No PADS here. Ever. (Finally!)

AuthorizedUser

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OK, so a few of you know me... I recently ordered a 20SLG pontoon with a 90 Yamaha VMAX of which I will take delivery when it arrives this winter. I will begin boating in the spring on beautiful Canandaigua Lake, NY. Even though I grew up in Annapolis and had many boats in my youth, this will be my first boat in 35 years, so basically I'm a newbie (not really; I was super experienced as a teen and remember so much). This forum has been a blessing and a curse for me. Everyone is very nice and helpful, and I've learned so much. However, I've spent too much time on this forum. For the majority of the threads that I've read where a poster is inquiring about a new build, owners/members are always recommending bigger boats and bigger motors. Three logs. Lifting strakes. Simrads. Extended platforms. The list is endless as so are the expenses (it's so easy to spend other people's money!). All very logical and polite recommendations based on personal experience from all of you awesome owners.

But something horrible happened to me while reading the threads. I began to get disappointed in the boat I purchased before I even stepped foot in it. My Bennington won't have three logs. No lifting strakes. No monster motor (or motors). No Q Series. Seemingly everything that every other owner has... I won't have. For weeks I lamented my purchase, wished I could have expanded my budget, and tried to finagle how I could be someone like (you) who has something better than me. How messed up is that?

It then dawned on me. I haven't had the pontoon-owning experience yet; I have no basis for comparison. All I have is everyone else's experiences. No one knows exactly how I want to boat. No know knows my life. No one knows my financial situation. Everyone is (kindly) projecting their needs/wants onto me. Sure, many owners clarify their statements to ensure I get "what's best for me," but reading thousands of threads/responses showcasing 25' Q and R and whatever series boats doesn't help.

Then something magical happened last night. We went for a ride on my buddy's 22' tritoon Avalon with 115hp Honda. A fairly modest boat but still longer and more powerful than mine. It didn't matter. I had a great time. My wife had a great time. I asked him to go 22-25mph (the anticipated top speed in my 20SLG) and my wife exclaimed, "Oh my gosh! It's so fast! Wooooo!" (literally she said that, wooooo!). We laughed, we sipped drinks, we ate snacks (I even rescued my buddy's granddaughter's ball that she dropped overboard... and received much accolades). My wife and I were on the water and we were having the time of our lives. Come spring, we will be able to duplicate that feeling whenever we want with our OWN brand NEW boat, in our own slip, at a marina that is five minutes from the house. Everything we ever wanted in a boat will be available to us on our easily affordable 20-foot, S Series, dual log pontoon boat. And I can't wait. Happy boating my friends!
 

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lakelifeMN

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I want to be the first to let you know that was well said. I have been reading this forum for a couple years as I dreamed about getting my first boat as we were getting closer to being able to make a purchase. I finally became an active member because I wanted direct feedback from the community. As you stated no one knows the individual's needs or desires in a boat. 300 hp motor on a small lake... triple toon when I may be parked at the sandbar every weekend? $80,000 LX, R or moving up to a Q when all I want is to be able to make the monthly payment?

At the end of the day everyone should get what makes them happy and what is reasonable for THEIR needs. Never feel guilty about what you got as we all know in life someone will always have a bigger/nicer/fancier thing than yours. We are all part of the BENNINGTON community as anyone with a Bennington will have a great day on the water regardless of what type you brought. Your marina looks great and you will have many years of enjoyment out of your boat. Can't wait to see pictures next spring and hear stories of how wonderful YOUR boating experience is in your brand new Bennington. Cheers!!! :)
 

AuthorizedUser

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I want to be the first to let you know that was well said. I have been reading this forum for a couple years as I dreamed about getting my first boat as we were getting closer to being able to make a purchase. I finally became an active member because I wanted direct feedback from the community. As you stated no one knows the individual's needs or desires in a boat. 300 hp motor on a small lake... triple toon when I may be parked at the sandbar every weekend? $80,000 LX, R or moving up to a Q when all I want is to be able to make the monthly payment?

At the end of the day everyone should get what makes them happy and what is reasonable for THEIR needs. Never feel guilty about what you got as we all know in life someone will always have a bigger/nicer/fancier thing than yours. We are all part of the BENNINGTON community as anyone with a Bennington will have a great day on the water regardless of what type you brought. Your marina looks great and you will have many years of enjoyment out of your boat. Can't wait to see pictures next spring and hear stories of how wonderful YOUR boating experience is in your brand new Bennington. Cheers!!! :)
I think you are my new best friend.
 

sjhorner9475

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I agree with lakelifeMN, well said. To often in today's culture it is all about comparing ourselves to others which can often result in our feeling inferior. Each of us are different and have different needs and desires. I have been blessed in life and have a Q with a lot of HP. Our best friends often spend time on the boat with us and we have a great time. These friends also have a boat. It is not a pontoon boat, is over 15 years old, and is smaller with less HP than our boat. We spend time with them on their boat also. It doesn't matter which boat we are on, we always have a great time when we are together on the water!
 

lakelifeMN

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Not to get too personal on here but I was a single parent for 17 years and then stayed in small town ND to take care of my father who just passed away this spring after dealing with Parkinson's for 25 years (was homebound for a long time). I chose to put family over my goals of money and other things. I got married for the first time 4 years ago and we are starting off as a "young" couple. I always knew I wanted a Bennington as I look for quality and only want to purchase it once. I'm already thinking I'm going to get more boat than I really need but all the things I want (love the LED lights) and other things will make it just what I want. Had I made other choices in life I could have afforded a Q or R but I wouldn't be the person I am today. I am completely excited to "stretch" to get to an LX and know I will love every moment with it. We moved to MN 3 years ago and are finally getting to enjoy the lakes and being here. With just me and the wife is a 26 overkill on a small lake? Is it going to be a pain lugging around (got on a waiting list for a slip before we even moved here and I'm down to 82 on the waiting list as of this summer 3 years later)? We are going to enjoy every minute of it though and I will be proud to say this is my Bennington!
 

DejaWiz

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Very well said, AuthorizedUser.

I remember your threads and the only changes I think you made were adding the 4" fish finder/GPS and the VF90 instead of the standard F90.

You're going to have one sweet boat and kudos to sticking to, and making the most out of, your budget!
 

AZHEAT

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OP, It sounds like you’ve made a decision based on careful consideration and research. You will ultimately be very happy with your purchase. It really does distill down to “what’s best for each individual” regarding the choices. Simply getting out there is 99% of the experience, whether it is boating, camping, racing, RVing, UTVing, etc, etc...I learned long ago there will always be someone faster, or has the “better” version. Don’t concern yourself with any of that, obviously. Get out and have a blast on that Benny!!
 

CLDave

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Not to get too personal on here but I was a single parent for 17 years and then stayed in small town ND to take care of my father who just passed away this spring after dealing with Parkinson's for 25 years (was homebound for a long time). I chose to put family over my goals of money and other things. I got married for the first time 4 years ago and we are starting off as a "young" couple. I always knew I wanted a Bennington as I look for quality and only want to purchase it once. I'm already thinking I'm going to get more boat than I really need but all the things I want (love the LED lights) and other things will make it just what I want. Had I made other choices in life I could have afforded a Q or R but I wouldn't be the person I am today. I am completely excited to "stretch" to get to an LX and know I will love every moment with it. We moved to MN 3 years ago and are finally getting to enjoy the lakes and being here. With just me and the wife is a 26 overkill on a small lake? Is it going to be a pain lugging around (got on a waiting list for a slip before we even moved here and I'm down to 82 on the waiting list as of this summer 3 years later)? We are going to enjoy every minute of it though and I will be proud to say this is my Bennington!
Good on ya - and you're going to love that LX! Remember that you can add the LEDs, sound system, etc./etc./etc. later. Where are you in MN? We live in "the Cities" but our cabin is in Crosslake on the Whitefish Chain. Hope to see you out there next year.

To the OP - if you're on a small lake and don't need to whip around teenagers on tubes, a 20' twin-tube with a 115 is going to do amazing. Pontoon life is the. absolute. best! Extremely well-said - and you're going to love your new Benny.

I decided to upgrade from a 115/twin-tube because I'm on a large chain of lakes and I wanted to simplify (sold the "fish & ski" and our old Benny, and made out like bandits on resale with this crazy covid stuff... both boats were sold for a total of $2k less than I purchased them for 10 years ago). Now we have one boat that does it all.
 

SEMPERFI8387

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We all start somewhere. We started out on a 615 GillGetter. That’s 6’ wide x 15’ long (tubes). Deck was 12‘. We did that for 3 years till we upgraded to dealer demo. Did that 4 years till we ordered our “last” (?) boat. Don’t worry what everyone else has, someone always has something bigger, better, newer, faster. I only care about what I have and enjoy. Our next toy is going to be a 19’ E-Pro camper. Camp in spring/fall, boat all summer.
 

AuthorizedUser

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Very well said, AuthorizedUser.

I remember your threads and the only changes I think you made were adding the 4" fish finder/GPS and the VF90 instead of the standard F90.

You're going to have one sweet boat and kudos to sticking to, and making the most out of, your budget!
That is exactly correct, DejaWiz... I upgraded the motor and added the Garmin. Two great upgrades!
 

lakelifeMN

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Where are you in MN? We live in "the Cities" but our cabin is in Crosslake on the Whitefish Chain. Hope to see you out there next year.
We are about 50 miles east from Fargo in DL. We are excited about our local lakes and taking the boat around Minnesota exploring other lakes. Would love to find the perfect spot to park the camper and go boating every weekend. Locally, out here, there are a lot of options.
 

BigKahuna

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Buy what you can afford. Simple as that.........
 

DaveyJ

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We are about 50 miles east from Fargo in DL. We are excited about our local lakes and taking the boat around Minnesota exploring other lakes. Would love to find the perfect spot to park the camper and go boating every weekend. Locally, out here, there are a lot of options.
We just bought a lot on Franklin about 15 miles south of DL and are planning to build and move there when our youngest graduates in ‘22. It’s a great area with lots of lakes to try out, just be aware of the invasive species. There are a bunch of lakes (including Franklin) that have Zebra Mussels. Otherwise, have fun and enjoy the new boat!
 

lakeliving

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Buying what fits your needs it what is important. My first new bennington was a two tube and a 115. Being a young couple and having a desire to do water sports, it was the wrong boat for that and we sold it after 3 months of use. We bit the bullet and bought our current boat with SPS and a 200 and this one has been awesome and we're going on 7 years of ownership. Moral of the story, the Jones's can go screw off, live your own life as that is where happiness is found.
 

CLDave

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We just bought a lot on Franklin about 15 miles south of DL and are planning to build and move there when our youngest graduates in ‘22. It’s a great area with lots of lakes to try out, just be aware of the invasive species. There are a bunch of lakes (including Franklin) that have Zebra Mussels. Otherwise, have fun and enjoy the new boat!
Excellent. My Dad has a seasonal place on Toad Lake - great fishing out there! Spent a lot of summers at Many Point as a kid and with my son.
 

M Jay Farr

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So I too was a neophyte when I ordered my boat. I ended up with a 22' SXRXP w/Yamaha 175. I still don't know how to decipher the "SX" :) I received many a consideration when looking for our first boat, and of course, there is always a bigger and better model. I hope you were not taken back by the willingness of the groups to spend your $$, but soaked in all the options and recommendations and made the choice that fits your needs. I have always learned from the experience of others. Enjoy your ride, next summer is only 8 months away..
 

myv10

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OK, so a few of you know me... I recently ordered a 20SLG pontoon with a 90 Yamaha VMAX of which I will take delivery when it arrives this winter. I will begin boating in the spring on beautiful Canandaigua Lake, NY. Even though I grew up in Annapolis and had many boats in my youth, this will be my first boat in 35 years, so basically I'm a newbie (not really; I was super experienced as a teen and remember so much). This forum has been a blessing and a curse for me. Everyone is very nice and helpful, and I've learned so much. However, I've spent too much time on this forum. For the majority of the threads that I've read where a poster is inquiring about a new build, owners/members are always recommending bigger boats and bigger motors. Three logs. Lifting strakes. Simrads. Extended platforms. The list is endless as so are the expenses (it's so easy to spend other people's money!). All very logical and polite recommendations based on personal experience from all of you awesome owners.

But something horrible happened to me while reading the threads. I began to get disappointed in the boat I purchased before I've even stepped foot in it. My Bennington won't have three logs. No lifting strakes. No monster motor (or motors). No Q Series. Seemingly everything that every other owner has... I won't have. For weeks I lamented my purchase, wished I could have expanded my budget, and tried to finagle how I could be someone like (you) who has something better than me. How messed up is that?

It then dawned on me. I haven't had the pontoon-owning experience yet; I had no basis for comparison. All I had was everyone else's experiences. No one knows exactly how I want to boat. No know knows my life. No one knows my financial situation. Everyone is (kindly) projecting their needs/wants onto me. Sure, many owners clarify their statements to ensure I get "what's best for me," but reading thousands of threads/responses showcasing 25' Q and R and whatever series boats doesn't help.

Then something magical happened last night. We went for ride on my buddy's 22' quad-chair tritoon Avalon with 115hp Honda. A fairly modest boat but still longer and more powerful than mine. It didn't matter. I had a freakin' great time. My wife had a great time. I asked him to go 22-25mph (the anticipated top speed in my 20SLG) and my wife exclaimed, "Oh my gosh! It's so fast! Wooooo!" (literally she said that, wooooo!). We laughed, we sipped drinks, we ate snacks (I even rescued my buddy's granddaughter's ball that she dropped overboard and received much accolades). My wife and I were on the water and we were having the time of our lives. Come spring, we will be able to duplicate that feeling whenever we want with our OWN boat, in our own slip, at a marina that is five minutes from the house. Everything we ever wanted from buying a boat will be available to us on our 20-foot, S Series, dual log pontoon boat. And I can't wait. Happy boating my friends!
Now that is the way to think, I have owned Benningtons since 2002. my first lasted me 15 years until i upgraded to a tri toon. the only reason i did was because the lake I boat on is rough and as I got older I feel better on a tri toon. Have fun, make memories and enjoy your boat. That is what matters.
 

AuthorizedUser

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Buy what you can afford. Simple as that.........
It's not what I can afford, it's what I am willing to spend on a boat. The build I chose will be extraordinarily easy to pay for. I had no desire to spend $800+ each month for the next 15 years on a boat like so many of our bretheren on this forum. I do have a life outside of boating! That's where that money goes. :)
 

AuthorizedUser

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Not to get too personal on here but I was a single parent for 17 years and then stayed in small town ND to take care of my father who just passed away this spring after dealing with Parkinson's for 25 years (was homebound for a long time). I chose to put family over my goals of money and other things. I got married for the first time 4 years ago and we are starting off as a "young" couple. I always knew I wanted a Bennington as I look for quality and only want to purchase it once. I'm already thinking I'm going to get more boat than I really need but all the things I want (love the LED lights) and other things will make it just what I want. Had I made other choices in life I could have afforded a Q or R but I wouldn't be the person I am today. I am completely excited to "stretch" to get to an LX and know I will love every moment with it. We moved to MN 3 years ago and are finally getting to enjoy the lakes and being here. With just me and the wife is a 26 overkill on a small lake? Is it going to be a pain lugging around (got on a waiting list for a slip before we even moved here and I'm down to 82 on the waiting list as of this summer 3 years later)? We are going to enjoy every minute of it though and I will be proud to say this is my Bennington!
I think before you decide that a 26 foot pontoon is good for you and your wife, sit in one. When I sat in the 22-footer, I knew that was just too big for my needs. I knew that I wanted a 20-footer, no shorter and no longer. Will there be days when I wish we had a longer one because we have more people who want to come? Probably. But those days will be very few and far between. We were fortunate in a way, to get our slip. The dealer from whom we purchased the boat is also the largest Marina at the north side of our Lake. He only leases slips to people who buy boats from him... the demand is that great on our lake. He has 100 people on a waiting list who will never, ever get a slip at his marina. So, I actually didn't get the greatest deal I could have negotiated on the boat because I wanted the slip as badly as I wanted the boat. It's all what is important to you in life and what you are willing to pay for.
 
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Potomacbassin’

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It's not what I can afford, it's what I am willing to spend on a boat. The build I chose will be extraordinarily easy to pay for. I had no desire to spend $800+ each month for the next 15 years on a boat like so many of our bretheren on this forum. I do have a life outside of boating! That's where that money goes. :)
I wish it were $800...
 
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