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boat test

Tahoe Sierra Sandbar 26 Standard Equipment Port bow dinette w/ recliners and table; privacy station; reserve battery system w/ Start Now protection; Jensen stereo w/ 1 GB storage and memory stick input; 4 speakers w/ stainless steel covers; Garmin full-color GPS; culinary center w/ refrigerator and stainless steel grill; refreshment center w/ sink; rear bar w/ cupholders, stereo control and cooler storage; two rear reclining chairs w/ footrests; telescoping flagpole w/ American flag; bow table w/ umbrella; mood lighting; Waveglider high performance package; full mooring cover; bimini top w/ stainless steel twist lock connectors.

Specifications Pontoon Length: 26' Pontoon Diameter: 25" Width: 8'6" Dry Weight: 3,125 lbs. Max. Weight Capacity: 3,200 lbs. Max. HP: 300 Max. People: 17 Price as tested: $59,500 tahoepontoons.com

22 LAKELANDBOATING.COM A U G U S T 2 011

The boat is rated for a 300-hp outboard, and its 42-gallon fuel tank allows ample gas for some serious exploring. In fact, Wolf and his girlfriend, Karen, regaled me with several tales of taking the company pontoons onto Lake Michigan. According to Karen, such trips were a great way to prove weather forecasts of smooth and calm seas to be completely wrong. One trip took a boat from Chicago to Mackinac Island (not during the famous sailboat race), and Wolf was already planning a pontoon expedition all the way around Lake Superior. (Teaser alert: We may post a blog of that trip on lakelandboating.com.) Wolf said the company started in 1983 under the name Playbuoy. In 2000, an investment group that included Wolf bought it and changed the name to reflect a more dignified product. Wolf has served as president since 2004, and despite economic challenges throughout much of the boating industry, Avalon & Tahoe Manufacturing is having a record-production and -sales year, anticipating moving upwards of 2,000 boats to its 100 or so dealers in North America. In fact, when I met Wolf in July, he said his company was having its best two months in history and had increased personnel to 160 workers, which was 30 more than the company ever had. The Sierra Sandbar is close to Tahoe’s top-of-the-line, model (our test boat listed for $59,500). These are the boats that feature the super-posh furniture, floor coverings such as Flexiteek (imitation teak that looks and feels like the real thing, with virtually none of the maintenance) and carpet. Above the Sierra models is the Deco Series, with 27- and 29-foot models even more opulently appointed. And the company makes many smaller models to fit all types of boating budgets. They’re all well worth checking out at tahoepontoons.com. 

Lakeland Boating August 2011  

The Voice of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior

Lakeland Boating August 2011  

The Voice of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior