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Just started my pontoon search - Need help

chad austin

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For you guys that have pontoons, I am wondering what you are seeing for MPH on your pontoons with 75-90 HP on a 22'-24' and are you able to pull kids around on a tube? I am getting conflicting stories from the dealers that I have been at. My biggest concern is buying a $20,000 boat that I won't be happy with. And I do realize that pontoons are not performance boats but I also want to be able to get around on the lake as well.

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I have a 22 foot Crest with a 115 hp Johnson 4 stroke on it. Crest makes a really heavy boat! I can get 23 mph peer the GPS. When I load all the grandkids on I can get about 21. I tube with them. I've learned that I have to do ome hard turns to sling them over my wake. Tubing can be done. Propping and motor position are much more critical with a pontoon for tubing because the pontoon hulls don't plane. I have heard that the Ercoa"s (a Minnesota company) hextoons have a planing effect but I don't know that for a fact. I'd stay away from a 75 on a boat that long and go with a 90 minimum, or a 115 if you can. Also make sure that the boat you pick has a ski tow bar, that helps with the tubing. Pontoons are great boats, best choice we ever made!

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I used to have an 18' Ercoa with a 20 HP Johnson and it did plane out very well, they were the first pontoon company I thought of when toying with the idea of a new pontoon but after a little research I found out that they are just short of going out of business and delivery of a new boat is 4 weeks.

I put money down on a 22' sun chaser with a 90 HP Yamaha 4-stroke today, it was a new 2011 model boat with a 2012 motor and trailer. Thanks for the reply!

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I was unaware of the Ercoa situation.

You'll really enjoy the SunChaser, they make fine boats! Post some pics if you get a chance.

I forgot to mention one thing. Underskinning the boat will help a lot with the performance. If you're not familiar with underskinning here's how it works. The cross members on a pontoon boat will catch water while underway. When they catch the water they will cause hesitations slowing you down, more drag. When the boat is underskinned aluminum sheet is screwed to the crossmembers to make a smooth bottom, meaning less drag! Most dealers can do it pre-delivery, or if you're handy it can be done yourself while the boat is on the trailer. Local metal shops will be able to help you with getting the aluminum and shearing it to size for you. Look up pontoonstuff forums on line, lots of great info there!

In addition, do yourself a favor and Sharkhide the tubes before it's in the water a lot. The Sharkhide will keep them looking new for a long time!

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Just wanted to add, our boat is not underskinned. The way Crest boats are made I would need to make patterns of all the bolt heads and transfer to the sheets of aluminum. I keep looking for easier ways to do that! I'm following one guys usage of panels that are used to make greenhouse panels. They can be formed into place and I wouldn't need to bother with the patterning. He's in his first season with it, he's going to let me know how it holds up. If it works for him, it'll be a winter project for me.

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Chad, I got a new South Bay 522F this year. Tubes are 25" and 22' long, but the deck itself is a hair over 23'. I like everything about it, especially the larger rear "deck" outside the rails, and the smaller deck outside the front rails.

I am just on small lake, so 95% of time it is idle trolling or slightly faster. So I went with Merc Bigfoot 60 (I am black motor fan, just personal preference of having them for 30+ years with no problems). With just two people I get 21 and change MPH on GPS. Add people and it drops a bit. But even with bunch of adults and kids, I can still pop up a tube very quick (4 bladed spitfire prop) with two young kids on it.

My 15 yo grandson can wakeboard behind it great. I do not have a towbar on back, but thinking about it, as the rope hangs in the water without it, and makes it hard and alomost impossible to get the tube outside the wake. Speed it there, but drag on rope prevents it.

My bro in law just got a similar sized toon (Premiere 22') with 90 4 stroke (yammie) and he gets 23-25 mph GPS speed alone, but he said it drops to 23 with a couple people or cooler. so if you really want speed more than what a 60 can do, I would suggest at least a 115 to make a noticable difference. I see you already ordered, so just giving you some real world answers.

Oh yeah, the South Bay comes pre- underskinned from half way back on my model. I also Shark hided it before it hit the water. Totally easy to do, and worth it IMHO.

Enjoy your boat! You will love it!

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