BoatTEST Newsletter 12/05/07 - 12/05/2007
new boattests

New Nitro Z9 Tops At 71.5 MPH!
65-Gallon tank gives the Z9 a 262-mile range at cruise

Nitro Z9
The Nitro Z9 has a huge forward casting deck below which is incredible stowage space.
$48K MSRP.

At 71.5 mph powered by the OptiMax Pro 250, you can be at your favorite fishing spot while your buddies are still getting their PFDs buckled. We like the huge platform forward of the console which contains a live well in addition to stowage compartments for everything except your deceased mother-in-law. Capt. John Wenz wrings out the new Nitro and inspects every square inch.

new boat tests

New 18’ Tahoe Q4 Is Great “Starter” Sport Fish Boat
At Only $17K MSRP, this “full function” Fish Sport Boat Goes 41 mph WOT with 135-hp MerCruiser

Tahoe Q4
With a trailer standard, and trolling motor with the fish package, the Q4 gets 5 mpg at cruise.
Tracker Marine is taking dead-aim at the “starter” sport boat market with the new Tahoe Q4 Sport Fish -- and with a price tag that is about what this size boat cost five years ago by other brands. No wonder Tahoe is the fastest growing stern drive sport boat brand on the water. Capt. Bob Smith takes a good look at the Q4 Sport Fish. See his video comments…


Four Winns’
Huge & Unique
New 310 Bowrider

More Like a Stretch Limo, this 310 might be the “ultimate bowrider” sportboat
Four Winns 310
The H310 has virtually everything aboard including the kitchen sink, plus a bunk for one.

This Four Winns design is the most innovative we have seen in the bowrider category. Under one console is a head and under the other is a bunk/private changing room. Virtually everywhere there are clever new features. She can easily hold ten adults and when we tested the boat it was propped to carry a load. (With 26” props she’ll go faster than the 42 mph we got.) See Capt. Ron Svoboda’s test video…


New 23 TriToon 
For Fishing
In Luxury
JC Pontoon’s New SunSport 23 has two stern fishing chairs! Tops at 32.6 with Honda
150-hp 4-Stroke

JC Pontoon 23 TriToon
The bass pros might not be quite ready for pontoon fishing boats, but we like the functionality that JC Pontoon added to their traditional TriToon design.

The folks at JC Pontoon are innovators and were the ones who introduced the TriToon 25 years ago. Now they’ve added two swivel fishing chairs port and starboard of the outboard engine. We love it. If the fish aren’t biting, just lay down and take a nap until they are! With all of the room of a pontoon boat, Dad can bring Mom and the kids along while he and his fishing buddy try their luck at the stern. Optional livewell and fish boxes are available. Take a look at our Capt.’s video, we think you’ll be impressed…


New 247 Baja “Islander” Is a Sport Boat

with Sizzle

We got 60 mph from the 375-hp stern drive – try the 425-hp option if you want to be the meanest kid on the lake

Baja 247 islander
The 247 “Islander” is a sport boat with muscle – up to 425 hp – and a 23-degree deadrise.

If you are looking for a sportboat with a little more excitement than your Dad’s Buick, then you should take a look at Baja’s new 247 “Islander.” She is set up like a sport boat (with enclosed head) so you can ski and wakeboard and take the kids swimming, but when the local show-off comes along, you’ve got the power to wipe the smile off his face. The boat has the same rugged construction as its offshore stable mates, and molded-in hull graphics, but at 4600-lb. it is easy to trailer. See our test and video.


Henriques 30 Express Fishboat
This well-built express
is designed for canyon running with reliability, fishability and comfort

Henriques 30
With 2 x 380-hp Cummins diesels, she cruises at 25 mph with a range of 334 miles.

Celebrating its 30th year in business this year, it is fitting that the company’s newest model should be a 30-footer (33’ with bow pulpit). She has an all-new deep-V hull with a fine entry to make square seas as comfortable as possible. The fiberglass hardtop, half tower and generator come standard, along with most of the other fishy stuff you need to head for the canyons. Capt. John Wenz was impressed with the quality of construction and installation. See test and video.


New Boat Buying Advice Life-long boat dealer Larry Russo gives his views on how to get a good deal in a soft market

Larry Russo is one of the most universally respected boat dealers in the U.S. His father started Russo Marine in 1940 and Larry started working there when he was 8. Over the years he has been president of many industry groups, including the MRAA (the national boat dealers association), and he is currently chairman of the industry’s Dealer Certification Program. For the last three years his dealership has been rated in the “Top 10” in the nation by Boating Industry magazine. He is not bashful about saying what is on his mind, as you’ll see.

Larry Russo 5
Why do boats have high markups?
LarryRusso  7
Can all cash buy a better deal?
Larry Russo  8
How can buyers take advantage of a soft market?
Larry Russo 9
Is the dealer or brand more important?
Larry Video 10
Is it hard to get a boat loan?
Larry Video 11
Any complaints about sportboats?

About Russo Marine…from Leading Independent Dealer 
                                …to Brunswick Corporate Loyalist.

Russo Marine circa 1940

special report
New Chaparral
215 SSi Sinks
at the Dock

Did the consumer get good “customer service” or not?
You be the judge! 
Questionnaire at end of article.

Sunk Chaparral
At sun-up on day #4 of ownership, the new SSi 215 was submerged at the dock.

At 7am on a Monday morning this year David Isabelle got a phone call from his marina and was told his three-day old Chaparral 215 had sunk. It was David’s second boat. And while he was certainly disappointed that his shiny new SSi sank, what really made his blood boil-- apparently -- is what he considers a cavalier customer service attitude taken by the builder. Twenty-three days later Chaparral delivered a new boat, paid all of his expensed, a day of lost incove, and even threw in added cruising canvas. Find out what happened and when…and "you be the Judge."

sinking at the dock
80% of
Boat Sinkings
Happen at the Dock
Maintenance and simple precautions can keep your boat afloat where it is
most vulnerable

This “state-of-the-art,”brand new, never-been-used fire boat sank at the dock in its marina in the James River. When found at 7am, the bow was pointed straight up in the air.

Edward Murphy, author of Murphy’s Law ("If something can go wrong, it will go wrong") must have been a boater. Thankfully boats are tied up at the dock 95% of the time, which is where things go wrong – when it comes to sinking – 80% of the time. Also, 95% of the time a boat is at the dock, no one is on it, so when something does go wrong there is no one around to fix it.

To find out why boats sink at the dock and what you can do to prevent it…turn the page…

boattest recommends

$250 Garelick
3-Way Adjustable Helm Seat Base

Low-cost fix for sportboat helm seats that are fixed, too low, wobble, or won't swivel

Garelick seat base
This simple-to-install seat base can double your boating pleasure.

See Video of Capt. Robert Smith demonstrating the 3-way pedestal.

The #1 complaint among’s “Owner Reviews” on sportboats is that the helm seat is not positioned correctly for the owner’s use. Usually the seat is too low and can not be raised. Often it is too close to the wheel for tall or corpulent helmsmen. Many don’t swivel 180-degrees to aid conversation when at anchor. If you have any of those problems with your helm seat, for $250 and the price of a few screws and bolts, you can have a helm seat the way you always wanted it. Purchase from the BoattestStore…

This is not a new product. It has been around for several years, but many sportboat builders don’t install it as standard. Instead, they make their best guess as to how tall their buyers are and bolt a simple fixed pedestal to the cockpit sole. This helps keep the price of the boat down, which is a good thing, but an improperly situated helm seat is a very bad thing. If you are buying a new sportboat with a fixed helm seat, simply buy one of these Garelick units (part No. 75637) and give it to your dealer to install for you. He’ll be glad to do it to make the sale.  Get this Product.


New Aftermarket Hydraulic Steering System for Outboard Engines
TeleFlex’s new Sea Star system makes steering easy

If you have added new 4-stroke engines to your boat without hydraulic steering, you are probably surprised by how much extra effort it takes to steer. The new engines are heavier and after a long day on the water, they can wear you out. That is why Teleflex, the leading name in recreational marine steer, has introduced its new SeaStar hydraulic system for the aftermarket. It is relatively low cost and easy to install. See Capt. Robert Smith demonstrate the unit on video.

outboard motor banner
Tohatsu Now
Has Motors up to 115-hp

This 50-year old company now has a full line of outboard motors up to 115-hp

115-hp model has many features.

Tohatsu says that its outboards provide the environmental offerings of four-strokes while never compromising the powerful running performance of two-strokes. The 115 has three step adjustable trolling speed control, quick acceleration response, compact size, and fuel economy. To see Capt. Robert Smith’s video review of the 115-hp …

growingproduct trend

“Norwegian Teak” Now Accepted

Scores of builders around the Globe are using Flexiteek on everything from tenders to megayachts

Flexiteek looks like the real thing yet eliminates most maintenance.

First used by early adopters about seven years ago, Flexiteek, a PVC composite material is growing in popularity and now scores of builders from middle-market builders to megayacht yards all over the world are using the product. Developed and manufacturered in Norway (thus the nickname “Norwegian Teak”), it was natural that European builders such as Azimut, Ferretti, Fairline and Sunseeker are using it, and now American builders such as Four Winns, Regal and Sea Ray are using it, too, among others. Capt Robert Smith takes a video look at the product and spills his second favorite drink – red wine – on some Norwegian teak as a test…

reading room

inner islands- bookThe Inner Islands by Bland Simpson is a book for everyone who loves the North Carolina shores. With gorgeous pictures by Ann Simpson and its portrait of coastal life it is a must have. 
$ 34.95 Buy this Book.

historian's coastA Historian's Coast: Adventures into the Tidewater Past by David Cecelski. This illuminating, entertaining and essential work by Cecelski is a historical aid-to-navigation. A collection of literary beacons from Knotts Island to Navassa. Cecelski presents the rapacious turpentiners of the Rich Islands, and the intrepid boatman in his paper canoe, and lights the way through the trickiest currents and riptides of North Carolina's coastal past. $18.95
Buy this Book

dvd store

The Perfect Gift for your Favorite Boater!
DVD Gift Sets Available Now with Deep Discounts!

SAVE $20.00! NEW!!! Boating Tips & Techniques DVD Set

Regular Price $99.85
Sale Price $79.85

dvdset 1This 3 disc DVD s
et includes:  Improve Your Boating Skills & Knowledge, On the Water Boating Tips,  and Basics of Boating

• Boat handling techniques & procedures
• Navigation aids & getting underway
• Outboard power & propulsion
• Marlinspike seamanship
• Launching & loading
• Communications & electronics
• Anchoring & maneuvering
• Rules of the road
• Winterizing & gel coat repairs

dvdset2SAVE $10.00! NEW!!! Practical Boater DVD Set

Regular Price: $69.90
Sale Price : $59.90

This 2 disc DVD Set includes: Outboard Powerboat and Easy Fixes to Common Problems. Learn how to operate, maneuver & handle your outboard boat & how to keep your investment running and looking good for years to come.

• Basics of operating & maneuvering
• Handling & docking
• Anchoring & maintenance tips
• Engines & steering systems
• Electronics & hardware

dvdset3SAVE $10.00! Saltwater Fishing 101 DVD Set

Regular Price $59.90
Sale Price: $49.90

This 2 disc DVD set includes: Fishing Knots & Saltwater and 101 For Beginners Teaches:
• Fishing knots for saltwater & freshwater
• Step-by-step procedures & visual close-ups
• Improved clinch, Palomar knot, Spider hitch & Offshore swivel knot
• Uni-knot, Surgeon’s end loop, Dropper loop, Bimini twist, Jansik special, Blood knot & Surgeon’s knot.
• Techniques for boat, shore, surf & pier fishing
• Different rods & reels
• Types of line
• Hooks & sinkers

New Anti-Water
Reversion Product Introduced

Water Ingestion still seems to be a problem and a new invention claims to be
the solution

water reversion
The two risers pictured at left are from the port engine and were standard, the two risers on the right are from the starboard engine and were fitted with the “Dry-Tech Reversion Control System,”™ Patent Pending.

At the turn of the century (2000, that is) water ingestion or water reversion was a hot topic and engine companies using GM blocks grappled with the problem and solved it. Or, did they? Increasingly, industry sources tell us the problem has not really been solved. Now, a new company called Performance Resources, LLC, claims to have invented a product that will solve the problem once and for all. To find out more…ingest here

See BoatTEST's video of New Product Solution news
now available
in Chinese

“BoatTEST” is becoming an internationally-known name thanks to the Internet

By special arrangement, is now available in Chinese in China on their version of AOL. Capt. Robert Smith has signed up for a Berlitz course and expects to be speaking passable Mandarin in about six weeks, albeit with a slight Guangdong accent.

In the late 14th Century and early 15th Century China had the largest ocean-going naval and merchant fleet in the world. So, we’re betting it is only a matter of time before the Chinese remember their glorious nautical past by going boating. By 2011 the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River will be completed creating a 373-mile long lake and we reckon it won’t be long thereafter that the FLW has it’s first million yuan bass tournament.


BTC Publishes
140 New Videos
in Two Months
October and November are record video months for – Global Leader in Marine Internet Videos

The last two months BTC has produced over 5 solid hours of video boat tests, reviews, product introductions, boat show coverage and interviews.

Somewhere it was written “don’t hide your candle under a bushel,” so forgive us for sounding our own Kahlenberg this week, and for changing metaphors., which was founded in 2000 with about 70 videos, now has over 2800 in its library, including about 900 full boat test videos. During the last two months we made and put on the BTC Network of websites over 140 videos which are from about 40 seconds to five minutes each in duration. Most are available free. About 500 of the tests are in the “archives” and we charge a small fee for unlimited viewing for a week, month or year. (The fees help pay the light bill, and thank you for the help.)

During the last six months we have been joined by several new webcasts, video newsletters, and Internet “TV Channels” and we welcome them all to what we feel is the most important medium of communication ever invented in human history. Our job is to help you find the right boat for you and not put you to sleep in the process. So stick with us, as we work hard to get better and better.


legislative news banner

California Passes New Emissions Registration Requirements
NMMA supported new legislation to protect
California boat dealers from non-compliant buyers

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into legislation a law that would require a dealer or buyer of a marine engine under 500hp to submit documentation to the state verifying it meets California emissions requirements. The new law will start on July 1, 2008. For engines over 500-hp, dealers or owners will submit the registration documents on January 1, 2009. Read more…


FLW King Series Winners Snag $112,500 Purse
Champions discover 3-day old bait doesn’t work

TEAM Holligan wins $112,500 in King Fish FLW tournament in Biloxi, Miss

On the strength of a 36-pound, 7-ounce catch in the final round of competition, Team Hooligan walked away with the prestigious 2007 Kingfish Tour Championship title. “The irony for us is that we caught three fish today and that’s two more than we caught all week,” said the team spokesman. (Shows you what happens when you use fresh bait.) Read the rest of this fishy story…

rescueof theweek

Concrete Pier Survives Speeding Fiberglass on Redneck Riviera
Unlit, derelict pier 875 feet into Gulf gets in the way of boater in a hurry at night.

What’s left of the Gulf State Park Pier is unlit and nearly claimed the lives of 5 boaters

Five people were injured recently when their 23-foot Formula traveling about 30 mph hit unlit pilings left exposed since 2004 when Hurricane Ivan damaged the Alabama Gulf State Park pier, marine police said Friday. The boat sunk about 300 from the shore. To find out who was at fault …plunk your magic twanger

Boater Tries
to Pass in
Front of Ferry

With brains and luck like this, next he should try beating the Brownsville Express to a
RR crossing

speedboat ferry
Pictured left is the 25 foot speed boat that almost got past 100 foot ferry. Local sport is
to scare the captain of the Port Aransas
Channel ferry.

Three people were tossed into the ship channel after their fishing boat crashed into the front of a Port Aransas ferry recently. The driver of a 25-foot fishing boat was trying to pass in front of the 100 ft long R.E. Stotzer Jr. car ferry as it was leaving the boat launch at Harbor Island, near Corpus Christi, TX . Crew members aboard the Stotzer tossed life rings to the men while another fisherman pulled them out of the water. No one aboard the 25 footer was wearing a lifejacket. The three men were taken to Bay Area Medical Center. One of them was reported to have suffered a 6-inch cut on his forehead. To find out what the USCG had to say about this incident…

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marinegloMarineGlo™ dock products take the guess work out of docking in the dark! We have combined our quality line of dock products with MarineGlo’s™ revolutionary new glow-in-the-dark technology. State of the art phosphorescents are imbedded during the production process. These new phosphorescents produce an afterglow of over 6 hours. Smooth rolling wheels offer substantial dock cushioning and feature molded-in valves to adjust the level of firmness. Prices start at $64.
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Grapnel AnchorFor Boats, Sailboats, PWC's, Inflatable Boats, Canoes & Kayaks. 3.3 Lb. Coated grapnel anchor with 25' of line spliced on both ends W/SS snap hook attached. Comes with padded storage case and in-line marker. $32.61