The MIDWEST 5.8 is the latest entry into the highly competitive alloy pontoon boat market.
Andre Leer, owner of Whanganui Boating Centre, the manufacturers of the MIDWEST 5.8, describes the boat as one that has been designed and built to be suitable for the rugged aspects of West Coast boating. Anyone who has boated along the coastline off Taranaki knows that it can be a mean stretch of water, and then there is also the Whanganui Bar to consider.
With heavy weather boating in mind, the MIDWEST 5.8 is constructed using 5mm plate on the bottom, with 4mm/3mm for the topsides and cabin. All the underfloor superstructure is 5mm and is fully welded with no stitching. This adds rigidity to the boat that you can certainly feel when you drive it. Even the treadplate floor is 5mm, adding even more strength and a solid feel to the structure.
“It’s a bit of a trade-off being a little heavier than other similar-sized boats as you sacrifice top-end speed and some performance, but in a boat like this that is designed for offshore fishing and diving, I feel the quality of the ride is more important than how fast the boat goes”, says Andre.
The layout is very traditional for a hardtop pontoon boat of this size. The emphasis is on space for fishing and diving, so the cockpit is minimalistic with maximum use of the 1.87m internal beam. Seating options are available, so you can spec out the boat to suit your requirements.
The MIDWEST 5.8 has a power range of outboards from 140hp to 200hp, with boat #1 powered by a Suzuki 150 SS. The top speed is 38 knots, and in light sea conditions, the boat runs without any vices. In high speed turns, the wide chines attribute to keeping the boat flat, and it bites hard with no side slipping. The steering position is comfortable, and with 2.70m height under the hardtop, it’s tall enough for most of us. Safety glass screens mean you can add wipers, and sliding side windows are also an option.
Currently, the MIDWEST 5.8 is the single model in the range and only available in hardtop. There are plans for more models to be added to the range, with a smaller 4.2m open version due soon. (Look for a full review in the May-June issue of Pacific PowerBoat/Alloy Boat)