A Panga is a mono-hull boat. It is not a flat, tunnel or V-hull. A Panga boat is a breed of its own. Pangas are not a well-known type of boat in the United States. They are very popular in Latin America and the Caribbean though. But what features make up a Panga, or how do these boats differentiate from the rest?
1) Hull Shape
The main characteristic of a Panga boat is its shape. It looks different than the rest of the boats out there. The uniqueness of its shape gives it personality. The Panga´s hull can be divided into three sections, the bow, the middle and aft. The bow is the widest part of the Panga and the one with the sharp entry. It is used to break down large waves when the ocean gets rough. The center and aft of the Panga´s hull is flat. The flat aft allows it to go to the shallowest places any backcountry fisherman can find. Panga boats ride flat on top of the waves, not through the waves like V-hulls, so they glide in choppy water. For these boats to deliver peak performance, they should be light and sturdy. This unique shape allows for one of the most versatile and capable boats out there.
2) Engine Power
When have you seen a 25-foot boat powered by a 60hp outboard? I have even run one with a 40hp (not that I would recommend this as it is too slow!). There is a common rule for V-hull boats: the most efficient power on a boat is at 20% from the maximum power that the V-hull can handle. This is just not true for a Panga hull. Uforia Panga´s Costa del Sol 25 runs perfectly with a 90hp. The top speed is 38mph, the cruising speed is 30mph @ 5mpg. Impressive for a 25-foot boat! The maximum power on this Uforia Panga is 150hp. At 150 hp, you will probably get a couple of mph more, but the cruising speed will not increase that much so your mpg will be shot. Panga hulls are designed to carry large loads, not to be the fastest boat on the water, but they will certainly take you out and bring you back safely, even in the worst weather conditions.
3) Assisted Bailing Cockpit
What is an assisted bailing cockpit? It is a boat that requires the help of a bail system to get rid of the water. A self-bailing cockpit drains the water itself as the floor sits above the water line. Nowadays, most Panga boats are self-bailing. Uforia Pangas´ center console models all have self-bailing systems. The commercial Panga designs, like the skiff models of Uforia Pangas, have all assisted bailing systems. This does not mean that they will capsize in heavy seas or rain or while sitting at the dock. Panga boats have been used for commercial purposes for decades now. It is not uncommon for a fisherman to catch fish with a Panga 150 miles offshore for 3 days at a time without issues and under the most challenging of weather and sea conditions. In my opinion, the simpler the design, the better. Even with an assisted bailing cockpit, Panga boats are extremely reliable and seaworthy! They have a proven design and continue to withstand the most avid anglers fishing challenges.
4) Narrow Beam
Sometimes called the banana-boat, because it is long and thin. We all believe that the wider the boat, the better the ride. This is a very common misconception and many people are “afraid” of the narrow beam. A narrow beam does not make for an unstable boat! If the manufacturer balances and builds the Panga properly, there is no reason for the boat to be “tippy” as we call it. Remember that this design has been tested and re-tested all over the world for over 50 years! Don’t be shy about the beam. If you have never experienced a Uforia Panga before, I strongly suggest you contact me so we can go for a ride in a Uforia Panga. I would love to get rid of this misconception.
You can find more information on Uforia Pangas at www.UforiaMarine.com