Boat Buyer's Guide 2013
Author: Alan Jones
When it comes to out-of-the-box thinking, no one is going to out-innovate the pontoon builder from Wyoming, Minn., and that builder — Premier — does it again with the 290 Grand View. True to its name, the pontoon gives the driver a “king of the world” view at the helm, which is on the raised rear deck that sits 25 inches above the foredeck. The king doesn’t sit alone, however, as there is a wrap-around settee immediately to port. To transit aft, use the fantail steps that sport an easy-to-maintain synthetic teak surface that matches the expansive rear deck.
Although you can get the 29-foot, 5-inch-long Grand View with the more traditional 8-foot, 6-inch-wide configuration, our test boat sports Premier’s exclusive 10’ Wide platform, which is actually 10 feet, 2 inches, to create a party stage with unrivalled space. So, if you’re thinking this giant pontoon is just for puttering around, a quick check of the stern will disabuse you of that notion: twin 300 hp Evinrude E-TEC outboards. We jammed the throttles, and the 290 launched on plane in 2.6 seconds and blazed to 30 mph in 5 seconds flat, which will no doubt surprise the driver of the go-fast boat next to you when he’s swallowing your wake during a drag race. Take it to the top speed of 52 mph, and heads will turn (really fast) when you blaze by.
You might think the raised platform on the stern would throw off its balance, but the 290 Grand View experienced very little bowrise, rode very level and turned brilliantly thanks to its PTX Performance pontoon system, which features a giant 36-inch center tube that gives it a pivot point, to help it turn like a sportboat. Having twin engines makes it easy to maneuver and also allows for the creation of a huge dive boat-style boarding platform built into the back of the oversized center tube.
Stepping down from the helm, you’re greeted by the optional Bombay Bar to starboard. It features two stools and a generous Corian working surface for creating refreshments. To port is the Escape Galley, which provides another working surface and a vessel sink with a freshwater spigot for cleanups. The rest of the bow area is one giant U-lounge composed of top-of-the-line Flexsteel furniture with loads of storage underneath.