Once in a while a boat changes the playing field. Take Bennington’s 24 R Bowrider Swingback. With a floor plan boasting a recessed bowrider design called the Step-Down U-Lounge, it makes the mark. It doesn’t feel like a typical pontoon, it feels more luxurious and safer. The pilot and copilot can easily see over the heads of crew seated forward. Better command, confidence and control results. The forward perimeter fences feature lowered profile rails with see-through upper sections. Seems simple, again, but it allows the driver and passengers to see through what is normally blocked; this makes for easier docking and also makes it nicer for those aboard to interact with those on the beach or sandbar. With that drop-center floor, one might wonder how they did that. The answer is in the center V-hull section, called the Integrated V-Hull Performance Package. This center pod is a custom-designed V-toon that adds lift, along with turning ability and stability, while also giving designers room to drop the foredeck. Ingenious all the way ’round.
Forward of the bow lounges, there’s plenty of deck space to help with launching or docking. The lounges in the bow feature Integrated Bench-Back Storage—Bennington’s fancy way of saying that just below the upper pillows, the couches employ a deeply recessed shelf that allows for secure storage of items such as cellphones, hats and sunglasses. Even the removable cocktail table is not typical; it’s a thick, wood-grained, molded plastic that’s solid, securely mounted and looks great.
The cockpit console is sleek and swept, with a small, lipped Lexan windscreen. The Vantage Point captain’s chairs are beautifully stitched and plush. Behind those, the aft section features a swingback-reversible, wide-lounge platform, with stainless-steel perimeter fencing and a matching boarding ladder.
Performance is solid; 42 mph was our top end, with predictable and sure-footed handling in curves and over chop and rollers. Best cruise was just under 16 mph at 2,500 rpm, where the 300 Yamaha gave back 3.4 miles per gallon. Acceleration was quick and authoritative, with 30 mph achieved in just 6.4 seconds.