The Windshield Fiasco of 2016

Nautical

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A real sob story.  Get your tissues ready.  I'm writing all of this in hopes to prevent another from suffering the same tragedy.  If I can spare just ONE boat owner . . .


There were a couple of things I didn't like about my 2013 22RLCP.  I liked the floorplan on paper but not after a few uses.  I didn't care that the boat had carpet . . . at first.  I never used the sunpad or the changing room under it.  I didn't like that I had to stare at a large sticker that said I couldn't use the port side captain's chairs while underway (the only reason I liked the floorplan on paper in the first place).  That's about it.  Oh, I didn't like the way it sat in the water with the heavy 250HP hanging off the back . . . like it was always trying to "pop a wheelie."


I wanted a REAL boat.  I wanted a boat that LOOKED like a BOAT.  I didn't want to be driving a minivan, I wanted a CORVETTE.  Well, there were only a couple of minor things I didn't like about the Benny I had but after only 3 days I found there was almost nothing I liked about the boat that replaced it.  I'm not going to list them and then ask you to help me find a buyer but suffice to say I'm a pontoon guy after all.  There's nothing wrong with the boat, it performs as it should, it's just not for us.   


So how did this happen?  My wife and I wanted a windshield (I want to say only she wanted the windshield but she might see this someday or I might get ratted out so I kind of wanted it too, okay?).  See, while it was fun going 47 to 49 mph once in a while, whenever I did, the balmy NC weather in July turned into Maine weather in April.  The supersonic speed made my face distort like in that old movie where the guy sabotaged the centrifugal training machine and the other guy almost died in it when it went really fast.  I can't remember the name of the film or plot or the cast but I remember that stupid scene for some stupid reason. 


I tried to buy another pontoon.  Manitou and Bennington both had models with Windshields but YIKES they added boo koo bucks to the price.  I sold my boat in the high 40s and would have had to pay mid 70s for a windshield model.  It didn't offer much more than my RLCP either.  So here I was, kicked out of the Bennington club by yours truly, all for a windshield I couldn't have.  So like Richard Gere in Officer and a Gentleman - - I HAD NOWHERE ELSE TO GO.  Now THAT movie I remember well.  I turned to the only boat that would have me and my budget . . . yes, a (GASP) fiberglass bowrider.  I shopped my little butt off and bought what I thought was a great boat.  Great looks, great ride (sorry, no - don't do test drives on Tuesday mornings) and (cue the sunshine and high pitched string chords) a shiny, chrome lined (wait for it . . . . )  WINDSHIELD!  Not only that but it has a door below the windshield to cut the boat in half and block even MORE evil airflow.  I mean even Bubble Boy would be proud (yeah, I saw that too).


So here I am in the exact same position I found myself a year ago . . . trying to sell a near new boat that I don't want and maybe keep enough money to undo this mistake and come home to you guys (if you'd even HAVE someone like me after such a betrayal).  If I'm lucky I'll be able to find something decent in the mid 60s.  Ride is very important to us or I would just go with an S class with SPS but after having (and losing) the ESP, it makes sense to go back to it even though I'm sure the SPS is pretty close.


Moral of the story, if the wind is bothering you, put on a set of goggles.  Maybe get a scarf like Snoopy so when you fly your Sopwith Camel around the lake you could look cool and not go down the same road I went down.
 
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1Blderbob

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Of coarse we'll forgive the bad decision. We all make bad decisions! And most of the time,bad decisions usually cost you.Any way,welcome back to the Bennington Pontoon side. If you really liked the ride of the old Benny,then you probably want to stay withe the heavier R or Q series boats. And of coarse, once a ESP owner,always a ESP owner. I know I couldn't go back! 


What ever your decision on a new boat this time, try to sea trial a like boat first before moving ahead. PADS is really a bad problem around this forum. Your case was a little more complicated. As always,ask the questions.I'm sure someone will give some type of feed back.
 

Link

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Nautical, I want the windshield for the same reason as you.  I would have considered trying to have one fabricated for my RLi but it just didn't seem right to protect only me while others froze.  They haven't been out that long so finding a used windscreen Bennington may not be that easy.  Also I would imagine that eventually they will become available on the G and then the S models
 

lakeliving

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Bummer to hear it didn't work out. My buddy has a 214ss Monterey and it is a beautiful boat, it just doesn't compare to the ride of a tri-toon. (Even an S series with SPS). You talk about the 250 making the boat look like it is doing a wheelie, how was that chaparral getting on plane????? If it's anything like 99.99999999% of bow riders it went nose high. My buddy comments all the time how fast and smooth ours gets on plane. They are in their early 30's and if they were to do it over again they'd have a pontoon.


I wouldn't rule out an S with SPS. They are nice boats and now you can put 250hp on the back of one.
 

adkboater

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I have to admit I've missed my windshield! Up in the ADK it can get chilly cruising back from an late night ice cream run. I feel your pain! But happy to say I wouldn't trade my Bennington for anything but an upgraded model. I'll sure you'll find some thing, even though you did have ESP I'm sure a SPS will put you back in the ball park. Best of luck with your journey!
 

BigKahuna

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Hey, we've been on Nauticals new boat and it's a beauty! Windshield and all! It ran nice, plenty of pull but a Tritoon handles the waves and chop so much better. I've had a bowrider and have spent many days getting beat up so we know.    Never really cared for the windshield on a pontoon boat because it reminded me of our bowrider. 


Dont worry Glenn you'll sell that boat soon..........
 

mattb

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This the one your thinking of?  Bubble boy, John Travolta wasn't it?  Sorry, cant do Richard Gere.  We upgraded our 19', 4.3, Ebbtide BR to a 22' 150hp SPS, like so many others, I wont go back.  Don't know ESP handling but my Benni is just as good as the Ebbtide was, and the ride is worlds apart.  Roger Moore was too damn funny as Bond.
 

Nautical

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Thanks but no, I would have remembered if it was James Bond.  The movie I was referring to was older.
 
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Michiman

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Coming from a bowrider, I too, can confess that what I miss most is that windshield! That said, IMO with a toon you get a lot more that quickly makes up for the lack of a windshield. You learn to adapt by cruising at a slower speed and bringing along jackets and blankets for those cool evenings. Two years ago, I could have never dreamed I'd own one, but now I wish I'd have switched years ago. 


Some lessons are more difficultly learned than others, but I think you'll find this one worth every penny. 
 

Nautical

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I haven't sold my Chaparral 246SSI yet but I'm starting to get some nibbles.  Hopefully it will go soon.  If anyone knows someone who might want one, please drop me a line.  I'm the cheapest one by far.


So I thought I was making progress on the replacement boat but I'm still bouncing back and forth like a steel ball in a new pinball machine.  There was another shindig at the local dealer and I sat at the helm seat of a windshield equipped model.  I was not only looking solidly over the windshield but I'd say it was chin height at best.  My head would most likely be well inside the slipstream of air.  It's possible it's just there for show.  This one was tinted so dark I'm sure it was absorbing some of the excess light in the room so even if I wanted to crouch down, it would be futile.  Using Benny's build calculator, and after applying the expected discount, I came up with a difference of just under $5000 extra for just the windshield model.  I was looking at an R23 Swingback so the non-windshield model had standard couch/chaise lounges and the windshield model had dual captains chairs (or helm and ADMIRAL chairs, really) so that was the only other difference but it hardly justifies that kind of price diff if the thing is just for show. 


On top of all of that I'm still considering just going for an S this time with SPS and a 150 which would allow me to eventually buy a second (used) boat for more serious water sports.  Me, no, I don't do any water sports now and have no idea how to and I'm too old and fat but I want to try anyway.  I'm the only readily available driver skilled enough to pull someone and the only one interested in even trying it so stay tuned for the Wakeboard Fiasco of 2017 thread coming this fall.


I like the Mediterranean Blue with a black mid stripe but the Sterling Grey with the black stripe looks a lot classier.  This is gonna get ugly.
 
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CapKaz

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Nautical, 


Going with the SPS with the 150 would definitely not be a compromise for doing water sports. I'm not sure what you want to do. The only thing we are unable to do behind our 22' SCWX is surf without a rope. The reason for that is the outboard. You know,  getting sliced up if you were to fall forward and stuff like that. The wake is a bit small too. Other than that, skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, surfboarding with a rope, tubing, can all be done with two and I'm sure with out a doubt three people in tow. The only thing we might not be able to do is bare foot. Not sure what kind of speed you need for that. Never been interested in trying. Hitting a floating log might leave a mark.


PS: I wonder if Bennington has ever considered a stern drive with ballast tanks in the aft portion of the outboard  toons. Might make one heck of a surf platform. Hummm!
 
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Michiman

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After all this, I'd really recommend taking a windshield model for a test drive. That way you'll know for sure whether that set-up is going to do the trick. Buying and selling boats can add up to some real money!
 

Remediation

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PS: I wonder if Bennington has ever considered a stearn drive with ballast tanks in the aft portion of the outboard  toons. Might make one heck of a surf platform. Hummm!
They did have a water sport hull design about 3 years ago.  I think one was at Indian Lake.  You could use the Volvo puller stern drive for a neat design. 
 

CapKaz

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I think I miss spoke. I think I mean a mid engine stern drive. For surfing the prop or drive must be under and forward under the craft. When surfing you are only a few feet from the back of the boat. Not sure what a puller stern drive is. Sorry for the high jack.
 
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Remediation

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Volvo is building a stern drive where the prop is in front of the gearbox. The prop is in clean water under the boat. they are challenging the inboard ski boats. 
 

Michiman

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Yes, it is a new design for them. Should be interesting to see if it gets any traction in the market.
 

cwag911

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/monthly_2017_03/large.volvo_drive.jpg.80e11e361857b243368493cf989bb724.jpg


Took this while we were out and about today.
 
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Nautical

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I considered one of these forward drive Volvos last year because I thought it potentially could be the one boat that could "do it all."  Each major, local dealer bought one and I'm sure they're very glad that one is all they bought because they stuck around for a LONG time.  They all sold them but it was well after season's end. 


Hard core wakesurfers and wakeboarders laugh at these attempts at making an I/O act more like an inboard but whether or not they are a viable alternative, I don't know.  I do know they'd be fine for any attempt I could make at watersports at my age, skill level and weight but what stopped me cold was the price.  I just could not get near any of these "hybrids" for less than $90,000. 


Yamaha entered the watersports frey with their top of the line jet boat by adding fillable ballast bags.  I test drove one of those in Lake Wylie at the dealer there but jet boats are too noisy, too fuel thirsty and again, the watersports snobs turn their noses up at them.  I'm not going to take an $80,000 or $90,000 chance with something that is most likely an albatross.
 
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