The Manitou 27 Platinum SES SHP is the largest model in the Manitou fleet. She is meant for baby boomers who want to do a lot of entertaining or serious cruising. She is also designed for performance and her newly patented hull allows her to be fast and handle more like a conventional monohull. That makes her ideal for wakeboarding and water skiing, to say nothing of drag racing with unsuspecting sportboats.
There are many noteworthy features about this boat, but let's start with the now-patented V-TOON hull. For years pontoon boat builders have been trying to improve both the speed and handling characteristics of their boats. The introduction of the tri-toon long ago was a big step forward, but since that time improvements have been more incremental.
With the V-TOON configuration, instead of making all three toons the same size, Manitou has made its the center toon 27" (68 cm) in diameter, 4" (10 cm) larger than the two outer toons which are each 23" (58 cm) in diameter. This creates what is essentially a V shape under the water. Not only does it permit the boat to go faster, but it also greatly enhances turning performance at high speed.Part of the patented design also includes large lifting strakes welded onto the boat's aluminum tubes. These are the largest strakes that we have seen on a tri-toon and there are six of them altogether, one on each side of each toon. These create significant lift making hole shot times faster and top-end speed higher.
Sport Handling Package (SHP)
Augmenting the added performance created by the V-TOON configuration is the sport handling package that contains several notable details. One of them is what Manitou calls its "Barracuda nosecone" on each of the toons. Compared to other toons on the market these are longer than some, more angular and shaped more like the bow of a conventional aluminum boat rather than we often see on the front of pontoons. This design permits the 27 Platinum to handle larger waves and confused seas better, and they tend to slice through waves rather than banging into them as some pontoon boats do. The three strakes on each of the cones knock down spray to keep the boat dry when it gets choppy as well as to stiffen the cones.Above each of the three toons are splash guards that are integrated into the system between the pontoons themselves and the rigid grid of the boat's subflooring.
Stern Entertainment System (SES)
The SES allows you to convert the rear lounger into two benches and a table when it's time for lunch, dinner, a cocktail party or even a hand of bridge. In either position, you'll have access to a rear remote control audio system with 6 kicker speakers to keep the party going. This is a clever design innovation and we have never seen anything quite like it on a toon.
Helm and Interior
The 27 Platinum SES model’s raised helm console is noteworthy for its design and features. On the plus side, the snap-in carpeting on the integrated angled footrest makes it simple to remove just that section – which is going to get concentrated use by the operator -- for cleaning. The aluminum-trimmed toggle switch control panel down the starboard side forward is complemented by the one-piece billet aluminum surrounding the multi-function gauges. There is a combo Lowrance GPS/fishfinder mounted flush to the dash. The indent integrated into the dash to starboard of the wheel keeps phones or MP3 players secure yet in view with an elastic snubber.
The high back helm seat comes with a bolster and even the side-by-side rear-facing lounge seats feature head rests and flip-up arm rests. What you can’t see is a large, in-tube storage compartment fitted into the center pontoon that measures six feet long by two feet in depth and blue LED exterior lighting surrounding the entire deck.
Unusual Standard Equipment
As we look down the 27's extensive list of standard equipment a few things caught our eye as being a bit out of the ordinary. There is a privacy station, a ski tow bar, a café table in addition to the SES table, and a Bimini top with a running light. On most potoon boats these items would be on the option list, if available at all. The boat is built with stainless steel castings for all four corners and the boat comes with a mooring cover. We are happy to see the mooring cover as standard equipment because UV will diminish the luster of even high-grade vinyl upholstery over time.
Toon for Speed
The result of the Manitou 27's hull and construction is that the boat can handle outboard motors up to 300-hp. We have not tested the boat, but the folks at Manitou tell us that when equipped with a 250-hp Mercury Pro XS Optimax 2-stroke outboard the 27 Manitou has a WOT speed of 46 mph. The company says that speeds over 50 mph are possible with a 300-hp engine.
This is an upscale, classic-looking pontoon boat with unique handling and design attributes that we really like. The SHP model is offered with outboards up to 300-hp, but we feel that the standard 250 Optimax offers plenty of power, and with a price tag of $61,000 represents a premium deal for someone who wants to cruise and relax in pontoon-style and comfort with family and friends, yet still have the performance capabilities for sports-minded teens.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
||Limited Lifetime Warranty|