Performance to please all ages
For 2016, Princecraft’s new Vectra 23 XL pontoon boat sat at the dock in the morning sunshine just beckoning me to climb aboard. Trimmed in the traditional Princecraft black and light tan that’s about where the familiar ended.
The seagrass flooring covered the deck as I stepped over the narrow foredeck and through the bow gate. Two forward sun-lounges, with seating for up to six adults, bracket the large removable rectangular table with 4 inset cupholders and a flush floor mount single pedestal base. The upholstery was rich marine vinyl with cupholders and plenty of storage both underneath and in the sunlonger back rests. There even more space between the end of the starboard couch and the front of the helm, but not enough to slide a cooler in between.
Deck Length: 22’ 0” / 6.7 m
Width: 8’ 5” / 2.6 m
Pontoon Diameter: 25”
Weight: 1900 lbs / 862 kgs
Fuel Capacity: 31 gals / 117 L
Max HP: 150
The helm itself is roto-mounded in dark beige with storage underneath behind a small door. The Princecraft branded gauges, rocker switches for the horn, courtesy lights and docking lights flank the black and grey three-spoke steering wheel with tilt feature. Right beside the well placed throttle, I found a necessary cupholder for the captain, and an cell phone tray with 12V charger and ¼” input jack for the Clarion AM/FM/CD stereo. Output wise there are four speakers mounted in the base of the sunlounges.
The helm chair is a low-back bucket with armrests but no flip up bolster however it was well placed and I found it easy to stand and drive. There was a companion seat opposite the helm chair to port – perfect for couple cruising on a beautiful afternoon.The stern area featured twin facing sun-loungers with seating for up to four adults, bringing the Vectra 23 XLs capacity up to a dozen with plenty of space for all. More storage underneath both seats was conveniently located close to the swim platform.
Through the centerline stern gate, the narrow deck featured a four-step reboarding ladder and a stainless ski-tow bar. It’s clear that the 22 feet of deck space was designed for entertaining and transporting friends within the rails, yet the aft deck is still very functional for water sports.
Our test boat was fitted with the Performance Package including lifting strakes, underdeck spray shield and a third centre tube. The power choice was Mercury’s new 150hp outboard.
As my wife and I headed out to do the test protocol, she was smiling with approval. We ran the Vectra 23 up and down Lac William and then stopped up in the quiet bay at the end to make notes. My test notes read a simple, and in big block letters “WOW! A twenty three foot pontoon that performs! I’m used to getting this kind of impressive performance out of longer ‘toons with much more power strapped to the transom. Top line marks to both the Princecraft design and performance teams.
I recorded a top end speed of 41 mph at 6500 rpm that honestly felt more like 45mph. The Merc 150 was the perfect match for this boat, and mated to the hydraulic steering system for effortless control, easily spun from lock to lock of the steering wheel with the prop never losing its grip on the water. The Vectra stayed up on plane and the hull leaned into the turns, producing some very fun g-forces! My notes read that tubing and skiing would be fun for both driver and the towed.
By Brad Roberts