Boston Whaler Boat Show

A conversation among Whalers
jimh
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Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby jimh » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:56 pm

The local Boston Whaler dealer invited me and Kevin A to their annual winter Boat Show at their large showroom adjacent to Lake St. Clair. The showroom floor was filled with boats, and most of them Boston Whaler boats. I did not take any notes, but we saw all kinds of Boston Whaler boats, include several really big boats, such as a 420 OUTRAGE, a 350 REALM, a 380 OUTRAGE, MONTAUK models in 210, 190, 170, ,and 150, a 285 CONQUEST, a 130 SPORT, and 150 SPORT

Of course we had to go aboard the big boats. None was over $1,000,000, but a couple were $800,000 to $900,000. They were all very nice boats, built extremely well, with beautiful finish and detail. The typical power was quad 350-HP VERADO engines with white cowlings.

380REALM.jpg
FIg. 1. The bow of a 380 REALM towers above the floor of the boat show.
380REALM.jpg (103.21 KiB) Viewed 1665 times


[Corrected the identity of the boat in above illustration. If interested, see COLONY MARINE's inventory page--jimh]

The gel coat finish was beautiful. The molded cabinetry was beautiful. The granite or faux-granite counter tops were beautiful. The helm layout was beautiful. The head with built in overhead fancy shower outlet in the ceiling was beautiful. There was hardly anything that was not built precisely and engineered to be strong and good looking. I mean, these boats were great.

But I did not get the old feeling I used to get at boat shows, the excitement of seeing these beautiful boats, the joy of just thinking what it would be like to have one and go boating on one. The feelings I got were not the same as in the old days.

I kept thinking: "Wow, these boats are big and they must weight a ton." I guess that comes from thinking about the 1,400-HP on the transom. I was also thinking: "What a lot of boat to maneuver around a dock or marina." With the hull at over-43-feet length overall, adding ten feet at the stern for the huge VERADO engines hanging back there, adding five feet at the bow for the chrome-plated plow anchor projecting forward, I realized that you'd need 65-feet or more dock space to come alongside and tie up, or a boat slip that was 65-feet long to go into and not stick out. Or to make a 180-degree turn in a marina fairway you'd need a really wide fairway. These boats are just enormous outboard boats. And hauling them anywhere on a trailer would be out of the question. Any destination you'd go to with these boats, they'd have to go on their own bottom, not on the highway on a trailer.

And how about winterizing the engines? How much work would there be in winterizing FOUR 350-HP VERADO engine every October? Changing the gear case oil on four engines? Putting in a new water pump kit on four engines? How about just getting the cowlings off four engines? You need a 40-foot boat just to have enough room in the cockpit to put the cowlings from four engines so you could work on them. And then changing 24 spark plugs--at $12 a plug. The upkeep on these big boats is similarly a big effort.

The boat I thought would be the most practical of them all: the 210 MONTAUK. The 210 MONTAUK is like the new version of the classic OUTRAGE 22. At 21-feet 4-inches it is just 11-inches shorter than the classic 22, but with an 8-foot 4-inch beam it's 11-inches wider. And the price was more realistic, under $80,000, with a modern 200-HP V6 engine. Or if you boat on more protected water, the 170 MONTAUK, about $44,000.

Mambo Minnow
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby Mambo Minnow » Sat Jan 04, 2020 3:11 pm

JimH concur with your thoughts. I will say joy stick piloting, bow thrusters and GPS station keeping are all options that help these monsters be more manageable to pilot and dock for the novice Captain that buys one. Many of the MarineMax dealers report that the joystick piloting option is a must-have option to make the sale.

I am happy that Boston Whaler is updating the Montauk line alongside all these behemoths to provide new options for those of us looking to replace their classics with something similar. The new Montauk 150 and 170 are very nice redesigns.

Mr 88
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby Mr 88 » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:06 pm

I would speculate that if you have a extra $600,000 to $900,00 laying around to buy a boat that you are probably going to use for five months that changing 24 spark plugs ,winterizing ,general upkeep, and even having a trailer are not going to be a concern.

Now, for me the storywould be a completely different. All I know is used-used-and-more-used. New boat pricing seems to be out of control, Those high prices will trickle down to my used-neighborhood soon enough. I am glad I am done with having to buy any more boats.

jimh
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby jimh » Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:20 am

I also noticed another aspect of these big boats: they really seem to be day-use boats. The sleeping berths were not particularly big, easy to set up, or easy to get to. The boats were also shown without any weather canvas in place.

Another curiosity--for me as a northern Great Lakes boater--was the presence of air-condition outlet ducts at the helm. I guess if you are boating in the tropics in what is fundamentally an open cockpit boat you need a blast of cold air from the air-conditioning unit in your face when underway at the helm. But pouring cold air into an open cockpit cannot be very efficient cooling. And where does the power to run the air-condition come from while underway? I assume some on-board generator must be running to create the electrical energy.

I think these big open boats are really designed for use in very warm climates--where it does not rain very often.

jimh
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Unibond Hull Cross-section Display Piece

Postby jimh » Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:37 am

Also on display was a cross section of a Unibond hull, probably cut from a smaller boat, perhaps an old 13-footer. This piece was extremely light yet extremely strong. I took three views of it:

UnibondHullCrossSection.jpg
Fig. 2. Cross-section of a Unibond hull of a Boston Whaler, showing the relatively thin laminate skins and the completely foam-filled space between them.
UnibondHullCrossSection.jpg (48.61 KiB) Viewed 1822 times


UnibondHullCloseUpView.jpg
Fig. 3. A close-up view of the hull cross-section. Note the added layers and increased thickness of the laminate in particular areas.
UnibondHullCloseUpView.jpg (130.75 KiB) Viewed 1822 times


GelcoatBlisters.jpg
Fig. 4. A clue to why this particular hull was cut apart and made into a display: there is a significant defect in the gel coat layer; it has many small blisters.
GelcoatBlisters.jpg (29.46 KiB) Viewed 1822 times

PatSea
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby PatSea » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:40 am

Very interesting report Jim. I liked the cut away views to relate to my [1972] 13-footer.

jimh
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby jimh » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:23 am

I would like to see a cross-section from one of the big boats, but I very much doubt that is going to happen, for two reasons:

  • the manufacturing process is now more consistent, and the occurrence of a bad hull is probably very infrequent; most of the Unibond hull samples I have seen appear to be from small boats, and made some time ago;
  • in order scrap a hull that was going to become an $800,000 finished boat, the defect would have to be very certain and essentially unrepairable. I am sure the laminating of these big hulls is done with extreme care and oversight. If there were a small defect, I would expect it would be repaired or remedied, instead of just scrapping out the entire hull. In contrast, to rework or repair a small hull, an old 13-footer for example, the cost in labor and materials might have been more than the cost to just scrap the hull and make another one.

jimh
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby jimh » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:05 am

Another interesting comparison: the 380 REALM shown above has 445-gallons fuel capacity to go along with the 1,400-HP, or 0.317-gallons/HP. My much more modest 22-footer has 77-gallons and 225-HP, for 0.342-gallons/HP. My older, smaller, lower-horsepower boat actually has more fuel capacity than the 380 REALM in terms of tank volume versus horsepower. That is probably a relic of its design with legacy outboard engines with much poorer fuel economy than modern engines.

According to Boston Whaler performance data for the 380 REALM with 1,400-HP, optimum cruise will be 35.5-MPH with 0.80-MPG. With 445-gallons that gives an ultimate range of 355-miles (just figuring by MPG times tank volume). For $4/gallon at a marina fuel station, a refill is going to cost $1,780. This gives a cost-per-mile of $5.00.

My 22-footer has an optimum cruise at 27-MPH with 2.7-MPG. With 77 gallons that gives an ultimate range of 208-miles. A refill will cost $308 at a marina, but on the highway at $2.50/gallon only $193. With marina fuel the cost per mile is $1.48, but with highway gasoline the cost per mile is under a dollar, $0.93.

dtmackey
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby dtmackey » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:55 pm

jimh wrote:Another interesting comparison: the 380 REALM shown above has 445-gallons fuel capacity to go along with the 1,400-HP, or 0.317-gallons/HP. My much more modest 22-footer has 77-gallons and 225-HP, for 0.342-gallons/HP. My older, smaller, lower-horsepower boat actually has more fuel capacity than the 380 REALM in terms of tank volume versus horsepower. That is probably a relic of its design with legacy outboard engines with much poorer fuel economy than modern engines.


Theoretically speaking, with today's very efficient motors and your boat coming from a period when carb 2 strokes were the norm, I'd say you have the best of both worlds, a Whaler with a tank capacity designed to support a thirsty carb 2 stroke outboard that burned 20-30% more fuel than today's efficient direct injected or 4 stroke designs.

If we agreed on a percentage of efficiency difference between the old carb 2 stroke motors and your current motor, based on your specific usage at a 25% difference, then I'd think in the day the boat was built they may have used a tank that was smaller by the same percentage. 77 gal * 0.75 = 58 gals. Again, this is theoretical and would give you a 0.225 gal/hp.

Just thinking out loud.

D-

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Todd
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby Todd » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:38 am

Regarding the use of a cut away section of the hull for marketing purposes, it strikes me odd that the manufacturer who used to cut the bow off their product, launch it, and demonstrate the rest of the boat is unsinkable by driving it at various boating events, wouldn't use a non defective section of hull for it's marketing efforts. It seems to me they send the message that they at least occasionally have defective manufacturing methods.

There are certainly no defects on my 2003 Dauntless, it looks great and looks as good or better than the new boats of various brands some of my friends have (at about one-quarter the cost).

Happy New Year all.
Todd

jimh
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby jimh » Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:10 pm

TODD--from what I have seen of cross-section samples and cut-in-two boats, these displays have all come from older and smaller boats. From that I infer that these hulls that have been cut up into displays were probably made in an earlier epoch of Boston Whaler manufacturing.

In modern manufacturing in any industry, there is has been a general improvement in consistency of product, that is, the manufacturing process is now very well controlled and regulated so for a modern mass-produced product there is very little variation among those products.

In the case of Boston Whaler manufacturing of Unibond hulls, the element of manufacturing that previously was probably the most variable was the mixing of the foam to fill the hull interior spaces and the exact amount of liquid that should be injected into the hull to expand into foam. At one time much of this was done by hand and perhaps by rough measurements.

Today, Boston Whaler creates the foam in a Unibond hull using a carefully controlled process running on a machine that puts out a precise amount of liquid for each particular hull to be made, along with compensations for environmental factors. I don't think Boston Whaler has ever revealed the exact nature of their foam-maker's control algorithm, but I believe it includes compensations for air temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity.

As a result of much improved process controls in manufacturing a Unibond hull, I suspect--and also expect--that the number of hulls molded and foamed that fail to meet rigid quality control inspection and have to be scrapped is now very low.

jimh
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby jimh » Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:26 pm

Here is another comparison of a new, giant, high-power Boston Whaler 380 REALM with 1,600-HP and my 1990 22-footer with 225-HP: fuel weight as a percentage of total weight. In aviation, this metric is called "fuel fraction" and is generally an important factor in determining range.

For the REALM 380 with the quad VERADO 350 engine, the Boston Whaler performance test indicates the dry weight as 24,000-lbs. Adding 455-gallons of gasoline (a 6.25-lbs-per-gallon) adds 2,850-lbs, for a total weight (minus crew and other gear) of 26,850-lbs. The fuel weight as a percentage of total weight is then 10.6-percent.

For my 1990 22-footer, the total boat weight at the last visit to a certified scale was 4,250-lbs. The fuel tank at that weighing was not empty, but in considering I was towing home from a long cruise, there was probably less than 15-gallons in the tank. I will subtract that weight, say 100-lbs, from the scale weight, So the boat without fuel would weigh 4,150-lbs. With a capacity of 77-gallons, a full tank adds 480-lbs, giving a total (minus crew and other gear) of 4,630-lbs. The fuel weigh as a percentage of total weight is then 10.4-percent.

I was making these calculations as I was writing this article, so I had no idea in advance how the calculations would compare. To my surprise, I find that the percentage of the total hull weight represented by a full fuel tank is just about identical in the two boats: a full fuel tank is about ten-percent of the total boat weight.

hauptjm
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby hauptjm » Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:25 pm

I find this interesting based on my own experience when I rebuilt the decking in my Outrage 18. When I removed the deck (1985 Outrage 18) I made the decision to replace the internal fuel tank even though it had no apparent leaks. This was purely a convenience/cost consideration while the deck and console were removed for repair. At the same time, I removed the fixed Armstrong set-back bracket, 1995 Johnson 150 Oceanrunner engine and rebuilt the transom. I subsequently put a brand new (Florida Marine Tank - OEM) 63 gal. Fuel tank, 2013 Evinrude 150 E-TEC, CRC Hydraulic Jack Plate (12 inch setback). This was done in 2013.

My dilemma, was that the tank (63 gal.) was designed for the old carburetor 2 strokes of the boat's era (1985). In fact, the dealer doing the work, recommended a custom built 50 gal. tank. This recommendation came from the fact that the new E-TEC engine was so much more efficient. The reason I went with the original tank was from a cost standpoint: it was cheaper. The OEM tank cost (including $135 for shipping) came in around $700.00 and I knew the fittings and such would be accurate, making the tank easy to install. The fabricator wanted $900 for the 50 gal. replacement. For me it was an easy decision.

The result is that I have a huge cruising range for a boat that's not really a cruiser. It does allow me to operate the boat for long periods of time over many weekends without concern for refills. This has turned out to be very desirable.

With regard to the weight of the full fuel tank versus the overall weight of the hull/engine/gear, it's probably much more substantial than other, larger Whalers. If my hull (approx. 1,300#) + engine (approx. 435#) = 1,735# and the fuel weight is 63 gal. x 8.4#/gal. = 529# Then my fuel is 23% of my combined weight. I've never calculated this before. Had I gone with the 50 gal. tank it would have been just under 20%. Not a huge difference.

correcting my weight error: 63 gal. x 6.2# = 390# so my fuel would be approx.18%.
Last edited by hauptjm on Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

biggiefl
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby biggiefl » Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:05 pm

Hauptjm.....Non-ethanol fuel is 6.2lbs, water is 8.4. You only have 390lbs of fuel.

My 18 Outrage had almost a full tank when I bought it in July. I still have over a 1/2. The F115 at 5+gph at cruise does not need 63 gals. If it ever goes bad I have a new Pate 27 or 29 in my shed and will run ethanol free in it under the RPS.
On my 24th Whaler. Currently in the stable: 86 18' Outrage, 81 13' Sport(original owner), 87 11' Sport, 69 Squall. :roll:

jimh
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Re: Boston Whaler Boat Show

Postby jimh » Fri Jan 10, 2020 4:35 pm

With the fuel fraction values very close, what makes the REALM 380 range longer than my old 22-footer?

As mentioned before the REALM 380 has a cruising range of 356-miles, while my old 22-footer has only 208-miles. Yet both hulls have nearly identical fuel fraction weights. I think the big different in cruising range must come from the cruising speed. The REALM 380 cruises most efficiently at 35.5-MPH, while my old 22-footer likes 27-MPH.

For comparison, I first compare the ranges: their ratio (380 to 22-footer) is 355/208 = 1.706.

The speed alone does not seem to completely account for the larger range: speed ratio is 35.5/27 = 1.31.

In range there are several factors that have influence. Foremost is brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC), but also hull efficiency (equivalent in aircraft would be lift-to-drag ratio), and, of course, speed.

As for the brake specific fuel consumption, the four VERADO engines may be running quite efficiently at 4,000-RPM (the engine speed for best cruising range), without using much boost pressure. My engine (an E-TEC) should be similarly efficient. I don't think there is a huge difference in BSFC between the two engines.

I suspect that the hull design is probably having an influence, and the 380 REALM hull might be more efficient (that is, have more lift and less drag) than the old 22-footer (with Whaler Drive in my case, which has alway been thought of as not being the most efficient appendage).

ANOTHER VIEW

Recently I switched propellers on my old 22-footer. With a different propeller, I was able to get 2.7-MPH fuel economy at a speed of 31.8-MPH. This works out to a range of 245-miles. Let's re-compare with the REALM 380:

Range ratio (380 to 22) = 355/245 = 1.44. Now there is more correlation between range-ratio (1.44) and speed-ratio (1.31).

ANOTHER COMPARISON

Let's look at power-to-weight. The 380 REALM is 1600-HP/26,850-lbs, or 1:16.8. The old 22 is 225-HP/4630-lbs, or 1:20.6. Now we see why the speed potential is much higher in the REALM: each 1-HP has to move less weight, so there is more speed.

I am going to chalk up this analysis of greater range for the REALM to be due to more efficient hull design, perhaps more efficient propellers (the REALM used ENERTIA ECO propellers recognized as very good for cruising speed efficiency), and a faster cruising speed due to more horsepower-weight ratio.