Captain's ReportJC TriToon 246By Gary JoyceTest CaptainJC 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 one it backs regardless of age. “Fit and finish is the key,” said Cripe. “The 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; “TriToon” is a registered trademark of the company’s. And a “tritoon” is different than a triple tube. In the case of the 246, the outer pontoons are asymmetrical and technically displacement hulls, while the inner hull is a planing shape. With triple tubes you get three hulls all the same, either round or U-shaped. And if anyone tells you that pontoon boats are displacement craft and don’t plane, feel free to tell them they’re wrong, at least insofar as the 246 is concerned.JC sees their market as one where the purchaser has a grasp on what they want and need in a pontoon boat. To that end, the JC line-up tends to be fancier on a standard basis than the boats of some other lines. Some of this is found in little touches, and some not so little. For starters all the channel aluminum tubing is powder-coated. And where a curve would look better than a right angle, you can be assured you’ll find a curve piece on a JC. 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 easily. Simple but effective. 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. Storage and MoreStorage is another strong point of the JC line. The upholstery is done in-house and all the 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’s storage. A trash bin has gasketed storage, there’s an optional in floor ski/board locker located in the starboard side entry area, you can have a changing room/head as an option but there’s no charge whether you do or don’t.At the Helm JC has also done something nice with the helm. The entire top of the helm module tilts up. 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. The 246, by the way, was specifically designed to mount the heavier four-stroke motors which are becoming more and more popular.Other niceties were the twin swim platforms on each side of the motor well and their three-step, telescoping stainless steel ladders, the heavy-duty ski tow bar, the extra deck space forward and the presence of a “real” anchor locker complete with interior cleat and rode channels in the cover, a 55-gallon fuel tank (a 35 and a 25 with electronic switching) and the Sunbrella Bimini.PerformanceAs for performance, the 246 handled like a boat. It would hold tight skier-pick-up turns with a bit of outside lean, though much less than experienced in a v-hull. While we were in one to two foot chop what wakes we could create ourselves, the boat ran smooth and dry and I’d be willing to bet that even in a snotty headwind the 246 would run drier than you’d expect. I’d say she won’t have much trouble handling actual three- to four-foot chop in a pinch.We turned an average top speed of 40 mph at 5500 rpm and the 246 had a 3000 rpm cruise where it hit 20.6 mph. Gas consumption equaled a range of 248 miles on a full tank. Time to plane was 3.1 seconds (and yes, we insist it planes) and the 0 to 30 was 6.2 seconds. This boat is for someone who wants a strikingly good-looking boat with a lot of standard amenities and who knows pontoon boats. Conversely, if you have the cash, it may be the last pontoon boat you’ll have to buy. I have to add that there wasn’t anything on the 246 that I could find fault with … and, believe me, as a tester I live to find fault!
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the JC Pontoon TriToon 246 is 40.0 mph (64.4 kph), burning 17.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 66.24 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the JC Pontoon TriToon 246 is 20.6 mph (33.2 kph), and the boat gets 5.01 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.13 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 248 miles (399.12 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 225-hp Honda 4-stroke.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Optional|
||Lifetime Limited http://www.jcpontoon.com/warranty.html|
||2 Year http://www.jcpontoon.com/warranty.html|
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