Boat Review by: Matt Spencer
When I first saw that Premier introduced a 31-foot pontoon boat with the availability to get 900-hp on it I immediately began to salivate - I had to get my hands on this boat. Then I found out it was going to be at the Miami Boat Show and I was like a kid in a candy store.
Let’s start first with the name: Dodici, for those who know basic Italian will know this means 12 in the romance language and the Premier Dodici has an 11-foot 10-inch beam so you can see where the name comes from. Even forgetting the fact the Dodici is a pontoon boat, it’s 31 and a 1/2 foot length and almost 12-foot beam is substantial by any standards.
The Dodici is available in two different layouts: Pub and Cruise and as you might imagine by the name of the Pub, it has a bar style layout. The name is perfect because based on the pictures I have seen of the Dodici Pub it’s more spacious than some actual pubs I have been to. It has a full bar area with bar stools, along with a high-top table area and a full J shaped lounger group at the bow.
The Cruise version which I tested is a little more subtle in its layout with a large L shaped lounger group in the bow with twin captains chairs across from them on the port side of the boat. Midship you will find the helm which I will go into greater detail shortly and across from this right behind the port side gate is a mini bar area complete with 3 bar stools, a high-top countertop and sink. Directly behind the bar is a stern conversation area that’s fully enclosed and what I would describe as a “C” shaped lounger with table in the middle. This would be perfect for family style dinners, playing cards in the sunlight or simply enjoying a glass of wine with friends and family.
The helm on the 310 Dodici is elegant yet not too elaborate, which I think is a good thing. The model they had in Miami had a single row of switches directly to the left of the steering wheel. The dash had the Evinrude ICON 7inch touch screen along with a Garmin touch screen chart plotter as well. The throttles were a dual lever ICON EST Electronic Shift and Throttle control system and it had the I-Pilot joystick docking system giving you full control of this massive pontoon.
And of course these controls are connected to not one, not two, but three Evinrude ETEC 300-hp G2 Outboards. For most people one single 300-hp on a Pontoon boat is outrageous but 900-hp, that’s almost too much to comprehend. But then it’s important to understand the Dodici is much more than just a pontoon boat. It’s a large, high performance day boat that just happens to have pontoons as a running surface.
Speaking of pontoons, it’s important to spend some time on Premier’s PTX Performance pontoons that are under this boat. You can’t just simply bolt 900-hp to a pontoon boat, it has to be built to withstand the torque that the G2 outboards deliver when the throttles are put down. The cross members on the Dodici are set 16-inches apart to withstand the twisting and contorting. The PTX Package itself includes two outside, 27-inch pontoons, with lifting strakes on the inside that are made out of 0.90 gauge aluminum. The magic however is with the center pontoon which actually has a flat bottom, with rounded edges. Now with your normal, run of the mill PTX center pontoon is either 30 or 36-inches and made out of 0.125 gauge aluminum. For this monumental boat Premier introduced a 42-inch center pontoon which is almost unfathomable. But then again when you have a 900-hp pontoon boat, maybe a 42-inch center pontoon isn’t as wild as it seems.
The Miami boat show was a perfect spot to test the Evinrude i-Dock and Optimus 360 joystick docking solution since they pack as many boats as they can into a small area, many of which are buzzing in and out of their slips and as you can imagine the 310 Dodici is a lot of boat to maneuver but i-Dock was up to the challenge.
Another benefit of having multiple engines is that you can then have them articulate individually and apply different thrust vectors to move the boat in any direction including walking it sideways and spinning 360 degrees in its own length. So leaving this busy basin was no sweat as we smoothly backed up, spun a bit, slid over a bit, spun some more and we were on our way! Now I have had the chance to put pontoon boats through some pretty vigorous testing including entering a run of the mill pontoon into a high performance poker run. So I have seen the limits and know what they’re capable of but I was very interested in seeing how they would perform at this scale. When you trim a pontoon up more and more of the logs come out of the water so how would the deck react to holding that extra weight up? How would it corner and accelerate? All of my questions were about to be answered.
It’s important to look at a couple of specs before we get into the performance review that will really help put things into perspective. So at 31-feet 5-inches the 310 Dodici has a dry weight of just under 4000 pounds (3975). When you look at a comparable boat, say the Rinker 310 Express, it has a dry weight of 12,000 pounds! The Four Winns H310 perhaps is a more comparable boat being a large bowrider day boat also has a weight of 8,880 pounds, twice that of the Dodici - so pontoons win the weight game even at a large scale. And when you add extra horsepower you’re going to get an incredible power to weight ratio.
This showed in the performance as it was on plane in just 4 seconds and cruised at 30 mph at just 3000 rpm. When you’re in a large pontoon things seem to go in slow motion. What I mean is you never feel like you’re going the speed you are. The PTX pontoons, especially that 42-inch center tube rode gracefully along the busy chop we were faced with as other sea trials were happening during the boat show. Every now and then a large yacht would drive by and we could head into its wake and the Dodici seemed to smile and ask for more.
Putting the throttles down more the boat responded with an average of 5 mph increase with every 500 rpm, an excellent ratio. Even 50 mph was considered a cruising speed as we were just at 5000 rpm and the Dodici never lost any of its composure. The deck was solid, I didn’t feel and stress as it rose gracefully to a top speed of 62 mph. That’s right over 60 mph in a pontoon. Turns were respectable for this large boat. I’ve tested smaller Premiers with PTX and they are one of the best turning pontoons I have experienced but you are going to lose some of that as you scale the package out. But with that much horsepower behind you you can also use it to muscle around getting the handling you want.
That said I think this shows that this package can definitely be scaled down to say twin 300’s or even twin 250’s to save you a little bit of cash and still get you excellent performance and no matter what, you’re going to turn heads out on the water.
We have talked a lot about the jaw dropping specs of this boat - 31 feet long, almost 12-foot beam and 900 hp and the fact that it’s all on a pontoon, makes it even more ludicrous. But after having given this boat a fair shake as just a boat, I am completely convinced. I heard a quote once that said “limits don’t push themselves” and I think it applies perfectly to the 310 Dodici. If companies like Premier weren’t out there to push the limits of pontoon boats we’d still be on an 18-foot floating dock with a 9.9-hp on it.
But when you look at the forest for the trees you will see that pontoons are versatile, their running surface is proven and as Dodici has proven they are sexy and exciting. If you disagree then you can stay on the dock while I head out and do 60 mph in my 31-foot party machine.
|Dry weight:||3,975 lbs||1,803 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||120 US gals||454 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Tested Triple Evinrude G2 300hp|