I used to tow a 17' out-board motor boat w/ my '99 XL Sport (2.5L I4, stick). People would do about the same thing-take pictures of my little truck yanking that boat around. I actually got turned away at a private launch one time because the owner was convinced I'd never get the boat out of the water at the end of the day.. Getting power down on particularly steep, wet ramps was sometimes a challange, but she always got the boat out and home. (I had the stock, Firestone HT all-season tires.) I was always very happy w/ the way that truck handled a load.
And to be perfectly honest, I thought it rode a helluva lot better fully loaded like that. Sure, 5th was entirely optional, and 3rd was required occasionally on steep hills, but she did it all and didn't give me any greif.
Of course the new truck (4.0L V6, stick) tows even better. And 4Lo just kicks *** when yanking a boat out of the water..
Although what really blows people's mind is when I tell them that before I bought the truck I would tow that same boat (and more!) w/ my '86 VW Jetta (1.8L I4, stick).. Before the VW was mine I was witness to one afternoon where the previous owner (my mother) pushed an '84 Buick Century (3.0L V6, auto) up a rather large hill.. using the bumper!