My focus is not to speak here about the origin of the Panga, a simple Google search will get you plenty of wonderful articles on that particular subject. This boat came from my personal desire to have a boat to take my daughter out fishing, and just having fun on the water. So why did I choose a Panga ? Why a 20′ Panga ? Why design from scratch ?
I chose a panga for a simple reason – it is the best design to do what I do most of the time. I have always said think about what you will do 90 percent of the time and buy a boat that does it well. Well a lot of people that know me would think a flats boat is the best bet for me but it is not. I go out alone in my Solo Skiff, and it is the perfect craft for doing so, especially giving I love small boats. This boat is about bringing one or two along with me and doing a wide array of activities.. A flats skiff is great IF your mainly flats fishing and poling someone along looking for fish. YES- I will do this but most of time not. So I ask, what will we do, and where will we go ? This is where the panga design starts to scream choose me- choose me ! Panga hull design was designed to be beached, and run on low power outboards- perfect for what I do with people, and where I go. The hull also has shallow draft, another big bonus for these items. Now why a 20 foot design you may ask. I again go back to need. I originally thought about an 18 foot panga, but the more I thought about it the more I thought a 20 foot boat made more sense. 22 foot was too much. Twenty foot allowed plenty of room for 3 people, and helps the hull in a chop and waves run better. fishing guides pole pangas all over the caribbean for permit and bonefish so I know when I’m called upon top do so the hull will. Now will I pole it all the time ? No… but back to the original thought- what will I do most of the time… The length is a good all around length, not too much for 2 people, plenty for 3, I can run it with a small outboard (30 hp) to keep weight down, so I can shove off the sand easy, and keep here shallow floating as well. My use will include a lot of running around in nearshore waters as well as offshore on nice days. Not being a guy that goes out in rough conditions I call this a fair weather offshore boat. I will quickly make a run out to ten miles on a nice day to see whats biting or chase what ever I can find with my daughter. So again the panga design shines, as does the length I chose.
Now as far as why I designed a Panga from scratch was kinda simple… I simply wanted to- and I wanted a couple of minor tweaks. The sheerline beam on panga hulls, that gives them that ‘panga look’ as well as buoyancy if swamped was item one… I simply made it a lil bigger in front to help keep her running dry- simple. Next was the bottom. All REAL pangas have the ‘planing pad’ on the bottom of the hull that helps the boat to beach easier, run on smaller outboards, and float shallower. I simply made it a little larger to keep her keel/ bottom off the bottom in the shallows… Florida is surrounded by shallow waters, from the Keys to Destin, its shallow /deep / shallow… no matter where you go there are shallows. I wanted this boat to be easy to manage in these type waters, and shallow draft helps… so I tweaked it.
There you have it…. I designed as close to an all around boat, based on the panga as I could and feel it is truly the best boat for my needs, and many others needs. If you want a boat that will run the beach on good days, take a chop, beachable, and still push around in shallow water when called on- this is a will be a good boat. The great thing is in an age of over the top boats with over the top price tags, this boat will be built as it should- rugged, simple, and priced where it should be…where we can all afford it.