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Author Topic:   '85 outrage 18' vs 20'- comments sought
whalerdoc posted 09-23-2001 11:24 AM ET (US)   Profile for whalerdoc   Send Email to whalerdoc  
I would like to hear from people with experience with both/either of these boats. I have searched the forum for a similar thread, and I can't seem to find one. Lots of 17' vs 18', lots of testamonials from the 18'6" owners, but not much from 20' owners. In fact, it seems like the 20' may have been the least popular of all the outrage models in this forum, based simply on the # of posts I have seen (can anyone confirm this - what was total production of 18 6 outrage vs 20' (85-89) outrage?)
Anyhow, I am looking very seriously to step up to a 18 6 or a 20 outrage (our montauk resides with my dad in MI, and I can't take it any more!) Also, I have wanted an outrage since I was about 7! The boat will be pulled by a v8 cherokee, so trailerability is a big factor. The boat will live on a trailer and split time between Lake Champlain and the Maine/NH/MA seacoast, with fishing being the ONLY use!
If I understand correctly, the 85 - 89 outrage 20 is essentially a 22 with 2' chopped. The 20 is much heavier - would I appreciate a much better ride(not a big factor for me) and greater seaworthiness (a huge factor)or would I see little difference from the 18'6" ? I am looking at an '85 18' next weekend, and an '85 20' the weekend after, so I would really appreciate all the input I can get - I know there are tons of 18 fans and owners here (lhg I sure hope to hear from a fellow Hanover person, and I think there are also a few fellow Wolverines out there with 18s I'd like to hear from) but what about the 20?? Further, if any of you know of or have clean 18s or 20s you're looking to part with, please email me - the two boats I'm looking at both are reputed to be clean, but both have Johnsons on them, and I'm not a big OMC fan. Well, sorry to ramble, hope to get a great thread going, and hope to soon join the ranks of the outrage world!
- joe
lhg posted 09-23-2001 04:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Joe - Good to hear from you again. And thanks for your e-mail of a few months ago.

Funny you should ask this question, because in 1986 when I bought my 18, I actually had done all of the research you are discussing, and was planning to buy the 20. It is a lot more boat, and at the time it was only $1200 more than an 18, if you can believe that! The only reason I didn't, was I couldn't find a 6'8" wide trailer that would carry the weight and fit into my storage garage. To this day, I would still prefer a 20 to an 18.
(not that there's anything wrong with an 18)

The 20 is a boat I have always liked, especially since it has the large bow deck space of the 22. You are right about it's limited popularity, mostly because a 22 was only $1700 more in price, and not much heavier either. And it's predecessor, the 1978-1984 20 Outrage, was a little hard riding and hard to trim properly with OMC engines, so that might have hurt it's popularity.

So look at both of the boats. In the end, you will have to make the decision yourself, based on condition, price and ease of handling on a trailer, etc.

But I remember the following experience, one of the worst boating trips I've ever had. In May of 1993, I was one of 25 Boston Whalers (ranging in size from 27-17) on the first Reebock era BW Bahamas Rendezvous, crossing from Palm Beach to West End, Grand Bahama, 60 miles across the Gulf Stream. It was a really nasty day, with headwinds blowing 25 knots in our face the entire 60 miles, seas running 6'-8' consistently. My 25 Outrage, with 5 persons aboard seemed to handle it best, as we were always in the lead, and would have to stop and wait for others to catch up, and were the first boat in. But second in, and only about 2 miles behind us, were two guys in a 20 Outrage, much to my surprise. The 4 or 5 18' Outrages on the trip were considerably farther behind, although did make it with fairly beat-up occupants and a lot of loose fittings.

In the 25 Outrage, the 60 miles took 6 hours!
That's how bad it was. And that was only the first leg of the 175 mile trip! If you're going to be boating in conditions like these, go for the 20!

whalerfran posted 09-23-2001 07:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerfran    
My response is not directly on point, but it may help. I have owned both 17' and 20' Outrage Classics. The difference between them is enormous. The 20' has a big boat ride. It allows you to ride relatively comfortably in heavy seas. Not so with the 17', which had a punishing ride in the same conditions. The 20' appears much larger than the 18'; so I would expect the same difference in the ride. I sold the 20' 5 years ago for a boat with a cabin. I still regret it. It was easy to trailer, had a comfortable driving position, and with a 200 hp engine, the boat was very fast. So I vote for the 20'.
Jim Bennett posted 09-23-2001 07:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jim Bennett  Send Email to Jim Bennett     
For what it’s worth I would like to echo the comments of lhf and whalerfran although I cannot make direct comparisons. I have owned a 1968 16’7” Sakonnet since 1972 now powered with 1979 115 Merc. In late July I bought (stole) a 1973 Outrage 21 powered with 1988 Merc 150 Black Max as a project boat. Just two weeks ago the 150 Merc was refurbished, mostly electrical and water pump, and have had boat out twice in last couple weeks. First of all, I am astonished by performance of the Merc. It had been sitting unused in Florida for 2 years. It has amazing power and really “growls’ but most surprising to me was how smooth it runs at slow speed and idle. I have had 4 Mercs, 5,100, 115 and 150 and this is smoothest one of all and as many Merc owners know they like to run at high speed and can be rough at lower speeds.

I had to say the above to get to your question. There is no comparison between performance, handling and stability of 17 ft vs 21 ft which you can interpolate for your comparison. The 21 gets up on plane especially quick but most surprising to me was how long it remains on plane as you slow down. Unlike my 17 which sits down at stern when slowing down from high speed, the 21 just seems to “glide” down. I am just ecstatic about how both engine and 21’ boat perform. Just as a final comment, my ladyfriend who went for ride with me today, said she was very interested now in restoration project although she didn’t think much of idea at first.

White Bear posted 09-24-2001 10:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for White Bear  Send Email to White Bear     
Many, many hours on a 1988 20' Outrage powered by a 140hp Johnson. No problems, no regrets. Go for the larger hull, the difference between it and the 18' is substantial and you will always have second thoughts about what might have been if you opt for the 18'.
Contender25 posted 09-24-2001 11:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for Contender25  Send Email to Contender25     

I had at the same time an 18 and 20, both 1985. They are different beasts. The 18 I had was powered by a 140 evinrude and the 20 by a 175 evinrude. Speed wise they were equal. A 18 with a 150 was faster than both. Guessing a 20 with a 200 would be comparable to a 18 with 150. Regardless I always prefferd the 18.

Both boats were kept in Marion, Massachusetts and used on Buzzards bay. The 18 did much better in the steep chop. The 20 had much more storage and higher freeboard but it did NOT have as good a ride as the 18. Now as LHG pointed out in real bad conditions with waves spaced furthur out maybe the 20 would be better. I do not know, never saw it in either, I am not one to take a 18-20 ft whaler in conditions like LHG discussed, much rather be in my Contender 25 and make it in 2 hrs. LOL.
To ramble on furthur the 18 is easier to tow, but with your Jeep either would be fine IMO. They are both great boats. Some questions for you: what engine, equipt, trailer, and price are the 2 boats?

Chap posted 09-24-2001 04:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
I concur with the above.
I shopped 18's and 22's for a long time and found a 22, 1989 I liked. It is so much similar to the 20, go for the 2 feet of wave spanning ability/fishing ability of the 22. I also think the 18 and the 22 adhere better to the rule of thumb for seakeeping ability that the length should be 3x the width(though I have not crunched the numbers). If you can pull off a 20 all the way around, then you can go for the 22. Either being on steroids compared to the 18.
18's are and feel smaller with considerably less storage than the 20/22. However, 18's are different animals, more versatile. My buddy's 18 goes where I go and as safely, but he draws less, thus I am limited shoal wise. He is slightly less comfortable in the deep(but he's there). If your dunking the boat on a regular basis and drowning some Clousers inshore up north in the brine, the 18 is more nimble both on and off the trailer.
I'm still working on the perfect 9' flyrod storage system, lack of toe cove was a sacrifice for the abundant safety factor of the Whaler. The larger boat also helps with the long rod vs. passengers.
After many test rides and adventures with friends, the 20 was not as good a ride as either the 22 or the 18, under various power.
Great boats.
whalerdoc posted 09-24-2001 05:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerdoc  Send Email to whalerdoc     
Wow, what a wealth of great info and advice - thanks so much and keep it coming! To answer a couple of questions: the 18' has a newer non - galv bunk trailer and the '85 150 Johnson has a new powerhead 3 years ago - cost is 11k. 20' has a 175 Johnson and older non galv trailor - cost 15k. Both have covers and minimal other equipment. Two of you have stated the 18's may ride better than the 20' on the ocean -- what would those of you with great lakes experience say in case I end up back in Michigan in a few years? thanks again,
jimh posted 09-24-2001 06:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
We have a 20-Revenge, the same hull as the 20-Outrage. We have spent many hours chasing after Jim Gibson in his 18-Outrage(actually a "19"-Outrage from the Reebok era), trying to keep up with him in rough seas.

The seas I am talking about are the short, tall seas you get on the Great Lakes. I would say that the 18 can go up and over them pretty darn well.


acseatsri posted 09-24-2001 06:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
To give you a perspective, I paid 14K for my 1988 18' OR with 1988 150 Evinrude. The boat had new $600 FF, $1000 chartplotter, and $300 ICOM radio along with a new T-Top (all new in March) very similar to the one for sale in the marketplace section. Also came with a 1999 galvanized bunk trailer ($1000). His reason for selling was that it wasn't big enough for what he wanted to do. Here's the boat I bought. Hope this helps.

tradition posted 09-25-2001 10:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for tradition  Send Email to tradition     
I own a 1998 20' Outrage and recommend the larger boat for Great Lakes use. I have had it in 6' on Lk MI and nasty cross boat chop on ST.Clair. Very versitle hull that never losses confidence. My 17 month old son appreciates the deeper sides and larger forward berth area when we picnic. Trailering is more of a challange but comfort on the water is a priority.

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