The 21 NepToon Proves That Big Things to Come in Small PackagesBy Capt. Vince DanielloOne of the biggest advantages of pontoon boats is their size. For a given length over all they offer more useable space than just about anything else afloat. JC Manufacturing’s NepToon 21 is a great example—offering over 160 square feet of elbow room, a full-length lounger to stretch out on in the bow, another seat across the way, and an L-shaped lounge and table aft.The layout of the JC Pontoon NepToon 21 TT
Deck LayoutThere is one significant interior feature given up on the 21 when compared to the company’s 23-footer. To make room for the full-length lounger forward there is no starboard-side boarding gate. The 21 offers just a gate at the bow, another on the port side amidships, and a third to access the stern. The 21 does offer the option of a changing room at the stern, with a Porta-Pottie inside and sun pad above, but at the expense of a couple of feet of interior space at the stern.On the other hand, if you can live with these two caveats—and the changing room/sun pad issue is really a matter of sizing it up for yourself—than the NepToon 21 has one big advantage to being small. It is noticeably easier to push. Test EngineOur test boat, with just a 90 horsepower Honda outboard, hit 27.5 miles-per-hour, and planed off in a respectable 3.8 seconds. This admirable performance from such little horsepower means, in short, that with the 21 you are not just saving on the price of two more feet of boat; you’re also saving on the engine purchase price.Our test boat also got great economy, traveling better than three miles-per-gallon at full throttle and about five miles-per-gallon at 20 miles-per-gallon, with a maximum of 6.55 miles-per-gallon at 17.4 miles-per-hour. That means reduced operating costs too. This Honda outboard is also the same engine used in literally millions of Honda Civics, so lessons learned in reducing maintenance costs for Honda’s automobiles benefit their outboards as well. (This is, perhaps, one reason why Honda has won multiple JD Powers awards for customer satisfaction.)Customize to Your Needs JC offers another way to maximize space in this 21-footer—customizable interiors. The end modules of each section of seating can include a wide variety of accessories. A cooler and tip-out trash bin are popular choices. Others include various storage options, a folding table, or even a sink. Eight trim and interior color options are available as well, eliminating the urge to trade in after a couple of years to get that color you always wanted. (Many boat manufacturers only offer one or two color choices, and change them with every model year.)Of course the NepToon 21 includes JC Manufacturing’s quality construction—the same as the company’s lager boats higher-priced lines. Most notably, JC’s SuperTube—a U-shaped pontoon with straight sides as opposed to a round pontoon tube—adds buoyancy and provides a more rigid connection between the hulls and the deck. JC Manufacturing also uses powder-coated railings, protective coatings on upholstery, and stainless steel cleats to keep their NepToons looking great for years.We’re all programmed to think, “Bigger is better.” Sometimes it’s true, and if you really need a starboard boarding gate, or want the aft changing room and lots of seating in the stern, those extra two feet of the 23 might mean a lot. Then again, with a lower purchase price and operation costs, yet still plenty of space for fun on the water, the NepToon 21 shows that big things do come in small packages.
Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the JC Pontoon NepToon 21 TT (2008-) is 27.5 mph (44.3 kph), burning 8.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 33.69 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the JC Pontoon NepToon 21 TT (2008-) is 17.4 mph (28 kph), and the boat gets 6.55 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.78 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 324 miles (521.43 kilometers).