Many of us love pontoon boats for their spaciousness, comfort, and versatility, but of the zillions on the market, the 2016 Veranda Vertex 22 RFL stands alone. It’s unique, in a flooded pontoon marketplace. Want to know why? Check out this short First Look video, and you’ll quickly get the picture.
That unusual deck construction translates into a completely different feel on the water. If you’ve ridden other pontoons, you know quite well that they tend to vibrate, rattle, and feel a bit loose underfoot. When you strike waves, on some pontoon boats it feels as though one part of the boat is trying to go to port while the other is trying to go to starboard. And in truth, there are an awful lot of nuts and bolts holding numerous different structural components together. Some give is to be expected. But with the deck and the logs welded together, the boat’s significantly stiffer.
We ran the Veranda up to 40 MPH in the Patapsco River, and encountered everything from a wind chop to tugboat wakes. In all cases, the boat feels solid underfoot and in the lake-like wind-driven chop it performed flawlessly.
More about performance: We hit that 40 MPH top-end with a Yamaha VF175 V Max SHO outboard. That’s 75 horses shy of the boat’s maximum, so if you want even more power, you can get it. Unless you have a serious need for speed, however, those extra ponies are probably overkill. The 175 provided a 27.5 MPH cruise at 4500 RPM while netting 3.2 MPG, which is pretty sweet speed and efficiency. And thanks to the punch of the SHO series, yanking skiers and wakeboarders out of the hole will be no problem.
What about the rest of the Veranda’s construction? I found an aluminum hatch, were I’d usually see plastic. I found a tow-arch that didn’t move an iota when I shook it. I found a helm station with lighted toggles and a touch-screen display. I could gripe about the wobbly cocktail table, but virtually all pontoon tables wobble. On the whole, this boat’s built on par with or better than other pontoons in virtually every regard. If you’ve been shopping top-shelf 22’ pontoon boats, don’t sign on any dotted lines until you’ve had a look at this one.
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