Boat Test: 2005 Tracker Boats Tracker Targa 17 Sport

Boat Tested2005 Tracker Boats Tracker Targa 17 Sport
Price As TestedNot Available
Category Fish and Ski
Manufacturer Tracker Boats
Length17ft 4in / 5.28 m
Drive TypeOutboard
Founded in 1978, Tracker Marine arguably launched the industry's first complete turn-key fishing boat package. Since then,Tracker's pace has been swift and sure-footed, just as their rough-water hulls track through one-metre waves.

Light, durable and structurally sound,Tracker's Targa 17 Sport model makes a great all-around family boat. Well-equipped aluminum boats like this are clearly fishing-friendly. But if you want one boat that can satisfy diverse seasonal activities, this model also comes with an aft swim platform, in-floor storage compartment and a high walk-through windshield.

I prefer to test a boat in calm water, and then look for some chop to analyze overall handling. Lake Ontario in early October didn't present that option. A stiff northeast wind meant waves were one to two metres, and we were faced with getting down to the nitty-gritty from the get-go.

Weighing in at 1,480 lbs.and measuring 17'4" in length, the Targa 17 has a maximum recommended horsepower rating of 125, and the Torontobased dealer usually brings them in with 115 hp Mercs.This one had been ordered with a 90-hp two-stroke engine, so I was interested to see if it would be both economical and sufficiently powerful.

Heading out of the cut and directly into the waves, I was very thankful for the high, solid windshield which kept us dry.With high sides, the Targa felt safe and secure, and as we powered up for our acceleration runs, the bow split the waves and cruised softly in a following sea. Throttling down, the Tracker leapt on plane in 2.6 seconds, accelerated from 20 to 40 mph in 6.4 seconds and hit 41 mph in 9.43 seconds.

In the calmest water I could find, we achieved a top speed of 42.3 mph. Though it was difficult to crank the wheel hard over at speed in four-foot waves, the boat handled with agility and composure. I particularly liked how the hull lifted with positive trim and didn't getting flighty.

I could do little more than simply accelerate from crest to crest heading back to harbour, but in so doing was taken by how smooth the ride was at common-sense speeds. Tracker's allaluminum deep-V hulls are welded rather than riveted.The Targa 17 has a 17-degree deadrise at the transom and strakes that provide lift.Reverse chines redirect spray to give it as dry a ride as possible. Other construction highlights include an all-aluminum hydraulically pressed stringer system to absorb shock.

Anglers will appreciate the Targa 17's numerous fishing amenities. Standard features include a Lowrance X37 fishfinder, lockable rod boxes on each side, elevated casting decks forward and aft, a Minn Kota 12-volt, 55 lb. thrust trolling motor with foot control, and a 28-gallon 50" aft aerated livewell with timer. Every boater will appreciate Tracker's rugged upholstery, the two deluxe fishing seats with composite frames, and the 3-person aft seating arrangement. Two convertible fishing chairs can be removed when the kids want to go boarding.

Packaged with a custom drive-on bunk trailer and a full safety package, Tracker's no-haggle, no-hassle pricing policy makes for consistent, stress-free shopping. Simply choose the engine package that suits you and your budget, and a Tracker can be prepped and ready to tow away.
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