First time boat buyer SunTracker vs Sweeetwater

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First time boat buyer SunTracker vs Sweeetwater

#1 Post by padregtr » Fri May 06, 2016 4:20 am

First time boat buyer 24' SunTracker Fishin Barge XP3 vs Sweetwater 2286FC

I've narrowed it down based on budget first of all. The SunTracker has nationally published prices, and I think the Sweetwater in a tritoon, with full lifting strakes (the XP3 version of the Sun Tracker has 3/4 length strakes), are around the same price ($40k-ish BMT)..maybe the Sweetwater is 3K more. We want 4 point fishing chairs inside the rail and we like the seating in front of the helm, although the seat on the Sweetwater is much shorter than the Sun Tracker and is configured as the livewell and rod box.

I can do a deeper dive later, but my questions right now are kinda superficial. Usage - probably 50/50 cruising/fishing. We don't live on water. It's just the wife and me. We have 2 grown kids, not married yet.

Which one will hold up better in general? I haven't been able to get into a Sun Tracker yet to check the furniture/upholstery - is it lesser quality than the Sweetwater? I'm a big guy - 6-1 300lbs. Are the seating mounts (helm and fishing) and configurations sturdy/flimsy in one or the other.

i'm thinking of putting a 150hp on either. Would a 115 hp give us all a good ride on the 22' Sweetwater w/tritoon and strakes?

Is the Suntracker 10 year bow to stern transferable (1 time) warranty really a selling point, and do you think it adds to the resale value? Some products have long warranties but the item spends half of it's time in warranty repair. Anyone experienced with warranty repairs and quality of service for either of the boats?

Underskin...I can't find anything that says it is available on the Sun Tracker, but I think so on the Sweetwater.

I don't like the aft port side little vinyl snap on curtain of the Sweetwater that covers the battery. Does it annoy anyone else?

Will a #55 thrust trolling motor pull the 24' Sun Tracker around OK and would it hold it in a mild-moderate wind (South Carolina lakes)?

Anything big that I'm missing or another brand I should be looking at?
Thanks in advance.

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Re: First time boat buyer SunTracker vs Sweeetwater

#2 Post by JackW » Mon May 09, 2016 1:13 pm

I bought a Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 w/ 60 Mercury. in July. Have had nothing but fun with it. We do about 50/50 fishing and cruising also. Like you it is primarily wife and I but I do have 2 grown kids, a DIL and grandson. Under Skinning is available as an option but I didn't get it as I just bought off of the lot.

With the 60 HP, I can get on a plane and top out at 23 to24 MPH. I have had a couple of minor warranty issues (Cosmetic mainly.) The service department was great and went over and beyond to make sure I was a happy camper oops boater. I had a minor tear in the captains chair, and a faulty valve in my live well and the steering wheel was a little loose to do a nut needing tightening. When I had questions, they graciously took my calls and answered all of them.
Also, Suntracker is sold nationwide so you should have little trouble getting service.

As far as the 10 year bumper to bumper I the transferrabilty is somewhat important. You may want to upgrade yourself in say 5 year so it is a nice selling feature if you sell vs. trade. Just my two cents.

2015 Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 w/ 60 HP Mercury

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Re: First time boat buyer SunTracker vs Sweeetwater

#3 Post by ralph » Mon May 09, 2016 2:11 pm

Hi Jack

I bought a 2015 Sweetwater (20 footer) in May of last year. It has a 90HP Yamaha. Top speed with 2 on the boat and a full tank of gas is just under 30MPH (GPS) I do not have lifting strakes but I do have 27" pontoons which I think makes a huge difference in relation to the way it handles larger wakes and waves on a windy day.

The bottom is skinned, I upgraded to the top of the line seats, top of the line stereo, vinyl floors, individual seat covers and playpen cover, and I don't know what else. At the end of the day it came out to just under $30K.

If there is one think I can recommend, no matter which brand you choose, 27" logs are the cats "arse". You ride higher, less chance of taking a wave over the bow, and what really surprised me, in most cases I don't need to slow down like I did with my last mono hulled boat, as it rides on top of the wave for the most part (no banging)

Hope this helps. Good luck with the search.
2015 Sweetwater 2086 Coastal Edition - All Toon'd Up
2015 90 HP Yamaha
Mid American Dual Wheel Bunk Trailer
2017 4WD GMC Canyon

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Re: First time boat buyer SunTracker vs Sweeetwater

#4 Post by smltooner » Tue May 10, 2016 6:20 pm

My vote is Suntracker.
I am 6'4" and 290 lbs. The helm seat is steardy enough to hold me comfortably.
Ted & Emily
2019 Bennington 21SL Tri-toon
2019 Yamaha 150 HP
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Re: First time boat buyer SunTracker vs Sweeetwater

#5 Post by padregtr » Mon May 16, 2016 10:33 am

Thanks all. I've switched gears and am considering a Premier. I've decided that i don't need a 4 point fishing boat and that a rear fish will work just fine.

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Re: First time boat buyer SunTracker vs Sweeetwater

#6 Post by ron nh » Mon May 16, 2016 11:06 am

Good choice on the layout , Premiere makes a good one.
2015 Qwest LS 818XRE Tri-toon w/mercury 115.

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Re: First time boat buyer SunTracker vs Sweeetwater

#7 Post by Bamaman » Mon May 16, 2016 11:14 am

My favorites are Bennington, Premier, Harris and Manitou. There are another dozen brands that I'd be proud to own. The Bennington and Forest River (brands) are doing better in the retail market than the other brands, however.

Even the top brands have a number of different levels of boats--at all price points. I went for the 24' Bennington's S series with a 150 hp Yamaha for somewhat less money than the Suntracker XR3 equipped the same way. I still don't like their one price marketing as it takes the competition out of the purchase.

If you want a very seaworthy boat, go for the tritoon with lifting strakes and 150 hp or more Yamaha or Mercury 4 stroke. The 115 hp is okay, but really doesn't have the get up and go that 150 hp or more will provide.
'12 Bennington 24' SSLX Yamaha 150

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