Boat Review by: Richard Crowder
Sun Tracker of Springfield, Missouri, part of the Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Marine Group family which includes Tracker, NITRO, Mako, Tahoe, Regency, and Ascend, builds pontoon boats in two major series; fishing and recreational.
For 2015, the Fishing series comprises three Bass Buggy models in sixteen and eighteen feet plus five Fishin Barge models from twenty to twenty-four feet. The Recreational series offers eight Party Barge models from sixteen to twenty-four feet including the Party Barge 20 DLX, subject of this review. This Party Barge 20 DLX is actually much longer than its model designation might suggest at one inch short of twenty-two feet.
Although the Party Barge 20 DLX is not a new model for 2015, Sun Tracker has renewed it in several ways this year. Most noticeable perhaps will be the new 28-ounce sculptured carpet which is the standard floor covering. Perhaps even more noticeable will be the new two-toned pillow-top style upholstery of UV-resistant, top-coated 26-ounce vinyl over multiple densities of foam.
The starboard side driver’s helm has a new look for 2015 too with its newly styled wraparound sport shroud with tinted removable windscreen. There is a new built-in footrest in this console with a non-skid overlay pad. Front and centre in this new console ahead of the soft-touch sport steering wheel is a small items tray suitable for sunglasses, sunscreen, knick-knacks, etc. and which can accept a flush-mounted graph-style fish/depthfinder/GPS screen.
To the right of centre in the dash are Sun Tracker’s new DC lighted rocker switches plus a 12-volt receptacle, and to the left of centre is a large diameter tachometer plus smaller trim and fuel gauges. The Mercury® binnacle control box has been more ergonomically repositioned and the captain’s chair is a new oversized, swiveling, and adjustable seat with folding armrests and with a ventilated storage pouch on the back.
On the face of this console is the standard AM/FM Bluetooth® compatible stereo which comes with four directional speakers. Beneath the front section of the console is dedicated storage for the portable cooler. A colour-keyed seven-foot bimini top complete with LED courtesy lights plus a protective boot is standard with the Party Barge 20 DLX and new this year is the addition of built-in netting-style storage pockets within the top.
Two new fence graphics are offered for 2015 to accompany the two new fence colours of Charcoal Metallic or Red. Sun Tracker’s all-welded, all aluminum extended motor pod allows for a full-beam aft swim platform with non-skid surface and complete with a standard four step folding boarding ladder with assist handles.
The interior layout of the Party Barge 20 DLX is a very recognizable and compatible for cruising with two curved-front facing bow lounges; a three or four seater on the starboard side ahead of the helm console complete with a padded front on this console to accommodate lounging, and a two or three seater on the port side ahead of the wheelchair compatible portside entry gate. A centred bow gate separates the two bow lounges.
All furniture is of synthetic rotomolded construction with storage beneath the hinged seat bottom cushions. The portside bow lounge has two separate storage compartments while the starboard bow lounge has three with the third being a dedicated removable trash container. Netting-style storage pockets are built into the undersides of the seat bottom cushions. A movable drink holder/armrest is provided standard.
Aft of the portside entry gate is an L-shaped lounge with storage plus a standard triangular-shaped floor-mounted table with built-in cupholders. One section of storage beneath this lounge is a dedicated, covered, and lockable dry storage box. Aft of this lounge is a raised, padded single-wide sundeck with not only storage beneath but also complete with a built-in seat, a standard pop-up change room, and more built-in storage netting.
The Party Barge 20 DLX rides on a pair of 24-inch diameter multi-chambered pontoons with wave deflectors and can be powered by your choice of one of nine Mercury® FourStroke outboards from 20 up to the maximum rating of 90 horsepower. From the 40 to the 90, Sun Tracker is suggesting estimated speeds to range from the mid-teens to the mid-twenties miles per hour.
There are very few factory option choices available and most notable is a colour-coordinated mooring cover, vinyl flooring, a ski tower, rail-mounted propane grill, and a single or tandem-axle trailer.
Sun Tracker speaks to its Party Barge 20 DLX as, “Your on-the-water entertainment hub.”
|Length:||21' 11"||6.68 m|
|Beam:||8' 6"||2.59 m|
|Dry weight:||1695 lbs||769 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||32 US gals||122 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury Outboard|
|Engine HP:||Max. 90|