By Bill Jennings
Is there a ‘toon in your future? With the growing popularity of pontoon boats, there may well be! If so, you need to know about ‘Tapered Tube Technology’ from Larson Boats. It can change the way you think about pontoon boats. The concept is not radical – it’s not even new, but if you want the load capacity of a pontoon boat while retaining the ride of a V-bottom, be sure to check out the Larson hull construction technique.
Traditional pontoon boats are built with two round ‘logs’. As an in water platform for the boat, these deliver a basic hydrodynamic performance. In recent years, manufacturer’s have dramatically improved pontoon performance by incorporating a third log down the centerline. By mounting this tube lower than the two outboard tubes, handling and performance of the three tubes taken together is greatly improved and the boat leans into turns, like a V-bottom.
In contrast, each of the Larson’s Escape’s pontoon logs are a hull all to themselves. Each log is tapered from the bow to the stern. Viewed from the side, the bottom edge of the log tapers upwards towards the bow the same way a traditional boat hull does, this design helps creates lift as the log moves through the water. As with a V-bottom runabout, this delivers a softer ride. But there is more – the exclusive tapering of the tubes creates a log that planes through the water and balances the boat for proper balance, stability and tracking. Viewed from the end of each log, you’ll notice sharp angled chines on the bottom – just like you’d find on a modern day boat hull – that serve to improve both the lift and planning aspects of the ‘log’. This reduces drag and increases fuel efficiency. A vent is built into each log to compensate for tube expansion caused by temperature changes. A ‘deadrise’ is also built into the bottom of each log. Hence Larson coined the term ‘Tapered Tube Technology’. Additional strength is created with their all welded aluminum construction, internal stringer system and six internal cross bulkheads per tube.
With the Escape 25 TTT, Larson has correctly recognized that not all pontoon buyers want a boat that looks like a Mississippi river barge. By adding a stylish and protective body, Larson has considerably enhanced the visual appeal of their pontoon line. The dual console model, with two windshield protected captain’s chairs, exemplifies their intention to add style as well as comfort. Ahead of the windshield are two forward facing chaise lounges with articulating armrests. Behind the captain’s chairs are two additional loungers and a canvas, pop-up changing station. The aft activity platform is solid and large enough to be very practical.
Eye catching appointments are everywhere, such as a wood-grain 3-spoke steering wheel and you will also find many practical inclusions such as a hidden trash receptacle, cooler locker, LED docking lights and hydraulic/tilt steering. Not losing sight of classic pontoon boat benefits, the Escape retains the convenience of four separate boarding gates.
For weather protection, Escape seats are topped with a quick release Bimini, leaving a very short optional equipment list. To guarantee a lasting love for my boat, I might go for the teak, fold down leaf table and interchangeable bow/stern filler cushion.
One big advantage of pontoon boats is their ability to operate with a wide range of horsepower. If you like to travel at warp speed, you can order a bucket of horsepower, but pontoons are much more flexible than most boats when it comes to recommended minimum horsepower, so you can choose half the horsepower, or even less, and still enjoy comfortable, low speed cruising. Accordingly, Escape 25 TTT offers fifty nine different outboard motor options. That’s right – 59.
The Escape 25 TTT DC may not have the easiest name to remember, but without doubt, it further expands the definition of a pontoon boat.
By Bill Jennings