Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
As you begin your journey exploring pontoon boats, you’ll find that the 20’-24’ range is the most popular, and the most cluttered. It has dozens of manufacturers, hundreds of model choices, and thousands of options. Legend Boats do an exceptional job of demystifying the purchasing experience by offering base model packages to which they include many of the most common, and most popular, consumer options. This really takes the guesswork out of the shopping experience.
The E Series 23 Dual Lounge Sport Pro with the ‘Preferred Equipment Package’ (PEP) is a great example. The base model carries an overall length of 23’ and a beam of 8’6”. This base provides a perfect build up opportunity with an open and welcoming seating layout. ‘PEP’ then adds a beautiful soft weave flooring package, black exterior trim on fence rails, bimini frame and accents, triple tone ultra soft furnishings, deluxe reclining captains seat, oversized SS reboarding ladder, 4 speaker Bluetooth sound package, in dash 5” GPS, pop up change room, tilt steering, and dual USB power outlet.
With a great foundation and an exceptional slate of functional interior/exterior features, we now turn to hull performance – meaning we can capably take the kids (or mom & dad) for a tube or a ski and deliver an excellent ride. This is where Legend adds in the ‘Sport Package’ which offers up a full-length triple tube with lifting strakes on the inside of the outer tubes, and both sides of the center tube. The package also includes under deck skinning, hydraulic steering, and a ski tow bar on the transom. Bump up the engine to a Mercury 150 like we had on our test boat and, just like that, you now have one heck of a pontoon machine!
Walking through the E-Series from a ‘bow to stern’ perspective I noted the lack of a bow table and was thrilled it wasn’t there. Too often these tables get in the way of friends and family doing what we all love to do – jumping on and off the boat and freely moving around the interior. The forward loungers offer ample seating for 5 friends and incorporate forward facing backrests and dual recessed beverage holders on each side.
We are greeted in her midsection to a generously sized L-shape lounger, perfectly positioned dinette table, and a perfectly appointed helm station. The captain is treated to a great layout including quick reset electrical breaker switches, gauge package, USB charger and more. Part of the L-shape lounger is an easy to adjust rear backrest – meaning you can quickly create a massive rear sunpad when it’s time to lounge and/or watch the kids playing in the water off the transom.
The E-Series doesn’t disappoint with storage, which literally seemed to be everywhere, including underneath loungers, backrests, and even the sun pad. Most of these are rotocast bases and all were self-draining. Near the starboard rear gate (one of three entry gates on board), Legend neatly tucked in an additional storage locker – I could see tubes or life jackets neatly stowed here.
After our camera guru gave me the thumbs up that our dockside work was complete, meaning it was time to play, I noted that our 11 degree C day had turned cooler, and our winds were now holding at 22 km with occasional 38 km gusts. A perfect day for testing, as long as you’re dressed warm!
I was pleased to have the pontoon to myself at the beginning so I could learn her capabilities and riding characteristics. With wind speeds continuing to climb, I quickly appreciated the third tube underneath and found the E23 confidently pulled through turns to either port or starboard. Lake Simcoe was delivering waves in the foot and a half range, and the under-deck skinning went to work pushing the water back down as we were slicing across Kempenfelt Bay.
The 150 Mercury did its job and effortlessly pulled the 23-foot 2,400 lb hull up onto plane in an average of 3.89 seconds. This ‘time to plane’ or ‘hole shot’ testing is where the lifting strakes in the Sport Package really deliver great value.
With camera man on board, we moved next to cruising speeds. This is where you get the boat up and on plane and then look at bow position, speed, and engine RPM to find your most efficient results. On our chilly October test day, we locked in at both 18 and 22 MPH at 2,900 and 3,200 RPM, respectively. I would deem this as perfect results for a package of this nature.
A word of caution for all prospective captains – hole shot and cruising speed results vary based on a lengthy list of variables. The gear you stow on board, the crew you take with you as well as wind, water and ambient air temperatures all make a difference. Take the time with your new pontoon to learn her capabilities based on how you boat.
|Dry weight:||2,400 lbs||862 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||20 US gal||75 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury|
Legend has truly done an exceptional job of simplifying the purchasing process. Just as many of us trust our favourite server to tell us which dish is the best from the chef, Legend has told us which packages are the best. Check them out online, at your local Legend dealer or at a boat show close to home – this is a brand worth a first and a second look.