Captain's ReportPlaybuoy Tropic 20 SETest by Capt. Robert E. SmithPontoon boats can be a lot of fun. I never really thought about seeing them here in Florida, but after working with Greg Knight from Playbuoy, I have noticed them in many of the “scenic shots” on the news and other places. The Tropic is Playbuoy’s bestseller for fishing, pleasure and fun. They emphasize giving the customer more for their money and adding value to gain market share. Playbuoy believes the American Way includes having more choices so they pack this one with standard features and offer a handy list of options while still remaining one of the most affordable pontoon boats around. Standard EquipmentStandard features were determined from the customer’s requests and include a fiberglass helm, platinum gauges, CD Stereo, Pirhana Fishfinder/depth sounder, tilt wheel mooring cover, diamond textured carpet bimini top, aluminum seat frames and docking lights. Sounds like a nice list of basic needs to me. Her main entry is from the bow, but you can enter from either side or from the swim ladder entry at the back. The carpeting makes the entire area look more finished as it extends up the fronts of the benches. The aluminum framing gives the benches a sturdy feel and the Captain’s chair is comfortable, swivels and has flip-up armrests. The Platinum gauges include tach, volts and fuel gauges. They even have a handy flip out cup holder to the left of the fiberglass helm station. The fish/depth instrument is front and center of the helm and makes you feel in command with all the information needed to stay off the bottom and to find the fish for dinner.Basic SpecsThe Playbuoy 20 has pontoons that are 20’ in length and are 22 inches in diameter. Her deck is 20’ long and 8’ in the beam. She weighs 1,360 lbs dry and is rated to carry up to 2005 lbs or 8 persons with a maximum rated hp of 75. She has a real smooth ride and should be easy for anyone to handle. I did get some spray aboard while running the boat for testing and video, but remember, it was a rough day. I was concerned with the placement of the battery in an exposed position ahead of the engine pod because we did seem to get a lot of back spray while running. The battery is in a battery box, so that also should not be a problem, I would just rather see it under the bench where there is little doubt it will be safe and dry, you just lose some storage space that way.Rough Water TestBy the time Greg and I got the chance to take the Playbuoy Tropic out for testing, conditions had really begun to deteriorate. Sarasota Bay had two-foot chop and very dark ominous clouds. The 50-hp Johnson Four Stroke with a “pontoon” prop performed admirably in the rough water. She starts out at an idle of 900 rpm but slips along at 2.1 mph even in the rough conditions. She seemed happy to ride along at 4000 rpm and 11.5 mph, which seems perfect for riding across the lake or bay to your favorite beaches with the family. She can run up to 5900 rpm when you push the throttles all the way up. At this rate she is moving along nicely at 19.3 mph. Testing planing speed on a deck boat is hard enough, but in the foul weather and when it is getting dark, it gets harder yet she seems to be riding level in the water in only 3.5 seconds. With her Johnson four stroke 50-hp outboard, she easily kept the sound meter in the lower ranges and never exceeded 77 dBa. She is certainly going to be a quiet boat for entertaining.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Avalon Tropic 20 is 19.3 mph (31.1 kph), burning 9.75* gallons per hour (gph) or N/A liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Avalon Tropic 20 is 8.0 mph (12.9 kph), and the boat gets 6.0* miles per gallon (mpg) or N/A kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 194* miles (N/A kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 50-hp Johnson 4-stroke.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!