‘PARTY BARGE’ is certainly the right name! As soon as I climbed aboard the Signature Series Sun Tracker Party Barge 21 and sunk into the super comfortable wrap-around lounge I started looking for the beer. The whole layout and function of the Sun Tracker urges you to kick back and relax.
Sun Tracker is the biggest selling pontoon manufacturer in America, and everywhere you look on the Party Barge there’s another luxury lounge to sprawl out on and another built-in drink holder. There’s also a functional fishing side to the Signature Series Party Barge, with a built-in, fully plumbed livebait tank under the helm seat and a top speed of 37km/h, so you can get to your destination in a hurry. But realistically it is a recreational platform where family and friends can wet a line while they soak up the scenery on an elevated, stable floating platform. The likes of Lake Tinaroo just scream out for a visit, and a standard four-wheel-drive makes easy work of towing the Sun Tracker.
The crew from Coastal Marine & Outdoors, who supplied the test boat, took the Sun Tracker for a party cruise in Trinity Inlet after their recent official opening in mid-October and they had a blast. I can see the demonstration boat getting plenty of use by staff and customers of Coastal Marine, wanting to sample the good life.
The Party Barge 21 consists of two cylindrical pontoons under an alloy frame, with a centre-mounted outboard. The test boat was powered by a 90hp Suzuki EFI four stroke, which is the perfect power unit. The Suzuki is whisper quiet, with a stack of torque to get the barge up and keep it there. The barge was surprisingly manoeuvrable, comfortably doing a 360-degree turn at 15 knots in a circle barely 30m across. The Suzuki held its revs throughout the turn in spite of the size of the barge.
Access to the Party Barge is a breeze both on and off the water, as well as on the trailer. If the girls are in their finery they can hop aboard before launching to keep their shoes dry via the ladder on the nose. A refreshing dip is on the cards from either the forward or stern ladder via the gates built into the walls at each end. There are another two gates, one on each side, for easy access when moored.
There is a small moulded table, with yet more drink holders, in the forward lounge to serve meals or nibbles, and the addition of a gas barbecue would almost seem mandatory.
There’s a stack of storage under all the seating, with a number of webbed pockets built into the lounge ends for those little knick-knacks. The Aquatronics MS-220 stereo radio cassette is there to crank out the tunes when the party is in full swing or provide soothing background music for those quieter moments.
The moulded fibreglass side console is all function, with standard instrumentation of tacho, volt meter, temperature gauge and fuel gauge. The compartment under the console will hold a large esky which can slide out for easy access. The test boat was minus the fold-up canopy but when in place it provides a stack of shade. The barge is carpeted throughout and the rotomoulded seating is the most comfortable I have sat in on the water.
The Signature Series Sun Tracker Party Barge 21 will find a home with those looking for a good time on the water and who want to take the party with them.
Base price for Sun Tracker Party Barge 21 is $44,500. For further information contact Coastal Marine & Outdoors in Cairns on (07) 4033 1344.
Deck length/width - 19ft 7.5in by 8ft 1in
Pontoon diameter - 24in
Pontoon length - 21ft 5in
Max hp - 90
Max people - 13 (1800lb)
Max weight - 2300lb
Hull weight - 1690lb approx.
Total package - 1804lb approx.
Fuel - 26gal
Overall length on trailer - 25ft 5in
Overall width on trailer - 8ft 1in
1) The Sun Tracker Party Barge can be boarded from the nose while on the trailer.
2) The 90hp Suzuki EFI four-stroke is an ideal power unit for the Party Barge.
3) The side console leaves plenty of usable deck space.
4) There’s a fully plumbed live bait tank under the helm seat.
5) There is a stack of storage under the lounge seats.