We never know what's going to happen when we at Go Boating Magazine get together with a major boat manufacturer for performance tests and photo shoots. There are often many boats being launched and moved around at the same time. All this flurry of activity makes it easy to understand how coordinating the placement of all these boats can be challenging, which can sometimes lead to certain details being overlooked.
We were photographing one of G3's boats on Table Rock Lake in Missouri early last fall. Meanwhile, a G3 representative launched a different boat, the one we actually intended to ride and test (an LX3 22 Cruise pontoon boat), and tied it up at the dock. The boat sat idle for a little over an hour before we returned.
When we returned from shooting we noticed the LX3 22 was sitting a little low in the water. Apparently the representative had forgotten to screw in the drain plugs before launching the pontoon, which in some cases can lead to that not-so-lovely sinking condition known as "where the &@#! is my boat!" Thanks to the big pontoon logs, however, our craft only needed to be pulled out of the water for a quick drain before we were able to begin testing.
Once out on the water, we found that the LX3 22 handles well, especially for a pontoon, which is a type of craft not normally recognized for excellence in cornering performance. With the Yamaha F150 engine and a 16-inch aluminum three-blade prop, the boat reached a surprising top speed of 40.5 mph — plenty fast for any family day-boat.
Our boat happened to be outfitted with the Tri-Log Performance upgrade, which includes three jumbo 23- by 25-inch tubes with special buoyancy foam and lifting strakes. The extra tube down the center works together with the lifting strakes and foam to mimic (to some extent) the response and performance of a modified-V hull. So, those looking for added functionality in terms of cruising and towing can actually get a 'toon and also have a little glass-boat fun too.
The tubes on our 22-foot test boat cut through other boats' wakes smoothly, and when we turned the wheel hard, it cornered well with zero blowout. Don't get us wrong; the boat won't turn on a dime — but that's not what a pontoon is for, not even a performance pontoon. In fact, G3 compares its LX3 22 Cruise to a family room on the water — but we'd find that to be a more accurate description of the two-tube version. We've certainly never taken a family room 40.5 mph across the water before like we did with the triple tube.
Inside the boat, our "family room" included a wrap-around lounge seating that we found to be comfortable and nicely upholstered. In G3 boats, the seating area comes all the way forward over the deck to create as much floor space as possible.
Those looking for storage room will find plenty of dry space underneath the bench seats. For the angler in the family, there's a livewell under the aft bench seat to keep baitfish or the catch of the day fresh. More storage is found underneath the chaise lounges aft, and there is also sufficient room under the helm for a 34-quart cooler.
Dining and beverages don't go unnoticed with removable cupholders in certain areas as well as a standard round pedestal table with four cupholders. The table can be moved to the forward seating area to accommodate guests. There's also an optional table we feel is a worthy investment. This table has three cupholders on both sides, and it slides open to reveal a cooler inside — further maximizing onboard space.
Space for human cargo is also a major concern of this craft. The aft sunpad is large enough for two people and is upholstered from the same material as the other areas for a factory-finish match. There is also space that can be used for additional storage under the forward section of the sunpad. Shy crewmembers will enjoy the privacy enclosure built into this area that pops up, providing a comfortable environment for your family or guests to change out of their wet bathing suits.
When people are done swimming and it's time to cruise, the captain will be happy to know his swivel chair is comfortable and is well positioned to reach the tilt steering wheel. The chair is also adjustable forward and back — and it can be locked in place.
We found the gauges easy to read and the instrument panel well thought out. The small master panel includes a power switch, a livewell power control, navigation and anchor lights, and courtesy and docking lights. The panel also has a fuel gauge, a speedometer with mph and rpm, and a trim gauge. A Garmin Fishfinder 85 comes standard for 2005. There are also two cupholders and a glove box at the helm.
When music is in order, and it always is at some point, the standard four-speaker Sony marine entertainment system with AM/FM CD will come in handy.
While the tunes are blasting, both kids and adults can enjoy a good pull behind the boat on a tube, skis or a wakeboard — and all will appreciate the standard ski tow bar. The tow bar is mounted just above the welded aluminum-reinforced motor pod, which supports the engine — which in our case was the four-stroke Yamaha F150 TLRD.
Also at the stern is a decent-sized boarding ladder, another plus for those coming in after a long tow (always remember to turn the engine off, or even take the key out of the ignition, whenever someone is in the water or boarding from the stern).
Back inside, the rails on this boat are actually bolted to the furniture, which is a nice safety feature that also helps to nearly eliminate vibration while under way, further enhancing everyone's comfort and enjoyment.
MORE INFO: G3 Boats; (800) 588-9787; www.g3boats.com. Circle TK on reader service card, page TK
G3 Sun Catcher LX3 22 Cruise Specifications
|Weight (w/engine)||3,100 pounds|
|Fuel capacity||23 gallons|
|Maximum power||175 hp|
|Top speed||40.5 mph at 6100 rpm|
|Cruising speed||24.4 mph at 4000 rpm|
Deluxe helm seat w/ fold-down armrests, mooring cover, Garmin FF85 Fishfinder, 24-ounce marine-grade carpet, round table w/positive-lock pole, under-seat livewell,
Sony AM/FM CD stereo w/4 speakers, tilt steering, two movable cupholders, 34-quart cooler, lift-up gates, roto-molded furniture, anodized deck rails, splashguards, navigational and courtesy lights, fire extinguisher, color-coordinated Bimini tops.
Tandem axle trailer w/brakes, spare tire and wheel, galvanized trailer upgrade, galvanized spare tire and wheel, front couch, inflatable bed, slider refreshment center w/2 sun catcher pillows, Garmin FF250 upgrade.
For More Information
901 Cowan Drive
Lebanon, MO 65536
(800) 588-9787; www.g3boats.com