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Author Topic:   Wahoo Boats
Tuna Man posted 04-26-2002 12:32 AM ET (US)   Profile for Tuna Man   Send Email to Tuna Man  
I have just purcased a used Wahoo 16' split console boat. I realize this a Whaler site but was hoping to get some feedback. I always wanted a small Whaler for the bay and sheltered areas where we boat, but could not afford it as a second (smaller) boat. Out of the blue this inexpensive used Wahoo was discovered and recently purchased. I remember Wahoo always attempted to mimick the Whaler line but did not have the following. Please comment on the Wahoo boats if you have any knowledge of their history.
bobbyrd posted 04-26-2002 10:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for bobbyrd  Send Email to bobbyrd     
Go to and do a search on
"wahoo boat" . There you will find some
information, after search click on the groups tab. I too looked at these boats,
but stumbled across a BW 15' side console.
Good luck.
gf posted 04-26-2002 11:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for gf  Send Email to gf     

I'm sure I don't have all of the details correct, but the story is something like this...

A Boston Whaler dealer in North Carolina (maye it was Virginia) had a falling out with Whaler and decided to build his own boats. He came out with the Wahoo line, the 1650, 1750 and 1850 are all modified cathedral type hulls similar to Whaler.

Later the the company was purchased by US Marine, a division of Brunswick that at the time included Robalo and Bayliner.

By the early 1990s there were Wahoo models up to 26' including walkarounds. In 1997 the Wahoo product line was collapsed in to Robalo, the current smaller Robalo boats are all Wahoo hulls.

Last year, US Marine sold Robalo to Marine Products Corp., the parent company of Chaparall.

Seabrook posted 04-26-2002 02:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Seabrook  Send Email to Seabrook     
I had a 1985 Wahoo 1850 for a couple years. Ride was nice, stable and very dry, but I was unhappy with the construction. The hull may look like a Whaler...and even ride like a Whaler, but it aint no Whaler. The cap is screwed and riveted to the hull like so many other boats. With enough rough water, it likes to get loose. Would not buy another one...but thats just me.
Tuna Man posted 04-26-2002 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tuna Man  Send Email to Tuna Man     
Thank you to all for the help. Realistically I will upgrade to a Whaler in the future. This boat will hopefully suit our needs for now. I don't think I can loose on the boat unless those rivets come loose or the motor blows up.

Thanks again, by the way great forum!

Alan Hiccock posted 04-27-2002 06:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Alan Hiccock  Send Email to Alan Hiccock     
I saw an 18 Wahoo on Yahoo.
No not really...but
I saw an 18 on E bay that looked really clean with a Suzuki.
I was amazed at just how much they ripped off the BW design { of the 15 classic hull}.
From the setback raked transom to the hull's big sponsons.
I bet as Seabrook said the quality wasnt as good as BW. I must admit from the pictures this late '80's Wahoo looked real clean. I think it sold for about $ 6500 with a 10 yr. old 85 hp.
I wish BW made a duplicate of the 15 hull scaled up to 18 ft. size.
zpeed7 posted 04-27-2002 06:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for zpeed7  Send Email to zpeed7     
A friend of mine had a very scary experience with a wahoo once. Apparently, gas or gas fumes got between the deck and the hull. While running at speed they suddenly heard a loud boom, and saw black smoke coming out of the rod holders!!?!?! They were able to start the engine again and head for the docks. Once there they noticed that the whole deck had become unatached from the hull!!!! I didn't believe them until I went to see the boat, it had a black smoke line all the way around where the hull meets the deck... Incredible, they were very lucky.
Alan Hiccock posted 04-27-2002 07:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Alan Hiccock  Send Email to Alan Hiccock     
WoW!! Ka BOOM! You jump a wake and get blown off the seat. Vapor lock or something .
i wonder if there was fishing rods in the rodholders @ the time, might of sent them into orbit!

I remember seeing an article on how these hulls were put together along with a review in an old Trailer Boats mag.
Theres a lot of plumbing in the hull, for the bildge and gas tank.
Lucky they didnt get killed.
fried Wahoo.

whalernut posted 04-27-2002 07:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
I am glad you brought all of this info up, I was thinking of buying a used Wahoo someday, probably not now!!! I do appreciate hearing this scary info, before and not after a purchase. I will stick with the CLASSIC Whalers. Thanks-Jack.
andygere posted 04-27-2002 08:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I believe the Montauk lookalike shown swamped and about to capsize in the 80's & 90's catalogs was a Wahoo. I was always impressed with that side by side comparison, showing the Whaler's superior stability and flotation when swamped.
videofxr posted 04-30-2002 08:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for videofxr  Send Email to videofxr     
Hey Tuna Man, don't get rid of that Wahoo.
Thats a great boat with many features the
whaler wish it had for it vintage. Built in
gas tank, great seats, good storage. The 16.2 was a super boat with tons of them sold.
Listen to all the horror stories you want,
I guess no one has ever had any problems with
a whaler. How about the 13s that are saturated wih moisture between the hulls.
PMUCCIOLO posted 04-30-2002 08:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    

Your point is well taken, but your analogy is improper. The foam saturation to which you are referring generally occurs in older, well worn boats. Consider the boat's storage, use, and maintenance (or the lack thereof)it receives prior to developing problems.

A distinct difference exists between the issues which arise from an aging, well used boat and a newer boat with design and construction defects. I am not saying that the Wahoo has these problems; I am merely pointing out the difference between the two.

I concur that "horror stories" should not deter someone, but they should give him pause. From my reading the posts on this thread, the participants are merely responding to Tuna Man's inquiry. When one requests information, one must expect both positive and negative feedback.

Inquiries of this nature surface frequently here regarding Boston Whaler models with similar responses. I, myself, had a less-than-positive experience with a Boston Whaler I owned, yet here I am!


Hendrickson posted 04-30-2002 09:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hendrickson  Send Email to Hendrickson     
I noticed something interesting in the early Wahoo drawings. They are foam filled with a slight difference. They left a small open space half way between the inner and outer core, say about one inch top to bottem, through the the entire boat. They claimed this was supposed to wick any moisture to the center bottom of the bilge. They must have been thinking about Chain Saw Whaler.
Tuna Man posted 05-01-2002 02:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tuna Man  Send Email to Tuna Man     
I noticed at least one of the posters above was not all that familiar with the Wahoo line of boats. For example there are no flush mounted rodholders in my boat (there is no access to onstall them, unfortunately). I think Whalers (smaller ones anyway) are the same way, no access to install gunwale mounted rodholders.

After pounding on the entire hull with my fist and or a rubber mallet, I was not able to find any softspots. I took it for ride with the family recently for the first time and were pleasantly suprised at how well it did. Growing up on small boats, I assumed it would be a wet ride, boy was I wrong. It has a Doel-Fin that I think all you small Whaler owners taught me is alsmost a necessity. Very smooth also that day, but I must admit Barnegat Bay (NJ) was about as smooth as it gets.

Anyway, I'll watch out for the gas fumes and warn wife and kids as well. Thanks for all the feedback, you people are a very helpful bunch.


P.S. I found a photo on the net (Google Search, thanks) of a Wahoo cut in thirds over in Italy. Looked like Whaler patent infringement to me with the chain-sawed thirds and a total of 8 adults onboard. Three in the bow, two in the center section, three in the stern section.

videofxr posted 05-01-2002 05:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for videofxr  Send Email to videofxr     
It was a patent infringement, thats what got
Wahoo in trouble. In 1985 to about 1989, the
Wahoo was built in a small factory in Ashland, Va, just 25 miles north of Richmond. They were stunning boats for their time. The original, with the side console, like the 13 whaler, preceded the other two models, the real center console,
and the twin console model. Whaler battled
them in court for their unsinkable ads, that were just like the Whaler Ads. If they would have displayed the boat differently, instead of cut in three pieces,
the suit would never have been filed. Whaler won the suit, but the cost of litigation doomed the original owner of the company. You may notice they did come out with an 18' model, with not such a similar
resemblence, as the 16 was, to the whaler.
The factory closed and all production ceased after the owner sold to Brunswick.
I don't think the original configuration of
the 16 is in production anymore. The comfort of the seating, and different model configurations, the flowing stainless wrap-around rails, the buit-in gas tank, beautiful gel work, the locking hatches. and great storage, made this a very popular boat of that time.
siliconguy posted 10-08-2002 04:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for siliconguy  Send Email to siliconguy     
Was in Key West this weekend and saw a nice Wahoo but had to be 20'+ (was dark though). People on this thread talked about 18.5' Came back to research it & looks like Robalo has discontinued all the split consoles. Am I right? Only five used Wahoos listed on Boat Trader. Did they ever make one that big?
george nagy posted 10-08-2002 05:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
My friend had a 16' and 21' wahoo. I could never sell him on a whaler, but he loves to ride in mine. Actually His 21' had evidence of a fire inside the hull too.
andygere posted 10-08-2002 06:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
My late 80's Whaler catalogs show a swamped capacity demonstration between a Montauk and the "competition". The powerhead is above water in the swamped Montauk with something like 10 aboard, and the "competition" is foundering with just 5 or 6 on board. I believe the "competition" boat was a 1750 Wahoo.

Tuna Man, it sounds like you know what you are doing, so if the price is right it's still probably better than a lot of other small boats out there. I had a friend with a 1650 and it was a pretty nice little ski boat with a 90 hp on it.

Whalerdan posted 10-11-2002 01:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
10 people on a montauk!

One time a the big Russian Antonov cargo plane landed where I was working. The thing must have have 20 landing gear tires, most of them bald. I was talking to my boss at the time about this. He made an insightful comment on this condition "How much safty to you really need, and how much do you want to spend". We could probably make planes that would never crash, but nobody could afford them.

If I was stupid enough to take 5 or 6 people out in any small boat, in weather that might cause it to be swamped, I deserve what ever happens. In normal conditions, if I operate the boat in a manner that would cause it to be swamped, I'd deserve the same thing.

Sure a Whaler may be safer but I would not call a Wahoo unsafe. If I knew more about boats when I bought my Montauk, I probably would have bought something else and saved the extra cash. I really don't think, the way I operate a boat, that I need that extra margin.

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