I so appreciate finding a great deal! Getting more bang for my buck makes me feel smarter and assuages the guilt I suffer over spending discretionary dollars in today's economy. If you get the same kick out of a good deal, then you must take a look at the new Sundance FX17 skiff.
Running and Fishing
A good flats skiff must possess certain characteristics uncommon to other, larger boats. It must be very quiet when stopped or drifting - no wavelet slapping noise is allowed. It must pole easily and be stable no matter where you walk on the deck. It must be creak-free when you step on hatches. And of course, it must run smoothly enough so that, in a rough chop, you don't bruise your kidneys or get soaking wet from spray. I vouch that the Sundance FX17 exhibits all these positive traits.
The optional Lenco tabs allow you to lift the upwind side when running, for a better, drier ride. From a dead stop, the ability to spin onto plane (while turning only left thanks to the prop torque) was perfect, with total control, virtually no bow rise and no propeller ventilation. And the optional Uflex Hyco (hydraulic) steering allows you to straighten out on course with ease. I discovered another interesting aspect: When stopped, turn the wheel in the direction you want to move and gently shift back and forth from forward to reverse, and the boat moves sideways nicely.
I tested the FX17 with the maximum 70 horses. It topped out at 39.5 mph, turning 6,300 rpm and using 6.3 gph (6.27 mpg). Cruising proved mosteconomical at 4,000 rpm, with the boat running at just over 23 mph while burning 2.5 gph (9.36 mpg). And with the jack plate up, you can safely run in as little as 7 inches of water.
While I liked the three vertical rod holders on each side of the console, I prefer stowing sticks under the gunwales while fishing so I don't snag a fly line on a rod tip while casting.
Design and Construction
Pop-up cleats, push-pole holders and a removable bow light keep the decks clean. A molded pad has wiring and an outlet for a trolling motor.
Sundance builds a particularly strong boat, with I-beam, pressure-foamed stringer construction, biaxial fiberglass, premium resins, Baltek foam coring and Nida-Core decks giving strength without added weight. It even sounds solid when running through a hefty chop.
I always strive for balance in my life, and that's why I like this skiff from Sundance. It is balanced in strength-to-weight ratio, center of gravity, running and fishing abilities and value for the money.
WEIGHT......890 lbs. (w/o power)
MSRP......$19,419 (w/ 70 hp Yamaha)
$22,526 (w/ guide package)
Sundance Boats Inc. / Blackshear, Georgia / 912-449-0033 / www.sundanceboats.com