Captain's ReportJC SunToon 23 TTBy Gary JoyceJC Manufacturing has been in the pontoon building business for 27 years. Owned by Jerry Amsden and Kim Cripe, the company is true to its Midwest roots, making a product known for its quality workmanship and value and backing it regardless of age. “Fit and finish is the key,” said Cripe. “Our company is known for over-engineered and over strength designs. And we’re happy with that.”In the BeginningJC started this triple pontoon stuff back in 1979 when they registered “TriToon” as a company trademark. But a “TriToon” is different than a triple tube. In the case of the 23 TT, the TT stands for Triple Tube and thus the 23 TT utilizes three-U-shaped tubes (the company calls the shape SuperTubes) that are 24-inches high by 23-inches wide. They’re made out .091-thick aluminum, although the nosecones are .100 inches thick. The industry standard thickness tends to be .080 thick. Many boats eschew the U-tube shape opting for round tubes. JC has gone with the U configuration because it provides more flotation when heavily loaded than round tubes do. And if you look at the hulls of multihull sailboats (which rely on light weight and hull efficiency for their speed) you’ll notice that they tend to be U-shaped as well. Luxury and Economy“From the deck up the 23 TT offers pretty much the same luxury features as the rest of the JC line up,” said Cripe. And our test ascertained the truth of this. The in-house upholstery has the company logo embroidered on it, the vinyl is heavy-duty and the seating plush. The boat is framed with powder-coated aluminum channel and if the design requires curves, the JC uses curves rather than right angles. Hardware in the tops, cleats, ladders, rails is all stainless steel, and even there you’ll find some trick stuff. Take for instance the cleats; rather than traditional horn cleats, the center hole on the corner cleats is large enough to allow a spliced loop of 1/2-inch line to be threaded through it. Smart.Where other boats have aluminum sheet as sides, JC goes a step further using vinyl covered aluminum. And not just any vinyl, “we found this vinyl used in Israel for roofing. It gets pretty hot over there and this stuff is UV stabilized and long-lasting,” said Cripe. Open flat space along the 23 TT’s sides usually has some sort of mesh pouch attached to hold goodies like sunglasses, maps. Our test boat was fitted with twin recliner seats instead of a lounge forward. These are designed for JC and feature a composite base and stainless steel pedestal and hardware. They spin, recline, have a flip-up bolster and flip-up armrests. A captain’s chair model can be had for the helm and is a straight swap out for the lounge. Our boat had the recliners (the captain’s chair don’t recline) which is an upgrade, but if you want to personify the word relaxation, these are the seats to have. Storage and more Storage is another strong point of the JC line. All lounge seating is done over rotomolded storage boxes. All the boxes have water channels that drain overboard and all the storage is vented for airflow; another mix of form and function. The decks are 3/4-inch marine plywood (an optional composite floor is available, but the company offers a lifetime warranty on the wooden decks) and 30-ounce carpet is stretched and stapled to the deck rather than glued.And if storage is a concern, it isn’t on a JC; if there’s a space doing nothing, it is storage. A trash bin has gasketed storage, you can have a changing room/head as an option but there’s no charge whether you do or don’t, cup holders (and the JCs are big on cup holders) pivot out of some cabinet modules, they’ve even come up with a very nice storage cage/frame for fenders. It’s stainless steel, hold two eight-inch fenders and your rear running light pole and is located behind the helm seat; easy to get to, but out of the way.The HelmThe entire top of the helm module tilts up on the 23 TT. Aside from making every do-it-yourselfer and every boat mechanic happy, this is something you’ll only find on the upper end of saltwater boats. There is also a sizable storage space in this module, but I’d keep things in there that weren’t required on a regular basis. No sense ruining a good thing. The helm is well laid out and has everything a boater would need. In place of the speedometer, our 246 had an optional Humminbird Matrix 87 color fishfinder/GPS, something we recommend. All switches are rocker style in two banks (left and right side of the console) and all have circuit breakers next to them. The helm is tastefully done in burl wood laminate, the steering is tilt-up and hydraulic, a Clarion CD and Sirius satellite radio are standard. The Avenir bucket seat is a suspension style that wraps around the driver, is plush, has a flip-up bolster, swivels and adjusts fore and aft. Other niceties were the twin swim platforms on each side of the motor well and their three-step, telescoping stainless steel ladders and the heavy-duty ski tow bar. There’s a small bit of forward deck that is better than having no deck at all. A Sunbrella Bimini is also standard.PerformanceWith the Honda 150 four-stroke pushing this 1,875 pound craft around you end up with a relaxing, stable ride that’ll get you where you have to go with nary a burp, bobble or stutter. Performance was smooth and the power came on the same way. No rocketship, the engine is more than ample to power a pontoon aimed at the price-conscious boater who wants some luxury to go with the dinero saved. And the 150 is a frugal drinking motor thanks to its proprietary Lean Burn Feedback air induction. The engine knows when to sip (under 4000 rpm) and knows when to gulp (under full power acceleration). It provides enough torque to pull skiers and boarders as well.We hit a top speed of 31.8 mph at 5900 rpm and a cruise of 16.5 at 3000 rpm. Time to plane (there’s a barely discernible rise and fall at the nose; whether that is a true plane is hard to tell) is 3.2 seconds and 0 to 30 took 10 seconds. Again, like the rest of the line-up, there’s nothing on this boat that I can say I’d like to see changed. So if you’re looking for a good price, a good look and something you’ll get a lot of use out of, check the SunToon 23 TT. And don’t forget to order the recliners!
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the JC Pontoon SunToon 23 TT is 31.8 mph (51.2 kph), burning N/A gallons per hour (gph) or N/A liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the JC Pontoon SunToon 23 TT is 16.5 mph (26.6 kph), and the boat gets N/A miles per gallon (mpg) or N/A kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of N/A miles (N/A kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 150-hp Honda 4-stroke.
Standard and Optional Features
||Lifetime Limited http://www.jcpontoon.com/warranty.html|
||2 Year http://www.jcpontoon.com/warranty.html|