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6 OUTBOARD BOWRIDERS STARTING AT $27K

P.84

W O R L D ’S L A R G E S T P O W E R B O A T M A G A Z I N E

V-DRIVE VERSUS FORWARD READY, SET, TOW!

to w Ho ROPE-TOCHAIN SPLICE

THE NEW SCIENCE OF PROPELLERS

P.68

BUYING TIPS FOR MULTIFUNCTION DISPLAYS

P.96

P.50

FEBRUARY 2017 VOLUME 90, NUMBER 2 U.S./CAN. $4.99

CERTIFIED BOAT TESTS

JEANNEAU LEADER 40 // REGULATOR 31 WELLCRAFT 262 FISHERMAN // SEA RAY SLX 250 RANGER REATA 243C // HEYDAY WT-2


THIS NEW YEAR,

MAKE WAVES


A NEW YEAR FILLED WITH EXCITING NEW BOATS FROM THE BRAND WITH THE

BOLDEST VISION For the 2017 model year, Sea Ray’s commitment to better boating is on full display, with innovations across the lineup. From expanded outboard propulsion options, to enhanced cruising luxury, to a gamechanging new wake sports boat, it’s a bold vision of limitless possibility — brought to life.

SEARAY.COM


C52 COUPE

C52 COMMAND BRIDGE

C43 COUPE

C40 COMMAND BRIDGE

C37 COUPE

C34 COMMAND BRIDGE


THE BEAUTY OF A CARVER YACHT IS MORE THAN SKIN DEEP. A lot of boats at the dock are all glitz and glamour. But how well do they perform when the going gets rough? All that pizazz is small comfort when you’re bouncing off the wave tops or wallowing in the troughs. At Carver, we’ve been building boats for more than 60 years that can handle the roughest water on the planet—the Great Lakes. Unlike salt water, fresh water is hard. Rock hard. And those waves can be steep and breaking. That means you take it on the chin, one wave after another in rapid succession. So we support our hulls with an extraordinary stringer system that reinforces the bow as much as the hull bottom. It’s not }>ÀÕÃ]LÕÌÞÕ½Li}>`vÌÌiwÀÃÌÌi̽ÃLÜ} hard out at sea. No wonder Carver Yachts is taking the marine industry by storm. Sea trial one at your Carver Yachts dealer soon.

Stringers extend up the bow to prevent “oil canning” and reduce vibration in the hull when running into head seas.

The entire interior of the hull is coated with a white epoxy paint for easier maintenance and service.

Molded stringers are created using multiple layers of fiberglassengineered fabric for lighter weight, superior strength and resistance to water damage.

Extra reinforcement in key areas provides rigid structural support for engines and generators.

CARVERYACHTS.COM

See The Difference.


BOATING X FEBRUARY

2017

Departments 16

PAGE

96

Making Waves

X What is a coral sexologist? X Do you know what these nautical terms really mean? X We compare three refrigerators X What we don’t want to see at boat shows X A boat you can carry in a bag

26 I Learned About Boating From This ... X Being prepared matters

30 The Boat Doctor

FEATURES 68Spin Science

How aircraft design has changed propeller design and selection.

66 Motorhead

X All-new IPS from Volvo Penta

B Y C A P T. V I N C E N T D A N I E L L O

76Push or Pull?

96 Electronics

84Six Hot Bowriders with Outboards

98 Short Casts

X Display decisions X Handheld VHFs

We compare a V-drive surf boat to a forward-drive surf boat.

BY JEFF HEMMEL

X Adding rod stowage

Check out these six great rides with the heavy metal on the transom.

B Y T H E B O AT I N G T E C H T E A M



Columns

Tests

14

Editorial Why we go to boat shows

ALSO:

X RANGER REATA 243C

28 Seamanship Wise men say only fools rush in

p. 58

X HEYDAY WT-2

106 Off My Dock Boats and the BIL economy

p. 60

Regulator

Sea Ray

31

SLX 250

A center console that cuts through the waves and instills confidence in the captain and crew. p. 50

A luxurious bowrider packed with amenities in a hull designed to provide a quiet ride. p. 54

8

B OAT I N G M AG .C O M

FEBRUARY 2017

X JEANNEAU LEADER 40 p. 62

X WELLCRAFT 262 FISHERMAN p. 64

6 OUTBOARD BOWRIDERS STARTING AT $27K

V-DRIVE VERSUS FORWARD READY, SET, TOW!

How to

ROPE-TOCHAIN SPLICE

THE NEW SCIENCE OF PROPELLERS BUYING TIPS FOR MULTIFUNCTION DISPLAYS CERTIFIED BOAT TESTS

W O N T HE COVE R The Sea Ray SLX 250 looks luxurious and rides sweet. Photo: Robert Glover

PHOTOS: (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) COURTESY MICHIGAN WHEEL MARINE, COURTESY GARMIN, COURTESY SEA RAY, COURTESY REGULATOR MARINE

X Mick Hannock will help you get through your winter work X The scoop on hull-to-deck joints X Paint your outboard X What to look for in grab handles


PRESENTS

E D I TO R - I N - C H I E F D E P U T Y E D I TO R E L ECT RO N I C S A N D W E ST COA ST E D I TO R M A N AG I N G E D I TO R A RT D I R ECTO R STA F F P H OTO G R A P H E R

MISS FEBRUARY

CO PY E D I TO R S E N I O R D I G I TA L E D I TO R B OAT I N G L A B D I R ECTO R CO N T R I B U TO RS

MALOY D. / SEA RAY SLX 250 I L LU ST R ATO RS G RO U P P RO D U CT I O N D I R ECTO R P RO D U CT I O N M A N AG E R G R A P H I C D E S I G N E RS H U M A N R E S O U RC E S D I R ECTO R

Kevin Falvey Pete McDonald Jim Hendricks Sue Whitney Ryan Swanson Bill Doster Nicole Paskowsky Brian Daugherty Randy Vance Eric Colby, Capt. Vincent Daniello, Ken Englert, Michael Folkerts, Joe Friedman, Robert Glover, Steve Griffin, Michael “Mick” Hannock, Jeff Hemmel, Forest Johnson, Tom King, John Linn, Charles Plueddeman, Capt. John N. Raguso, Ed Sherman, Heather Steinberger, John Tiger Jr., Capt. John Page Williams Tim Barker, Tim Bower, Colin Hayes Michelle Doster Rick Andrews Shaira Barnette, Jennifer Remias Sheri Bass

G RO U P P U B L I S H E R / B R A N D D I R ECTO R

Glenn Sandridge 407-571-4747; glenn.sandridge@bonniercorp.com P U B L I S H E R / B R A N D M A N AG E R

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E D I TO R I A L D I R ECTO R , B OAT I N G A N D WAT E RS P O RTS G RO U P

C R E AT I V E D I R ECTO R CO N S U M E R M A R K E T I N G D I R ECTO R G RO U P M A R K E T I N G D I R ECTO R M A R K E T I N G D I R ECTO R S E N I O R M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E R M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E R P U B L I C R E L AT I O N S M A N AG E R B U S I N E S S M A N AG E R

CHAIRMAN

H E A D O F B U S I N E S S A R E A , M AG A Z I N E S C H I E F E X EC U T I V E O F F I C E R CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER C H I E F O P E R AT I N G O F F I C E R CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER C H I E F D I G I TA L R E V E N U E O F F I C E R

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G E N E R A L CO U N S E L

Matt Hickman Shawn Bean Kevin Falvey Jerry Pomales Leigh Bingham Haley Bischof Elaine Grime Kelly MacDonald Tabatha Hunsinger Evily Giannopoulos David Erne

Tomas Franzén Lars Dahmén Eric Zinczenko Joachim Jaginder David Ritchie Elizabeth Burnham Murphy Sean Holzman John Graney John Reese David Butler Perri Dorset Jeremy Thompson

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BRING IT ON. - Integrated GPS - Built-in DSC - 2.3” LCD Display - 9+ Hour Battery Life - IPX7 Waterproof

New M93D: Floating VHF Radio Everything about this radio is professional, stylish and has an easy-to-use interface. The M93D’s slender, 2-tone body is feature rich and smart. Enjoy Icom’s continued tradition of Float’n Flash, AquaQuake™ and Active Noise Cancelling. Keeping you safe with integrated GPS - providing location, bearing and speed. And, meeting ITU-R M493-13 Class D DSC with a dedicated built-in DSC receiver for CH 70. Icom’s new M93D - built for the serious boater. www.icomamerica.com/marine


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E1 XS

S T Y L I N G tQ U A L I T Y tC O M M I T M E N T

Please visit www.crownline.com for more information on these models. 11884 Country Club Rd.

West Frankfort, IL 62896


Editorial By Kevin Falvey Buying Time EVERYTHING HAPPENS IN AN INSTANT.

pleasant routine, but routine nonetheless. HERE’S NO QUESTION THAT Except when it isn’t. Like when a pod boat shows exist to sell boats. Sure, of porpoises decides to gambol beside they offer a fun day or weekend for your bow, or when a June evening of such dedicated boatoholics to while away time, especially if their boats are stored on the exquisite duration, color and softness paints itself on your soul, or when your hard and winter winds blow any thoughts of daughter catches her first fish or your son actually going boating right out of their drops a ski for the first time. These are minds. The shows offer a great way to see the things that keep us coming back to what’s new, and to touch and feel the boating — our portal to places others haven’t advances in materials, workmanship and trod. A lifetime of memories and unique marine accessories that this publication experiences manufactures itself in those brings to you in words and pictures every month. At a show, one can stand at the helm of some gleaming, powerful beauty and, if just for one decides to gambol beside your bow, or when a moment, daydream off to June evening of such exquisite duration, color a day on a favorite body of water — or off to some and softness paints itself on your soul, or new horizons. when your daughter catches her first fish or At some shows, like your son drops a ski for the first time. These the Miami International Boat Show, which are the things that keep us coming back. will commence a few weeks after this issue of brief moments of wonder. But despite an Boating has hit the newsstands and arrived existence sometimes as fleeting as the light in mailboxes, one can even board the boats as they float in slips and take them for sea trials of from the bioluminescent creatures stirred by our wakes, these magic moments make up short but meaningful durations. Biscayne Bay for the money and the maintenance — and and the broad Atlantic beckon. (Snowbirds: then some. There is no app for it, no Xbox Bring your sunscreen and a jacket or sweater.) version, no seminars by be-flanneled hipsters But the Miami show, like all boat shows, that compare. The simple fact is that in order is organized, presented and intended to to have that particular special life, we need to sell boats. Put another way, its mission is to own a boat. facilitate the buying of boats by people like We don’t really buy boats, you see. We buy you and me, who, though in possession of sane minds and full wallets, insist upon giving time between moments. up both of those valuable attributes. Why? Well, I’m of the opinion that it is largely due to that new horizons thing. Here’s the deal: For most of us, our boating is routine. We go to the same places, at more or less the same times and, more or less, participate in the same Kevin Falvey, Editor-in-Chief activities. Year in, year out. Routine. It’s editor@boatingmag.com

T

W Like when a pod of porpoises

14

B OAT I N G M AG .C O M

FEBRUARY 2017


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Service provided by Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Boat and PWC coverages are underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance Company. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2015 GEICO


Making Waves

ON BOARD WITH ...

Dirk Petersen

Coral Sexologist If you love boats and water, odds are you love coral reefs. It’s no secret that the world’s coral reefs are in decline. We caught up with German scientist Dirk Petersen of Secore, who studies coral reproduction to help restore reefs. — Phil Scott

MORE ONLINE!

Your group, Secore, stands for sexual coral reproduction. Coral sex sounds … intriguing. We focus on sexual reproduction. There are two critically endangered species, elkhorn coral and staghorn coral — the first reef-building coral ever included in the Endangered Species Act — that have trouble reproducing. We do fertilization under controlled conditions and get 16

B OAT I N G M AG .C O M

fertilization rates of 90 or more percent. Then we put them back to the reef. When will you be able to completely restore a reef? It is not possible to restore a complete coral reef. We focus on a few key species. We are convinced that once the key species are established, it will attract other animals and plants to establish again.

FEBRUARY 2017

How much time do you spend under water? Usually each dive is an hour. I have 1,000 hours of diving time. I’ve stepped on coral. Did I kill the Earth? People are convinced our world is doomed, and I try to motivate them with positive events. Coral spawning is

spectacular when you see it, so we hope to show them something beautiful. But are reefs that vital? They benefit the coastal population with fisheries and also tourism, not only for diving, but also white, sandy beaches and blue water, which are there only because there is a coral reef. There are a few hundred billion dollars of economic benefits.

PHOTO: COURTESY PAUL SELVAGGIO AND SECORE

To read the full interview, scan this tag or go to boatingmag .com/coral.


ALL DAY. ALL NIGHT. The 360sc. Truly a first of its class

39â&#x20AC;&#x2122; LOA with Swim Platform Luxuriously appointed cabin with full windows Superior entertainment, both above and below deck Masterfully designed helm station with dual electric sliding seats Stylish Sophistication and heart-pounding performance

w w w. M o n t e r e y B o a t s . c o m


Making Waves

INNOVATION

 FOR

Boston Whaler Makes Unsinkable Boats

Refrigerators

C O M PA R I S O N ’ S S A K E

If you’ve ever considered adding or replacing a refrigerator on your boat, this is a great time to do it. We took a look at three that are considered universal

THE COOL: The CR series

features a full-width freezer compartment and adjustable shelves, including an egg tray and stainless-steel hardware. Other features include double locking doors with a vent position. Capacity is 2.3 cubic feet, and it draws 5.7 amps at 12 volts DC. It weighs 49.7 pounds and measures 20.5 inches tall by 21.5 inches wide by 17.6 inches deep. THE MELT: It’s the most

expensive of the three, and some reviewers complained about the flip-up handle. PRICE: $859; dometic.com

Isotherm Cruise 49 THE COOL: The lowest priced of our trio is one of the most popular. Capacity is 1.75 cubic feet, and the compressor can be remote-mounted up to 4.9 feet away. It draws 2.5 amps at 12 volts and 1.25 amps at 24 volts. The Isotherm Cruise 49 weighs 35 pounds and measures 20.75 inches tall by 15 inches wide by 18.5 inches deep. THE MELT: It’s the smallest of the three, and some users have complained that the finger clearance for the door is tight. PRICE: $675; indelwebasto marine.com/us

Online This Month

Norcold Universal Voltage Marine THE COOL: It’s equipped with a Danfoss BD35 compressor and has an interior capacity of 2.7 cubic feet. Amperage draw is 3.75 amps at 12 volts DC and 1.87 amps at 24 volts DC. It has adjustable shelves and door bins. It weighs 59 pounds and measures 20.5 inches tall by 15.25 inches wide by 17.5 inches deep. THE MELT: You have to buy a

universal voltage refrigerator cord, which is not necessary for the other two refrigerators. It is also the heaviest of the three models. PRICE: $719; norcold.com

Now that we are in the heart of boat-show season, be sure to bookmark boating mag.com/tags/boat-show and follow us at facebook.com/boatingmag to get the latest news from the shows and follow our live updates on social media.

SEE 59 MORE BOATING INNOVATIONS AT: BOATINGMAG.COM/ INNOVATIONS

PHOTOS: (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) COURTESY DOMETIC, COURTESY INDEL WEBASTO MARINE, COURTESY NORCOLD, KEVIN FALVEY

1934 The Electric Trolling Motor Debuts

Dometic CoolMatic CR Compressor


The Award-Winning Boston Whaler Vantage A bolder new view on the possible

boston whaler’s vantage series has changed the game for dual-console capability. Stylish and comfortable, the 230, 270 and new 320 Vantage are ideal for leisurely family cruising, with amenities that make them equally suited to serious fishing and thrilling watersports. Confident to the Core, Vantage embodies Whaler’s commitment to delivering the softest, safest, driest ride on the water—empowering you to turn the possible into the memorable.

bostonwhaler.com

2 0 1 5

W

IN NER

The 320 Vantage and 230 Vantage both earned an Innovation Award from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.


Making Waves X

Coffee to Go

For offshore anglers and longdistance cruisers, pre-dawn launch times are part of the routine. Thus, so is a giant cup (or thermos) of coffee for the person manning the helm. As a result, most hardcore early risers I know are constantly battling coffee stains on their otherwise pristine gelcoats. (Ever spill a cup of coffee onto diamondpattern nonskid? Yikes.) So when I received a 20-pack of Go Cubes Chewable Coffee in the mail, I was intrigued. I gave them a try in the name of reducing deck stains worldwide. The verdict? They actually taste good. The cubes come in packs of four — two cubes equal one cup of coffee. I actually ate all four at once, since they have a sugary coating that makes them taste like coffee ice cream. I expected to feel that harsh jittery sensation that comes with mega doses of coffee, but that never happened. Still, I’d say the cubes packed enough caffeine to help me feel more alert after eating them. Nootrobox, the company that makes the cubes, says each cube has 50 mg of caffeine and is supplemented with vitamins B6 and B12, plus 100 mg of L-theanine — the active ingredient in green tea. (Nootrobox says this is responsible for eliminating the caffeine jitters.) They are wrapped in packs of four cubes; the pack fits nicely in your front pocket or on the dash at your helm. $39 for 20 packs of four; nootrobox.com — Pete McDonald

Captain’s Test

Nautical Terms There are nautical terms we hear all the time when people refer to design elements of a boat or the inner workings of an engine or propulsion system. You think you know what they mean, but are you sure? Take this test to find out. — Eric Colby (Answers on page 22)

1 Let’s start with an easy one. What do you call the soft rubber cylinder you hang between two boats or between the boat and the dock to soften strikes? A. Fender B. Bumper C. Buoy D. All of the above 2 What is the transom angle on a boat? A. It measures how sharp the boat’s V-shape is at the stern. B. Measured perpendicularly, the angle of the boat’s transom from the keel to the deck. C. Measured horizontally, the angle of the boat’s stern from the keel to the deck. D. None of the above

The Pole Workout Forget fishing, there’s another kind of pole to bring aboard your boat. Jump into the water with this one and start getting in shape. What? Yes, this pole is for the stripper wannabe in all of us (more like a fraction of us), but it’s totally rated PG. Underwater pole fitness is actually more strenuous than aquacize aerobics, and there’s no danger of smacking the hardwood floor. Technically called Acquapole, underwater pole dancing started in Turin, Italy, in 2013. Joanne Randell, owner of Pennsylvania-based Aquatics Is Inc. (and a rabid boater) heard about it. “I’m very tuned in as far as aquatic fitness goes,” she says. She holds classes in underwater spinning — you know, stationary bikes. “I was the first one in the U.S. to do it,” she says (underwater pole-dancing class, that is), and today she is a U.S. master trainer, which means she can train instructors. “It’s extremely good for the core, and because there’s a lot of circular motion, it’s great for upper body strength,” she adds. “The poles are really fun.” The only stripping goes down before entering the pool — as in, down to the bathing suit, high heels preferably excluded. “The positions are not sexually explicit,” she adds. In other words, The Sopranos Bada Bing! club is still just for fictitious Jersey mobsters. And all ages are welcome. Or, as Randell puts it, “It’s not just prejudicial to the bikini body.” — Phil Scott 20

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4 Your boat has a sterndrive. The gear case of the drive has a sticker that reads “gear ratio 1.5:1.” What does that mean? A. The engine turns 1.5 times for a single revolution of the propeller. B. The propeller turns 1.5 times for a single revolution of the engine. C. The engine turns 1.5 times faster than the propeller. D. The tachometer has to be multiplied 1.5 times for the correct propeller speed. 5 Along those same lines, your boat’s propeller is stamped with 19P. P stands for “pitch.” But what does that mean? A. Pitch is the angle that the boat runs at when on plane. B. The pitch is the distance that a single revolution of the prop would push the boat through the water. C. Pitch is the estimated mph that the boat runs when the propeller reaches a predetermined rpm. D. None of the above

PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) COURTESY NOOTROBOX, COURTESY AQUATICS IS INC.

3 What is a boat’s displacement? A. Its weight B. The volume of water the boat displaces when it’s floating C. Neither A nor B D. Both A and B


Destination Honda

For destinations found on a map, or ones that are simply a state of mind, trust a reliable Honda outboard to get you there. And back. Find out more at marine.honda.com.

Š 2016 American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Always wear a personal flotation device while boating and read your ownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s manual. All Honda outboards meet EPA and CARB emission levels.


Making Waves

Pump It SUP Had I not known the Body Glove Performer 11 ISUP came in a bag, I would have sworn it was made of a composite material and not merely filled with air. That’s how sturdy and solid it felt when fully inflated. Yet this stand-up paddleboard is an inflatable that can be deflated and carried in a backpack. The included aluminum paddle breaks down into three sections. The whole rig weighs under 24 pounds and can be stowed away on your boat until you’re ready to pull it out and go for a paddle. Inflating the board with the manual pump takes more than a few minutes, but once filled to 12 to 15 psi, it becomes an 11-foot-long board that is 34 inches wide in the midsection. A triple-layer stringer design adds to the rigidity. The three attached rubberized fins on the board’s bottom help it track straight and true. On the water, it proved very stable, and it glided easily. When I finished for the day, I just let the air out, put it in the pack and went on my way. $899.99; bodyglove — Pete McDonald

10,000 X

Captain’s Test

(Answers from page 20)

1 A. It’s used to fend off the other boat or dock. A bumper is on a car. 2 B. A is the deadrise.

3D 4A 5B

PHOTOS: BILL DOSTER (5), COURTESY ICEFISHING.ORG (LOGO)

ANGLERS EXPECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS YEAR’S BRAINERD JAYCEES $150,000 EXTRAVAGANZA, BILLED AS THE WORLD’S LARGEST ICE-FISHING TOURNAMENT


The road to paradise Isn’t

Actually a Road.

Where you’re going there are no roads. No stop lights. No traffic jams. Because paradise doesn’t have a street address. It’s the water kissing the sky along the horizon. The sun on your face. Paradise is out there for you to find. You just have to pick a Cobia and go.

www.cobiaboats.com


Making Waves

5 THINGS FIVE THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE AT BOAT SHOWS

Pokeman Go chart-plotter overlay

Concession-stand hot dog: $43

New “green” model that’s just a block of wood Tubbs and Crockett autograph booth

ILLUSTRATIONS: COLIN HAYES

Sailboats as water taxis


I Learned About Boating From This …

Being Prepared Matters CHECKING ALL SYSTEMS BEFORE HEADING OUT IS SMART Y FRIEND’S 31-FOOT JUPITER WAS LOADED DOWN AND ready for me to run to Treasure Cay, Bahamas, a 170-mile trip that I had completed 100 or more times in the past. There were some storms approaching from the west, so I pushed off from the dock and initially outran them.

M

A little shy of the Little Bahama Bank, the boat’s engines and electronics started to act in a peculiar manner. I throttled back and tried to figure out a solution. At this time, both motors died, and the electronics on the boat shut off. I could hear an unfamiliar humming sound coming from the outriggers. My initial thought was the boat had been, or was about to be, struck by lightning. I was eventually able to get the port motor started, so I adjusted my course for an alternate port, West End. The combination of a heavily loaded boat and only one motor restricted me to a grueling 7-knot (8 mph) pace into a 4-knot (4.6 mph) current. I was making little ground. Then the storms from Florida caught up to me and pushed me farther from West End — but closer toward my original destination of Treasure Cay.

I readjusted my course and prepared myself for what would end up being the longest night of my life. Seas on the bank built to 6 to 8 feet as darkness fell. The wind was gusting at 30 knots (34.5 mph) or more. Every other wave was coming over the bow, making it difficult for the boat to selfbail while putting the bilge pumps through their paces. Shiveringcold rain followed by Earth-shattering thunder and lightning set in for the next several hours. By 2 a.m., the initial storm had passed. The seas were still at least 6 feet, but the wind had somewhat subsided when engine troubles set in again. Tired and worn down, I reluctantly

dropped anchor and lay down between the rocket launcher and the helm to try to get some sleep. Then the wind oddly died down for a moment. I got up from the deck and looked up at the clouds. I saw the start of a waterspout! I grabbed the EPIRB and sought shelter inside the center console. The spout ripped around and across the boat for what felt like an eternity but, realistically, was probably only about 15 minutes. I stayed in the center console for the remainder of the night and emerged at daybreak. I tried using the VHF: no go. I was out of cell range. I knew the weather forecast wasn’t going to improve for two days or more, and that left me with little or no chance of seeing another boat. Beat up and out of options, I resorted to using the EPIRB. Within 40 minutes of setting it off, the U.S. Coast Guard arrived, and my crazy 20-hour ordeal was finally over with the best possible outcome. I truly believe that being prepared with the ACR EPIRB saved my life. Also, I was unfamiliar with some of the systems aboard my friend’s boat and didn’t know where certain tools and supplies were stowed. This knowledge may have resulted in a different outcome. I’ll always make sure to complete a thorough pre-departure checklist from here on out. Finally, thank you, U.S. Coast Guard.

. WANTED: YOUR STORIES Share your boating mistakes and mishaps so that your fellow boaters might learn from your experience. Send us your first-person accounts, including what went wrong, what you’d do differently, your name and your city, to editor@boatingmag.com and use “ILAB” in the subject line. If your experience is selected, we’ll send you a $100 West Marine gift card. 26

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PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) COURTESY VOLVO PENTA, COURTESY ACR ELECTRONICS INC.

By Brandon Perry


I g r e w u p o n t h e w a t e r.

84% of fatal drowning victims are reported as not wearing a life jacket.

YO U R N E X T E X C U S E , C O U L D B E YO U R L A S T.

BOATINGMAG.COM/BOATINGSAFETY


Seamanship

W As in any human endeavor, the first few

Fools Rush In TAKE TIME TO STOP AND OBSERVE

R

unning the inlet, navigating the channel, backing into the slip: So much of what constitutes seamanship involves forging ahead with confidence. (Poetic license allows me to use the phrase “forge ahead” to reference the phrase “backing in.”) Well, there are times when taking one’s time, if not stopping altogether, proves the best and most seamanlike course of action. Let’s start with coastal inlets. Approaching from offshore, say at about 3 miles out, suppose you spy a band of white instead of a gap in the beach where the inlet is supposed to be. What then? Maintain course and speed because you have a big-name boat powered by brand-new engines? Know that Mother Ocean doesn’t give a shiver-me-timbers about labels. In that circumstance, a better course of action might be to get closer, cautiously. That white band is big breakers, and as you get closer, you’ll be able to see how far out they begin. They may simply be across the mouth of the pass. Then again, there may be three, four, or six or more rows of breakers extending well offshore. These lines of standing, breaking waves may close on top of each other, just boat lengths apart — or they may be spread 28

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out. You won’t know until you get closer in, just outside of them if possible, and slow down or stop to assess the situation. Like a surfer, watch the waves and see if they aren’t coming in sets of five or seven. (These aren’t fixed intervals, though experience teaches they are good starting points when looking for a pattern). Often, with some time spent observing, you can determine which wave in a set averages out to be the smallest and make your crossing during

FEBRUARY 2017

QUICK TIP Fighting the sea and the elements always proves foolish. When slowing down to hover and observe a situation before proceeding, always try to turn the boat into the wind or current. Doing so affords the best control of a nonmoving boat.

that wave. In any event, stopping to observe will let you plan your transit, knowing in advance where you’ll need to accelerate, where you’ll need to slow down, and where the waves are coming in just a little from one side. This is a good time to break out those binoculars your wife gave you for your birthday a few years ago, if you have them. Fuel docks are another place it pays to stand off, slow down and observe before rushing in to fill

the tanks and buy supplies. As in any human endeavor, the first few seconds of an activity often prove fraught with distraction, and fellow boaters leaving a fuel dock are not exempt from this fact. Consider Joe Boater, tossing the lines, counting his kids, trying to jam his credit card back in his wallet, and all the while manning wheel and throttle and attempting to get clear of the dock in the wind and current. Hey, I’m not advocating Joe’s approach. I’m just stating that I’ve seen him in action. So slow down and stand off. Let Joe get clear and, while you’re at it, observe what affect the wind and current are having on his boat. Because they’ll be affecting your boat in the same way momentarily. Fuel docks and inlets represent two of the myriad boating scenarios in which slowing down and observing makes the most sense. Keep this principle in mind and apply it next time you’re out on the water. This means you, Joe.

ILLUSTRATION: TIM BOWER

seconds of an activity often prove fraught with distraction, and fellow boaters leaving a fuel dock are not exempt from this fact.


Q&A

By Michael “Mick” Hannock

Fuel-Starved [ Q ] Hi Mick. I have a 1973 25-foot Hunt Surfhunter with a 2011 5.7L MerCruiser mated to a Bravo Two drive. The engine and drive have 310 hours on them. The boat has a 70-gallon tank, and I had about 25 gallons in the tank when the problems arose. After about three hours of cruising around at varying speeds, including extended times off plane and at cruising speed of 3,200 rpm, I experienced two issues. First, after anchoring for about a half-hour, the engine was difficult to start, as if it was fuel-starved. After a couple of attempts and giving it full throttle, the engine fired up. A few minutes later, after having run at about 4,200 rpm, I slowed the boat down to about 2,800 rpm. I ran it at this rpm for about five minutes, then the rpm dropped to idle, but the engine never stalled. I put the throttle in idle and checked what I could. Everything seemed OK. Gauges were reading normal, and nothing was wrapped around the prop/drive. I accelerated the boat again, and the engine ran fine, so I went back to 2,800 rpm for a bit. The rpm dropped again, but the engine didn’t stall. This happened twice on my way back to the dock. I went to the fuel dock, filled up and made my way into my slip, all with no problems at low rpm, including some hard throttling to overcome tide and wind, and the throttle response was fine. MARK S. REENSTIERNA

Via email

[ A ] You’re definitely having fuel-delivery problems. You need to check the pressure at the carburetor or fuel rail if your engine is fuel-injected. If it’s carbureted, check the pressure at the base of the carb. It should be about 6 psi. For a fuel-injected system, it should be at least 28 to 32 psi. Because your boat is older and the engine is a 2011, make sure your fuel lines are resistant to ethanol and its corrosive properties. If not, they will break down and clog your filters, causing the exact problem you are describing. 30

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Color Wars

Rx Here’s a boatbuying tip that’s maintenancerelated: Make a list of the 10 most common care and repair jobs you perform aboard your current boat. Look to see if access is good to those 10 service points aboard boats under consideration for purchase. — M.H.

[ Q ] Hi Doc. My Sea Ray has twin V-8 sterndrives with closed cooling. It’s been a few years since I bought it, and I’ve never changed the coolant. What is the correct antifreeze? ROBERT BURNS

Via email

[ A ] MerCruiser’s marine-engine cooling systems use a Dexron coolant that is orange in color. It’s the easiest way to identify it. You can use an automotive equivalent such as Prestone Premixed Dex-Cool, but the main thing to remember is that you don’t mix coolant types. For example, don’t mix an orangecolored coolant with a green one. The same thing applies to your tow vehicle’s cooling system too.

Arm Strong [ Q ] Hi Mick. My family has a 1985 Bayliner 2450 Ciera cruiser with a Volvo Penta sterndrive. We have owned the boat since it was new. The boat was used very little over the past 16 years. When I last tried to use the boat, the steering was stiff. It was recommended that I replace the steering cable, which I did with a Teleflex/SeaStar cable. I also greased all the Zerk/grease fittings inside and outside the boat. Even with the new cable and greased fittings, the steering is still very stiff — it takes two hands to steer the boat and requires some muscle. What else could cause the stiff steering? Thank you. VASIL KOLECI

Albany, New York

[ A ] Hi Vasil. The drive needs to come off the boat. There is a steering “fork” on the transom that may be seized and needs lubricating. More likely the bushings for what’s called the steering spindle need

PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) COURTESY PRESTONE, COURTESY FREEPIK

ASK THE MASSES Go to boatingmag.com/forums to ask fellow boaters your questions or to answer theirs.


The Boat Doctor to be replaced. Rubber/nitrile parts degrade with time when not in use. The upper and lower halves of the driver need to be separated. Then press out the steering tube, remove and replace the bushings, and reassemble it all. Obviously, that’s the short answer. A handy and determined DIY boater can do this with patience and persistence. But if the above paragraph gives you pause, you should probably seek a certified Volvo Penta technician for help.

Chain Gang [ Q ] Hi Doc. What is the correct way to attach safety chains from the trailer to the tow vehicle: over or under the tongue of the trailer? Do you recommend crossing them? MIKE GALLAGER

Via email

Strut Your Stuff [ Q ] Hi Mick. I have been restoring a 1987 Cobalt bowrider. It is powered by a MerCruiser V-6 with an Alpha One drive. I have the engine and drive running perfectly, but now there’s a problem with the engine hatch gas strut — it no longer holds up the hatch. It does assist in lifting, but once up, it won’t stay there. All I could find out was that the strut used on the boat was made by Suspa and that Cobalt has discontinued using them as a supplier. I contacted Suspa and talked with Tyler in the tech department. He was very helpful and gave me three options that were used by Cobalt. They are as follows: 65-, 112- and 135-pound struts. If I buy one, it is not returnable and not refundable. They start at $95 and go up. Is there a formula or any way that you know of to determine 32

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the lifting capacity of that engine hatch strut? Nashville, Tennessee

If you want to keep things nautical, you should be able to find a match in stainless steel at West Marine or another chandlery.

[ A ] Hi Gary. My compliments on the success you’re having with your project and on your tenacity, but dude, you’re overthinking things. Take the strut down to your local NAPA or other auto-parts store to find a match.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We also forwarded Mr. Grattan’s letter to our contacts at Cobalt Boats, who responded to him that same day. The following is what Mr. Grattan had to say after Cobalt replied to his query:

GARY GRATTAN

Thanks for the quick response! Cobalt Boats called me, and I now have the part numbers for the engine hatch and the ski-storage locker, which I am also replacing. I have ordered both parts from Suspa. Again, many thanks for your help. I’m glad I contacted you before guessing about a replacement strut. — Gary Grattan

Pontoon Prop [ Q ] What’s up, Doc? I have a 2017 Lowe SS210 triple pontoon with a Mercury 115 hp Command Thrust outboard. It’s my first pontoon boat. Can you recommend a stainless-steel prop for my new boat? I’m not looking for a particular brand recommendation, just diameter and pitch. Typically, I will have a maximum of four to five people on board,

PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) ERIC COLBY, COURTESY WEST MARINE

[ A ] Hi Mike. You definitely want to attach the safety chains under the trailer tongue and cross them. You do this so the crossed chains will catch the tongue if it somehow becomes disconnected from the hitch to keep it from reaching the road. Additionally, use the correct length of chain, which is enough slack to let the trailer complete turns, but short enough that the chain doesn’t drag on the ground.


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The Boat Doctor

JAY JENKINS

Lake Havasu City, Arizona

[ A ] Boating hasn’t tested that model with that power. It’s hard to make a concrete recommendation without a baseline. I suggest you run the boat with the stock prop and note the speeds, planing performance and rpm. Next, determine where it falls short and try or buy stainlesssteel props to rectify the situation. If you have a prop shop nearby, it may likely provide loaner props to test before you buy. Also, BBlades ( bblades.com) has a prop loaner system for you to dial in your boat. If not, see where you are at with the aluminum and adjust accordingly. Mercury’s prop selector can be a helpful tool where you can see how similar boats with similar power perform with different props. Check out the Harris pontoon test results here as a starting point. Make sure you scroll to the bottom of the page: mercurymarine.com/en/us/engines/ outboard/fourstroke/75-115-hp.

Stiff Steering [ Q ] Hi Mick. I have a 2013 Striper CC with a 300 hp Yamaha outboard that is extremely difficult to steer (turn

NAUTICAL NO-NO

Inaccessible Valves This image shows a pair of valves installed through the bottom of the boat in order to provide water for onboard systems. Leaving aside the fact that these are valves installed on through-hull fittings instead of proper seacocks, the handle on the aft-most valve is inaccessible. The valve is installed so that the handle ends up facing aft. Also, the hose from the valve in front further blocks access. If the hose should burst, or the (single!) hose clamp give out, there is no way to shut off the flow of water. Additionally, good seamanship demands shutting off through-hull valves when leaving a boat stored in the water; the BoatUS insurance program cites failure to do so as a major cause of loss each year. Finally, winterizing the system is made more difficult by this poor access. Time should have been spent to thread this valve on its through-hull fitting so that the handle faced forward. — Kevin Falvey

the wheel) at moderate to high speeds. It takes both hands to crank the wheel and reminds me of my old cruiser with a rudder and no power steering. Last spring, I asked my dealership to take a look while it was performing routine service. It said everything checked out OK. The boat is very well-cared for, always under a cover in or out of the water. Everything on the boat looks new and shows no signs of any kind

of damage. Is there any way for me to diagnose the steering problem? MARC OHRLING

Lake Oswego, Oregon

[ A ] I have a couple of questions. Does it steer OK at lower, off-plane speeds? Also, does it steer fine in one direction on plane, but not the other? If this is the case, then you need to check the torque tab, which is an adjustable aluminum tab that screws into position abaft the propeller on the underside of the anti-ventilation plate on the lower unit. You can loosen the mounting bolt for the torque tab and adjust the position to see if it improves the steering malady you’re currently experiencing.

Composite Trailer Bunks Great Advice [ Q ] You gave great advice to Mark Roberts regarding the bunks on his trailer. I also had to replace the lumber and carpeting on my trailer three years ago. I opted for plastic covers rather than water-holding carpet. What a great move. Boat glides on and off with ease, and there is no soaking-wet carpeting beneath the craft. For a guy who has difficulty working a wall light switch, even I was able to attach the plastic in less than an hour. Mine were made by Tie Down Engineering and purchased from Trailer Parts Super Store in Newark, Delaware (Part No. 86296). HANK MIRALDI

Via email 34

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[ Q ] Hi Mick. I’m replacing the bunks for my 28-foot catamaran trailer. Can I use composite boards, such as Trex deck boards, for the bunks? They would never rot, and I wouldn’t need carpet. STUART TAYLOR

Essex, Connecticut

[ A ] You are right about composite bunks not rotting and not needing carpet, but that’s where the benefits

PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) KEVIN FALVEY, COURTESY HANK MIRALDI (2)

and on occasion, I will be towing a slalom skier and an inflatable. I just want an overall well-performing prop that is better than the stock aluminum model.


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The Boat Doctor end. A product like Trex would flex too much to be the only material used for trailer bunks. I have heard of people putting the Trex over wood bunks to make it easier for the boat to slide off and on.

Change Brains? [ Q ] Hi Doc. I have a MerCruiser 496 Mag HO engine in my boat and need to replace the ECM. My buddy has an extra ECM from a stock 496 Mag that he said I can use. Will this work? JENS JACOBS

WE TEST STUFF

Kittery, Maine

)

[ A ] I think it would work to a point. Your engine would start and run, but the fuel mapping is a different calibration. The ECM is the primary reason why your engine is rated for 425 hp and the nonHO is rated for 375 hp, and, at the very least, it would not supply the required fuel to feed the motor at higher rpm.

Flexible Flyer

Rapala Salt Angler’s Pliers and Cutters A new line of Rapala Salt Angler’s Double Leverage series tools includes two of the most common implements found aboard a fishing boat — 9-inch needle-nose pliers and an 8-inch diagonal cutter. These carbon-steel, spring-loaded tools held up well over a long season of hard fishing in salt water, showing only minimal rust spots thanks to the nickelplated, gun-metal gray finish. The enlarged white-and-gray handles proved comfortable and easy to grip without slipping, even with wet and slimy hands. Guards on the grips help keep your hand from sliding back and forth. The handles feature eyes on the end for attaching a lanyard to help keep these tools from slipping overboard. A double-action mechanism gives you extra leverage resulting in 60 percent more power, according to Rapala, when extracting a hook from a thick-jawed fish or cutting heavy line or wire leaders. The diagonal cutter has held its edge as if new. The pliers also include a cutter at the base of the jaws. Locking arms keep the tools from springing open when stowed. The locks are easily released with your thumb while grasping the tool. $47.69 each; rapala.com — Jim Hendricks

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[ Q ] Boat Doc, I’m considering using a 4-inch silicone hose to connect my exhaust risers to my boat’s tailpipes. It is more flexible and easier to install than stiff rubber ones? The hose is rated at 500 degrees and 275 psi bust pressure. STEVEN GAGE

Via email

[ A ] I know of many riggers who have used silicone hose to make it easier to make connections with difficult bends and other alignment issues. Just make sure it doesn’t get kinked or crimped.

Oil Question [ Q ] Dear Boat Doc, in the October 2016 anniversary issue in “Oiled Up,” you were asked about switching from regular oil to synthetic. What’s your answer, please? PHIL DEAN

Naples, Florida

[ A ] Yes, you can go to synthetic. Make sure you get all the old oil out. What weight of synthetic do you plan to run? Depending on the duty cycle of your boat’s engines and transmissions, I think 10W-30 would be OK, but don’t go less than that. Check your manual and go with at least a 10W-30 or 10W-40.

Oil-Change Interval [ Q ] Hi Mick. I have a highperformance Mercury outboard with a Sport Master lower unit. The Mercury label says to change the gear lube once a year or every 100 hours. I was thinking I should change it more often, say every few boat rides. What do you think? ROBERT JORDAN

Via email

[ A ] Most performance enthusiasts I talked to prefer to change the oil much more frequently because it helps them head off any potential problems. They change their oil every 10 hours and check for any indicators of potential problems, such as metal shavings, that would indicate gear issues.

See the Light [ Q ] Dear Doc, I was wondering if I could swap out the navigation lights on my boat for fog lights, and if that would help me see better? STEVE BRIAN

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

[ A ] The short answer is no. The colored navigation lights on your boat (red to port, green to starboard) are not there to help you see better. They, along with the 360-degree white light at the stern, are meant to help other boaters see you from far enough away so they can avoid a collision with you. If you have an older boat and want LED nav lights, they would shine more brightly.

ASK THE DOCTOR Send questions with your name and address to: boatdr@boatingmag.com or The Boat Doctor, Boating, 460 N. Orlando Ave., Suite 200, Winter Park, FL 32789.

PHOTOS: (COUNTERCLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT) COURTESY MERCURY RACING, COURTESY RAPALA (2), COURTESY MOBILE 1

(


The Boat Doctor 

B OAT D O C S P EC I A L

Hull-Deck Joint Mechanics HOW BOATBUILDERS PUT YOUR BOAT TOGETHER TO LAST HEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT, A BIG HANDFUL OF screws is likely what’s holding your boat together. Those screws secure the hull-deck joint. The deck of a fiberglass boat is more than simply a lid over the hull; the deck is an engineered component that’s key to the structural integrity of the entire boat. Thus, joining the deck to the hull is a critical step in boat assembly. The hull-deck joint is also challenging for the consumer to access once the boat is assembled because it’s covered by a rub rail on the outside, which can mask all sorts of sloppiness. Of course, the inside is just that — inside the boat and difficult to inspect. Let’s review how the typical hull-deck joint goes together and what you should look for in this particular area.

W

The Shoe Box

Screwed or Glued

Almost without exception, fiberglass powerboats use an external overlapping flange, also called a shoe-box joint, to mate the hull and the deck. As the name implies, the deck has a flange around its perimeter that fits over the top edge of the hull, like the lid on a shoe box. Both parts should be molded with a level of precision that maintains an even gap around the entire perimeter of the boat, then finished with a router to get the edges uniform in depth and thickness. But we can’t see this from the outside.

The hull and deck are joined using mechanical fasteners, adhesive or a combination of the two. The method employed depends on the service the boat is likely to receive and the culture of the manufacturer. Most powerboats I’d

consider to be in the mainstream join the parts with stainless-steel screws that bite into a backing strip of half-inch plywood or composite placed inside the hull. The backer can be incorporated into the hull’s lamination, but it’s common to see a strip of wood bonded to the inside of the hull with resin. I have seen backing strips that were just raw wood. The first set of screws will be run into holes drilled through the hull and deck at 12- to 16-inch intervals. Simply letting the screws self-tap their own holes can crack the gelcoat. The screws should pass completely through the

backing strip. Next, a sealant is applied to the gap between the hull and the deck flange, mainly to waterproof the joint. Some builders will run a bead of sealant around the hull before setting the deck, which is good because the screws can then create their own seal. Next, the base of the rub rail is fitted over the hull-deck joint and secured with screws at the same intervals as the first run of screws, but this run is offset to even the spacing, so now the assembly is secured with screws at 6- to 8-inch intervals. These screws also go all the way through the backing strip. For a stronger bond, a builder

It’s likely the deck is also bonded to the stringers, but by using a different adhesive that sets more softly to help isolate the deck from vibration radiating from the stringers. This requires maintaining a precise gap between the deck and the stringer grid to achieve a specified thickness in this adhesive. Builders also want the relationship between the hull and the deck to be uniform from boat to boat so that, for example, cabinetry fits correctly. So instead of just plopping the deck onto the hull, the deck must be suspended at exactly the right height over the hull and the stringer until the adhesive sets up. Screws can be used at the hull-deck joint to keep everything lined up while the adhesive cures. Later, those screws can be replaced by through-bolts. — C.P.

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PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) KEVIN FALVEY (2), COURTESY FORMULA

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can lay a bead of adhesive around the top of the hull and set the deck down on it, and then back up the adhesive with through-bolts rather than screws. Formula and Cruisers Yachts are two builders that use adhesive and bolts on all their boats. When adhesive is used for this bond, the gap between the hull and the deck needs to be a little wider to accommodate the glue, and it must be even and precise. Formula bonds aluminum backing plates inside the hull, and then drills and taps the plates for the through-bolts. Cruisers Yachts puts a nut on the end of each bolt and uses screws in a few areas where it’s not possible to reach the back of a bolt. The adhesives are actually stronger than the fiberglass, and engineers at Formula and Cruisers imply that the bolts might not really be necessary at all. In fact, Scout

Boats has used adhesive only, without mechanical fasteners, to bond its hull-deck joints for years. For the strongest bond possible, the inside of the finished joint can be covered with a layer of fiberglass tape and resin, a final step seen mostly on offshore racing boats and some fishing boats.

What You Can See The rub rail should fit smoothly and, perhaps, have its edges sealed with silicone, but there’s really nothing to see there. A rode locker and the engine bay offer two good opportunities to inspect the inside of the hulldeck joint, although the joint might be obscured by wiring conduits or hoses that can also be secured to the backing strip. I look for evenly spaced screws and the distance between the screws. Some builders

break off the sharp screw tips. If the screws are run through sealant, you might see a little silicone around the screw holes. In my book, neatness counts here. I’ve

seen uneven spacing and screws that completely miss the backer. I’ve seen backers that look like they were made of odd plywood scraps. I’ve even seen joints in which the fasteners ran through the deck (or hull) but missed the hull (or deck) entirely! Better builders do a good job of quality control to avoid such pitfalls. The hull-deck joint is often a source of nuisance. This is most common around the transom where the joint is closest to the waterline and the spray, and it could indicate the sealant has failed or was not applied well in the first place, or that screws have broken, perhaps as a result of an impact with the dock or a piling. A leak at the hull-deck joint could allow water to infiltrate the hull’s laminate or cause mildew and stains to form in cabin areas. — Charles Plueddeman

Print Subscribers Get iPad® edition FREE! Download the app today for instant access. To Subscribe go to: boatingmag.com/subicribe Apple, the Apple Logo, and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

PHOTOS: KEVIN FALVEY (TOP), COURTESY FORMULA (BOTTOM)

The Boat Doctor


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The Boat Doctor 

WEEKEND WORKBOOK

Painting Your Outboard GIVE YOUR OUTBOARD NEW COLOR WITH THE QUANTUM 2K KIT. Today, many outboard motors are available in colors to complement the shade of your boat. Honda, Mercury and Suzuki, for example, all offer their outboards in at least two colors; Evinrude lets you add custom side plates and accents from a wide spectrum of color choices. There are also companies that paint motors. The

Miami-based Outboard Paint Shop, for instance, will paint an outboard in the 250 to 400 hp range for $1,200. Yet there is a more economical, DIY option. The proprietary Quantum paint system from Engineered Marine Coatings (EMC2) utilizes a hybrid acrylicpolyester topcoat — a technology developed for the aerospace industry — to create an extremely durable and professional-looking finish. The Quantum 2K aerosol kit is available in a wide range of colors. No special mixing or spray equipment is required. You don’t need to remove the engine from the boat to undertake this project, but the boat needs to be out of the water. — Jim Hendricks

ILLUSTRATIONS: TIM BARKER

QUICK TIP

A heat gun or blow dryer is helpful in loosening old decals, but be careful not to overheat and damage the fiberglass cowl and shroud. Use denatured alcohol to remove the adhesive residue.

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facebook.com/manitoupontoons | www.manitoupontoonboats.com


GETTING STARTED

The Boat Doctor

SKILL LEVEL

TIME TO COMPLETE

APPROX. 12 TO 15 HOURS (per outboard)

TOOLS AND SUPPLIES X 350- to 400-grit sandpaper X 2,500- to 3,000-grit wet

sandpaper X Rubber gloves X Ventilator X Protective glasses X Aluminum foil X Denatured alcohol

1

DISASSEMBLE AND WASH Remove the cowl, the

shroud from the midsection, and any plastic pieces or appliques that might interfere with the painting process. Remove the rubber seal around the bottom of the cowl and any other rubber grommets or gaskets that might interfere with painting exterior surfaces. Wash all surfaces to be painted with soap and water; use a degreaser such as Star brite Ultimate Extreme Clean to remove grease and dirt from around the bracket and under the motor cowling. Carefully peel off any decals. Use a scouring pad and powdered bleach solution to scrub all surfaces clean. Rinse well with clean water.

2

PREP AND MASK Sand all surfaces to be painted

with 350- to 400-grit sandpaper. Use a power sander on broad surfaces, but you might need to hand-sand hard-to-reach spots such as around the bracket and lower unit. Wipe all surfaces with the Quantum SR-002 surface cleaner and a lint-free rag, then immediately wipe it clean. Use the tape and drape provided in the kit to mask off the top of the motor, propeller and surrounding areas of the stern to avoid overspray on the boat. Tape off all grease fittings, zinc anodes and plastic pieces you were unable to remove. Mask exterior wires and tilt/trim rods with aluminum foil.

X Degreaser X Clean rags X Heat gun X Orbital buffer with wool pad X 3M Imperial or Farecia Profile 300

compound X 3M Perfection or Farecia Profile

500 compound X Tool kit for disassembly and

reassembly X Fresh vinyl decals (check out

our story on custom decals: boatingmag.com/applying-vinylgraphics-to-your-boat)

How Many Cans?

low humidity and temperatures around 72 degrees. Protect the uncured finish from evening dew by starting early in the day or working in a covered area. Spray the dry surfaces with a medium coat of the Quantum 45-X-115 K adhesion promoter and let dry for five minutes. Shake the Quantum 99-2KA-Color for one minute. Remove the red button at the top of the can and insert it in the nozzle at the bottom of the can, then shake for another minute. Spray all surfaces with a light tack coat; let dry for 45 minutes, then apply a medium coat. After 45 minutes, apply additional coats as needed to create a glossy topcoat on all surfaces. 44

B OAT I N G M AG .C O M

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4

REASSEMBLE AND DEBUG Allow the final coat to

dry for 24 hours. Then remove all masking materials. Carefully reattach and reassemble all parts. If a bug or debris marred the finish while painting, wetsand the spot with 1,500- to 2,000-grit wet sandpaper until the blemish is eliminated and the desired smoothness is achieved. Wipe the surface with a clean rag, then use 3M Imperial or Farecia Profile 300 compound with an orbital buffer with a wool pad at 1,500 to 2,000 rpm. Use medium pressure and lighten as the compound dries. Wipe with a clean rag, then repeat with 3M Perfection or Farecia Profile 500. Wipe clean and let cure for seven days. Apply fresh vinyl decals, if you wish.

ILLUSTRATIONS: TIM BARKER

3

PAINT THE PARTS Choose a windless day with

Each Qauntum 2K kit can be custom packed based on your motor size. It includes Quantum SR-002 Surface Prep/Clean, Quantum Adhesion Promoter, Quantum 2KA spray cans, rags, gloves, Scotch pad, tape and draping. If you are painting a six-cylinder outboard with a 25-inch shaft length, expect to use two cans of the Quantum 45-X-115 K adhesion promoter and four cans of the Quantum 99-2KA-Color topcoat. — J.H.


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The Boat Doctor 

QUICK STUDY

1

Rope-toChain Splice A rope-to-chain splice is akin to an eye splice, except the line forming the eye passes through the top link of your anchor chain, and the eye is snugged tight. This allows a smooth transition from rope to chain to wind through the gypsy of a windlass as you’re dropping or retrieving the anchor. Here’s how to create a rope-tochain splice using a three-strand rope. — Jim Hendricks

1

WHIP IT GOOD To

whip the line, wrap a half-inch-wide piece of masking or electrical tape tightly around the rope about 16 to 20 “picks” (the width of each spiraling strand) from the bitter end. With half-inch line, this equates to 10 to 12 inches.

2

UNWIND THE STRANDS Unfurl

the three strands all the way back to the whip. Tightly tape the bitter end of each of the strands to prevent the finer filaments from unraveling. Create a cone shape with the end of the tape to make the weaving process go a bit smoother.

3

splice is complete. This serves as chafe protection.

SCAN ME! For an online video tutorial showing how to create a rope-to-chain splice and how to install an electric windlass, visit boatingmag .com/how-to/ how-to-installelectricwindlass.

TIP Secure the upper 12 to 18 inches of the chain at a comfortable working height; otherwise, it gets too cumbersome to hold up the bulk of the heavy chain while creating the splice.

4

TUCK AND WEAVE

Weave the strands by tucking them one by one through the strands forming the standing part of the line. After each series of tucks, the strands should emerge in a symmetrical fashion — like a tripod — from the standing line.

TIP A marlinspike is a helpful tool in separating the strands of the standing line wide enough to create the weaves.

THREAD THE STRANDS Pass

two of the strands one way through the top link of the anchor chain, and then thread the third in the opposite direction between the two others. Some mariners place a section of heat-shrink tubing inside the link and thread the strands through it, using a heat gun to shrink it once the

5

2

3

4

5

CUT AND MELT After complet-

ing five to six weave cycles, pull everything as tight as possible and then cut the three strands within a half-inch of the body of the splice. Use a butane lighter or torch to melt the end of each strand, allowing it to meld into the body of the splice.

You might believe our use of the word “rope” to be landlubberly and that “line” is the proper nautical term. Yet Chapman’s Nautical Guides — Knots reminds us that “knots are created in rope. Once a piece of rope has been cut, knotted, and put to work, it generally becomes a line.” So, before you splice, it’s rope; when you’re done, it’s line. — J.H.

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ILLUSTRATIONS: TIM BARKER

Rope vs. Line


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The Boat Doctor 

W H AT T O L O O K F O R

Grab Rails and Grab Handles

backing plate — made of wood, composite or aluminum — to distribute the pull forces.

They’re one of those things on board that people don’t think about until they need one, but if you’ve ever transited through rough water on a boat without adequate grab handles, you’ll never take them for granted again. Here’s what to look for in grab rails and grab handles aboard your next boat. — Pete McDonald Recessed grab handles, like the ones shown here aboard a Rinker 26 QXBR, are becoming more commonplace on boats.

MATERIAL MATTERS Many recreational boats have handholds made of composite, aluminum or stainless steel. The best ones, particularly for saltwater use, are marine-grade 316L stainless steel.

ERGONOMIC The best handholds aren’t necessarily round. Oval or even diamond-shaped (with rounded edges) holds can be more comfortable to grip. RECESSED The trend in open-bow boats is to install a recessed rail topside in the gunwale around the perimeter of the bow seating. This allows passengers to grab it no matter how or where they’re sitting or lounging in the forward seats. LOCATION, LOCATION Sometimes builders put handholds in odd places to meet ABYC requirements, yet the rails or handles are On a boat with only handholds, “the maximum spacing between handholds must not exceed 4 feet.” A handhold should also be within reach of any boarding ladders. Handholds and rails made of piping or tubing — what you’ll find on most recreational powerboats — should have a diameter between 0.75 and 1.5 inches. (Nonround holds should have a circumference between 2.35 inches and 4.7 inches.) The handhold should be installed at a 45-degree angle to the boat structure or deck. Knowing the ABYC

QUICK TIP

The ABYC Standard H-41 states that a handhold or grab rail “shall withstand a load of 400 pounds in any direction, at any point, along their length without failure such as they no longer perform their intended purpose.”

recommendations, here’s what to look for aboard your boat.

STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY The sturdiest rails and handholds are installed with through-bolts and a

awkward to grab while underway. For passenger seats in front of a dual-console layout or along a three-person transom bench, make sure the handholds are located in places where you don’t have to contort to grab them.

ONE HAND FOR THE BOAT

Give Yourself a Hand (Hold)

Your dream boat is perfect in every other way except handholds? Add them yourself. Several companies, from Attwood Marine to Taco Metals, offer aftermarket handholds, like this Perko zinc handle ($29.99, westmarine.com). Be sure to install with a backing plate to distribute the pull load. — P.M.

48

Experienced boaters live by the rule of always having one hand on the boat while moving about, either above or belowdecks, so any part of the boat that can potentially be grabbed will be. This includes windshield frames, seat backs, Bimini tops, T-top supports, towers, arches, or even fiddled counters on tables. All of these items should be installed as sturdily as possible with this in mind.

PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) COURTESY RINKER BOATS, COURTESY WEST MARINE

The American Boat and Yacht Council, which sets the recommended guidelines for boatbuilders to follow, lays out the safety requirements for grab rails and grab handles in its Standard H-41. In it, ABYC states that handholds are required on “weather decks” (areas exposed to weather where crew walk or stand); to assist crew using companionways, ladders and stairways; and in exterior seating areas used when the vessel is underway. In addition, any grab rail must meet a minimum height requirement of 2 ve the deck.


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Tests

( #2988 )

Regulator 31

T

HE THING WE DISCOVERED ABOUT RUNNING the Regulator 31 through a coastal inlet and out into the ocean is that our confidence built, rather than waned, as we hit the rough stuff. The boat cut through the waves, threw the water aside and let us focus on getting to where we were headed (the fishing grounds, of course). Maintaining course is easier on the 31 than aboard other boats, since the bow isn’t knocked aside, and upon re-entry, the boat hardly slows at all. Instead, it maintains speed and keeps on tracking straight. The tachometers tell this story as well as we can: Aboard boats that struggle more at sea, maintaining a constant boat speed means the numbers are rising and falling through a wide ban, since engines need more rpm to push harder-riding boats through a head sea. But the tachs monitoring the twin Yamaha F300s that powered our test boat provided a steady reading as we broke Manasquan Inlet, headed east. Ride isn’t the only quality that impressed us during a day aboard the Regulator 31. Read on and find out what else we discovered about this boat. In the pre-dawn darkness, we stowed our gear aboard the Regulator 31 by soft, indirect LED light. It was enough illumination to start noticing some details, NOTEWORTHY like the way all the hatch lids swing on through-bolted hinges and how the underside of the optional T-top, with its surfboard edges, is painted your choice of optional colors — in this case, a glare-reducing gray, which happened to match the gray wedge of color atop the custom-painted outboards and the hull color. We also noticed, while passing duffles and ice, that the transom featured a nice curve to its top. This radius is attractive, sheds water, is salty-looking, and it provides an opening to discuss another transom attribute that sets Regulator apart from most other boat brands. Unlike most center console boats that utilize a moldedin, integral outboard bracket, Regulator mounts the engines on a bolted-on Armstrong bracket. This delivers a solid, structurally strong transom across the beam while producing classic aesthetics. It also means that the bracket

The magnetic catch that holds

open the livewell lid proved a great place to keep a bait knife handy.

Another Regulator with a winning hull from the board of naval architect Lou Codega. The seating, helm and portside dive door boast stellar execution. 50

B OAT I N G M AG .C O M

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PHOTOS: COURTESY REGULATOR MARINE




B OAT I N G M AG .C O M

FEBRUARY 2 017

51


 Regulator 31 the ocean, we checked out how the lids of the V-seating have kickstands that allow them to remain open partway and thus create chaise-style lounges. Naturally, there is stowage within. An optional sun-bed table installs to serve in the roles its name suggests. Two can sit on the padded seat on the front of the console. Access to the head in the console is via a generously sized hatch port side. It’s a bright space with a venting port for air and light, and smooth, reflective, easy-to-keep-sanitary gelcoat all around. There’s a long faux-stone top that culminates in a vanity with an inset sink. The commode is an electric head plumbed to a holding tank, and access to the batteries and electronics is excellent from this space. If you are shopping for a Regulator 31, schedule a sea trial aboard the Southport 33 FE ($287,500, powered like our test boat), which offers a 6-foot berth in the console (our review of which, by yours truly, is available to check out at boatingmag.com). — Kevin Falvey

SCAN ME!

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AVA I L A B L E P O W E R : OUTBOARD

High Points X Delivers a stellar ride and great handling. X Starboard-side dive door is very well-executed. X Armstrong bracket means this boat truly is a 31-footer.

Low Points X Console front seat is narrow with a more vertical backrest than we would like. X T-top is optional. We’re not saying it should be free, just that it should be included. Those seeking a third-party top can delete it. XLOA: 31'4" XBeam: 10'4" XDraft (max): 2'8" XDisplacement (approx.): 10,500 lb. XTransom Deadrise: 24 degrees XBridge Clearance: 9'0" XMax. Cabin Headroom: 6'7" XFuel Capacity: 300 gal. XMax Horsepower: 600 XAvailable Power: Twin or Yamaha

outboards to 600 hp total

Price: $262,995 (with test power) T BOATING Certified Test Results SPEED rpm

knots

mph

gph

1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000 5700

5.35 6.86 7.30 8.60 15.21 23.03 29.02 33.46 38.50 45.10

6.16 7.90 8.40 9.40 17.50 26.50 33.40 38.50 44.30 53.00

2.50 4.30 7.10 4.90 14.90 19.50 26.20 31.50 40.60 50.00

EFFICIENCY naut. stat. n. mi. mpg mpg range 2.14 1.60 1.03 0.74 1.02 1.18 1.11 1.06 0.94 0.92

2.46 1.84 1.18 0.81 1.17 1.36 1.27 1.22 1.09 1.06

578 431 278 200 276 319 299 287 254 248

OPERATION sound level

s. mi. range

angle

665 496 319 219 317 367 344 330 295 286

0 0 3 5 5 4 3 3 2 1

68 72 75 79 85 87 89 91 92 93

MOST ECONOMICAL CRUISING SPEED

HOW WE TESTED ENGINES: Twin 300 hp Yamaha F300s (with Helm Master) DRIVE/PROP: Outboard/15¼" x 19" GEAR RATIO: 1.75:1 FUEL LOAD: 160 gal. WATER ON BOARD: 10 gal. CREW WEIGHT: 790 lb. Regulator Marine Edenton, North Carolina; 252-482-3837; regulatormarine.com

PHOTO: COURTESY REGULATOR MARINE

is not counted in the length of the boat. Step aboard the Regulator 31 and it becomes apparent that it compares sizewise with boats denoted as 33- or 34-footers. Let’s walk through the boat. The cockpit is wide open and self-bailing. Underfoot and atop the gunwales, we applauded the grippy nonskid, a feature that is astoundingly not found aboard every boat. Standard coaming pads run 360 degrees around the interior, and these were well-made, with just enough stiffness to provide comfort in rough seas and with drains so they won’t get soggy. To starboard is one of the hallmark features of the Regulator 31: the dive door with an integrated folding ladder. This door is large enough to boat a bigeye tuna or to come and go through while wearing scuba gear. Its use for casual swimming goes without saying. It’s nicely executed with robust hardware and latches. On the backside of the leaning post, our tester sported a large livewell, complementing the livewell in the transom. There’s an option for a tackle center here also. A cutting board and a deep sink flanked the blue-lined livewell, which is concealed under a lid. Like all lids aboard the Regulator 31, this one was finished on both sides. In the cockpit sole, a large hatch provides access to the bilge. Here we found excellent access to pumps, filters and through-hull fittings. At the helm, there are footrests on the leaning post and on the console to accommodate various seating, leaning and standing positions, a feature we appreciated. Ditto for the helm armrests. The windshield is curved, large and features no frame, so the view through it is unimpeded. There are two big Garmin multifunction displays at the helm, and all controls and switches are mounted in ways that facilitate ease of use. This is particularly true of the Helm Master joystick, which helped make docking less stressful at the end of our sea trial. The bow proved to be a multipurpose area. We stood atop the broad bow and cast for stripers early in the day. Later, on

See a photo gallery of the Regulator 31 by scanning this tag or visiting boatingmag.com/2988.


S TA R T Y O U R B O AT I N G LEGACY WITH OURS...

B U I L D I N G L E G E N D A R Y B O AT S S I N C E 1 9 8 4 Contender Boats, Inc | 1820 SE 38th Ave | Homestead, FL 33035 | 1.800.645.2906 | ContenderBoats.com


Tests

( #2989 )

Sea Ray SLX 250

U

PSCALE USED TO DESCRIBE A LEVEL OF trim in the bowrider market. Today, it’s almost become the norm in the 25-foot range. Hulls boast contour lines that look sculpted rather than popped out of something as mundane as a mold. Interiors showcase rich, supple materials in designer color palettes. How does a boat like Sea Ray’s SLX 250 stand out in a similarly posh crowd? Why, it’s all in the details. Stainless-steel grab handles are wrapped in a material you’d swear was leather. The three-spoke steering wheel, with its brushed-metal hub, is downright elegant. The bottom of the curved glass windshield just, well, just ends rather than be confined to a metal frame. So cool. And then there’s the luxury provided by things you can’t readily see. Sea Ray’s Quiet Ride technology combines NOTEWORTHY a tuned transom with sound-dampening materials — including one that converts sound energy to heat — to make sure the passenger experience is a pleasure for all the senses. You can hear Boating’s video test of Quiet Ride for yourself over at boatingmag.com/boats/ sea-rays-quiet-ride. A high-end model like the SLX 250 is just as apt to be taking the family out for fun as it is entertaining guests or clients. Either way, the layout accommodates. The bow cockpit invites a pair to stretch out on the 4-foot-long seats. Sit upright and the seating capacity rises considerably, especially given the extra 3 feet of space created by squaring the cockpit’s forward perimeter. Captain and co-pilot enjoy individual seats with convenient flip-up bolsters in the main cockpit behind that sexy windshield. Aft, an L-shaped lounge extends from the port corner, with a separate 3-foot-4-inch starboard bench to accommodate the overflow. Between, Sea Ray angles a transom walk-through, a decision that doesn’t sacrifice seating space as severely as a straightthrough passage. A 5-foot-2-inch by 2-foot-8-inch sun pad

Starboard bow cushions

raise, gull-wing style, to reveal a cavernous storage area with exceptional step-in access to reach electronics and wiring behind the dash.

The SLX 250 looks great and sounds quieter than most boats thanks to Quiet Ride. The cockpit is sociable, the seats are plush, and the helm is comfortable. 54

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PHOTOS: COURTESY SEA RAY BOATS




B OAT I N G M AG .C O M

FEBRUARY 2 017

55


 Sea Ray SLX 250 We reached 30 mph in less than 3 seconds more before topping out at 49.2 mph. Interestingly, our test boat was equipped with traditional Lenco trim tabs. Previously, the SLX offered only Sea Ray’s Dynamic Running Surface option. Large aluminum plates integrated directly into the running surface, DRS uses gyroscopes, accelerometers, GPS data and software to automatically find the best running angle, improve acceleration, reduce bow rise and even shape wakes for board sports. At $3,923, however, it proved pricier than some customers cared for, prompting the builder to add traditional tabs for 2017. Looking for a worthy competitor in the name of comparison shopping? Chaparral’s 257 SSX ($104,580 with the same power) is identical in size and similar in approach. Chaparral opts for back-to-back love seats aft that flatten into reclining sun lounges, a center walkthrough, and parallel benches port and starboard. The port bench can slide backward to link up with the aft seat or pivot 45 degrees to form a dinette with a side-mount pedestal table. — Jeff Hemmel

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SCAN ME!

To see a photo gallery of the Sea Ray SLX 250, scan this tag or visit boatingmag.com/2989.

AVA I L A B L E P O W E R : STERNDRIVE

High Points X Sea Ray’s Quiet Ride technology significantly reduces noise levels. X Exceptional access to the engine and service points. X Forget fumbling blind for seat adjustments: Sea Ray brings those controls up to seat level.

Low Points X The optional stainless-steel anchor and windlass will prove highly functional, and they lend a yachtlike air to the SLX 250, but in stock form, we’d like to see clips to secure an anchor. XLOA: 25'6" XBeam: 8'6" XDraft (max): 3'4" XDisplacement: 5,800 lb. XTransom Deadrise: 21 degrees XBridge Clearance: 4'8" XFuel Capacity: 75 gal. XMax Horsepower: 430 XAvailable Power: Single MerCruiser gasoline sterndrive to 430 hp

Price: $110,035 (with test power) T BOATING Certified Test Results SPEED rpm

knots

mph

gph

1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000 5450

4.69 6.26 7.65 10.34 18.60 23.98 28.85 33.80 37.80 42.75

5.40 7.20 8.80 11.90 21.40 27.60 33.20 38.90 43.50 49.20

2.00 2.90 4.40 6.30 7.30 9.10 11.50 15.30 21.20 25.60

EFFICIENCY naut. stat. n. mi. mpg mpg range 2.35 2.16 1.74 1.64 2.55 2.64 2.51 2.21 1.78 1.67

2.70 2.48 2.00 1.89 2.93 3.03 2.89 2.54 2.05 1.92

158 146 117 111 172 178 169 149 120 113

OPERATION sound level

s. mi. range

angle

182 168 135 128 198 205 195 172 139 130

0 1 2 6 4 4 2 1 1 2

72 66 70 74 77 77 79 82 86 86

MOST ECONOMICAL CRUISING SPEED

HOW WE TESTED ENGINE: Single MerCruiser 6.2L 350 ECT Bravo Three sterndrive with DTS DRIVE/PROP: Bravo Three/22.5" pitch stainless-steel propsets GEAR RATIO: 2.20:1 FUEL LOAD: 20 gal. CREW WEIGHT: 270 lb. Sea Ray Boats Vonore, Tennessee; 423-884-6631; searay.com

PHOTO: COURTESY SEA RAY BOATS

facing the deep swim platform awaits sun worshippers when the boat is not underway. Lift the aft cushion and create a rear-facing backrest with five positions of recline. Wet stowage in the walk-through floor doubles as a cooler to keep cold drinks at hand, and rear-facing speakers provide the tunes. All seating is covered in multitone vinyl with both woven and diamond-pattern accent panels, bead welding, and durable, double-stitched seams. Stowage is found below nearly all. The main cockpit seats lift out, but the primary bow seats lift on articulating hinges that stay in the open position to ease access. The sun pad lifts to access a shallow storage nook as well as to open access to the deep portside stowage beside the engine. At the helm, the darkest upholstery accent and contrast stitching is carried over onto the bow, eliminating glare off the windshield. Our test boat’s build swapped the standard chrome-bezel gauges and controls for Sea Ray’s sleek Dynamic Display ($5,770), a 12-inch color touchscreen. Common controls, including those for the bilge pump, blower and horn, are clustered into an array of lit, brushed-finish, push-button switches. Extra kudos for the recessed inwale as well as a lipped nook to keep items readily at hand; it also features a shelf to support the forearm of your throttle hand. Opposite, the port console opens to reveal a 3-foot-8-inch by 2-foot-4-inch by 4-foot-2-inch head compartment. Its fiberglass interior and oversize floor drain make for easy maintenance. The lockable door features a hinge stop to prevent the door from marring the helm console when swung open carelessly. A shallow glove box to the left of the door is perfectly sized for cellphones and includes a handy 12-volt outlet, rubber matting and drain. Our test boat’s 350 hp MerCruiser 6.2L Bravo Three sterndrive responded effortlessly to input via the digital throttle-and-shift controls. At speed, the SLX 250’s hull — with its 21-degree deadrise, full-length strakes, and unique concave sections between inner and outer strakes toward the stern — revealed agile handling, powering through even hard-over turns at speed with nary a buck or drop in speed. Time to plane was a quick 4.6 seconds.


Tests

( #2990 )

dock. A stainless-steel boarding ladder adds to the gleam of this new entree, and the optional tow pylon adds fun. From a performance standpoint, triple tubes add plenty of buoyancy for crews of up to 12 people. Lifting strakes improve performance by reducing drag and increasing hole shot and top speed. The ride is solid too, thanks to extruded, full-length M-brackets welded to the tubes and bolted firmly to the deck. To pamper your ride, all lounges have multidensity foam and rich marine vinyl nicely contoured with deep bottoms and thick backrests. A fiberglass helm gives an excellent view over passengers lounging forward, and aft seats and a changing room complete the comfort package. All this is surprising from a premium fishing-boat builder, but what is not surprising is that Ranger offers Reata pontoons in fishing models as well, complete with locking rod storage, livewells and a Lowrance Hook 5 fish finder at the helm. — Randy Vance MORE ONLINE

Ranger Reata 243C STABLISHED PONTOON BUILDERS PROVE the growth of performance pontoons is still on the rise by yearly introducing new models to capture boaters’ attention. This year, Ranger is the surprise player that is expanding its line of premium bass, walleye and fish-and-ski boats to include pontoons. Not just everyday pontoons either, but high-performance, triple-tube models with luxury seating, high-horsepower outboards, and beautiful powder-coated pontoons and rails. Further, Ranger includes more luxury appointments as standard equipment than the competition. The 26-inch-diameter powder-coated tubes (the coating is done in Ranger’s proprietary factory kiln) and beautiful complementary side rails give the EXTRA POINT Reata a sleek look that raw aluminum tubes cannot. True each to its durability pressurized and tested DNA, Ranger Reata boats are built using for air tightness in 0.04-inch-thick the factory. Schrader aluminum panels, while most builders valve ports in each 0.032-inchsection facilitate long- use thick panels. Even term maintenance. the performanceenhancing aluminum underpinning below deck is standard on the Reata. A deck forward of the bow gate has curved corners and adds convenience for anchoring or mooring to the dock. Aft, the swim platform boasts rounded corners — a beautiful look that we found also offers easier closequarters maneuvering, lacking aft corners to catch on the

E

Pontoons are multichambered,

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FEBRUARY 2017

To see a photo gallery of the Ranger Reata 243C, visit boatingmag.com/2990.

AVA I L A B L E P O W E R : OUTBOARD

High Points X Pontoons are powder-coated for long-term corrosion control. X Lift-assist Bimini top deploys and stows with fingertip effort. X Snapless mooring cover is standard on all Reata boats. X Woven deck mat is durable and easy to care for. X Gates are spring-loaded to close and latch.

Low Points X Splashwell cover plate eliminates a platform hazard but prevents outboard

from tilting up fully.

Toughest Competitor X Bennington’s SX 24 Swingback ($47,228 with Mercury 150) boasts the

rounded corners plus a convertible aft sun lounge and a comparable woven mat deck. It’s sleek but lacks the cool powder coating. X LOA: 26'2" X Beam: 8'6" X Displacement (approx.): 3,140 lb. X Fuel Capacity: 52 gal. X Max Horsepower: 200 X Available Power: Mercury, Yamaha, Evinrude outboards

Price: $47,795 (with test power) T BOATING Certified Test Results SPEED rpm 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000 5500 6000 6500

knots 3.2 4.8 6.1 8.0 10.6 15.6 17.1 19.8 22.9 27.5 31.1 33.3

mph 3.7 5.5 7.0 9.2 12.2 18.0 19.7 22.8 26.4 31.6 35.8 38.3

gph 0.6 1.0 1.4 2.2 3.2 4.7 5.8 7.9 10.1 12.8 14.9 17.2

EFFICIENCY naut. stat. n. mi. mpg mpg range

s. mi. range

angle

5.4 4.8 4.3 3.6 3.3 3.3 2.9 2.5 2.3 2.1 2.1 1.9

288.6 257.4 234.0 195.7 178.4 179.2 158.6 135.1 122.3 115.5 112.4 104.2

1.0 2.0 2.0 4.0 5.0 4.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0

6.2 5.5 5.0 4.2 3.8 3.8 3.4 2.9 2.6 2.5 2.4 2.2

250.8 223.7 203.3 170.1 155.0 155.8 137.8 117.4 106.3 100.4 97.7 90.6

OPERATION sound level 56 62 69 69 71 73 78 79 81 82 86 90

MOST ECONOMICAL CRUISING SPEED

HOW WE TESTED ENGINE: Mercury Verado 200 DRIVE/PROP: Enertia 14" 3-blade stainless steel GEAR RATIO: 1.85:1 FUEL LOAD: 25 gal. WATER ON BOARD: 0 gal. CREW WEIGHT: 240 lb. Ranger Pontoons Flippin, Arkansas; 800-373-2628; rangerpontoons.com

PHOTO: COURTESY RANGER PONTOONS




ALL-NEW 262 FISHERMAN CENTER CONSOLE

221 FISHERMAN

222 FISHERMAN

BAY BOAT

CENTER CONSOLE

252 COASTAL

302 FISHERMAN

WALK AROUND

REEL

IN THE $AVINGS SAVINGS

COMING SOON

Since 1955, Wellcraft has stood for innovation, quality and dependability. This philosophy of ingenuity is found in a vessel designed by fishermen who demand the best every time they leave the dock. For years to come, you’ll capture your entire day with a morning of fishing, a day of family fun, and a relaxing evening cruise in an American icon. Explore the whole lineup at wellcraft.com.

JANUARY 1 – MARCH 31, 2017

Copyright 2016, Rec Boat Holdings, LLC. ®/TM signifies trademarks of Wellcraft, LLC, its affiliates or suppliers.

WELLCRAFT.COM


Tests

( #2991 )

What’s new on the WT-2 is the location of the helm, which moved from the boat’s center (as on the WT-1) to starboard, but it is still located as far forward as possible to enhance visibility at towing speed. Adjacent to the motor box are the new “hot tub” lounges with curved bottoms designed to cradle a pair of observers as close to the wake action as possible. These also keep crew off the motor box while underway and so help to comply with U.S. Coast Guard regulations. A 350 hp V-drive powertrain is tuned and propped to deliver a mountain of towing torque that popped us on plane in 1.5 seconds. The wake is thick and powerful, but the WT-2 is also a pleasure to drive at cruising speed, comfortable and predictable with razor-sharp reflexes. Form does indeed follow function, and this boat really works. — Charles Plueddeman MORE ONLINE

To see a photo gallery of the Heyday WT-2, visit boatingmag.com/2991.

AVA I L A B L E P O W E R :

Heyday

V-DRIVE

WT-2

High Points

HE BEAUTY OF THE HEYDAY WT-2 IS ITS absolute devotion to function. The Heyday mission is to deliver maximum wakesports performance for minimum dollars, and in that regard, the new 22-foot6-inch WT-2 picks up right where the brilliantly innovative WT-1, the debut model from this brand, left off. Three feet longer than the WT-1, the WT-2 has a base price of $49,995 and is designed to produce the wake performance of a typical tow boat, one that would routinely cost more than $100,000. Heyday — now a part of the Bayliner family — is devoted to reducing the cost of tow-boat ownership. The broad, sponsoned bow reduces the chances of a EXTRA POINT swamping when picking up a downed rider. It also helps reduce costs are by eliminating some material from the build, designed to act as and shortens the overall lifting devices boat size and weight for and prevent the easier towing and storage — the hull length of the clipped-off bow WT-2 is 20 feet with from submarining; the platform removed. The 117-degree angle they have no funcof the transom creates a tion in flat water. natural curl-and-push effect, so the WT-2 does not need additional devices to produce an outstanding surf wake. The helm is almost devoid of instruments. Why? Heyday figures you already own a tablet computer, which is also where you store your music. Bluetooth makes the connection to the engine and the Wet Sounds sound bar.

X Full complement of tow-sports essentials: tower, speed control, ballast,

X Delivers an outstanding surf wake for $50,000. X Aft seating encourages crew sociability and communication.

T

The sponsonlike chines

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platform and audio.

Low Points X Maybe you don’t want to expose your tablet computer to life on

the water. X Always a breezy ride with no windshield. X No lips around stowage compartments to keep water out.

Toughest Competitors X A few other inboard tow boats are aiming for a friendly price. The

MasterCraft NXT22 (base price is about $66,860 without trailer) has a pickle-fork bow with a wide seating area, but popular options, like a ballast system, will add significantly to the base price. The Moomba Craz (about $62,260 base with trailer) has a traditional shape and comes equipped with a 2,000-pound ballast system.

X LOA: 22'6" X Beam: 8'0" X Draft (max): 2'7" X Displacement (approx.): 3,450 lb. X Transom Deadrise: 5 degrees X Bridge Clearance: 5'2" X Fuel Capacity: 35 gal. X Max Horsepower: 350

Price: $49,995 (with test power) T BOATING Certified Test Results SPEED rpm

knots

mph

gph

1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000

6.08 9.12 11.30 14.60 19.12 24.33 27.81 30.85 33.98

7.00 10.50 13.00 16.80 22.00 28.00 32.00 35.50 39.10

2.20 3.10 4.60 7.50 9.20 11.50 14.50 18.10 24.50

EFFICIENCY naut. stat. n. mi. mpg mpg range 2.76 2.94 2.46 1.95 2.08 2.12 1.92 1.70 1.39

3.18 3.39 2.83 2.24 2.39 2.43 2.21 1.96 1.60

87 93 77 61 65 67 60 54 44

s. mi. range 100 107 89 71 75 77 70 62 50

OPERATION sound angle level 1 4 7 12 5 4 4 3 3

72 71 81 79 79 82 84 85 87

MOST ECONOMICAL CRUISING SPEED

HOW WE TESTED ENGINE: Single 350 hp Crusader Challenger 5.7-liter V-8 gasoline inboard DRIVE/PROP: PEG PowerPlus V-drive/OJ 15" x 12½" 4-blade Nibral GEAR RATIO: 1:00:1 FUEL LOAD: 35 gal. CREW WEIGHT: 360 lb. Heyday Inboards Sweetwater, Tennessee; 423-337-3639; heydayinboards.com

PHOTO: COURTESY HEYDAY INBOARDS




Tests

( #2992 )

Jeanneau Leader 40 Jeanneauâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Leader 40 is a fastcruising motoryacht that comfortably sleeps four and entertains a dozen. Bigblock MerCruiser gas V-8s with Axius sterndrives and joystick make it easy to handle, whether cruising or at the dock. We admired neat details, like the way the sun pad and the deck hatches are recessed to avoid any interference with sight lines. Bravo for caring, Jeanneau. The midcabin offers twin bunks

WE SAY

athwartships that can make up into a queen, and there is 6 feet 2 inches of headroom between them. Hullside windows ensure sunlight pours in. The cockpit and swim platform create an integrated, open space with three distinct amenities. The companion seats opposite the helm offer both a rear-facing lounge and a comfortable forward-looking seat. Aft of them is a dinette, and opposite is a day galley with a sink, grill and fridge. But thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more: Aft of the dinette is a full sun pad with stowage beneath that can swallow up gear. (Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s where Leader 40s in Europe must carry life rafts.) Other touches: To ensure that no one slips between the optional hydraulic swim platform and the transom as it lowers, a cargo net spans the gap. More European safety touches are grab handles and safety-harness stanchions securely anchored around the deck and cockpit. Yes, Jeanneauâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Leader 40 is quick and elegant, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also able and safe. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Capt. John Page Williams

WHOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;D WANT ONE Boaters who want to cruise â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or day-cruise â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in luxury, style and safety.

Check out Sea Rayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 370 Sundancer ($587,046 with comparable power and equipment).

ANOTHER CHOICE

$415,000 (base); jeanneauamerica.com BOTTOM LINE

T BOATING Certified Test Results SPEED rpm 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 4800

knots mph 5.30 7.30 9.04 7.30 15.25 24.68 30.41 34.76 36.58

6.10 8.40 10.40 11.90 17.55 28.40 35.00 40.00 42.10

EFFICIENCY OPERATION naut. stat. n. mi. s. mi. sound gph mpg mpg range range angle level 2.60 5.90 10.00 15.20 24.20 29.40 42.00 51.20 60.80

2.04 1.24 0.90 0.68 0.63 0.84 0.72 0.57 0.60

2.35 1.42 1.04 0.78 0.73 0.97 0.83 0.78 0.69

352 214 156 118 109 145 125 98 104

405 246 180 135 125 167 144 135 120

0 1 3 5 6 4 3 3 3

MOST ECONOMICAL CRUISING SPEED

XLOA: 40'0" XBeam: 12'5" XDraft: 3'7" (outdrives down) XDisplacement: 16,600 lb. (light) XFuel Capacity: 192 gal.

HOW WE TESTED ENGINES: Twin 380 hp MerCruiser 8.2-liter Mag V-8 sterndrives PROPS: MerCruiser 21" pitch Bravo Three stainless-steel propsets GEAR RATIO: 2.00:1 FUEL LOAD: 50 gal. CREW WEIGHT: 760 lb.

TOTAL CONTROL, SIMPLY REFINED multi touch displays 12.1" WXGA (1280 x 800 pixels) 15.6" FWXGA (1366 x 768 pixels)

DWKNVKPIRUYCCU 56-channel GPS/WASS receiver

EJCTVEJQKEGU Utilizes raster & vector charts w/Sat Photos, including Free NOAA charts for the USA

YKTGNGUUEQPPGEVKXKV[ Connect to iOSTM or AndroidTM apps, along with free weather data & upcoming Cloud Services

TGĆ&#x201A;  PGFKPVGTHCEG Edge-Swipe gestures keep every command at your ďŹ ngertips with a simple swipe from the edge of the screen

RezBoostTM Ć&#x201A;  UJĆ&#x201A;  PFGT Built-in Fish Finder achieves a 4x-8x Sharper image than conventional sounders to spot individual ďŹ sh, using narrowband transducers

Scan QR code to get more information on NavNet TZtouch2

CYCTFYKPPKPITCFCT UHD Radar, 4kW Domes to 25kW Arrays

67 72 76 77 78 80 81 81 82

www.FurunoUSA.com

PHOTO: COURTESY JEANNEAU AMERICA




Start the day fishing with the family, put the rods up and have a nice lunch relaxing in the bow, and then have a memorable afternoon pulling the skis or the tube. The 231 Angler is the perfect combination pleasure and fishing boat. Seating for 10, a Bimini Top, Bluetooth Stereo, and a swim platform are all standard features. 2-aerated livewells, 2-insulated fish boxes, 2-onboard coolers and a center console with head compartment are just a few of the fishing and comfort features that the 231 Angler offers. The 231 Angler is going to change the way you boat!

[ 231 ANGLER ] 231 is also available in the Coastal version with T-Top & Head Option For your local dealer, visit our website or call:

(662) 256-5636

NauticStarBoats.com Some photos shown with optional equipment


Tests

( #2993 )

Wellcraft 262 Fisherman The new Wellcraft 262 Fisherman center console offers abundant tackle and rod stowage for serious offshore fishing. A 17-gallon livewell in the starboard quarter and another 23-gallon livewell in the port quarter are augmented by an optional 25-gallon livewell (with viewing window) behind the deluxe helm seats.

WE SAY

An Orca 42-quart cooler slides on tracks to serve as a seat forward of the console or as a step up in the bow. Our test boat featured the Family Package with bow seating/lounges and a sidemount table. A transom bench-style seat folds away quickly. Access to the interior of the center console is provided by a front, upward-opening door. An optional inward-opening dive door on the port side helps you land big fish. Two helm chairs feature flip-up bolsters and folddown armrests. MarineMat decking at the helm, in the forward rod locker, and at strategic points along the gunwales to protect fishing reels is included with the Scarab Offshore Package. A tri-tone gelcoat scheme and special graphics adorn the exterior with this option. Twin Mercury Verado 275 outboards propelled the 262 Fisherman to a top speed of 57.4 mph. The deep-V hull rode smoothly and cornered superbly. Mercury power steering and digital throttle and shift made handling a cinch. — Jim Hendricks

WHO’D WANT ONE Saltwater anglers looking for a capable offshore machine.

Cobia’s 261CC ($102,452 with twin Yamaha F150s) has a wider beam but less bait capacity.

ANOTHER CHOICE

$164,409 (with twin Mercury Verado 250s); wellcraft.com BOTTOM LINE

T BOATING Certified Test Results SPEED rpm 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000 5500 6000

knots mph 4.26 6.60 7.91 8.52 11.12 29.37 33.28 38.67 43.71 47.97 49.88

4.90 7.60 9.10 9.80 12.80 33.80 38.30 44.50 50.30 55.20 57.40

EFFICIENCY OPERATION naut. stat. n. mi. s. mi. sound gph mpg mpg range range angle level 2.00 4.00 6.00 11.00 16.00 18.00 22.00 26.00 34.00 50.00 52.00

2.13 1.65 1.32 0.77 0.70 1.63 1.51 1.49 1.29 1.00 0.96

2.45 1.90 1.52 0.89 0.80 1.88 1.74 1.71 1.48 1.15 1.10

303 235 187 110 99 232 215 211 183 142 136

348 270 216 127 114 267 248 243 210 164 157

0 1 4 5 7 5 4 2 1 1 1

61 73 73 75 78 82 83 87 96 98 102

MOST ECONOMICAL CRUISING SPEED

XLOA: 26'4" XBeam: 9'0" XDraft: 2'5" XDisplacement: 5,500 lb. (dry, without engines) XFuel Capacity: 158 gal.

HOW WE TESTED ENGINES: Twin 250 hp Mercury Verado 250s DRIVE/PROPS: Outboard/Mercury Mirage Plus 14¾" x 21" 3-blade stainless steel GEAR RATIO: 1.75:1 FUEL LOAD: 106 gal. CREW WEIGHT: 810 lb.

COURTESY WELLCRAFT BOATS




IPS 2017 VOLVO PENTA DEBUTED THE INBOARD PERFORMANCE SYSTEM 20,000 UNITS AGO. HERE’S WHERE IT’S AT TODAY.

I traveled to Krossholmen, Sweden, where Volvo Penta maintains a test facility housing a platoon of engineers and a fleet of test boats in order to test the newest generation of IPS. The IPS 15 is the fourth version of this propulsion system and was developed to work with the also new D8 series of Volvo Penta marine diesel engines (we will report more on these engines in Motorhead in our April issue). IPS 15 works with engines rated between 450 and 600 hp. IPS 15 fills the slot between the smallest IPS 10 and the larger 66

B OAT I N G M AG .C O M

IPS 20 drive. The IPS pod range can now mate with engines ranging between 260 and 900 hp. In ascending order, the drives are IPS 10, IPS 15, IPS 20 and IPS 30. It’s important to note that while the drives are designated with the IPS prefix, IPS is an entire system that includes drive, engine, and control and monitoring capabilities. It was IPS that, arguably, put joystick control in the hands of mainstream boaters (by virtue of sheer numbers compared to the jet-joystick systems that debuted about the same time),

FEBRUARY 2017

and the Atlantis Sport Yacht I ran proved as easy to maneuver with a joystick at dockside as any of the dozens of IPS-powered boats I have tested since that first Tiara. It was also fast, efficient, and delivered sporty handling at cruising speeds. Yet while all the hallmarks of IPS are in attendance, IPS 15 also offers new features that deliver new advantages. For instance, IPS 15 provides the widest steering angle — 34 degrees of azimuth — of any IPS drive to date. This wide angle makes slow-speed operations even easier; for instance, it allows tremendous control with the wheel alone while backing into a slip at speeds under 1,000 rpm. Dynamic Position System (DPS) is another new feature. Hit the DPS button and the boat holds its heading and remains in position within a few yards. Station-keeping systems, like DPS, prove especially helpful when awaiting a bridge opening or while queued up, holding off a fuel dock. While a special antenna that houses two GPS receivers provides the data, the precision positioning is made possible by the ability of the IPS pods to rotate independently. Corrosion protection is enhanced by the Advanced Corrosion Protection system (ACP). This is an impressed-current, anticorrosion system that works in concert with titanium-coated anodes. Essentially, it produces the correct amount of current to protect the drives, but if the battery voltage drops below 75 percent, it protects through

the anodes. If ACP detects the battery voltage dropping below 50 percent, protection is via the anodes alone. Installation is plug-and-play, requires no input by the boat owner, and can protect up to four IPS drives. Additionally, IPS 15 offers the best weight ratio of any IPS drive to date, and increased streamlining provides even better hydrodynamics, both of which enhance efficiency. Even the hull-to-drive interface has been improved and made smaller. Volvo Penta preaches “easy boating.” The new IPS 15 puts truth to that theme. — Kevin Falvey

IPS Model Designations IPS engine-model numbers represent the conventional inboard engine equivalent power, not the rated horsepower of the engine they emblazon. For instance, the new IPS 800 produces 600 horsepower but, due to increased efficiency, delivers the equivalent performance of an 800 hp shaft inboard. — K.F.

PHOTOS: COURTESY VOLVO PENTA

T

O SAY I WAS IMPRESSED FOLLOWING A SEA TRIAL OF A TIARA 4300 Sovran in 2005 would be an understatement. Sure, the boat proved top-notch, but it was the propulsion, a new thing from Volvo Penta called the Inboard Performance System, or IPS, that really got my juices percolating. With IPS, the Tiara delivered better speed, efficiency and maneuverability. Let’s take a look at where IPS is today with 20,000 units now in the field, focusing especially on the new IPS 15.


Redefining style on the water. T H E A L L- N E W H D S E R I E S F R O M F O U R W I N N S

H

S

E

R

I

E

S

January 1 – March 31, 2017

By combining our 40+ years of boat building experience, the HD line is the culmination of stability, cockpit space, luxurious seating, and cavernous storage. A class defying boat that sets new standards of quality and innovation. Redefine your expectations with the all new HD line from Four Winns.

Power is choice All HD models can be equipped with either stern drive or outboard power.

HD 220

Life should be a beautiful ride.

HD 240

©2016, Rec Boat Holdings, LLC. All rights reserved. ®/TM signifi es trademarks of Four Winns, LLC or suppliers.

HD 270

FOURWINNS.COM


SPIN SCIENCE How Aircraft Design Has Changed Propeller Design and Selection

BY CAPT. VINCENT DANIELLO

ILLUSTRATION: COURTESY MICHIGAN WHEEL MARINE

YEARS AFTER THE SPACE RACE, propeller design remained a sea-trial-and-error endeavor: haul, tweak the props, relaunch, seatrial, repeat. Finally, the U.S. Navy paid the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to predict propeller performance using a computer. The resulting 3-D computer models let Navy experts alter and analyze blade skew, rake, chord length and camber to maximize ship speed while minimizing noise. After the Cold War, those Navy/MIT propeller design tools became available to the private sector and, within the past 10 years, once-top-secret designs have made it to off-the-shelf production props for inboard boats as small as 35 feet. Will a set of high-tech props increase your boatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s speed or economy, get it on plane faster, or even make it handle better? I persuaded four prop experts to share their thoughts with Boating.

3-D propeller models allow experts to analyze the performance of different shaped propellers to maximize the potential to enhance speed and economy.

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PHOTO: COURTESY MICHIGAN WHEEL MARINE

B OAT I N G M AG .C O M

FEBRUARY 2017

69


THE PLANE TRUTH “A propeller is really just a set of rotating wings,” says Greg Platzer, who headed the surface ship propeller group for the U.S. Navy through the latter part of the Cold War. Platzer’s team curved propeller blades like airplane wings. This spread the load across the entire propeller, maximizing efficiency, minimizing cavitation and producing quieter props that were harder for enemy submarines to detect. Now a civilian, Platzer designs custom propellers for large yachts. “On yachts, we’re using the same principles for different reasons,” he says, citing props that deliver 5 to 10 percent increases in fuel efficiency and/or speed while cutting vibration by up to 75 percent.

do anything for slower boats, but there are more variables. “On a boat cruising around 18 knots [20.7 mph], where it’s just on plane, the right propeller design can mean a world of difference — maybe a 5-knot [5.7 mph] gain,” says naval architect Kevin Mitchell of

7 BLADES: Adding blades minimizes vibration and increases tip clearance

3 ROUND BLADES: Durable and work

4 BLADES: Tend to benefit diesel

3 BLADES: Often work best on gas

boats with a high gear reduction

boats with a 1-to-1 reduction

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well in reverse for workboats

These Rolla surface-piercing props on Arneson drives, with half the prop and no running gear in the water, reduce drag by 50 percent. Michigan Wheel Marine. Mitchell says diesel-powered boats over 40 feet using at least a 2-to-1 gear reduction typically benefit most. “In gas boats, with smaller-diameter props turning close to engine rpm, the best design might be that traditional flat-faced prop with some cup on the trailing edge of the blade,” he says. As engine horsepower increased

WHAT DO FOIL PROPS COST? Foil-shaped propellers sell for 25 to 50 percent more than similar-size conventional props, Harrison says, while used props sell for about half what they would cost new, once reconditioned. Using a 21-inch, four-blade, cupped example for a typical 40-foot express cruiser, ZF Faster Propeller flat-pitch KCA Series propellers cost about $1,550 each. Similar ZF New Foil Series propellers are about $1,900 each. The old props should sell for around $750 each, minus $400 to recondition them. Prop shops might take them in trade, typically for 10 to 20 percent of what those props cost new. — V.F.D.

PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) COURTESY TWIN DISC ROLLA, COURTESY MICHIGAN WHEEL MARINE (4)

BEST FOR WHICH BOATS? “A 30-knot [34.5 mph] boat that has steep shaft angles is an ideal candidate,” says Jimmie Harrison, president of Frank & Jimmie’s Propeller in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “We’d expect to see a knot or two more speed at top end with the correct foil-shaped prop blades.” That’s not to say new props won’t


PHOTO: COURTESY TWIN DISC ROLLA

over the past decade, ideal prop diameter for a given boat model typically increased as well. But since boatbuilders usually can’t change prop diameter on a venerable design, increased horsepower often leads to increasingly inefficient props. This holds true for boaters who have repowered as well. One solution to the conundrum comes from advanced prop design. “The optimum diameter of a five-blade propeller is always going to be smaller than a four-blade, so we gain efficiency by increasing the number of blades,” Platzer says, adding for emphasis, “With an airfoil-shaped blade, we can increase blade camber to match increased horsepower.” HANDLING BENEFITS Additionally, boats that benefit from lowering trim tabs considerably at cruise rpm might see big gains from foil propellers. That’s because the downward angle of propeller shafts on most inboard-powered planing powerboats helps propellers lift the stern without the added drag of lowered tabs. Airfoil-shaped blades make it easier to produce lift efficiently. Mitchell recounts an example: “A mainstream express cruiser gained 2 knots [2.3 mph] at top end, with corresponding increases in economy at cruise speed, simply by switching from our older Dyna-Quad design to our new, foil-shaped EQY propeller.” On the other hand, “If your engines aren’t putting out enough horsepower at the rpm where the boat is coming up on plane, there probably isn’t an advantage to foil-shaped props,” Harrison says, describing the classic diesel-turbo-lag situation. “That problem is often solved with lessefficient propellers that slip more at midrange rpm.” Plus, propeller blades raked aft increase stern lift by shifting the center of effort of that lift in relation to the foreand-aft center of buoyancy of the boat. (Yep, inches matter at thousands of rpm.) But the reverse is also true: Blades raked forward or designed for less propeller lift might balance a boat. Often, handling problems, like a boat that tends to stuff its bow into following seas, can be mitigated.

is primarily from cavitation,” Platzer says. “We want to unload the tips of propeller blades by changing their shape to control where on the radius of the propeller we produce thrust.” Simply adding blades alleviates noise and vibration too. “Cavitation typically occurs as each propeller blade passes through the wake of the running gear and close to the hull,”

THE SOUND OF SILENCE? The sound like gravel hitting the bottom of the boat is actually propellercavitation bubbles imploding, Harrison says.

Nibral props — mostly bronze with a bit of added nickel and aluminum — are stronger to better handle higherhorsepower engines.

NOISE, VIBRATION AND CAVITATION “Propeller noise, and often vibration,

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This 220-foot wooden-hulled U.S. Navy Avenger Class Minesweeper uses controllablepitch props to deliver power to the water.

Platzer says. With only three blades, one-third of the prop is passing through that disturbed water at any given time. Increase to five blades and only one-fifth of the prop is subjected to that added cavitation. Adding blades decreases ideal prop diameter, which increases distance between blade tips and the bottom of the boat. “The gains are linear,” Platzer says. “Doubling the tip clearance cuts noise and vibration in half.” Skewing propeller blades — curving the edges a bit like a banana instead of leaving them symmetrical like a cloverleaf — was one of the Navy’s closest-held secrets for reducing prop noise. “That curved leading edge of the blade passes through the wake of the strut and hull over a longer arc of propeller rotation,” which spreads the effects of cavitation, Platzer says. On boats with propeller pockets, blade tips are close to the hull over a longer arc, so new props are particularly helpful. TRIMMABLE THRUST “An outboard is a blank slate,” says Steve Powers, president of PowerTech Propellers. “One engine model might be used on anything from 20 feet to 40 feet, running at different shaft angles and different depths.” Because of this variety, PowerTech manufactures

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more than 100 different propeller variations for V-6 outboards. The driving force behind outboard prop technology wasn’t top-secret Navy data, but tighter emissions requirements that spawned more fourstroke outboards. Heavier engines made boats harder to keep on plane. Four-strokes distributed horsepower differently across rpm and were geared to turn propellers slower. Quieter motors demanded quieter propellers. “Now with smaller-displacement engines producing more horsepower, it’s even more important to match the prop, motor and boat,” Powers says. The right props best utilize specific engine technology, like variable valve timing or superchargers.

AVAILABILITY AND COST “At first, we were designing completely custom props for a series of production

SPECIFICS: New props can better match boats, like this PowerTech Coastal Flats Series.

SEA-TRIAL GUIDE FOR PROPELLER BUYERS Thinking of new propellers? For optimum propping, provide the prop shop with data based on the boat’s performance as currently propped. To gather this, start with a clean bottom, normal load and half-full fuel tanks. At each 400 rpm for gas or 200 rpm for diesel (recorded twice, on reciprocal compass headings), note speed and running angle (buy an inexpensive clinometer), plus electronic engine load and/or fuel consumption (exhaust gas temperature is ideal on mechanically governed diesels). Use one tab/engine trim setting through all rpm; if the boat requires multiple trim settings, note what they are at each rpm. Record wind, sea and current, and mention anything that changed the boat’s windage, weight or balance from original — hardtop, extra generator aft, all-chain anchor rode, etc. — V.F.D.

PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) COURTESY PLATZER MARINE PROPULSION, COURTESY POWERTECH PROPELLERS

“DOUBLING THE TIP CLEARANCE CUTS NOISE AND VIBRATION IN HALF.”

Powers says boats with handling issues are often simple cases of improper propping. Porpoising, for example, is usually mitigated by adding blade surface area and reducing rake. Falling off plane on hard turns, caused when props ventilate (draw in air) is often resolved by changing the blade shape. Less propeller pitch, more blade surface and less rake usually help boats stay on plane at slower speeds. Adjusting blade diameter, number of blades, surface area and rake can also increase fuel economy. With the exception of pure racing machines, sterndrive boats tend to all be similar, and so are their props. Sometimes a bit of cruise economy can come at the expense of top-end speed, but unless a boat exhibits a specific problem, Powers doesn’t typically see enough gain to justify new props for sterndrives.


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MAYBE YOUR CURRENT PROPS ARE WRONG “Sometimes props have been reconditioned so many times, they’re not even the right size anymore, or the boat had the wrong prop design to begin with,” Mitchell says. Boats gain weight as equipment is added, and props are altered with the sole goal of hitting proper full-throttle engine rpm. “Getting the right design and size for the boat can create a huge difference,” he says. Propeller manufacturers can often provide exact parameters to shops with new electronic scanners, like Prop Scan or Hale MRI, so they can reproduce the original prop shape. And increasing accuracy of repairs might solve propeller problems. “MRI ensures tighter tolerances,”

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This Hale MRI computer measuring instrument records each blade’s shape in 3-D for enhanced repair accuracy and repeatability. Harrison says. “It also ensures the geometry is the same on each blade,” which is particularly important to reduce vibration. Improving Class 1 or Class 2 repair tolerance propellers to the highest Class S, while tweaking pitch and cup at the same time to better match a boat’s needs, costs about $550 for a 21-inch, four-blade, cupped prop — versus $400 per prop for an ordinary Class 1 or Class 2

repair. This alone can wring more efficiency and reduce vibration from existing propellers. So how did the Navy’s top-secret propeller design technology land on production-boat prop shafts? “The Navy moved to different technology,” Platzer says, but he won’t elaborate. Stay tuned. Boating could be reporting on ultraquiet, super-efficient, vibrationfree Caterpillar drives next.

TWO VIEWS OF THE SAME PROP

On upward-rotating blades (top), shaft angle flattens the blades’ angle of attack, pushing the boat forward, but on downwardrotating blades, shaft angle lifts the stern.

45° 15°

15° 75° PHOTO: CAPT. VINCENT DANIELLO; ILLUSTRATION: TIM BARKER

boats,” Mitchell says of monthslong projects to aid builders in hitting performance targets. Based on those experiences, Michigan Wheel Marine developed automated tools to design semicustom propellers quickly and inexpensively, as well as advanced CNC machining to produce those complex shapes. “This makes sophisticated propellers much more affordable, and performance is much more consistent,” Mitchell says. Where propellers previously might require one or two sea trials with tweaks to find perfection, even on production boats, CNCmachined props typically reach rated rpm and match port and starboard engine load at every rpm the first time a boat is launched. New propeller technology is available off the shelf too. For around 30 percent more than venerable flat-pitch Dyna-Quads, new EQY props with airfoil-shaped blades work particularly well on diesel-powered boats over 40 feet that cruise between 30 and 35 knots [34.5 and 40.2 mph], Mitchell says. Going a little lower tech, many express cruisers in the 30-foot range have three-blade Dyna-Jet or four-blade Dyna-Quad props. For about 10 percent more money than those props cost today, the company’s new DQX series is not a foil shape, but it’s optimized for higher horsepower and newer propeller materials and manufacturing. “Switching from three-blade to four-blade might trade a little top-end speed, but you gain significant efficiency at cruise and smoother operation,” he says.


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or WE COMPARE AN INBOARD V-DRIVE TO VOLVO PENTA’S FORWARD DRIVE BY JEFF HEMMEL

PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) COURTESY COBALT BOATS, BILL DOSTER

LIKE ITS OCEAN-BORNE COUNTERPART, wakesurfing is huge fun, but the majority of the population never gets invited. With the real deal, that’s a result of simple geography. To paraphrase the Beach Boys, not everybody has an ocean. With wakesurfing, however, the limiting factor has always been the location of the boat’s propeller. In a sport that places the rider in close proximity to the boat’s transom, the average sterndrive, with its rear-mounted prop, is deemed too risky for wakesurfing. As a result, this genre of wakesports has become a members-only club, with inboard and V-drive owners the only ones to make it beyond the velvet rope.

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Volvo Penta’s Forward Drive has allowed sterndrive boat brands such as Cobalt (top) to compete with the likes of Malibu in the wakesurfing market.

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Sistership photo

Vive la Difference The V-drive was represented by the 25-foot Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV. Powered by an Indmar 6.2L Monsoon 450 HO engine, it features the classic V-drive layout, with the engine spun 180 degrees and pushed to the rear to maximize cockpit space and, in the case of wakesports, take advantage of weight at the stern. The drive shaft extends forward to a gear box, where it is then redirected aft and out through the hull. Abaft the propeller, a movable rudder influences direction. Our Forward Drive candidate, Cobalt’s

MALIBU’S SURF GATE SYSTEM FEATURES TWO VERTICAL, HINGED TABS AT EACH CORNER OF THE HULL ADJACENT TO THE SWIM PLATFORM.

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INDMAR 6.2L MONSOON 450 HO T BOATING Certified Test Results SPEED rpm

knots

mph

gph

1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000 5500

4.26 6.00 7.21 8.26 10.86 16.77 22.77 26.59 29.63 32.41

4.90 6.90 8.30 9.50 12.50 19.30 26.20 30.60 34.10 37.30

1.50 2.25 3.30 5.20 7.70 10.20 11.35 15.20 19.50 24.40

EFFICIENCY naut. stat. n. mi. mpg mpg range 2.84 2.66 2.19 1.59 1.41 1.64 2.01 1.75 1.52 1.33

3.27 3.07 2.52 1.83 1.62 1.89 2.31 2.01 1.75 1.53

197 185 151 110 98 114 139 121 105 92

s. mi. range 226 213 174 127 113 131 160 140 121 106

OPERATION sound angle level 0 1 3 5 7 7 5 4 3 3

66 67 72 75 78 83 86 87 88 92

MOST ECONOMICAL CRUISING SPEED

25-foot-8-inch R5 WSS Surf, likewise positions the engine in classic sterndrive fashion under a stern lounge. The drive linkage then exits out through the transom, where it is redirected downward through the outdrive, then forward to the propeller. Like a conventional sterndrive, steering is the result of vectored thrust. The drive and propeller pivot in unison in relation to the driver’s input at the helm. Both systems position the prop well under the hull and out of reach of riders playing in the wake. Prop location, however, has little to do with building the perfect wake. For both manufacturers, this portion of the

PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) COURTESY MALIBU BOATS, COURTESY INDMAR MARINE ENGNES

I

In 2015, Volvo Penta changed the rules. With an eye on the burgeoning surf crowd, the longtime maker of inboards and sterndrives took a cue from its successful IPS pod drive and put the prop in front of a sterndrive’s lower unit. The aptly named Forward Drive quickly caught the attention of builders of sterndrive-powered boats missing out on the surf craze and opened the doors of wakesurfing to an eager and wider new audience of boaters. But can a Forward Drive-equipped runabout compare to the gold standard of a V-drive-powered towsports boat? And can a V-drive compare to a sterndrive’s versatility apart from generating surf? To find out, we put together two flagship models from each category, called in a pair of expert surf riders, and put each type of propulsion through its paces.


VOLVO PENTA FORWARD DRIVE T BOATING Certified Test Results SPEED rpm

knots

mph

gph

1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000 5420

4.52 6.26 7.39 9.12 17.21 23.29 27.98 32.07 36.76 40.49

5.20 7.20 8.50 10.50 19.80 26.80 32.20 36.90 42.30 46.60

1.30 2.25 3.90 7.10 8.80 9.80 13.30 18.10 23.40 29.10

EFFICIENCY naut. stat. n. mi. mpg mpg range 3.48 2.78 1.89 1.29 1.96 2.38 2.10 1.77 1.57 1.39

4.00 3.20 2.18 1.48 2.25 2.73 2.42 2.04 1.81 1.60

156 125 85 58 88 107 95 80 71 63

s. mi. range 180 144 98 67 101 123 109 92 81 72

OPERATION sound angle level 0 2 5 7 6 4 3 2 2 2

62 68 69 78 78 79 81 83 85 87

PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) BILL DOSTER, COURTESY VOLVO PENTA

MOST ECONOMICAL CRUISING SPEED

equation starts with ballast, plumbed to be easily filled and drained at the touch of a button. Malibu features four rigid tanks built into the hull, spread between the bow and stern and capable of adding 1,475 pounds to the boat’s load. In addition, our test boat also utilized Malibu’s optional Power Wedge II hydrofoil. While most foils offer lifting-only action, this pulls the stern downward, mimicking an additional 1,500 pounds of ballast when lowered, and the plug-and-play ballast can add still another 1,500 pounds of wave-creating weight. Cobalt features three internal ballast tanks located port, starboard and center capable of adding 2,100 pounds to

the boat’s load. The drive can also be trimmed, or it can be raised to effectively force the stern deeper into the water and further enhance wake size. The true magic, however, happens thanks to each boat’s wake-shaping hardware. Malibu’s Surf Gate system features two vertical, hinged tabs at each corner of the hull adjacent to the swim COBALT OPTS FOR platform. Extending one of these tabs outward disrupts SURF TABS: the convergence point of the OVERSIZE, water coming off the hull sides, causing the boat to EXTENDED TRIM heel over to one side, greatly TABS THAT CAN increasing both the size and BE PIVOTED shape of the wake. Like the majority DOWNWARD ON of Forward Drive THE DESIRED SIDE manufacturers, Cobalt opts for surf tabs: oversize, TO LIKEWISE extended trim tabs that can ENHANCE WAKE be pivoted downward on the desired side to likewise SIZE AND SHAPE. enhance wake size and shape. Unlike most of its competitors, Cobalt relies upon a larger tab size and a unique, curved shape.

Surf ’s Up With ballast filled to capacity and a comparable passenger load, we ran numerous passes with the author at the wheel and both professional wakeboarder Jeff House and Wakeboarding magazine’s contributing editor Craig Kotilinek surfing the wake to judge each’s characteristics.

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BOTH ALLOWED DRIVERS TO SWITCH THE WAKE’S FOCUS ON THE FLY, TRANSITIONING BETWEEN THE LEFT AND RIGHT SIDES IN ROUGHLY THREE

In terms of sheer wave height, Malibu held the advantage, producing a clean wake that ran between 3¼ to 3½ feet on average. That wake felt larger and stronger to both riders, with a steeper face that offered more forward push. The workable area of the wake extended as much as 20 feet behind the transom of the boat and seemed to wrap around the rider in a gentle arc. Even the trailing curl and whitewash offered some degree of forward push. The Cobalt wake averaged between 2¾ to 3¼ feet in height, with a more ramplike shape that pushed the rider out and away from the wake and featured slightly more turbulence. The workable area of the wake extended to about 15 feet off the transom but fell away rapidly beyond that point. Kotilinek noted that the Cobalt’s pocket was larger than most Forward Drive models but didn’t offer quite as much forward push. He also observed that a Forward Drive’s prop wash can be more disruptive for beginning riders when starting; an easy solution is to have the driver angle slightly away from the rider until they’re on top of the water. Because the Forward Drive features counterrotating props, prop torque is not an issue. Driver controls proved simple for both models. Malibu provides complete customization of the wake via touchscreen control of ballast load, Power Wedge angle, Surf Gate and speed. An optional analog control knob is also available.

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Cobalt opts for physical buttons to fill and empty ballast, set the GPS-based Zero Off cruise control, and deploy tabs to the surfer’s preferred side. Once preset, both systems allow you to simply throttle up; control takes over once you reach the desired speed. As the left or right surf orientation is gate- or tab-based, both allowed drivers to switch the wake’s focus on the fly, transitioning between the left and right sides in roughly three seconds for the Malibu and four for the Cobalt. From the driver’s perspective, while both boats ran bow high at boarding speeds (10 to 12 mph), the Malibu ran at a shallower angle, making it easier to see forward. Cobalt offers a Performance Mode that deploys the tabs to get on plane even with a full ballast load. With the Malibu, you can adjust the angle of the optional Power Wedge for similar results.

Power Struggle Away from the wakesports with minimal load and no ballast or surf enhancement, each model displayed characteristics inherent to its category. Thanks in part to its ability to trim and reduce the hull’s wetted surface, the Forward Drive-powered Cobalt held a notable advantage in top speed, powering to 46.6 mph despite the Malibu’s additional 20 hp. With a shallower deadrise, downward prop-shaft angle and less underwater hardware to overcome, however, the Malibu

PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) BILL DOSTER (2), COURTESY MALIBU BOATS

SECONDS FOR THE MALIBU AND FOUR FOR THE COBALT.


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BOTH TYPES OF PROPULSION PROVIDE EXCEPTIONAL HANDLING AT SPEED, WITH THE FORWARD DRIVE SURPASSING ITS CONVENTIONAL STERNDRIVE COUNTERPART THANKS TO THE FORWARD POSITION OF THE PROP. and a “kick-up” release to lessen damage from an underwater strike. Both types of propulsion provide exceptional handling at speed, with the Forward Drive surpassing its conventional sterndrive counterpart thanks to the forward position of the prop. The typical Forward Drive hull’s deeper V and ability to trim, however, give it an advantage in rough water. The V-drive is slightly less complex than the Forward Drive. Stainless shafts and Nibral (nickel, bronze and aluminum) props also hold a corrosion advantage over the Forward Drive’s painted aluminum housing and stainless-steel props. Finally, the Forward Drive proved much quieter at speed. Credit it in part to the drive’s exhaust outlet below the waterline.

Let’s Go Surfing Now So who’s the winner? That depends on the buyer and what they want. In terms of pure wakesurfing nirvana, it’s a V-drive. Wake size, shape and characteristics are simply superior. But by eliminating the safety concerns of an exposed propeller, the Forward Drive has opened up the sport to a much larger audience. The wakes, and the ease of controlling them, are within the ballpark of those produced by a V-drive. The ability to trim, better top speed, and superior low-speed and reverse handling also all favor the Forward Drive. In short, with the option of both V-drive and Forward Drive propulsion, everybody wins … and everybody surfs.

J-E-T-S

While V-drive and Forward Drive might currently have more of the spotlight, a third type of propulsion — jet drive — is also making its case for surf supremacy. With only an enclosed impeller tucked within the hull confines, jets certainly boast the necessary safety advantage. Several manufacturers have also gotten into the game of shaping wakes. Chaparral’s 243 Vortex VRX offers 1,350 pounds of ballast along with the Aerial Surf Platform, an extension integrated into the existing swim platform that is contoured below to shape the wake for surfing. Yamaha’s 242X E-Series features 1,400 pounds of ballast in bags tucked inside storage compartments and plumbed to easily fill and empty via dash controls. How’s the jet wake? Definitely surfable, although we have not found it yet up to the standards of either the V-drive or Forward Drive. The wake itself it not as clean, as the jet tends to create more turbulence. The pocket also tends to be smaller. But additional ballast, or just more friends in the boat, improves the wake significantly. — J.H.

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PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) COURTESY VOLVO PENTA, COURTESY CHAPARRAL BOATS, COURTESY YAMAHA MOTOR CORPORATION

jumped onto plane more quickly (4.7 seconds versus 6.2) and posted a superior from-0-to-30 mph time (7.4 seconds versus 10.5). At surf speeds of 11 mph, fuel consumption was comparable for each boat, averaging in the neighborhood of 7 gph. The sterndrive Cobalt burned approximately 9 gph at a 26 mph cruising speed, the V-drive Malibu just over 11. With its vectored thrust, the Forward Drive held an advantage in low-speed handling, able to be turned nimbly to both port and starboard in reverse. In fact, reverse is superior to a conventional sterndrive, as the props are deep in the water and away from the effects of the exhaust. With no directional thrust and without water passing over the rudder in reverse, the V-drive was subject to prop torque and the rotation of its propeller. It backed predictably to port but lacked the same level of control to starboard. Other considerations? Forward Drive’s ability to trim is handy in shallow situations, but the forward position of the dual props means a Forward Drive does not trim as high as a conventional sterndrive; it leaves the drive exposed by about a foot below the hull even when fully trimmed. That exposure, as well as the V-drive’s prop, shaft and rudder, mean both boats need to sit higher than outboards, jets or other sterndrives on dedicated trailers to avoid damage when towing. V-drive hardware is fixed; the Forward Drive features both breakaway couplings between vertical shafts


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Out & A WHEN CARL MOESLY DESIGNED THE Sea Craft 19 — the world’s first fiberglass bowrider in 1965 — he powered it with a sterndrive. When other builders followed suit on the open-bow concept, they did too. When most people think of the family runabout, they think of sterndrive propulsion. However, in the very first brochure for the Sea Craft 19, Moesly included in the options

list: “Available as an attractive outboard with huge, deep cockpit and hinged Burma teak panel on motorwell for safety and soundproofing.” With that, Moesly provided an alternative for those who liked the outboard’s simplicity, ease of maintenance and ability to tilt clear of the water. He also perfectly summed up the perceived pros and cons between the two power choices. The outboard

N

o one builds more sterndrive-powered bowriders than Bayliner. But when it came up with the Element concept a few years ago, Bayliner attempted to reinvent the entry-level boat concept. The idea, first incorporated into a 16-footer, proved so popular that Bayliner has expanded the idea to this 21-footer. While it looks almost like a deck boat, it’s still very much

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a bowrider — designed from the get-go to run on outboard power and only outboard power. The E21 rides on a modified version of the patented Bayliner M-Hull designed to deliver outstanding small-boat stability and maneuverability. The M-Hull features a V center section flanked by deep chines and outboard sponsons. The M-Hull under the E21 places the keel

FEBRUARY 2017

deeper than the sponsons by about 8 inches at the bow and 4 inches at the transom. The deep center section softens the ride and also helps keep the prop hooked up in turns. Economy will certainly be another byproduct of this hull design. The E21 pops on plane with no bow rise and will hold plane at just 2,500 rpm. The E21 will take some motor trim, but

PHOTOS: COURTESY BAYLINER BOATS

Bayliner Element E21


About freed up more cockpit space, but the sterndrive was quieter and (at that time anyway) more powerful. Still, for the most part of the next few decades, sterndrives became the definitive power choice for the style. Fast forward to 2017. Outboard-powered bowriders are changing the game and, in some cases, winning it. Here are six of the hottest new outboard-powered bowriders.

By the Boating Tech Team

ON OUTBOARDS

Here are some of the pros and cons for using outboard power on a bowrider.

PROS:

CONS:

X Frees up cockpit space inside the boat.

X Sacrifices crispness in turns, particularly in close-quarters maneuvering, compared to sterndrives with dual props. X Can be more expensive. X Outboard boats require swim steps rather than a full-beam swim platform. X Aesthetically less pleasing to the eye for some boaters.

X In most cases, outboards deliver superior

power-to-weight ratios over sterndrives. X Can be tilted completely out of the water to prevent corrosion. X Ease of maintenance and repowering down the road. X Allows for more interior stowage.

SPECS: X LOA: 20'8" X Beam: 7'9" X Dry Weight: 3,530 lb. X Seating/Weight Capacity: 10/1,653 lb. X Fuel Capacity: 50 gal.

the boat seems designed to run very level and turns in better when trimmed down. Wide open, we recorded a top speed of 41.5 mph. It proved more than capable of handling the traditional watersports — skiing and tubing. The E21 features a deep transom platform, plus a pair of wing platforms port and starboard. The cockpit is self-bailing, and

there is stowage under each of the three U-lounge seat cushions. The battery and battery switch are below the starboard seat and will be easy to reach for service. The backrests curve with the contours of the inwale and are attractive. The console seats are simple cushions mounted on bases molded as part of the deck. Stowage in the port console will hold some gear.

HOW WE TESTED: Engine: Single 150 hp Mercury 150 FourStroke gasoline Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Black Max 14.5" x 19" 3-blade aluminum Gear Ratio: 1.92:1 Fuel Load: 25 gal. Crew Weight: 400 lb. PRICE: $29,711 (as tested) CONTACT: Bayliner Boats Knoxville, Tennessee; 360-435-8957; bayliner.com

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Four Winns HD 220 OB

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When Four Winns converted this 22-footer from sterndrive to outboard power, it was left with an empty space where the engine used to be. After considering a number of options, Four Winns decided to simply throw down a floor and let the owner figure out how to best use a space bigger than the trunk of a Buick Electra.

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Four Winns could have eliminated the sterndrive motor box and opened up the aft cockpit of this boat. However, that structure also serves as the base for the aftfacing seat over the transom, a nice feature in its own right. So the motor box stays, and we get a 5-foot-by-3-foot-by28-inch-deep cubby below the aft seat. The main cockpit of the HD 220 OB features a wide walk-through from the platform, L-shaped seating aft and bucket seats at the consoles. A head compartment is fashioned into the port console. There’s room for four people in the bow, which comes with a broad platform covered in nonskid and a boarding ladder that will reach the beach.

SPECS: X LOA: 22'1" X Beam: 8'5" X Dry Weight: 4,134 lb. X Seating/Weight Capacity: 10/2,650 lb. X Fuel Capacity: 44 gal. HOW WE TESTED: Engine: Single 250 hp Evinrude E-Tec G2 gasoline outboard motor Drive/Prop: BRP Rebel 15.5" x 17" 3-blade stainless steel Gear Ratio: 1.85:1 Fuel Load: 35 gal. Crew Weight: 700 lb. PRICE: $80,108 (as tested) CONTACT: Four Winns Boats Cadillac, Michigan; 231-7751351; fourwinns.com

PHOTOS: COURTESY FOUR WINNS BOATS

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e ran the Four Winns HD 220 OB with a 250 hp Evinrude G2 outboard. With three aboard and 35 gallons of fuel, we pushed this boat to a top speed of 47.6 mph — under the right conditions, this could be a 50 mph boat. Four Winns modified the HD 220 hull to incorporate a set-back bracket for the outboard, which preserves much of the swim platform. Plus, the HD 220 OB has a unique running surface, with a pad keel that Four Winns says accommodates the change in weight distribution with outboard power. The set-back motor gives the prop great trim leverage, and the HD 220 OB really aired out when we trimmed to get the last 500 rpm of top speed. The ride in some stiff lake chop was outstanding, and this allfiberglass boat feels really solid.


Wave of Versatility


Monterey M45

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adjustments and an ergonomic ďŹ t let the tilt wheel (with Mercury power-assist steering) and buttery-smooth digital throttle and shift fall right under hand. For the crew, there is much to admire. Color schemes are nothing less than

dazzling in their glossy sport colors, yet tasteful, turning heads without blinding eyes. Add to that an appropriate

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gleam from polished stainlesssteel louvers, rub rails, cleats and heavy-duty hinges, and you have a look that pleases and lasts due to solid, through-bolt connections and, where they are needed, backing plates at key stress points. The elegant styling is accommodating, with lounges that wrap fully around the cockpit, leaving a generous entry at the transom and clear pathways to the beamy forward seating. Take a big crew and crank up the factory-installed stereo, and your guests might just begin dancing with all that space. Under the portside console, we found a changing room, which is useful and roomy with a portable head.

SPECS: X LOA: 24'0" X Beam: 8'6" X Dry Weight: 5,200 lb. X Seating/Weight Capacity: 8/1,800 lb. X Fuel Capacity: 50 gal. HOW WE TESTED: Engine: 250 hp Mercury Verado Drive/Prop: Outboard/ Mercury 17" Enertia Eco Gear Ratio: 1.85:1 Fuel Load: 40 gal. Crew Weight: 160 lb. PRICE: $55,841 (as tested) CONTACT: Monterey Boats Williston, Florida; 352-528-2628; montereyboats.com

PHOTOS: COURTESY MONTEREY BOATS

T

his variation of the M4 sterndrive came equipped with 250 horses of supercharged power in the form of a Mercury Verado, which made the M45 both economical to run and a blast to drive. During our test run, the M45 was quick to plane, fearless in turns and rewarding in top speed â&#x20AC;&#x201D; pushing 50 mph at 6,200 rpm at wide-open throttle. And it was quiet, registering just 65 db at idle speed. No wonder outboards are gaining ground among runabout enthusiasts. In our test, the outboard had tons of power for watersports, plus it tilts easily and fully for beaching up. Inside the boat? The helm station has a comfortable, rugged bucket seat. Effortless


Glastron GT-180

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the high coamings, thoughtful padding and good handgrips make it secure. But when the kids become teenagers, you can hand over the keys to the boat without worrying. It’s great for tubing and water toys — and if their youthful hormones overcome them, it’s difficult for them to get into trouble. Crank the wheel as hard as you can flat out, and the boat just takes over and cools things

FEBRUARY 2017

down. It is very predictable in turning and handling at speed. Our test boat had the XL package (order it if only for the two helm seats with folding bolsters) including snap-in carpet, pop-up cleats and stainless-steel trim. The standard boat is fitted with well-padded bowrider seats, great backrests, and a comfy, full-width bench-style seat aft. Stowage is outstanding, with self-draining carpeted lockers forward, a huge centerline ski locker with a rubber mat, and a cavernous glove box fitted with the Bluetooth stereo, MP3 plug and cigar plug. A cooler is hidden under the rear seat, and there is plenty of stowage for everything, from life jackets to beach gear.

SPECS: X LOA: 17'10" X Beam: 7'5" X Dry Weight: 2,010 lb. X Seating/Weight Capacity: 8/1,800 lb. X Fuel Capacity: 24 gal. HOW WE TESTED: Engine: Mercury 115EL FourStroke Drive/Prop: Outboard/ 13¾" x 15" 3-blade aluminum Gear Ratio: 2.07:1 Fuel Load: 20 gal. Crew Weight: 400 lb. PRICE: $27,253 (with test power) CONTACT: Glastron Boats Cadillac, Michigan; 231-775-1351; glastron.com

PHOTOS: COURTESY GLASTRON BOATS

G

lastron is a boatbuilder that has historically embraced outboard power for bowriders — as evidenced in its cult classic GT-160. The GT-180 is the 21st-century version of that boat, a little bigger and designed to carry many more ponies. While it’s rated for up to 150 hp, our test boat had a Mercury 115EL on the transom. This boat performed wonderfully with this power. We recorded a top speed of 45.7 mph at 5,800 rpm and measured almost no bow rise while climbing onto plane en route to a best cruise speed of just over 21 mph at 3,000 rpm. This entry-level bowrider is a great first boat for a family that can grow into it over the years. As a starter boat with small kids,


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Sea Ray 21 SPX OB

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empty to store up to 13 cubic feet of gear. Topside, Sea Ray slimmed down the gunwales to increase cockpit space, and an 8-foot-6-inch beam stretches longer than the norm. A gentle arc to the bow

widens the forward cockpit, rather than squeezing it to a point. The result is a surprising 12-passenger capacity.

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Most will find a seat on the main cockpit’s huge L-shaped lounge and broad portside bench. Position the latter’s removable seat back to the rear and you have a forward-facing chaise. Move it one cushion length forward to make a forward-facing seat behind the port console and an observer seat aft. Or add a filler cushion against the port console to fashion an aft-facing lounge. The filler stows neatly below a hinged seat cushion. A sun pad awaits those who want to soak up the rays. Tilt up its forward half and you have an aft-facing couch for two when hanging at the sandbar. With the outboard power, you can trim it up for no worries.

HOW WE TESTED: Engine: Mercury 150 EFI FourStroke Drive/Prop: Outboard/ Mercury Black Max 15" x 17" 3-blade aluminum Gear Ratio: 1.92:1 Fuel Load: 30 gal. Crew Weight: 375 lb. PRICE: $41,007 (with test power) CONTACT: Sea Ray Boats Knoxville, Tennessee; 800-772-6287; searay.com

PHOTOS: COURTESY SEA RAY BOATS

T

he trend in bowriders is to give the prospective buyer the choice between sterndrive and outboard power in the same model. The Sea Ray 21 SPX OB is one of the finest models around to offer both. The outboard version is rated for 200 hp, and we tested it with a Mercury 150 outboard. It jumped onto plane in less than 4 seconds with very little bow rise. We reached the 30 mph benchmark in less than 8.5 seconds and recorded a top speed of 46.6 mph. True to form for the outboard option, Sea Ray’s 21 SPX OB maximizes interior space. Below the OB’s sun pad, the real estate normally reserved for the sterndrive engine is left

SPECS: X LOA: 21'6" X Beam: 8'6" X Dry Weight: 3,400 lb. X Seating Capacity: 12 X Fuel Capacity: 40 gal.


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Starcraft SCX 210 OB EX

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swim platform, as well as the use of the structural swim platform as a watersports prep area. Inside the boat, there’s plenty of room for the family to stretch out. The forward pickle-fork design allows for wraparound loungers, fitted with removable center cushions and plenty of backlit cup holders and USB ports. In the bow section, there’s extra storage for the swim ladder (standard) and a

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locker for the optional anchor. The cockpit features a secure but comfortable bucket seat for the pilot and an L-shaped seating arrangement for passengers. The driver will be plenty occupied at the helm with full dashboard instrumentation; for more, upgrade to a touchscreen display from Yamaha. In addition to a comfy helm seat with flip-up bolster, slide and swivel adjustments, the portside console houses a convenience center with sink and lighted cup holders. Stowage? The cockpit features a large in-floor locker as well as storage compartments under the driver and passenger consoles. The stern area is large and watersports-friendly, with SeaDek-padded flooring and a rear seat that quickly converts into a plush sun lounger.

SPECS: X LOA: 21'9" X Beam: 8'6" X Dry Weight:

2,785 lb. X Seating/Weight Capacity: 12/1,700 lb. X Fuel Capacity: 44 gal. HOW WE TESTED: Engine: Yamaha F200 XB four-stroke Drive/Prop: Outboard/ 14¼" x 17" 3-blade stainless steel Gear Ratio: 1.86:1 Fuel Load: 40 gal. Crew Weight: 400 lb. PRICE: $49,999 (as tested) CONTACT: Starcraft Marine New Paris, Indiana; 866-772-4538; starcraftmarine.com

PHOTOS: BILL DOSTER

S

tarcraft was one of the earlier companies to bring outboard power back to bowriders over the past few years, and the company did an excellent job with the Starcraft SCX 210 OB EX, a boat with a cool graphic package and solid performance numbers. Our tester, fitted with a Yamaha F200 four-stroke outboard, recorded a top speed of 48 mph and a best cruise of 22.4 mph at 3,500 rpm, where we achieved 4.8 mpg. That’s good performance from a near-22-footer that weighs in at 2,785 pounds dry. The boat is rated to hold a 250 hp engine, which should propel the boat into the 50s on the speedometer. One thing to note, the SCX 210 employs an Armstrong bracket to securely bolt the Yamaha to the extended swim platform. This setup affords more room on the


Electronics

3

BRAND PREFERENCE MFDs from major brands such as Furuno, Garmin, Humminbird, Lowrance, Raymarine, Simrad and Si-Tex are all top quality. Nearly all now feature NMEA 2000 plugand-play networking capability. Yet one brand might have a user interface that you prefer over another. Play around with the systems at a dealer showroom or boat show to see which proves most intuitive for you.

Display Decisions What company makes the best marine display? It’s a common question among boaters shopping for multifunction displays. As with TVs, the choice is largely a matter of brand preference, features needed, screen size desired, and money you can spend. Here are four factors to consider. — Jim Hendricks

1

HOW MANY? Many boats today boast two or more MFDs. Redundancy helps ensure access to integrated systems such as sonar, engine monitoring and digital switching should one MFD blink out. Or you can dedicate one screen to a function, like radar, while using the second MFD in split-screen mode for other systems. Consider

an integrated MFD for a secondary control station, such as up in a tuna tower.

2

4

NETWORK NEWS If you

have existing radar or autopilot, selecting an MFD of the same brand might help ensure connectivity. In any case, make sure the new MFD(s) can be networked with the existing equipment before you buy; otherwise, you might need new peripherals, which can run costs up substantially.

BIG SCREEN Bigger is better

when it comes to MFDs, giving you a keener view of details within functions, such as the chart plotter, radar or fish finder. While microprocessors continually

Touchy Subject The trend in multifunction displays is weighted toward touchscreen models, simply because these are easier and faster to use. While most boaters have accepted touchscreens, some still prefer buttons and dials. You will find such old-school models on the market; Si-Tex and Humminbird both offer a number of non-touchscreen displays. Another solution is an MFD that offers both systems. The Lowrance HDS Gen3 series (left), for example, augments its touchscreen user interface with a full-function keypad. Auxiliary keypads are also available to control dedicated touchscreen models. Raymarine’s RMK-9 remote keypad, for instance, allows control of its touchscreen MFD via buttons and a dial. — J.H.

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Q A

What is the best handheld VHF to buy? Here is what I look for in a handheld VHF. 1. It should meet waterproof standards (IPX8 is best; IPX7 is acceptable) and float. 2. Look for a highcapacity lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery (1,000 mAh is good, 2,000 mAh or more is best) to ensure a long operating life between charges. Operating time of eight hours is good; 16 hours is best. 3. It should have 5 to 6 watts of transmitting power. 4. Look for a rugged, high-impact case. 5. A two- to threeyear waterproof warranty indicates the manufacturer has confidence in its product. 6. A built-in strobe aids rescuers if you’re in a raft or the water. It flashes the internationally recognized SOS emergency signal. 7. Make sure it comes with both 110-volt AC and 12-volt DC chargers for charging anywhere. 8. A VHF/GPS combination handheld gives you both communications and navigation capability in the palm of your hand. — Ken Englert

ASK KEN ONLINE For more exclusive electronics content, visit boatingmag.com/askken.

PHOTOS: (COUNTERCLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT) CRAIG HASHIMOTO, JIM HENDRICKS, COURTESY GARMIN, COURTESY LOWRANCE

shrink, screens grow. Sixteen-inch diagonal displays are common, with some MFDs stretching out as much as 24 inches or more. Strive to install the biggest screen(s) you can fit on your boat, whether flushor bracket-mounting your units.

Ask K Ken


Short Casts Adding Rod Stowage

[1] PORTABLE For transporting rods from the parking lot to the boat, Taco Metals’ Rod Tote ’Em Rack is a convenient four-rod carrier. Once on board, Taco’s three-rod Kite Fishing Rod Cluster and fiverod Olympic Cluster are the gold standard for adding functional and portable rod stowage. The three-rod Trident is the perfect tool when shark drifting or tuna chunking, showing its unequaled versatility by turning one stationary rod holder into three, allowing you to fish multiple rods at various angles. When it’s time to get the trolling rods out of the way in a crazed cockpit during a hot bite, the five-rod Olympic Cluster really struts its stuff by racking your rods in an organized fashion. Both of these portable rod holders deploy or stow easily as needed. Competitive rod-holder manufacturers, like Tigress and others, also make versions of these.

[2] TRANSITIONAL We’ll define

sturdy, like a bow rail or tower leg. Examples are made by Lee’s Tackle, C.E. Smith, Taco Metals, Attwood and others. It’s critical that you accurately measure the diameter of where you intend to mount them to get the right-size rod holder to ensure a good fit. When using these various types of clamp-on units, whether drifting, trolling or underway, it’s always a good idea to employ a safety line on your rod/reel combo to prevent a wicked strike, rogue wave or rough seas from causing it to get unceremoniously launched into Davey Jones’ locker. I have used clamp-on rod holders with great success over the years, and there’s typically a size and shape that will meet both your budget and performance expectations.

[3] PERMANENT Flush-mount gunwale rod holders are the most common permanent rod holder and are available in various lengths (8, 9 and 12 inches), angles (0, 15 and 30 degrees), with open bottoms, caps, or with a sealed bottom that features a hose barb to connect to a drain fitting. These are offered

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[1]

[2]

[3]

by Perko, Lee’s Tackle, C. E. Smith, Rupp, Attwood, Sea-Dog and many other manufacturers. Most factory fish boats are offered with two flush-mount rod holders per side. My philosophy is that anglers need a minimum of three per side. Vertical rod racks range from inexpensive polymer to rugged anodized aluminum and stainless steel. Whatever vertical rack you choose, be sure to install it with through-bolts and oversize washers.

Yet another form of permanent rod stowage is horizontal undergunwale rod racks. Most are constructed from polymer or marine lumber. Manufacturers include Lee’s Tackle, Taco, boatoutfitters.com, Sea-Dog and many others. Bungee cords on either end are a welcome addition and prevent your rods from bouncing onto the cockpit sole, damaging both. Racks can also be installed on the underside of a hardtop or cabin headliner.

PHOTOS: (FROM TOP) CAPT. JOHN RAGUSO (3), COURTESY FREEPIK (PHONE), RANDY VANCE (SCREENSHOT)

In this final part of our how-to trilogy on “improving your boat’s fishability” that included tackle stowage (October 2016) and cooler capacity (November/December 2016), the solutions for adding additional onboard rod stowage will follow the same logic stream of portable, transitional and permanent. Remember: You can never have enough rod holders. — Capt. John N. Raguso


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Off My Dock By Charles Plueddeman the cables on my charger. We respect. Borrowing a boat is a more complex transaction. Here are some tips. MAKE IMPROVEMENTS Return the boat a little better than you borrowed it. For example, I replaced the missing sun-top straps on the Yar-Craft this summer without mentioning the replacement to Chuck. This is

W The brother-in-law (BIL) economy does not require an actual brotherin-law but does depend on the two Rs: reciprocity and respect.

’TIS BETTER TO BORROW THAN TO OWN T WAS LAST CALL AT THE LAKE VIEW INN, AND CHUCK LARSON stood to make his parting pronouncement. “The only sensible boat is a boat you don’t own,” said Chuck, addressing the gathering of regulars. He tapped his keys on the faded Formica bar top and strode into the night. Chuck was closing a conversation kicked off by a Regular lamenting the price of a new lawn mower, which elicited a smug response from a bar mate praising the durability of a 1976 Lawn Boy purchased for $35 at a yard sale 20 years ago, which, by the way, still starts on the first pull. Next, it was pointed out that a 1976 Lawn Boy was an OMC product and that’s why it still ran on its original piston rings because, man oh man, could OMC build a twostroke motor. And have you priced a new boat this year? The big outboards alone cost more than my truck. By gosh, at that price, these new boats are just not sensible in a climate where winter ends in June. It was sensible that finally drew Chuck into the conversation. Chuck owns a boat but on occasion loans the Yar-Craft to two people: his hipster nephew Alan, who on his annual trip to the North Woods mostly uses the boat as a prop, and, of course, to me. For the two or three times I go fishing each year, it’s more sensible to borrow Chuck’s boat than to purchase my own craft. This is an example of the brother-inlaw (BIL) economy, a system that does not require an actual brother-in-law but does depend on the two R’s: reciprocity and respect. For example, my buddy Mike owns a Sawzall. I own a battery charger. We each need to use the other’s device once or twice a year, so we reciprocate. When I use the saw, I buy my own blades, and Mike rewinds

I

LEAVE NO TRACE Chuck was aboard with his young granddaughters when the girls started squealing in terror. A container of Canadian Crawlers had bounced from its hiding place and spilled a ball of writhing worms on the deck. That numbskull Alan left the crawlers in the boat and violated the respect clause. Always remove your detritus before returning the boat. REFUEL Boats with less than 20-gallon fuel capacity should be returned full. For a larger tank, replace the fuel you used plus 10 percent. Apply reverse logic to a holding tank. REPAIR If it breaks, just fix it, even if it’s not your fault. Burn out a trailer wheel bearing? Fix it. Ding the prop? That’s on you. Your kid stabs a seat cushion? Duct tape is not acceptable. NO TWO-FERS You should have a separate BIL deal on a truck. Doesn’t that guy borrow your leaf blower?

BOATING (ISSN 0006-5374) (USPS 504-810), February 2017, Volume 90, No. 2. ©2016. Boating is published monthly, except July/August and November/December, by Bonnier Corp., 460 N. Orlando Ave., Suite 200, Winter Park, FL 32789. Subscription rates for one year (10 issues): $15 in the U.S., $25 in Canada, $35 for other international. Orders outside the U.S. must be prepaid in U.S. funds. Periodicals postage paid at Winter Park, Florida, and additional mailing offices. Authorized periodicals postage by the Post Office Department, Ottawa, Canada, and for payment in cash. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to BOATING, PO Box 6364, Harlan, IA 515931864; BGMcustserv@cdsfulfillment.com; boatingmag.com/cs. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement No. 40612608 Canada. Returns to be sent to IMEX Global Solutions, PO Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2 Canada. If the postal service alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within one year.

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B OAT I N G M AG .C O M

FEBRUARY 2017

ILLUSTRATION: TIM BOWER; PHOTO: MABLE PLUEDDEMAN

Thoughts on Loanership

key. Mentioning the upgrade risks insulting the owner. Also calibrate the upgrade. Don’t add something like a new GPS, as it will appear that you are trying to stake a claim on the boat.


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Boating february 2017