Captain Billy Sandifers Panga
Here is a report he put on ectremecoast.com about his panga.
"constantly receiving so many inquiries about the panga that instead of attempting to answer each one I thought I'd write this up and perhaps it will answer most of the questions most commonly asked. To my knowledge I've personally owned 8 boats from 14' to 36 1/2' long plus 2 Zodiacs. There is no perfect boat for all uses but for me the 25' Mexican Panga I own and run is as close as it gets and it's the last boat I'll ever own. Had I owned it first I'd never have had the 8 earlier ones.
From the first time I ever saw one decades ago I thought "now that is what a boat should look like" and I instantly fell in love with the design. The design orginated in the 1930s as a seaworthy, economical, low maintenance, open boat for the poor working fishermen of the 3rd. world and with certain localized modifications this hull design is in use world wide and literally in all type of sea conditions. As near as I can tell I AM a poor working fisherman of the 3rd. World. As we know it has probably gained more fame for successfully running drugs in rough seas than fishing. My panga was busted twice on PINS and was seized and I bought it at U. S. Marshall's public auction. The word "panga" is African meaning "the thin blade" and refers to the narrow beam compared to the overall length. This is the main reason for it's economy to operate and personally I think it also has something to do with the seaworthyness as well. Although my panga is 25' long it is only 72" abeam outside to outside and 68 1/2" inside measurement. If you look at the specs on the American made pangas most are much wider. That is part of the Americanization mind set but in all truth I think it takes away from the intent of the original design and to me they are panga in name only. You'll also find they have a high dollar price tag. I wanted the original design and waited 1 1/2 years for this boat to become available at auction. I assume it is an Imemsa as it is has "Hecho in Mexico" stamped in the hull and came here from Tampico.
These boats are extremely difficult to acquire and I was unsuccessful in numerous attempts to get one from the factory in Mexico City even though I had import/export professionals try. IF one could make a deal with Imemsa in Mexico City and get all the arrangements involved taken care of you could purchase one with a modest center console and decked in for a VERY reasonable price. I simply never could. I have spent 14 months and a fortune getting this boat set up and outfitted to suit me but it was because I knew I was going to keep it for the rest of my life and I knew exactly what I was going to use it for and I did not spare any expense. I'm going to run long distances at times so it has a brand new 175 hp Suzuki 4 stroke on it. It runs 38 mph at 4500 rpm while getting 4 miles to the gallon. I've never yet tested the top end over distance but have had it up to 47 mph at 5100 rpm but there goes your gas efficency. It gets up clean in 2' of water and runs in 1.' It's dry and smooth in head seas and a race horse in following seas and wet and rough riding if forced to take sizeable swells off the quarter to the stern. But then so is everything else. It is not tipsy at anchor. I decked it out with 5/8" fir plywood and glass. 240 gal. plastic fuel tanks give me a range of 320 miles round trip. The k top is designed of a mesh that allows the wind to pass through and doesn't interfere greatly with speed. There is an anchor compartment in the bow and 2 storage compartments to the rear of it but they aren't dry. It's not self bailing as I felt it imperative to retain 20" freeboard. 2 bilge pumps are in the stern.
The compartment forward of the center console holds the fuel tanks and is intentionally exactly the same height as the rail. Imagine how much pressure an angler can put of a large fish by sitting on thatc compartment and bracing his feet against the rail in complete safety. The ice chests are removable and held in place by rubber keepers on the deck and cinched down to hardware on the deck with safety straps. I have a large aireatored bait tank that has it's own electrical connection and that is removable when not needed. The mats on the deck are there as they provide wonderful foot relief when standing on the deck all day and also when a bloody fish is brought on deck the blood can be quickly washed off with sea water and will go down into the gaps in the mat and give those on board a safe, non-slick deck to stand on. I can wash the blood out at the house. There is a raised fore deck that is wonderful for casting and for the safety of fishermen it only made common sense to put a waist high guard rail forward. One of these boats bare hull weighs 1,080 pounds and decked in with a small center console Imemsa quotes the weight at a bit over 1,600 lbs. I have gone to all lengths practical to keep the weight down on mine and still have what I need and I'll bet mine weighs less than the 23' Explorer I had. There is only the slightest hesitation on take off and it comes on plane and reaches high speed very quickly. These boats are often thought of as flat bottomed and that simple isn't true. The hull is quite complex and qualifies for what is known as a modified v hull. I monitored the two panga message boards that are on internet plus read all other info I could find and decided to put custom Lenco trim tabs on the boat. Andy at Andros Boatbuilders ordered them for me and was extremely helpful. Andy has a good reputation and if I was interested in an Americanized version Andros is probably a good reputable builder to consider.
A friend, Jason Seacrest, also has a panga and he went with a hydrofoil on his and no trim tabs. His boat did not give him the ride he hoped for and he is putting Lenco trim tabs on his as well. Various companies have made attempts at importing Imemsa boats and then selling them as their own. I don't think any of that has turned out well. As my panga is designed for big game fishing there are cleats and rod holders everwhere and every rod holder has it's own safety snap in line to keep rigs and or anglers from getting jerked overboard. I installed an 8' Power Pole as they are invaluable in bay fishing and have the largest remote controlled Minn-Kota trolling motor made on it as I will be doing plenty of Tarpon fishing and Tarpon and many other species simply won't allow you to approach using the big engine without spooking. The trolling motor can also be removed easily. State of the art seperate depth finder and GPS and a VHF radio. Both Jason Seacrest and I notice a SLIGHT list in the port bow when at high speeds that is hard to adjust out. I've decided it is due to the high torque generated by the large outboards we are using. It can be done away with y shifting the heavier passengers a bit to the starboard side. Due to the high profile presented by the panga hull it drifts fast and 2 48" sea anchors are required to control the excessive speed of the drift. Even more control can be acquired by placing the socks to run off the stern and letting the boat drift bow first. The self bailing engine well is awesome and so far has completely stopped seawater from breaching the boat in the stern. Well, there you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know about panga and probably more. I'd own nothin' else."
Here is a link to the thread.