Social media has ruined the world, at least to some extent. Please allow us to explain. Today, the generally accepted notion is “If you don’t take a picture and share it, it never happened”. Nothing is personal any more, nor are many things kept secret. Every meal, every achievement, every rainbow needs to be documented and distributed to the masses. That’s the downside. There is an upside however, and that is the idea that something may only be as fun as those you share it with, the more cliche “sharing is caring” mantra adopted by someone too cheap to buy their own side of french fries and picks one off your plate. But we digress … Nevertheless, the idea that having people involved in your fun is nothing new, it’s just a lot more prevalent these days. And nothing sounds like a better photo op than jumping aboard something called a Party Barge!
Allow us to introduce you to the Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 XP3. Sure, it’s a mouthful of a name, but with big names, comes big fun. The 22 XP3 can handle anywhere from a 115-200 horsepower motor, with a 150 horsepower 4-stroke Mercury being the most popular choice. As with anything called a Party Barge, you shouldn’t be surprised that it has a sizable length overall of 24’ 2” and a beam of 8’ 6”. That large mass tips the scales at roughly 4,900 pounds, the 22 XP3 isn’t exactly svelte, but the 150-horsepower motor seems more than able to handle it.
That motor is backed by a 52-gallon fuel tank that allows the Mercury to cruise nicely at 3,000 rpm while burning only 3.7 gallons per hour, translating into a cruise range of 200 miles. The Sun Tracker hits 20 mph in 5.2 seconds and can keep pushing to top 30 mph in 9.3 seconds, A top speed of 35.8 mph (conditions permitting of course) can be reached at 5,800 rpm but skyrockets the GPH to a whopping 13.7 and pulls back the range to only 123 miles. But we doubt you’ll be at full throttle that long, as the more time you spend on the Party Barge, the better.
Three 26” pontoon logs equipped with wave deflectors support the Party Barge on the water. The canoe-like cut through the open water with ninja level effectiveness. This water slicing translates into a very subdued five-degree bow-lift upon acceleration, which makes seeing easy, and passengers calm. Crossing over choppy water is no problem, as the XP3 stays level and under control at all times.
The swim platform and ladder out back are sure to get used over and over again. Up at the stern there is copious amounts cushioned couch seating, as much as … well actually, the bow. The entire boat looks something akin to a La-Z-Boy showroom. The bow seating hides tons of storage both beneath the seat cushions as well as behind the seatbacks. There is even a lockable storage bin for valuables, a good idea for those plus-one parties. A removable table helps with food or a card game, while the Bimini top stands overhead ready for action with a quick release just about anyone can use.
The helm seat feels as though it came right out of a 1970’s Cadillac, with its hugely cushioned padding, dual flip-up armrests, ability to slide and swivel, and even has its own storage pouch. Much like an antique El Dorado, the 22 XP3 keeps control modulation to a minimum, displaying only the most important bits of feedback and info to the captain. Two multifunction gauges, and a glove compartment-like center storage space are flanked by a 12-volt plug as well as a USB input to put on your favorite party tunes from your phone, which gets its own storage spot to the right of the helm. The steering wheel tilts to your comfort level, while the built-in footrest keeps knees happy, and there’s even a cooler storage space for the occasional adult beverage, not while driving of course!
The Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 XP3 can be had, depending on options, between $30-$40,000, and that includes the trailer and tow hitch that ST is happy to hand over as an option, taking one less hassle off your plate, and making getting to the beach that much quicker. So, pile all your friends in the car, and hop aboard the Party Barge, because, you know, sharing is caring after all. Oh, and don’t forget to take plenty of pictures. Even if you never post them, there’s a good chance those memories will inevitably last a life time, and there will be no questions whether or not it actually happened.