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Author Topic:   20k to 25k budget, Need ideas for a Lake Michigan Boat
joeha posted 01-20-2001 07:16 PM ET (US)   Profile for joeha   Send Email to joeha  
OK guys. This is going to be a first boat. The budget is set at 20-25k. Lake Michigan to be primary cruising ground with side trips to smaller local lakes. What type of Whaler should I be looking for. New or used, big or small. Engine size, trailer make and OEM options. Let me learn for all your combined years of experience. Oh, one more thing the tow vehicle is a 2000 K2500 Chevy. Thanks in advance for your help.
B Bear posted 01-21-2001 12:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
With that kind of budget you should be able to get two older whalers. The best years as I understand it, would be 1986 to 1989, the year they changed to closed cell foam to the year before they were bought. I have seen 18 Outrages in those years range for around 13k which would be great for Lake Michigan, as for the smaller local lakes how about an older 13 in great condition with a good engine for around 4k, that would allow 8k for repowering, boats are like motorcycles they are made for different uses. For Lake Michigan I would imagine an offshore design would be best, for small lakes the 13 would be perfect.

If you want something that might be able to do it all the 17 Montauck is excellent and if you are more near shore than off shore you might check out the dauntless line also. You can find a pre-ninety to a new Montauck or a newer Dauntless. Some folks here believe in the pre-ninety boats but keep an open mind, the new products are very good too. Ask for and take as many rides in the different boat models whither with friends, seller or through a dealer. You will know what want after you have experienced all your choices.

There are somethings you should look for in an older boat such as cracks and weight of the boat as compared to when it was new, the other more experienced members of the fourm should be able to hlep you here.

Good Luck.

Shadowcatcher posted 01-21-2001 01:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Shadowcatcher  Send Email to Shadowcatcher     
The most important questions from my experience would be:

1) Is this a trailer boat and how much are you willing to tow? 2) Do you want twin engine power? 3) What cruising range do you need?
4) Do you want a cabin?

kingfish posted 01-21-2001 08:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
I agree with the notion of looking for a "broken in" Whaler. For a first boat and if trailering to other lakes is a priority my first choice would be a Montauk with 75 to 100 HP. If Lake Michigan is the priority I'd think about an 18' to 22' Outrage (18'-150HP +/-, 22'-225HP +/-), which would have a steeper entry (deeper vee) and while not quite as still while you clamber around at anchor as a Montauk, would provide a more comfortable ride in rougher water.

*Any* Whaler in the range mentioned above will handle any of the waters you have mentioned with out a second thought. You have to determine the trade-off once you clarify your preferences: most portable and functional all-around on one end of the spectrum and still portable but considerably bigger and heavier, and better for heavy seas on the other end.

The good news is, they are all good choices, and with the market for these boats being what it is, if you jump into one that after a little while leaves you wishing for something newer, bigger or different, you'll have no trouble selling the first one.

And you will be able to find any boat discussed in this thread so far within your budget.

Good Luck


Keith Silliman posted 01-21-2001 08:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for Keith Silliman    
I am assuming you are looking for a classic whaler in making the following comments.

I purchased a new 17' Montauk last year. I love it; but it can pound the heck out of my knees, and lacks may of the comforts my wife would like. It is easy to trailer, maintain, and just fits in my garage for winter storage.

If I could do it over again, I might look at an Outrage, as close in size to 17' as I could find (Whaler no longer make a 17' Outrage). I am not handy, so restoring an older boat is not a realistic option for me (It only took me 40 years to accept this!).

I would recommend taking these two boats out and comparing their rides. A new Montauk is within your budget; a used Outrage may be, depending on its condition, extras, and engine. Actually, it comes down to this-- ask lots of questions, and ride in lots of boats before you make your decision.

One last thought-- look at and factor in the canvas options-- late season boating is more comfortable with a forward shelter and windshield. Check out the photo section for the Thanksgiving day boaters to see what it is like without the canvas.


maverick posted 01-21-2001 09:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for maverick  Send Email to maverick     
I've owned 2-13s, 2 17s, and now an 85 18.6 outrage CC. I primarily fish ocean, and the 18 has been an excellent choice. Inshore, the 13 is great for shallow water use, shrimping, etc (got any shrimps in Lake Mich? Hah!) The 17s are exceptionally easy to transport and trailer, and launch/use in shallow water, but in rough -choppy seas pounded my knees and hind end. A 17 is stingy on fuel, is fast, responsive with a 90HP, and boasts exceptional respect and resale. The 18.6 rides considerably better, has more room, same basic inside design except that one can remove (forever) the inner plug and she self bails. Nice feature. I like the built in rod holders in the gunwales, and the larger anchor locker. I also like the built in 63 gal tank. Quite a crusing range - probably 3 miles/gallon, which is good...Montauk I probably got 4 but I ran my Montauks HARD. The 18 can take twin engines, which is a good thing for reliability; more for maintenance. Trailering is a piece of cake, little change 18 vs 17 there. Similar for shallow draft. One BIG difference: co$t. Year of boat for Montauk I don't think matters if good hull. The 18 I'd get the 80s series type look. What's really important is the power. I'd buy used good hull, sell off all the old salty stuff (everything), and refit. new hyd steering, controls, motor. You then basically have a new boat at LOTS less $ vs new all. I have about $18k in my 18; had about $8k in my 17s rigged comparably. Safety, utility resale. Buy good used, repower. You know what you have when done, save dollars, too. My brother has a 22 (looks like my 18 design but bigger), is better ride than mine but more $ for motor, fuel and towing. Hope that helps. Chuck in South Carolina, "Maverick"
jimh posted 01-21-2001 10:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
On the water, bigger is generally better.

Off the water, bigger also means bigger problems-- problems of storage, transportation, and launching.

Whalers in the 13-15 foot category are very easy to trailer and launch. You can store them in your garage. You can move the trailer just by pushing it by hand. You can launch them from the most simple of launching ramps.
You can tow them with the family car.

When you get into larger boats, 20-25 foot, you should think about:
--where you will store it
--where you will work on it
--where you will launch it
--what you will use to tow it

If you really want to spend most of your time on Lake Michigan, I think you'll be looking for a 22-foot Whaler ( or larger ), but that is a big boat to trailer to inland lakes.

The 18-Outrage is a great boat that can stand up to big water, but is still small enought to tow on a single-axle trailer.

Have you read the long-form narrative and comments about several 18-25 foot Whalers I "test drove" during last summer's Rendezvous on northern Lake Huron? I think you'll find it contains many observations of interest to your decision.



joeha posted 01-21-2001 10:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for joeha  Send Email to joeha     
Thanks for all your replys. It sounds like the Montauk is a all around winner with a rough ride. Yet, it's of a old and proven design. Why do you guys prefer a Outrage over a Dauntless? The smaller Dauntless's are more in my price range and I could buy new. I'm interested in why a Dauntless should be kept near shore? Is it not a good open water boat?

Again thanks for all the replys.

P.S. While Lake Michigan may not have "Shrimp" we have something even better. That being "Lake Perch", deep fryed with melted butter poured on for additional calories. Eat your heart out Shrimp fishermen, just kidding.

B Bear posted 01-21-2001 03:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
The 16 Dauntless is a fine boat, but an 18 or larger would be better for Lake Michigan. Concerning large open waters the bigger the better as stated by other members. I have a 16 Dauntless and it does everything I want it to do for the kind of boating I do which is in rivers and the Cheasepeake Bay. I do pick my days for the bay due to the size of my boat. From my own experience I would recommend the Dauntless if you are a fair weather sailor like me.

Here are a few things out ot the Boston Whaler brochure:

For the 17 Montauk,
"The classic Whaler twin sponson hull features superior stability, shallow draft and optimum performace with minimal horsepower. It has remarkable handleing features - even in a following sea."
As noted by some others, a draw back is the ride can be rough. But this boat can be easily garaged.

For the Dauntless line,
"Like the classic hull, the Accutrack hull features reverse chines which provides strength, stability and dryness."
"But unlike the Classic hull, the Acctrack hull features a deep-V forward which slices through wave action for a smooth entry when the going gets rough."
"The degree of the V varies by series, whith the Outrage class sporting the sharpest entry. The Conquest, Ventura and Dauntless families have slightly less of an angle and they subsequently draw less water - making them well suited for both offshore and inland boating."

By this you can understand that the Outrage is well suited for rough or heaver seas that might occur in large open waters and has a deeper draft (15 inches) than the other classes which makes it an excellent choice for Lake Michigan. The 16 Dauntless has a draft (11 incles) the 2 inches deeper than the 17 Montauck (9 inches). So the best ride should be the Outrage then Dauntless then the Montauck. On the smaller lakes or rivers a shallower draft will give you more range of use. Therefore my suggestion that the Montauck would be and excellent choice for an all around (the Dauntless would be a fine choice too, a better ride but little more limited concerning offshore use due to size) and why I suggested two older boats for the two kinds of boating you are going to do. I believe the major draw back on the Dauntless is that it is a taller boat (console and gunnel) thus making very hard if not impossible to garage. Some other things people seem not to care for are the white gelcoat, built after 1990, and the eruo style transom.

Test drive them all and keep an open mind from classic to new they are all Boston Whalers and are considered the Caddilacs and Rolls Royces of Boats. Remember the bigger the boat the bigger the costs (fuel, etc. as noted before in this tread). The most important thing is how you will use it and where, and if you are the one that will use it the most, get what you want.

As with everyone these are just my opinions, I hope that someone else with a Dauntless in the Great Lakes area could give you thier evlauation, as to answer you question on how capable or versitle this class may be for you.

Shadowcatcher posted 01-21-2001 05:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Shadowcatcher  Send Email to Shadowcatcher     
I will praise the virtues of the pre 1990 Outrage: (I don't have any experience with the other models)

Trailerability: I think this is as big a boat as you can tow and not be a slave to your trailer. It will just fit a standard full-size parking space. It is also light enough to tow on a single axel trailer with no brakes. I have used both a 6-cyl F150 and 4.6 liter V8 Expedition and never felt short on power.

Big water, small water: I have primarily used my boat on inland water and when I do, I own the lake!I would have confidence under any condition on most inland lakes. Not so on great lakes or coastal water. There I am well aware of my size and stay out if conditions are not good. It can handle worse, but I wouldn't classify it pleasure boating when the weather kicks up.

Range: When in Florida, we do 100 mile round trips (Dad, mom, 2 kids under 5) on the 63 gallons with 150 hp with plenty of reserve. The older 18s also accomodate twins or a kicker for back up power. I also like the light weight of the hull which also helps speed and range...I believe it is the most economical big water boat you could get.

Tom Byrum posted 01-21-2001 05:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom Byrum  Send Email to Tom Byrum     
I was gonna add my two cents but it has already been said better than I could have done. The quality of the answers are much better than they were a year ago. Put me down for what Chuck said.
alvispollard posted 01-21-2001 10:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for alvispollard  Send Email to alvispollard     
$20000 - Good 1986-1990 Montauk ($9k), add new 75 HP 4 stroke Mercury at Bass Pro ($7k), William J. Mills Top & Forward Spray Hood & connecting curtains ($2k), and new galvanized trailer ($1k). Additional ($1k) for 28 gallon see through gas tank, ship shore radio and antenna, handheld gps, and extra battery. This boat will trailer behind any V6 car. Has a range over 120 miles on water. Day of Walleye drift fishing will cost less than $30 or trolling 8 hours for less than $50 (gas and oil). $150/yr. for insurance. Great inshore and on good days even offshore fishing boat. Will get you back safely. Can take more water than your limited seamanship dictates. The downside of rough ride is offset by many positives. Is a wet boat unless you add the Mills enclosure. Highly recommend the BW Montauk. One indisputable statement sold me on the boat. "More fish have been pulled over the gunwales of the BW Montauk than any other boat to go offshore." Great family boat for skiing and riding. You will not be disappointed.
lhg posted 01-21-2001 11:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I would begin consideration with a Classic Outrage series, from the earliest 19 & 21's, to the later 18-25's. Southern Lake Michigan is basically an ocean, and although the Montauk & Dauntless series boats are very seaworthy, soon you will be wanting more size and comfort for the uprotected Illinois-Indiana-Michigan shoreline.

Until 4th of July weekend, the colder than air lake temperature keeps the boating quite cool as you move a mile offshore, even on 80 degree days, and the all weather canvas systems from Mills should be considered essential. This stuff is not available for the new Dauntless & Outrage series boats, a huge negative for northern boaters. Another all weather alternative is to consider the Outrage hulled Revenge series cabin boat, particularly if you're interested in sleeping on the boat. Good weather proectecion here if you have the Mills canvas also. Finally there is a very able 21 Walkaround (91 & 92) that gives you excellent seaworthyness and cabin comfort. These are rare, but very nice and should be considered. My guess is that the newer Conquest cabin models will be out of your price range.

I would recommend you look at a lot of the various pictures on this site, and try to get a feel for what you like. Then you may have more specific questions. Also look at the trailer info in the forums and reference section. I'd stay away from a used OMC engine until more is known about their corporate sale. Your tow vehicle sounds more than adequate for anything you'd be looking at, including a 25.

SWarren posted 01-22-2001 08:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for SWarren  Send Email to SWarren     
I have two boats, a 17 montauk and a 22 revenge. I use the montauk for the lake and shallow water fishing,and shrimping. The revenge for offshore fishing and cruising up the ICW. They are both late 80's boats, that are in excellent condition, if you are new to boating get a montauk for its size and ease of operation. You can launch it by yourself with no problem, and it wont cause any trouble with your wife at the boat ramp. Most women I know, not all women, seem to get frustrated at the boat ramp when asked to help. This can make for a long day on the water when they start off mad.

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