Manitou 27 Legacy SHP

Manitou's 27 Legacy SHP runs higher speeds with predictable handling.

We Say: "Fast pontoon boat" might seem oxymoronic to those who haven't run one. A 300 hp Evinrude E-Tec outboard pushed us around a coastal bay at nearly 50 mph aboard Manitou's 27 Legacy SHP. It provides predictable handling and won't pound your crew's fillings loose on choppy water.

With Manitou’s patented V-Toon technology, the larger-diameter center tube is lower, presenting an arrangement similar to a monohull’s V-shape with handling to match. The optional Sport Handling Package (SHP) includes upturned lifting strakes to reduce slamming, reinforced “Barracuda” nose cones to handle higher speeds and power-assisted steering. This design combination helps it bank turns reassuringly.

Visibility from the raised, nonglare helm was excellent. I do wish a compass were installed. Call me old school.

My tester featured an L-shape settee aft and a pair of facing lounges forward. The lounges recline and feature flip-up armrests and movable drink holders. Gutters ensure water runs overboard rather than onto stowed gear. Boarding gates at the bow, side and stern allow for ease of egress. The changing room proved commodious enough for this 6-foot-tall tester, and the toy box aft will easily stow the gear a family-size crew requires.

Who'd Want One: Boaters seeking a pontoon comfortable enough to run on choppy water.

Other Choices: Bennington's 2550 QCL ($72,271 with a 300 hp Mercury).

Bottom Line: $64,500; manitouboats.com