1999 Ventura 20 Advice

A conversation among Whalers
VA Whaler
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:10 pm

1999 Ventura 20 Advice

Postby VA Whaler » Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:41 pm

Hello. After years of owning, maintaining and enjoying classic Whalers (1978 Sport 13, 1979 Revenge 22, 1983 GTX-18) my wife and I are looking at a newer Whaler, specifically a 1999 Ventura 20. I think we would both enjoy it for fishing and recreation. Plus, it’s a Whaler.

The problem is that I know next to nothing about the newer teak-less models :). So if there are any Ventura owners or those in the know who have a couple minutes to relay their thoughts and opinions on the Ventura 20 I'd really appreciate it.

I'd take any information you could pass along but here are a couple questions that come to mind:

How do you like fishing out of [a 20 VENTURA]?

What sort of fishing do you do: lake, intracoastoal, just off-shore, etc.?

For my wife, how is the ride [of a 20 VENTURA] with the V-hull compared to the classic Whaler hull?

Are any weaknesses [in a 20 VENTURA] that I need to look out for during my inspections? For example are the thru-hull drains still problematic as with the Classic Whalers?

Can I use a traditional bunk trailer or should I stick with the keel-roller trailer?

The [particular 20 VENTURA] boat has its original 2000 200 HP Optimax Saltwater Series engine (no idea on hours) and does not have a trailer. I'd say its in average to slightly below average condition. If you lived in VA, what sort of price would you expect to pay? They are offering it for $13,500 but based on prices I have found online which usually includes a trailer, I think that is a little high. Thinking $9,500 - $10,000 would be more inline. I do know the boat was previously registered in Maryland prior to moving to VA so I imagine it spent the first years of its life in salt water.

Thanks for any information you can provide.

Last edited by VA Whaler on Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1999 Ventura 20 Advice

Postby Masbama » Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:47 pm

Check the transom thru-hull fittings for leaks.

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Re: 1999 Ventura 20 Advice

Postby jimh » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:21 am

VA Whaler wrote:...For my wife, how is the ride with the V-hull compared to the classic Whaler hull?

Classic Boston Whaler hulls have taken two distinct forms: round-bottom twin-sponson; and V-bottom vestigial sponson or runners.

A c.1999 VENTURA 20 probably has the newer ACCU-TRAK hull form, and its ride will be substantially differently than the older round-bottom hulls used on the odd-length models (16/17, 19, 21) from the 1970’s.

The even-length models (18, 20, 22, 24/25) from the 1980’s are also very different from the earlier hulls, and the Accu-Trak hull design is more like a derivative from these 1980’s hulls, that is, a moderate dead rise V-hull without significant sponsons or runners as opposed the the rounded-bottom twin sponson hulls of the early days.

Unless your wife has a peculiarly strange preference for the roughest ride possible, I think the Accu-Trak hull won’t disappoint her sensibilities for how a 20-foot open boat ought to handle various sea states.

Tim S
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Re: 1999 Ventura 20 Advice

Postby Tim S » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:03 pm

I purchased a 1996 20’ Dauntless/Ventura last summer. For a family of four it’s proving to be a great boat. Not a ton of fishing for us,mainly use it as a swimming tubing water skiing and boat to camp off of. Use the boat mainly on inland lakes and have taken her to the Apostle islands twice and to the north channel once. Lots of room on the boat for gear and people. Love the huge gas tank, provides great range. We also have full canvas which has been nice for our camping weekends. At 2,300 lb hull weight (4,000ish all in) it’s a fairly easy boat to tow with a standard suv and also fairly easy to launch and retrieve. I like the room as well as the ride. Mine has a 2009 200 hp evinrude e-tech. Paid $15,500 in 2017 if that helps in your shopping. My hull is in good shape for its age, but does have quite a bit of spider cracking around load points.

Things I don’t like are the anchor locker drains into the boat, not overboard. The fish locker in the deck, collects water that’s washed over the deck, especially when washing the boat. The rear bench seat storage is not dry storage, coming up the swim ladder and standing on the rear jump seat will cause water under the seat. The access doors to get into the passenger and driver side storage are small. Have to be on your knees to see what is in there and to put things in and take things out of that storage. The scuppers are just above the water line, add gear / people in the back of the boat and water comes in, I’m using stoppers when needed to prevent this.

The above being said, we are enjoying the boat and overall very happy with the purchase. I don’t see us selling this one anytime soon!

Good luck!

VA Whaler
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:10 pm

Re: 1999 Ventura 20 Advice

Postby VA Whaler » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:55 pm

Thanks for the replies. We test drove the boat last weekend and we liked it. The 2000 200 Optimax has me somewhat worried. The VENTURA 20 looks like it has had some fiberglass and gelcoat work on the hull, but supposedly that was from too many beachings during its early years.

Tim— I was able to see what you were talking about with respect to the small hatches, scuppers, and the fish locker. I'll probably need to catch up with you if you don't mind after I have had some time getting used to the new boat. I'll probably have more than a few questions

Can a standard bunk trailer be used with these boats?

Or, should I stick with a keel roller trailer?

Ventura 20.jpg
Ventura 20.jpg (144.61 KiB) Viewed 3426 times

VA Whaler
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:10 pm

Re: 1999 Ventura 20 Advice

Postby VA Whaler » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:05 pm

Hey Tim—one of the first things I'd like to do is mount a fuel-water separator filter.

Does your Dauntless have one?

If so, where is it mounted?


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Re: 1999 Ventura 20 Advice

Postby JTC » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:56 am

I have a 1996 20 Dauntless (exact same boat as pictured -- I *think* it was still the Dauntless back in 1999)

I believe bunk trailers are recommended over rollers and mine worked fine on my boat. I ended up selling the trailer as I rarely used it.

I Love Tim S's comments and critiques of the boat -- I agree with everything he mentioned.

That said I love the boat for how we use it: tubing, skiing, and sand bar picnics in Cape Cod Bay. And I have also done a fair amount of fishing off the boat. The [1996 20 DAUNTLESS] works great for [fishing] although it could use a few more rod holders—easily added—if that's a bigger deal.

My fuel-water separator filter is mounted in the bilge under the big gray deck plate in the splashwell. Plenty of space there, though it is a very wet bilge.

We regularly go out with nine folks aboard—capacity—and always have a great time. There are still a bunch of this vintage all over Cape Cod.

Tim S
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Joined: Fri May 06, 2016 3:59 pm

Re: 1999 Ventura 20 Advice

Postby Tim S » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:16 pm

My Dauntless doesn’t have a fuel-water separator. I’ve never had one on a boat and have never had a problem. (Fingers crossed).

JTC my bilge is wet too, the deck plate gasket in the splash well is shot and water gets into the bilge there. Where else does water get into yours?

My engine is also mounted in the lowest/deepest position. I’d like to raise it a hole or two. Where is your engine mounted?

Great boats!


VA Whaler
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:10 pm

Re: 1999 Ventura 20 Advice

Postby VA Whaler » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:58 pm

Appreciate the information and I agree mine also does have a wet bilge. We had a great time with it out on the lake today but I did have to give the bilge pump a workout.

I plugged the two thru hull drains in the engine well and I'm curious if that will take care of the problem. I think the seal around that hatch is the main culprit but I also think the silicone seal around the engine well might also be leaking.

Yes my engine is also mounted as low as it will go. The 200 HP Optimax has a fin on it but I'm thinking trim tabs might go a long way.

The Optimax runs loud and a little rough but it sure is good on gasoline fuel.

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Re: 1999 Ventura 20 Advice

Postby Jefecinco » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:47 am

The Optimax engine if running well would not worry me any more than would any 18 year old engine. Consider having an ECU printout and inspection done at a certified dealer. If it has over 2000 hours (about 100 hours per year) you may want to use that to leverage a lower price. Given the age of the engine I would plan for a repower.

Bluewaterpirate has a similar boat with Optimax power which he uses for offshore fishing. His boat gets heavy use. I believe he repowered a few months ago with another Optimax which is a pretty strong endorsement. He would be a great source of information. I suggest you PM him or send him an email seeking advice. I doubt there is a better source.

I agree with a previous comment that a bunk trailer is appropriate for the Ventura.