I accept the proposition that the new Carolina Skiff Fun Chaser FGP 2100 is a pontoon boat, even if it doesn't float on aluminum logs. It offers the two key attributes of a pontoon: stability and lots of elbow room.
This 21-foot 4-inch all-fiberglass boat was designed with a nod to the growing popularity of pontoons in coastal markets, where they often run in salt water. There’s nothing wrong with running an aluminum boat in salt water – the Navy does it every day – but there’s no question a fiberglass boat better fits the décor, if you will, in the coastal community. In other words, you won’t look like you just moved in from Minnesota.
The Fun Chaser hull has a one-piece catamaran-type bottom topped with a perfectly flat fiberglass deck, to which fiberglass seat bases are mounted. The outboard face of the seat bases form the “sides” of the boat. The seating is typical for a pontoon, with a pair of facing lounges forward and a wrap-around aft lounge in the port corner. There are boarding gates at the bow, amidships to port, and at the stern where there’s a bit of a swim platform and a ladder. All the lounge seats have deeply-bolstered backs and a polished stainless top rail, and stainless steel drink holders are scattered liberally about.
Stowage below each seat is so generous I was able to climb into it, because the deck is cut away so the compartment goes down into the hull. Watch the video to see:
The 27-gallon fuel tank is placed below the aft seat.
A standard propane grill stashes in a dedicated compartment under the deck at the port entry, and a standard canvas changing cabana equipped with a portable head folds out of the aft seat base into that same walk-through space. There’s a modest sunpad over the motorwell, and the standard cocktail table stows below the pad.
The helm is a molded fiberglass console with locking stowage below, a removable windscreen, and a comfy captain’s chair seat. The standard audio system drives four speakers. The long list of standard equipment also includes dramatic blue LED cockpit lighting, an eight-foot Bimini top, a 70-quart cooler, and a stainless steel ski tow bar. The few options available include a forward Bimini top, a raw-water washdown and a 13-gallon freshwater shower.
This Fun Chaser features many of the same components Carolina Skiff uses on its rugged and reliable fishing and utility boats, (get a peek at one of their standard-bearers by reading Carolina Skiff J 16: Simplicity is Beauty) and they are all intended to resist saltwater corrosion, from the polished stainless hinges and latches to the sealed electrical connectors and stainless gas-assist struts supporting hatches. It’s all stout, quality stuff.
|Fuel capacity||27 gal.|
|Water capacity||13 gal.|
In saltwater use I think the fiberglass deck, which will be easy to hose down, presents a key advantage over the carpet-covered plywood deck found on most aluminum pontoon boats.
|Test conditions: Slight chop, light winds, 2 POB. Performance data provided by Mercury Marine.|
|Power||Single Mercury 150 FourStroke outboard, swinging a 14.7" x 16" three-blade Enertia stainless-steel prop.|
I ran the Fun Chaser 2100 at a Mercury Marine outing in Louisiana, so it was naturally powered by a Merc outboard. The boat is rated for 175 horsepower, but ran well with a Mercury 150 FourStroke on the transom, a choice that will also save some fuel as this Mercury model is especially thrifty. Fuel economy peaked at 3.2 mpg at 3500 rpm, and stayed around 2.7 mpg to full throttle and a top speed of 39 mph. At rest and when underway, the Fun Chaser has a bow-high attitude that I was told is intentional, as the designer assumes there will often be a number of passengers in the bow seating area, and when that happens the boat will run near level rather than plowing bow-down. In a light chop I thought the ride was outstanding, with typical catamaran stability. Abrupt changes of direction are not this boat’s forte, as it also turns like a cat, maintaining a flat attitude as the motor tries to push both hulls through a turn. Just because it’s fiberglass does not make it a sport boat, and I've run aluminum pontoon boats that handle better.
The Fun Chaser 2100 will also float just fine in fresh water, of course, so let’s not put this boat in a salt-water pigeon hole. Any pontooner will appreciate this boat’s generous stowage, the long list of standard equipment, and the quality components.
For more information, visit Carolina Skiff.