Mako 414 // Gran Turismo 40 // Wellcraft 302 // 19 Reports - 05/31/2017
BoatTEST Newsletter May 31, 2017 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Formula 270 BR
- Mercury Bowhook
- Intrepid 410 Evolution
- Cruisers Yachts 60 Cantius
- Sea Ray 280 SLX
- Mako 414 CC
- Hatteras GT 70
- Tiburon 25 ZX
- 24'-28' Center Consoles
- Chaparral 227 SSX Surf
- Hampton Yachts 658
- Grady-White Marlin 300
- Beneteau Gran Turismo 40
- Wellcraft 302 Fisherman
- Sea-Doo GTI SE
- Scarab 195 HO
- Sailfish 240CC
- Sterling Associates
- 12 Important Things in a Bay or Flats Boat
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD

Formula 270 BR:
Sporty Bowrider w/ Indy 500 Ilmor Power

Formula 270 BR
The Formula 270 BR that we tested was powered by a 6.2L V8 430-hp Ilmor engine.

The Formula 270 BR is a premium, performance-oriented bowrider displaying the company's legendary level of exterior finish. The boat we tested was powered by a 430-hp Ilmor MV8 6.2L one-drive package that combines the Ilmor power with hydraulic clutch outdrive for exceptionally smooth transitions into gear. Ilmor engines have won 19 Indianapolis 500s and the same expertise and precision that has made the Ilmor name famous around the racing world has gone into their marine engines. The engine in the Formula 270 BR has a 5 year, 500-hour warranty -- something almost unheard of with racing engines. More...

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New Product Video

Mercury Bowhook:
Anchor-Free Position-Holding Technology

Mercury Bowhook
The Mercury Bowhook feature is easily activated through Mercury VesselView.

Mercury Marine Bowhook allows boaters to easily hold position while allowing heading to naturally settle according to prevailing winds or current, as the digital system controls the engines to "anchor" the boat in place. The feature, like many others, is activated through VesselView. Bowhook is available as a download for existing Joystick systems through VesselView’s Wi-Fi connection. More...

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Test Video

Intrepid 410 Evolution:
Express Cruiser w/ 53.6 MPH WOT, Sleeps 4

Intrepid 410 Evolution
The Intrepid 410 is an express cruiser that is one of the fastest boats in class and has a luxury build for down-island runs.

The single-stepped hull design of the Intrepid 410 Evolution provided impressive performance in our tests, reaching a top speed of 53.6 mph powered by triple V-8 Yamaha 350s. The boat has many luxury touches as standard features, including power helm seats, sun roof and cockpit shade, plus an 8 kW diesel generator and AC system. A high-gloss table in the salon rises at the touch of a button, or lowers to become part of an added berth. Like all Intrepid boats, she can be highly customized and finish work is tops. More...

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Test Video

Cruisers Yachts 60 Cantius:
Express Style, Motoryacht Comfort

Cruisers Yachts 60 Cantius
The Cruisers Yachts 60 Cantius has the sweeping lines of a sporty performance cruiser, but interior accommodations and comforts are all luxury yacht.

The two ensuite staterooms of the Cruisers Yachts 60 Cantius are separated by a common area that includes the companionway and an atrium 14' (4.27 m) high, through which light pours to the lower deck. A settee in the lower salon converts to a double bed, making total accommodation for six when desired. It can also be turned into a 3rd cabin if desired. Twin 725-hp engines give her a top speed of better than 33 knots. More...

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Test Video

Sea Ray 280 SLX:
Upscale Runabout w/ Seating for 15

Sea Ray 280 SLX
With a 9’ beam, the Sea Ray 280 SLX offers lots of seating and entertaining room for a large crew.

The Sea Ray 280 SLX is a large, upscale runabout with seating for up to 15. Leather-wrapped grab-rails are standard, as is plush, diamond-stitched and embroidered upholstery. Scissor-style hinges keep all larger seat pads in place and provide hands-free access to the large storage compartments below. Options include a submersible hydraulic swim platform and electric tower with articulating Bimini system. More...

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Test Video

MAKO 414 CC:
Offshore Fishing Machine w/ 60.3 MPH WOT

Mako 414 CC
Speed is no problem for the MAKO 414 CC set up with quad Mercury 350-hp Verado's: the test boat ran a blazing 60.3 mph.

The console of the MAKO 414 CC hides a folding bunk, hot water shower and sink as well as a toilet, putting this CC a cut above many in comfort. She's clearly all about offshore fishing, however, and fully-loaded with all the needed gear including large twin baitwells in the transom, jumbo insulated fish boxes in the floor and rod holders everywhere. An optional family package adds a cook top and food prep station just aft of the console seating. More...

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Test Video

Hatteras GT 70:
High Speed Blue Water Battlewagon

Hatteras GT 70
While the Hatteras GT 70 is well-known for being the fastest yacht in class, she also has a luxurious interior with superb joiner work.

Powered with twin 2600-hp MTUs, the Hatteras GT 70 is capable of getting to fishing locations far offshore fast, a huge plus for tournament anglers who chase big game fish. And, she delivers on comfort in more sedate cruising waters, where her flawless woodworking, spacious salon and five staterooms welcome guests. At 21’4” (6.50 m), she is the widest convertible in class, which not only adds living space but also increases beam stability, important to those who troll offshore. More...

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New Test Video

Tiburon 25 ZX:
Lightweight Flats Fisherman w/ Evinrude E-TEC G2 300

Tiburon 25 ZX
The bold, bright graphics of the Tiburon 25 ZX are well-matched by the colors of the Evinrude E-TEC G2 300 cowling, available in over 400 colors/designs.

With a draft of just 6" and a weight of only 1,400 lbs. (less power), the Tiburon 25 ZX floats remarkably shallow for a 25-footer, making her an effective flats boat. She also has the length and width to function as a capable bay boat in calm conditions. The elevated console gives the skipper a better view of the shallows ahead, and standard Lenco tabs help her to get on top quickly and keep her there at low rpms. More...

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We Compare 24'-28' Center Consoles:
Which Center Console is Best?

Sailfish 270CC running
Sailfish 270CC
Robalo R242 running
Robalo R242
Grady-White 251 Coastal Explorer running
Grady-White 251 Coastal Explorer
Wellcraft 262 Scarab Offshore running
Wellcraft 262 Scarab Offshore
Boston Whaler 270 Dauntless running
Boston Whaler 270 Dauntless
Mako 284 CC
Mako 284 CC

Originally designed for serious fishermen, most of today's center consoles can be rigged for tow sports, diving, beach picnics, day cruising and, yes, fishing; when one's ship comes in, a center console makes a great tender. Available in sizes up to 40-plus feet, center consoles like the half-dozen in this week's roundup -- 24' to 28’ -- represent an excellent balance of size, cost, utility and simplicity. But although close in size, these boats are very different. We compare and contrast them so you can find the best one for your application. More...

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Test Video

Chaparral 227 SSX Surf:
Wake Surf w/ Extras

Chaparral 227 SSX Surf
The Chaparral 227 SSX Surf is a dedicated watersports platform equipped with a Surf-Gate system that provides custom wakes at the touch of a button.

The Chaparral 227 SSX Surf has a special bottom design, ballast system, Malibu Surf Gate™ and a Medallion touchscreen at the helm -- all focused on making her an ultimate wake-surfing platform. The cast aluminum folding arch is also standard. The aft sun pad has flip-up wings that convert it to chaise-style seating, and a filler pad turns the bow seating area into a sunpad as well. The drive system faces forward for safety and better handling. More...

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Test Video

Hampton Yachts Endurance 658 LRC:
Premium-Level Cruising Yacht

Hampton Yachts 658 Endurance LRC
The Hampton Yachts Endurance 658 LRC has a range of more than 1,300 NM at 8.6 knot-speeds, and she can get on plane and travel faster than 20 knots when needed.

The Hampton Yachts Endurance 658 LRC has a Portuguese-style bridge, which features the side decks wrapping around the front of the boat. Seating forward of the bridge adds to the social space on the 658 while bulwarks and railings make this space safe to ride even while underway. The flying bridge includes an entertainment center with Corian countertop, faucet and sink, refrigerator, icemaker and propane grill. More...

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Test Video

Grady-White Marlin 300:
Blue Water Fishboat w/ Walk-Around Security

Grady-White Marlin 300
The cockpit of the Grady-White Marlin 300 offers plenty of space for three anglers to work the rods, while the captain keeps an eye on the action from under the standard hardtop.

The walk-around design of the Grady-White Marlin 300 adds safety for fishing far offshore in sloppy conditions, while the aft cockpit has plenty of space for trolling as well as for after-hours entertaining. She can sleep up to four in the cabin, which also has dining space and a miniature galley. There's also a full head with shower, and air conditioning and a 5 kW diesel generator are optional. More...

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Features Video

Beneteau Gran Turismo 40:
40-Knot Cruiser w/ Stepped Hull

Beneteau Gran Turismo 40
With the standard sunroof retracted, the roomy seating area of the Beneteau Gran Turismo 40 is opened to sunshine and airflow for versatile entertaining.

Powered with twin 370-hp diesels, the Beneteau Gran Turismo 40 displayed plenty of speed, topping out at close to 40 knots in our test runs thanks in part to her efficient Air Step 2 hull design. Her outdoor galley is accessed from the swim platform, while a full galley is available below decks. The roomy master is forward, the twin-bunk guest cabin aft. More...

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Captain’s Report

Wellcraft 302F:
Roomy CC w/ Family Features

Wellcraft 302 Fisherman
The dive door not only makes the Wellcraft 302F a more versatile center console but also eases getting large fish aboard.

The Wellcraft 302F features a long list of standard equipment for offshore fishing, and comfortable seating at the transom and forward make her a good family boat as well. A T-Top with rod holders and PFD storage is standard, as is an electric toilet and sink in the console head. She's rated for twin outboards to 350-hp, which should allow her to get offshore fast. More...

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Test Video

Sea-Doo GTI SE:
Lightweight PWC w/ Abundant Extras

Sea-Doo GTI SE
The Sea-Doo GTI SE is available with power options to 155 horsepower, ensuring performance to suit most recreational riders.

The hull of the Sea-Doo GTI SE 90-hp is made of Polytec material, a low density, high-impact composite that includes polypropylene and long glass fiber reinforcements, shaving about 150 lbs. (68 kg) off the weight compared to a fiberglass model. Powered by a Rotax 900 ACE 90-hp jet system she runs about 42.5 mph, and engine options to 155-hp are available for added speed. A plush three person seat and variable trim system are among the many standard features. More...

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Captain’s Report

Scarab 195 HO:
Jetboat Handling, Runabout Comforts

Scarab 195 HO
Powered with a Rotax 1.5L Supercharged 250 engine, the Scarab 195 HO will reach a top speed of 40 mph according to the company, and like all jet boats, she offers turn-on-a-dime driving excitement.

The Scarab 195 HO offers the thrill and performance of jet boat handling along with creature comforts in line with a conventional family runabout. Aft seating folds down to create a sunpad nearly the full width of the boat, and the soft-top swim platform is a handy spot to gear up for tow sports. A Bimini top, stereo and matching trailer are all standard. More...

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Captain’s Report

Sailfish 240CC:
Broad w/ Deep Cockpit for Offshore Angling

Sailfish 240CC
The Sailfish 240CC is a broad, deep center console for her LOA, making her a stable fishing platform both in large bays and well offshore.

The Sailfish 240CC has relatively high freeboard for her LOA, resulting in 40” of interior depth at the bow and 30” in the aft cockpit. Her Variable Deadrise Stepped hull, which peaks at 24-degrees at the keel aft, should make her a very capable offshore performer. She has a 9' beam, wider than many in class, and her 30-gallon transom baitwell includes a high-speed pickup to keep bait lively even on long runs offshore. More...

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Finance Captain's Report

Sterling Associates:
Yacht Financing Specialists

Sterling Associates
Sterling Associates, one of the largest marine lenders in the United States, has facilitated over $4 billion in boat loans throughout its history.

Since 1991, Sterling Associates has provided financing, insurance, and documentation services for those in the process of purchasing a boat. The company has offices in San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, Michigan, Old Saybrook, Ft. Lauderdale, Annapolis, and Houston, with their main office in Whitinsville, MA. The median amount of boat loans handled by Sterling Associates is in the $500,000 to $600,000 range. More...

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New Consumer Report

12 Important Things to Look for in a Bay or Flats Boat

This Mako 18 LTS is designed specifically for skinny water and other protected fishing locations such as bayous and swamps.

Some of the largest-selling boats these days are center consoles designed for bays and flats – skinny water or highly protected water. These boats are simple and relatively in expensive, but nevertheless there are important things that every consumer should check to help assure satisfaction. As we always say, the best way to save money on boat buying is the but the right one first. Check out our list of 12 important details any buyer should address. More...

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Picture of the Week

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