I was first introduced to panga boats in 1999 in the port city of Ensenada, Baja California...
There is an island called Isla de Todos Santos located about 12 miles offshore known for big surf, and a very large swell was forecasted. I had recently graduated college and had been living mostly out of the back of my '84 F-250 pickup. I arrived at the docks in Ensenada at daybreak and quickly found a local pangero who would take me across the channel to go ride the famous big-wave surf spot. I loaded my board and pack into his small open boat and we set off. Sea conditions could best be described as "sporty" and my first thought at seeing the wind and chop outside of the harbor was straight from Jaws..."We're going to need a bigger boat."
To my surprise, the little panga I was riding in happened to be perfectly suited to handling the poor conditions we encountered. It's light weight and narrow beam allowed us to slice right through the chop and made for a surprisingly dry ride. A lifelong love for all the Boston Whalers I'd ever ridden in suddenly came into question. Why was the entire Northeast so enamored with the ubiquitous tri-hulls that pounded so hard in the short chop of the bays and drenched everyone in a quartering sea?
Since that day, I have been completely sold on the panga as the ideal solution for boaters that want a cost-effective, utilitarian craft that can handle any conditions thrown at them. Compared to other popular hull styles, they are less expensive, require less power, are more fuel efficient, and can handle heavier weather. They are ideally suited for a day of fluke fishing in Shinnecock bay, chasing bass around the south side of Montauk, for a day of freediving out in Orient, or just cruising around and having a couple sodas with the boys.
There is a reason why panga style boats are likely the most popular hull style in the world. Pound for pound, nothing else compares in terms of low acquisition, maintenance, and operating costs, as well as general seaworthiness in hulls of comparable size.
If you are considering a new boat and are interested in a panga, please drop me a line. I truly believe that pangas, and especially Eduardoño pangas, are perfectly suited for the Northeast and are simply the best value around for a unquestionably seaworthy open boat.