Pantera 28 Sport Single: Performance Test
Pantra 28 Sport Single: Single-engine offshore performer impresses test team.
If you happen to hang onto your issues of Powerboat, take a gander at August 2000, Page 60. What you’ll see is a photo of the Pantera 28 Sport Single in full flight off Hawk’s Cay during a roundup in the Florida Keys. That roundup was all about seeing how a gaggle of offshore boats from 28′to 50′ long held up in nasty water. And the 28 Sport Single put on an impressive show.
During the Captiva Island, Fla., leg of our 2001 Performance Trials, we learned how the 28′-long, 8′-wide Pantera performed in less-troubled waters. And we were even more impressed. Sure, sea conditions were tame, but the testing itself—as is the nature of our Trials—was far more rigorous and extensive than that at the Hawk’s Cay roundup.
Base price for the 28 Sport Single with a MerCruiser 502 Magnum MPI motor is $81,500. An upgrade to a Mercury Racing HP500EFI engine and a few other goodies upped the ante to $97,050.
The conventional bottom of the 28 Sport Single’s 24-degree hull was clean and simple. Of the boat’s four strakes, only the outer set ran full length. The inner pair terminated about 12 feet from the transom. To the boat’s 470-hp fuel-injected engine, the manufacturer mated a Bravo One XZ drive spinning a Mercury Bravo One 15 1/4″ x 26″ four-blade stainless-steel propeller through a 1.5:1 reduction.
In the conditions off Hawk’s Cay, speed and acceleration testing had been out of the question. Not that we didn’t try—but 4- to 6-footers tend to mess with speed runs, acceleration drills and time-to-plane tests. Test-day conditions off Captiva Island, flat in protected areas and merely choppy offshore, allowed for the full battery of tests.
Top speed for the 28-footer was 67.7 mph at 5,100 rpm. While that was shy of the manufacturer’s predicted 74-mph top end, it was still plenty spunky for the single-engine boat, which weighed in at 5,250 pounds. The boat came on plane in 4 seconds flat and reached 64 mph in 20 seconds. In midrange acceleration tests, it ran from 30 to 50 mph in 5.7 seconds and from 40 to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds.
Our lead test driver had nothing but praise for the 28 Sport Single’s handling manners. The boat carved capably through slalom turns at 30 mph. At 40 and 50 mph, those maneuvers were even crisper. In decreasing-radius circle turns at cruising and full speeds, the 28-footer leaned in and held its line without slipping, catching or hooking.
“This boat just feels good, solid,” said our lead test driver. “Handling is very predictable.”
Even more predictable, based on past experience, was the 28 Sport Single’s handling in open water. In the Gulf of Mexico off Captiva Island, our test team couldn’t find anything close to the rough stuff during the roundup at Hawk’s Cay. But in the 1- to 2-chop they did encounter, the boat launched a strong attack from all angles—head-on, following and quartering.
Pantera did a nifty job with the Sport Single’s mold work. We found no errors in the deck or hullsides. To create the boat’s attractive graphics, the manufacturer used BASF paint in a fine application over shiny white gelcoat. All screw heads securing the protective plastic rubrail were aligned.
For lamination materials in the handlaid boat, the manufacturer went with a combination of three-quarter and 1 1/2-ounce mat, 1708 biaxial E-glass and 24-ounce woven roving. Strakes were putty-filled for added brawn. Like the boat’s stringer system, its transom was constructed of encapsulated marine plywood. All bulkheads were bonded to the hull with biaxial glass.
A single electric screw jack raised to reveal the HP500EFI, which was installed using a Mercury Racing offshore cradle mount and L-angles through-bolted to the stringers and the standard transom assembly.
No detail was missed in the boat’s sanitary rigging. All wires and cables were supported with evenly spaced stainless-steel cushion clamps. The bilge was finished with smooth white gelcoat. Mounted on the firewall, the trim pumps were connected to the drive and tabs using braided stainless-steel hoses. The aluminum battery boxes even had step plates to keep mechanics and others from damaging the connections.
For natural light over the V-berth and facing lounges in the carpeted cabin, the manufacturer included a deck hatch. The installation was flawless and did nothing to disrupt the plush headliner, which incorporated 2 inches of padding. For illumination after dark, separate lights were provided for the V-berth and midcabin areas.
The boat had no galley or head locker, but it did have a Porta Potti as well as an anchor locker and a three-piece door.
In the cockpit to port, the co-pilot’s position was equipped with a manual drop-out bolster, an angled footrest, a glove box in the dash and a grab handle. Rather than carpeting, rubber flooring material covered the boat’s sole.
A manual drop-out bolster also was supplied for the driver to starboard. Arranged around the tilt steering wheel at the helm were Gaffrig gauges customized with the Pantera logo. In addition to the standard instruments, there were mechanical trim indicators for the drive and tabs, and a Ritchie compass. The Zero Effort throttle and shifter were mounted on the starboard gunwale.
The rear bench was deep and large enough for four people. For passengers to find purchase in rough water when standing, the manufacturer included a grab handle on the back of each bolster.
The Pantera 28 Sport Single has proven itself to us twice—once in the rough, once in the smooth—in less than 12 months. That is saying something, because we’re critical, even picky.
Hull and Propulsion Information
|Deadrise at transom||24 degrees|
|Hull weight||5,250 pounds|
|Engine||Mercury Racing HP500EFI|
|Lower-unit gear ratio||1.5:1|
|Propeller||Mercury Bravo One 15 1/4″ x 28″|
|Price as tested||$97,050|
Twin racing bolsters, custom interior, flush deck hatch, Gaffrig instruments, anodized bezels, Zero Effort controls, power steering, padded tilt Momo steering wheel, 280S K-Planes with mechanical indicators, Ritchie compass, dual batteries with offshore mounts, power engine hatch, high-capacity bilge pumps, bilge blowers, Pirelli rubber flooring, acrylic cabin door, flush-mounted cleats, cabin lighting, nav lights, stainless-steel propeller, windscreen-to-transom tonneau cover, complete water test and sea trial.
Options on Test Boat
Upgrade to Mercury Racing HP500EFI ($12,000), aluminum swim platform ($2,000), AM/FM CD stereo ($1,200), depthfinder ($350).
|5 seconds||31 mph|
|10 seconds||47 mph|
|15 seconds||58 mph|
|20 seconds||64 mph|
|30-50 mph||5.7 seconds|
|40-60 mph 8.7 seconds|
Rpm vs. Mph
|Speedometer||69 mph at 5100 rpm|
|Radar||67.7 mph at 5100 rpm|
|Nordskog Performance Products GPS||63 mph at 5100 rpm|
|Time to plane||4 seconds|
|Minimum planing speed||15.5 mph|
|At 45 mph||2.2 mpg|
|At 55 mph||1.9 mpg|
|At 55 mph||1.6 mpg|
|At WOT||1.7 mpg|
|Fuel capacity||140 gallons|
14100 Biscayne Blvd., No. 7
North Miami, FL 33181