Harris FloteBote Solstice 240

The Solstice 240 is a highly customizable pontoon with a plush ride.

Harris FloteBote Solstice 240

Harris FloteBote Solstice 240

Harris FloteBote Solstice 240

Harris FloteBote Solstice 240

Harris FloteBote Solstice 240

Harris FloteBote Solstice 240

Harris FloteBote Solstice 240

Harris FloteBote Solstice 240

Harris FloteBote Solstice 240

Harris FloteBote Solstice 240

Harris FloteBote Solstice 240

With newfound performance and handling, pontoon boats are fast saying goodbye to their senior-citizen image. Models like Harris FloteBote's Solstice 240, however, continue to celebrate a pontoon's classic strengths in the process. What's the most obvious example? A 'toon's highly customizable floor plan. The Solstice offers no less than six configurations, each of which tailors the boat to the buyer's needs. My test boat was all about comfort. Aft, it featured dual lounges with reclining backrests, raised inclines to offer support below the knees, and elongated footrests that almost beg passengers to stretch out and soak up the sun. Adjacent to the helm, a plush chair looks lifted from the living room. Add parallel lounges forward — and cushy, soft-touch vinyl throughout — and you've got space for up to 13 passengers, and an inviting platform whether you're underway or simply entertaining at the dock.

Plush can also mean practical. Nearly all those seat bases pivot forward on two-part hinges to allow easy access to the storage in the roto-molded bases below. As you would expect from the brand, all are guttered with drains to keep rainwater at bay. I also noted a low-maintenance vinyl aft deck, an extra-deep five-step aluminum ladder, and a standard quick-release Bimini top. Oh, and cup holders. Lots and lots of cup holders. They don’t call them party barges for nothing.

Another area in which my test boat went classic was in terms of power and pontoons. Below, twin 25-inch-diameter logs with inboard lifting strakes carried the load, producing admirable handling with just a hint of a pontoon’s traditional outboard lean in the corners. A midrange engine choice, a Mercury 115 outboard, powered the boat to a sedate 22.2 mph, while burning only 5.5 gph at a 17.6 mph cruising speed.

Comparable model: Bennington 25 RSFBA

For more information, visit:www.harrisboats.com