Sylvan nailed it when it set out to offer a boat that boasts the performance characteristics of a runabout with the creature comforts of a luxe pontoon. The Revolutionary Planing Technology (RPT) package, which includes V-shaped, 27-inch-diameter outboard tubes with chines and a 25-inch-diameter center tube to create a tri-toon design, allows this pontoon to replicate the handling of a monohull. The pontoon’s performance attributes are especially evident while cornering, facilitated by standard hydraulic steering. The boat leans into turns like a V-hull, and it holds steady even when the angle gets sharper than you might think a 26-foot pontoon could cut. In the straightaways, the Mandalay 8525 Sportlounger seems to glide across the water, even in a considerable chop. We recorded a respectable top speed of 38.4 mph that was powered by a 200 hp Mercury Verado Pro; the RPT package tested is able to accommodate an additional 100 horses, which would be interesting.
Topside, the fore and aft deck lounges face each other to double as comfortable conversation pits separated by 28-ounce marine-grade carpeting underfoot and an elevated, fiberglass helm console amidships that sports two extremely comfortable chairs that slide, recline, and offer arm- and headrests. The 26-footer has abundant storage options, a sensible layout, and features that offer onboard comfort and ambience both day and night, complete with standard concealed mood and underwater lighting, as well as an aft courtesy light, illuminated cup holders, and bow pods that combine docking and navigation lights for twilight cruising.
Other notable features include a changing room that pops up from a compartment on the arm of the aft lounge seat, and a large in-floor locker that takes advantage of the space available in the 25-inch-diameter center pontoon log.
*Performance and handling rival that of a conventional V-hull runabout.
*Smart use of deck space with two sets of facing seating areas
*Full-fiberglass helm console on a raised platform
*Reclining helm chairs include armrests, headrests and slide features.
How We Tested
Engine: Mercury Verado Pro 200
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Enertia 19″ pitch 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.85:1
Fuel Load: 20 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
$69,999 (as tested)
Contact Sylvan Marine New Paris, Indiana; 866-766-9698; sylvanmarine.com