You can never go back . . . but can you?

Nautical

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I was so close to pulling the plug, at least for a  while, on selling my boat (2013 2275RLCP loaded w/Yam 250) when a buyer finally stepped up.  Had the guy been local I might have cancelled the deal but once he was on his way from GA with a rented trailer I just followed through.  I was going to post this in the "regrets" thread but I didn't want to hijack that thread and this is sort of backwards anyway. 


A little background, and I feel like I touched on this before, but I sold my boat because I was going to leave the fold and go to the dark side and buy a 24 foot I/O.  The short list included all of the usual suspects: Regal, Monterey, Chaparral, Crownline but the specific boat I was after, a 2015 leftover, was sold in March and I never did find a replacement that was right.  Of course if I throw lots and lots of money at the problem I can get a newer and even nicer version of "the one" but a line was crossed and the stiff lipped, bowtie wearing, worry wart of an accountant in my head put a stop to paying $10,000 to $15000 more for essentially the same boat I lost.  I briefly looked at the new R class with the windshields and arches, two features I wanted in an I/O, but when discounted prices (and I'm not talking local either) exceeded $80,000 for a boat that literally had only those two features over what I just sold, I didn't need that little pipsqueak telling me no, it was hell no from the rest of me. 


So enter plan B.  Here is where I downgrade a little bit and hopefully leave room in the budget for a future second boat.  That might be an inboard if upcoming lessons go well or maybe just some older speed demon if it doesn't need too much work. 


You see I tried to make one boat do it all and I missed.  The boat I had seemed a little odd to me;  Lots of power going nowhere;  Lots of nice furniture for only 2 people (90% of the time).  It's nice to know you can go almost 50 but it just wasn't fun when I did.  I also didn't like the carpet or the floorplan or the wasted space of the sunpad and the never to be used changing room beneath it.  So now I'm considering a 22 SSRX Premium with SPS and either a Yamaha 150 or 200 in the well touted I4 line.  I've read here and talked with several people who said the 200 may not be worth the extra $3200 to $3700 mainly because the 150 puts out more than 150 anyway making them very close.  I'm not too concerned about that.  What concerns me is going from ESP with power steering to SPS with hydraulic steering;  Going from an R class with pillow top to an S class;  Going from a raised helm to being down on the floor with the rest of em.  Then of course there are the differences I don't even know about yet!


Should I keep plugging away at Plan A?  That means I won't be in the fold anymore!  Or do you feel I'll be happy with an S class with a 150, meant for guests and simple cruising with the occasional burst to 40 mph?
 

azray007

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I've got an S class with pillow top furniture and a Yamaha 200.  The Yamaha 150 to me, after buying the 200, would be just as good especially for your described use.  As for the power steering, you can get that on an S class as well.  I originally thought I wanted a SSRX due to the floor plan.  After a lot of pressure from my wife to buy now and not wait for an ordered boat, I found one that we could settle for...  Well, the more I looked at it, the more and more the floor plan grew on me.  I can now say without a doubt the SCWX with the reclining stern lounge seat option is a huge winner for us!  When looking and building boats online, I saw this boat but didn't realize the reclining stern seats was an option.  It looks great, and gives a little extra room and seating.  My wife and friends love it!  It might be worth a look for you as well.  


I'm not sure what the ideal 2015 boat was, but for us, moving from a bow rider fiberglass boat to a pontoon has been a very nice transition.  It's nice to have extra storage and seating for guests.  We too, will probably do around 80% of our boating with just the two of us and the dachshunds, but it's really nice even for just the two of us to have the extra space.  Our friends on the lake love to board our boat and hangout for the day.  Good luck with your decision!
 
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CapKaz

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Nautical


Its  been a lot of years since I have been on a glass runabout. The last one was a 21' Searay Cuddy Cabin my dad owned. So my memory may be faded but as I recall the driver spent a lot of time throttling up and down trying to keep the ride as smooth as possible when you were cruising down the lake. Lots of bouncing around if the water was choppy or lake crowded. We have a 22'SCWX with a 150 Yamaha and can tell you I have never had to touch the throttle even when one of the monster boats fly by sucking fuel and churning the water up. 36 to 40 MPH is possible. Not to comfortable without the window so we don't spend much time at speed. I couldn't imagine ever going back, but that's just me. Whatever you do get a water craft of some sort and enjoy.
 

lakeliving

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My buddy has a Monterey 214ss (beautiful boat) but for personaly I would take my S over that boating experience. With the bow rise, limited seating, vibrations it is not as enjoyable as the toon. If you have pets or family members getting up in age a glass I/O isn't the best fit. Those same friends were looking at a house on a canal on our lake and couldn't get it due to the boats draft. With the performance of pontoons these days I'm baffled that people still buy "speed boats".


I've never been on an ESP boat but the SPS seems to handle everything I've thrown at it.


I'd make your self a list of pro's and cons and go from there. I think the SCWX used to have an I/O option too.
 

mattb

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I always thought it was funny that a 25-28' toon could only hold four people in its back half, two buckets and two loungers.  We bought the 22ssrx in part because it had the "rear lounger" ability but was not a commited one person seat.  I like the two bucket layout, and still room for family and friends, and the dog.  Our boat with the 150 suzuki will easily top 40, thirties loaded.  The windshield would be nice to have at 40, but we live without it.  After the last couple of busy weekends on the water I would never go back to a glass boat, and my wife and daughter would not let me.  The power steering would be nice, but the hydro isn't all that bad.  Good luck in your pursuit.
 

Spar-Toon

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I have the 24ssrx premium.  It has the upgraded pillow top seats and a 150 Yamaha.   The floor plan allows for the two bucket seats and loungers in the front and back.  I also opted for the floor storage which is huge as the boat fills up pretty quickly and you don't have a ton of room under the seats.  Never enough storage.  It allows you for the changing station option coming out of the lounge seat if that's something you are looking for.  I also have the hydraulic steering which is a big help and a must for that engine.  
 

Michiman

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The short list included all of the usual suspects: Regal, Monterey, Chaparral, Crownline...
No offense, but IMO the brands you mention above are not in the same league as a Bennington and I think you'll quickly notice the difference beyond the obvious pontoon/bowrider set up.


It also seems like you're not sure how you really want to use a boat. Personally, I'm only a month into my pontoon experience, having previously owned bowriders for almost thirty years. However, I can tell you that I won't be going back to the "dark side". More room, comfort and versatility than a comparably sized glass boat. Granted I've still yet to see how she'll perform with water sports, I think it will be passable for the 10 to 20% of the time we actually will do it. And yes, the wind in the face at 40 mph is not a lot of fun, but heck, I never used to go that fast for very long in my bowrider any way. 


While I never dreamed of owning a pontoon (took my wife to suggest a new way to boat), we've gotten way more enjoyment out of boating with the change.


I personally believe you need to think long and hard about what you want out of boating before making another move. Good luck!
 

goldnrod24

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More and more, I've been suggesting to people who have 2 very differing sets of boating needs to "own" one boat that meets the primary need and then "rent" a boat when the secondary need arises.


If pontoon boating is what you primarily desire, own a pontoon and rent a bow rider when you feel the need.


Inversely, if the bow rider experience is strongest, rent a pontoon when you want that experience.


You can insert cruiser, sailboat, go-fast boat, center console fishing boat or whatever into this equation and my advice is the same. There is NOT one boat that can do it all (although a pontoon does come close).


My opinion is formed by the fact that I own 2 boats (the Bennie and a 24' go-fast boat) and the duplication of insurance, storage, winterizing, registration and maintenance is NOT cost effective. Trust me.
 

keithkz

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Agreed.  I own two boats as well....the other being a Moomba (ski boat) with a 351 Ford Windsor engine in it.  Honestly, yeah...the Moomba is more ideal for pulling tubes and skiers but with the engine in my Bennington I can and have easily done both of those things with it.  I'd hardly cry if I had to give up the Moomba....but even threaten to take my Bennington away and that's grounds for a butt-whoopin.'
 

hma95

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Agreed as well.  Over the years have owned and been on many different styles and types of boats, but we NEVER enjoyed ourselves as much as we have last year on our Bennington, so much so that we ordered a brand new one!  We were able to bring our "older" dog because of how easy it was for him to board and get around on it for the first time!  I can't ever see us owning anything else anymore.
 

lakeliving

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I'm sure when I bought both of mine in my twenties the salesman were shocked when I walked in and said I wanted a toon! I was a trend setter without the lame beard and tight jeans.
 

Alicedream

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My family had bow riders for 30 years and then my Dad bought a pontoon boat in 1985 and back then that meant 25 HP motor. The only boats bought since then have been 5 pontoon/tritoon. The versatility comfort with several people on board is unmatched. The fact that with right tritoon set-up you can do any water sport just makes it impossible to go back. 
 
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hma95

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Should also mention, you are asking this on a Bennington PONTOON forum!  Most people are on here because they love it.  Now go ask that question on another boating forum and see what you get LOL.   :p
 

lakeliving

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 Now go ask that question on another boating forum and see what you get LOL.   :p
Yeah, you'll find a bunch of guys/gals with buyers remorse wishing they were on the Bennington owners forum. They know they screwed up!
 

keithkz

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My family had bow riders for 30 years and then my Dad bought a pontoon boat in 1985 and back then that meant 25 HP motor. The only boats bought since then have been 5 pontoon/tritoon. The versatility comfort with several people on board is unmatched. The fact that with right tritoon set-up you can do any water sport just makes it impossible to go back. 


Totally agree.  My boat is certainly overkill for where I live (couldn't pass it up....only $26K for it in April 2011 from a dealer....and so far no surprises) but I have taken it to two different major inland lakes in northern Michigan and even out briefly to Lake Huron and even in the rough water/winds that thing handles amazingly and everyone on board stays dry...no spray from the water gets inside.  I wish I could get it to go faster than 40mph (max) but it is what it is.  :)
 

BigKahuna

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Glenn, congrats on selling the boat! 


The last time I saw you (at the Benny/Regal dealership) you seemed pretty set on buying one of those bow riders. Somebody mentioned that the Regal and some other boats weren't in the same class as the Bennington. Let me assure you the Regals we were looking at were very luxurious and the fit and finish were of the highest quality of any boat in any class. 


It seems like you haven't figured out what you really want and how you want to use it. Just take a step back. Take some time. It'll come to you. What does your wife want?
 

Nautical

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Thanks for the tips.  I'd love to order but I'll miss not only the meaty part of the season but I have some out of town guests coming and it's tough for them to get here and they're coming from far away so I need to get something soon.  Renting doesn't work for me for a variety of reasons not to mention 50 hp for $300 a day;  Not doing that.  It would take me well over an hour just to get it home and I'd have to leave my car there. 


I'm close to a decision but it's not looking too good for the toon.  I initially decided to sell mine to go fiberglass anyway so it's not a problem.  I'm sure I'll be back and Bennington is on the top of the list. 
 

azray007

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Good luck Glenn.  Regardless or your decision, a day on the lake is always better than a day on land!  I know for a glass boat, the Sea Ray's are awesome.  That's what I just traded in to get my Benny.  One thing for sure, I ended up with numerous friends who had Sea Ray's and some of them were fairly old.  They hold up exceptionally well and the only negative I ever heard from Sea Ray owners was wanting to make the move to a pontoon like I just did.  You had a sweet R series, if your leaning towards a glass boat, that's probably the direction you should take. :)  
 
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