The Panga has been around for more than three decades, born as a project of the World Bank, which financed the development of the skiff and promoted its use in developing countries to help improve the lives of local fishermen. Its long and narrow hull, with a tall bow and ample deck space, make it suitable for both inshore and offshore duties.
Rob McDaniel, president of Panga Marine in Sarasota, Fla., began importing and selling Panga-style boats from a Mexican builder in 2001. He now builds them in Sarasota and the 29 Horizon is his latest model.
Click here to view a report on the 29 Horizon.
The boat I drove was powered with twin 175-hp Suzuki 4-strokes. Seated at the helm, the tall bow blocked my view for a couple of seconds while coming up on plane, but that bow brings with it a slew of benefits, such as knocking down spray, adding buoyancy forward for extra load-carrying capacity, and making it easier to launch from the beach.
Sarasota Bay offered a 2-foot chop, and the 29 Horizon ran through it smoothly at 38 mph in all directions to the sea. I also pushed the boat to 50 mph for a few seconds. At 35 mph, it gets 2.5 mpg.
The boat I drove had no other seating other than the two-person helm seat, but it can be built with seating at the transom, in the bow and on the forward side of the console.
McDaniel hangs the Suzukis on a Porta hydraulic transom bracket. He will add equipment and make modifications at the customer’s request, such as adding a side dive door.
The boat sells for about $100,000 with twin 175s, a T-top, the Porta bracket, trim tabs and a trailer.