Boat Test Monday: Sweetwater 2286 RE

Published online: May 20, 2013 Boat Test Monday Brady L. Kay
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Our First Impression

We appreciate the open layout. We fully understand the value of having a sport package. And we get that this pontoon is built with the same high standards as other Godfrey Marine models. However, what we don't understand is how this boat still comes in at around $25K. Yes, it's part of the Sweetwater value line, but a three-logged pontoon at this great price? Very impressive.

Consumer Test

We love the attractive look of the two-tone tan and blue seats. The durable GX48 vinyl is a staple for all Godfrey Marine boats and the overall comfort is good. As you enter the boat from the bow you'll notice the extra-wide, wheelchair accessible gate that includes the unique no-rattle latch system that locks tight. But arguably the real eye-catcher on this 22-foot pontoon is the contour look of the helm station that flows well with the design.

The actual helm console itself is a little square and basic, but for a value-driven pontoon we like that it comes with full instrumentation, easy-to-read Faria gauges as well as a Jensen stereo. For the captain, the helm seat slides and swivels and is actually quite comfortable for a non-reclining seat.

If we had to be picky we'd like to see a rail around the sundeck in the stern, or at least a bolstered edge for added safety. But we like the storage room below that doubles as a nice six-foot pop-up changing enclosure when fully opened. Also inside is the battery storage that really could use a cover or lid, but again we're just being picky.

Included in this rear-entry design is a fold-down boarding ladder with good handholds, and one of the few options is the solid ski/tow bar that we feel should be included on most pontoons, if not all of them. 

Inspection Test

Measuring at 24 inches in diameter, the three pontoon setup is the solid base of this boat. And because the fuel tank is built into the center log, you get extra stability and better handling on the water as well, but we'll get to that in a minute. There are lifting strakes on the center pontoon and on the outside of the other two. The C-channel cross-members are screwed to the plywood deck and are on 24-inch centers in the bow and a little closer near the stern for added support. We felt the boat was especially well-constructed below deck as it earned high marks for craftsmanship.

Up top there is over 14 feet of usable deck space from inside the bow gate to the rear bench seat. The wiring below the helm console is average, but overall the boat earned high marks for fit and finish work. 

Performance Test

Three pontoons, an Evinrude 115 E-TEC and a solid ski/tow bar!? Don't let the price fool you, this `toon was built to really move. She's very responsive and fun to drive. The 22-footer does lean a little in the sharp turns, but we were able to reach our top speed of 36 miles per hour very quickly. The E-TEC is a perfect match for this Sweetwater that demands performance, but on a value budget.

Who Should Buy It

Priced just right for a lot of families, we love the value that is offered in this Sweetwater. This is an attractive pontoon with a nice open layout that performs well and has just enough bells and whistles to still be considered a fun, family boat.

Number of Occupants             14

Price As Tested With Power   $25.2K

Maximum Speed:                    36.1 mph

Wild Ponies:                            115hp

No. of Gates                           3

0-20 MPH                               6.7 seconds               

Ladder Measurement:             2' 9" deep      

Why we love this boat.The most attractive feature of this three-pontoon, well-built boat just might be the price. Proving the dollar can go far in this economy is the backbone of the Sweetwater line.

Just being picky.Not having a safety rail around the sundeck isn't a big deal, but it could be a concern for some families. We also noted a lack of pinch guards on some of the gates.  

NOTABLE STANDARDS

Color-coordinated canopy, GX48 expanded vinyl, Jensen stereo w/CD, MP3 input and 2 speakers, stern table w/cup holders and stern sundeck.

OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT

Triple tube sport package, in-dash depth finder, removable cup holders, changing room, ski/tow bar, Jensen stereo upgrade with CD/MP3 input and four speakers.

 

VITAL STATS

LOA                            22'

Beam                           8' 6"

Hull Design                 Three Pontoons

Dry Weight                 2,025 lbs.

Fuel Capacity              29 Gallons


TEST DRIVE

Engine                         Evinrude E-TEC 115

Cylinder Type             V4

Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower           105.4ci/115hp

Lower Unit Gear Ratio           2.25:1

Propeller                      13 7/8 X 13

RPM      vs.     SPEED     vs. D-A    

500                  2.4 mph           74.5                

1000                3.7 mph           75.5    

1500                58 mph            83.5

2000                7.5 mph           84.5                            

2500                10.1 mph         83       

3000                15.5 mph         87       

3500                15.9 mph         92.5                            

4000                18.5 mph         95.5    

4500                20.8 mph         97.5

5000                25.6 mph         104

5500                33.8 mph         103.5

5600                36.1 mph         102

ElkhartInd.

Phone: 574-522-8381

Website: www.GodfreyPontoonBoats.com

       

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