Boat Buyer's Guide 2013
Author: Alan Jones
So what do you get when you bolt a 250 hp Evinrude E-TEC High Output outboard onto a 22-foot, 10-inch Manitou 22 Encore SHP? For more august owners, it’s something akin to the Fountain of Youth. For younger buyers, it’s a pontoon you don’t have to explain to your buds. Just take them out for a spin and dare them to say you’ve gone soft.
Manitou is all about blending performance with comfort, and the 22 Encore SHP exemplifies this strategy. The SHP tube option for the Encore line is at the top of the food chain for go-fast action. It uses 23-inch outer tubes and a 27-inch middle tube that’s mounted lower: a configuration that gives it many characteristics of a V-hulled boat. Normally on performance pontoons, the outer strakes on the outside tubes are left off, to facilitate an inward lean in turns, but because of the center-tube setup, Manitou can use positive-angle lifting strakes all around. And believe me, it doesn’t have a problem turning. With the incredible amount of lift the strakes generate, the pontoon rides high in the water and is cheetah-fast out of the hole, with a time to plane of 2.3 seconds.
The 250 E-TEC H.O. pulls strong in the midrange and rocketed the Encore to 30 mph in 5.8 seconds, capping out at an eye-watering 52.5 mph. One of the Evinrude’s best parlor tricks is that at its dead idle speed of 500 rpm, it takes around five hours to burn 1 gallon of gas, but if you have this boat, you’re going to want to jam the throttle.
Despite being less than 23 feet long, the Encore is rated for 13 guests and maximizes seating with an L-lounge in the stern that includes a rear-facing chaise lounge. To port, there’s a short sofa with a recliner that still offers enough stretch-out room for a 6-foot boater. And in front of the fully featured helm, there’s a longer recliner lounge seat. All of the seating features Comfort Touch vinyl, which is sturdy and soft. There’s still room left over for a 42-inch sunpad. Because there’s no rear deck to speak of, watersports are staged on the corner of the starboard side, which has a stainless steel four-step boarding ladder with oversized grabrails. The 22 Encore is loaded with standard features but has many options for customization.