Trip to Door County, Wisconsin

Accounts of trips taken in Boston Whaler boats; organization of rendezvous for Boston Whaler boats
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 1:49 pm

Trip to Door County, Wisconsin

Postby Tacky79 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:42 pm

A bit of a background... our 190 Montauk is our first-ever power boat, so we are learning how everything works and trying to gain competence in all things power boating. We did do a fair amount of sailing on boats ranging from 20' to 45' with a sailing club about 20 years ago.

We just got back from a 9 day trip to Door County Wisconsin. We live in Colorado, so that's about 2400 miles round trip towing our boat! I grew up in the midwest, and Door County was our go-to vacation spot. It's a very special place. Small harbors, small towns, NO strip malls, NO chain stores, just quaint towns with great restaurants and sight-seeing. We've vacationed there the last 3 years so my kids (3 teenagers) could also experience this area that I enjoy.


We have a Sprinter van with a 2.1L diesel 4cyl engine. I wasn't sure how things would go on this long of a trip fully loaded with family, dog, gear, and our 190 Montauk. I normally get 24 mpg combined fuel economy and got 16 mpg on this trip. Not horrible considering that the van is 9' tall and we were fully loaded down. It's a LONG drive, though. Just a few stops for fuel and a nap or two, and we arrived in decent shape.


I reserved a slip (well in advance) in Ephraim, WI. My family has a place about 2 blocks from the marina, so it was very handy to keep the boat in the water. Cost was about $28/day. They had us at the end of the pier, and I wasn't happy about that, but they brought over a big fender, tied it to the pier, and that protected the forward part of our hull, as I only have a stern rail, and no cleats to attach fenders forward of mid-ships. It turned out to be a fine spot with no damage or any concerns, other than the guy who stole my spot while he took his family to the ice cream shop. No worries... we are on vacation! He apologized when he came back, and I wasn't worried about it.

Prior to this trip we had 4 days on the boat, mostly fishing and touring around our local lakes. For this trip, we took water skis and bought a bridle (the kind with the pulley) and a tow rope. It took a bit to figure out how to pull up a skier ("floor it" then back off as we come up to plane). We all had a blast skiing, as it was new to all of us. Nobody could get up on a single ski, but who cares, we have time to figure that out, right?

We also bought a $85 3-person tube from Walmart, and everyone had a blast on that. I also enjoyed lounging on the tube when we were at anchor.

We fished most mornings, and had mild success. A few big smallmouth bass, and one gobie.


We took it out two mornings during some significant wind - maybe 12-18 mph from the north - pushing into the harbor. My only experience in weather is on a sailboat, so I was paying close attention to what was going on and trying to make sure we weren't in any danger. The water was choppy with 3' rollers coming in. There were only a few other boats out that drizzly morning - two Skeeter fishing boats. Big engines, very little freeboard. I figured we were in much better shape than they were.

We powered out at about 1800 rpm and mostly steered into the rollers. We were dry (except the drizzle) the whole time. Once in a while, I'd power back to avoid slapping on some of the bigger waves. We ended up getting up on plane (2800 rpm or so) and going parallel to the swell being careful to head into the bigger ones if necessary, and that seemed fine.

Overall, it was fun in that weather. I called it "whaler weather". We don't get that much chop or swell in Colorado, so it was good to experience that relatively mild chop and swell. I know Lake Michigan can get nasty at times - much more so than we experienced. It was nice to have the confidence in our boat.

We really like the layout of the Montauk 190. The huge bow platform doubles as a fishing platform and sundeck. All 5 of us (plus the dog) easily found places to lounge and hangout. That being said, the aft seating isn't quite deep enough (in the thigh) to be very comfortable when lounging. Being our first real boat, we aren't accustomed to having luxuries like a Cobalt or other "fancy boat" might have, so we are a bit naive to what we might be missing!

I bought a Ram Mount suction cup attachment with an iPad mount and used Navionics for navigation along with our fishfinder. That proved to work well, and I attached the suction cup to the console near the center / top and had a great view of the iPad.

With an aluminum black max 14x17" prop, I got to 44 mph with 1/2 tank of gas and just me on board. I only did one speed run, so I'm thinking I could eek out another more mph with trim adjustments / tweaking. Maybe 47 mph with the Enertia SS prop?

My dealer gave us some small fenders when we bought the boat, and we decided to buy some larger Taylor Made fenders from Beacon Marine in Sister Bay. I sleep better knowing the boat is protected! I still need to figure out a better way to protect the forward part of the hull. I saw another 190 Montauk at our marina and it had two cleats about 4' back from the bow on either side. I think I'll do that unless I come up with a better solution.

I had topped off the fuel tank before we launched, and was amazed that we only used slightly more than 1/2 tank of gas during the whole week! I hope I can trust the fuel gauge. I figure we put about 15 hours on the engine during the week.


2017 Boston Whaler Montauk 190 w/ 150 Merc/Fish Pkg/Bowrail delete/aft seating
1979 Boston Whaler Harpoon 5.2 sailboat with sails and a tiller :D

Posts: 7849
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula

Re: Trip to Door County, Wisconsin

Postby jimh » Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:10 am

Many thanks for the interesting report on your trailer-boat adventure.

And, yes, fenders always need to be bigger than you'd think, particularly if tieing to older docks with some hazards in them. On my older Boston Whaler there are four pad eyes, two on each side, fore and aft, which were placed in precisely the right spot on the gunwales to hold a small line from a fender over the side. I suspect that Boston Whaler installed them, but if not, then perhaps a very smart dealer or a prior owner. The fender line is led through the pad eye and then made fast to a cleat or a rail. This is a very good method for holding fenders in a particular location along the hull sides.

padeye.png (14.78 KiB) Viewed 6577 times

Gareth McAuley
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:40 am

Re: Trip to Door County, Wisconsin

Postby Gareth McAuley » Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:42 am

Appreciate your report. Great pictures, thanks for posting them!
Without luck I'm having little chance of success. That's what I believe in. I didn't try australian casino yet. maybe it's time.