as well as being an overnight accommodation. At the small end of the range – 25’ to 29’ -- express cruisers are often called “pocket cruisers” because they are small, but also because they usually can be towed. That allows them to have a cruising range that far exceeds what would be possible in the water during a two-week vacation. They are an “entry-level” cruiser, a natural move up from a sportboat, and a relatively inexpensive way for a boater to get a taste of the larger cruising boat lifestyle, without a huge financial commitment. This week we have picked four “pocket cruisers” that each have a different take on the basic concept. Our captains have vetted all of them, and we can attest that they are well-built and fully-equipped for their intended purpose. Compare and contrast them, then pick the one that best suits your needs. If you have questions about any one of them, as always, BoatTEST’s staff is here to help.
New Features Video
Hatteras 70 Motor Yacht:
New Raised Pilothouse Motoryacht
With a flying bridge that spans nearly half her length, the new Hatteras 70 Motor Yacht’s upper deck will be the chosen space for those who celebrate being underway. The standard fiberglass hardtop provides excellent protection from the sun while accommodating nav and communication gear. On the main deck, large frameless windows add light and outstanding views to the bright and airy contemporary salon. On the accommodations level, she has four staterooms.
Scarab 195 HO:
PWC Performance, Sportboat Style
The Scarab 195 HO combines the performance generated by an optional 250-hp Rotax jet with a hull that weighs just 2,600 lbs. (1,179 kg) dry. The “Versa Lounge” converts the stern seating from aft-facing seats to a flat sun lounge, just as in many larger runabouts. Standard features include stereo with remote, snap-in carpet, Bimini top and a color-matched trailer with chrome wheels and swing-away tongue, all light enough to be pulled by a mid-size vehicle.
Wellcraft 221 Fisherman:
Center Console w/ Family-Friendly Options
The Wellcraft 221 Fisherman is a well-designed center-console fisherman first and foremost, but add the optional Family Package, which includes cushions for the bow and removable backrests, and she becomes more amenable to a lazy day of sunbathing, swimming, and towsports. With a 14" (36 cm) draft and a 15-degree deadrise, she's comfortable in shallow water and can readily slide up on a sandy beach for a picnic, but she's got adequate freeboard and bow flair to allow crossing windy, open bays.
Monte Carlo Yachts 86:
Versatile Elegance and Semi-Custom
The Monte Carlo Yachts 86 offers five widely different accommodations layouts plus significant layout options on the main deck and even a few variables on the flying bridge. She basically offers a custom interior in a finely crafted production hull.
The Monte Carlo Yachts 86 offers plenty of reach for all but trans-oceanic voyages if held to her 9.7 knot idle speed, where the twin 1800-hp MAN V12s use just 12 gph for a range of 1374 nautical miles. For shorter passages, the captain can pretty much chose speed to match sea conditions with little concern for a penalty in range from 1800 rpm and 19.1 knots to WOT of 2400 rpm and 28.1 knots.
Riviera 445 SUV:
Versatile Offshore Cruiser w/ Pod Drives
The Riviera 445 SUV is intended as an all-purpose cruiser suitable for two couples or a family with two or three children. The mission can be anything from diving to fishing to harbor hopping or picnic cruises with a week's cruise down the ICW now and then also on the venue. Extras included standard are C-Zone monitoring systems, a 9.5 kW generator, and a vertical winch with 164’ (50 m) of 8 mm galvanized chain, a molded bowsprit with roller, and a 45-pound (20 kg) anchor. Volvo Penta pod drives make for easy handling around the docks.
Regal 2000 ESX:
Aggressive Styling & a Stepped Hull
The new Regal 2000 ESX is designed to appeal to entry-level boaters seeking quality. She includes premium features like a marine-grade Fusion stereo with MP3 port connected to six stereo speakers, convertible flip-back double-wide observer's seat at the port console, standard Bimini top (a PowerTower is optional), and a full exterior graphics package that gives her the edgy quality preferred by younger boaters.
TAHOE® 500 TF:
Family Fun Boat w/ Angling Extras
The TAHOE® 500 TF has all the basics of a family runabout, including bench seating aft, a sun pad, full-width swim platform with stainless steel ladder, stereo, towing eye and in-deck ski-storage. But she also comes equipped with extras that make her a very functional fishing boat with a Minn Kota trolling motor on the bow, deep-cycle battery and charger, livewell, and swivel fishing seats for bow and stern, plus rod racks. And the package includes a powder-coated trailer with swing-away tongue.
Fortress Anchors FX-7:
High Performance & Easy to Handle
Like all Fortress anchors, the FX-7 is precision-machined from an aluminum alloy and then anodized for a durable long-lasting finish that will never leave rust stains on deck. Because of their light weight they are ideal for a small boat.
Beneteau Swift Trawler 30:
Trawler w/ 26.4 MPH WOT Speed
At 11’7” (3.53 m), the Swift Trawler 30 has over a foot more beam than some of her competition, which pays off both in interior space and in added stability. Her 3’5” (1.04 m) draft plus a keel extending below the prop makes her a good choice for a bit of gunkholing now and then, and at displacement speeds of 7.5 knots or so, she has a range of over 400 nautical miles with the single Volvo Penta D6. When speed is necessary, she hops on plane and tops out at 23 knots, a big advantage over conventional trawlers, and her price comes in at around $300K.
Bavaria Sport 450 Coupe:
Efficiency, Style, and Range
At displacement speeds, the Bavaria Sport 450 Coupe offers potential for some long, leisurely island hopping cruises with a 600 nmile range at 7.7 knots. Yet, when the captain desires, the twin 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600s can be cranked up to deliver speeds over 30 knots, and at best cruise, around 2750 rpms and 21.2 knots, she has a range of over 200 nmiles. Like many IPS-driven boats, the mpg is nearly between 2500 and 3250 rpms, allowing the captain to match speed to sea conditions with little concern for a penalty in range.
Ocean Alexander 72 Pilothouse:
Spacious Luxury for the Owner-Operator
The Ocean Alexander 72 Pilothouse is equipped to be crew operated with accommodations aft adjacent the engine room, but she's also set up for easy handling by an owner-operator. Water-tight doors on both sides of the pilothouse helm allow the skipper a good view for docking, and both bow and stern thrusters on joysticks make precise low speed handling simple. A handy feature on the primary helm is the electronics controls on the flip-down captain's chair, giving full access to all functions on the dual 19" screens. An added set of 19" screens is found on the flying bridge, which can be accessed both from the pilothouse and from the aft deck.
MAKO® 284 CC:
For Bluewater Anglers
The MAKO® 284 CC powered with twin 300-hp Mercury Verado's can get to the weigh-ins fast with a top speed of 54.5 mph in our test runs. Her range is also impressive; she got 1.8 mpg at 3500 rpms and 30.3 mph, allowing some 365 statute miles between fill-ups. She's set up for hard-core bluewater angling with a fully-equipped bait-rigging station, livewell, sink, and tackle storage built into the back of the leaning post. There's also a head in the console with a standard Porta-Potti, freshwater sink, mirror, and storage.
Hargrave 125 Gigi II:
Four Elegant En Suites and a 25' Beam
The Hargrave 125 Gigi II is an elegant trans-oceanic yacht with a range of some 4000 miles at 10 knots. She's equipped with satellite TV and DirectTV receivers to keep the vessel in touch with the outside world.
Designed and built for entertaining, the Hargrave 125 Gigi II has guest seating for over 60 people in six different venues around the boat when in full party mode. Her 25' (7.62 m) beam permits four large en suite staterooms. When not entertaining her crew of five, including a chef, will pamper guests as she becomes a movable palatial summer cottage. Water toys include two PWCs and a kayak, and with a 27’ tender also part of the package, water skiing and wakeboarding are easily at hand.
Sea-Doo RXT-X 300:
Maxed Out PWC w/ V-Bottom Ride
The Sea-Doo RXT-X 300 is fast with speeds above 65 mph thanks to her 300-hp Rotax 1630 ACE power, but she's also capable of stopping quickly thanks to her iBR braking system. The Ergolock seating lets the rider use leg strength to hold position in the exciting maneuvers the PWC encourages, and the stepped deep V hull softens the ride in a rough chop.
Andros Boatworks 26 Tarpon:
Panga Efficiency in a Bluewater CC
The optional half-tower available with the Andros Boatworks 26 Tarpon stands the skipper atop the console for a much improved view of the water ahead. Even with this added windage, she got 3.7 mpg at 3500 rpm going 29.4 mph.
With a relatively narrow 8'2" (2.49 m) beam and a dry weight of just 3,400 lbs. (1,542 kg), the panga style Andros 26 Tarpon delivered impressive performance powered by a single Evinrude E-TEC G2 300 HP, with a WOT speed of 51.3 mph. She was also quick on plane with the 18" Rebel 3-blade prop, getting on top in 3.6 seconds. Her primary mission is obviously bluewater fishing, and she's well-equipped for that.
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