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1991 OUTRAGE 17 in Rough Water
|Author||Topic: 1991 OUTRAGE 17 in Rough Water|
posted 05-24-2015 02:51 PM ET (US)
I have owned literally dozens of boats over the years, constantly buying and selling for various reasons. I just bought my first whaler, a 1991 OUTRAGE 17 with a 2004 Honda 90-HP. It was such a good deal I didn't take it in the water, which is a first for me also.
I am used to deep hulls. I fish San Diego ocean, down into Mexican waters, in Summer time for Yellowtail, Dorado, occasional Bluefin and Yellowfin. Last year was epic, the best in at least 30 years, catching Cabo sized Dorado and Yellowtail five miles off Dana Point harbor. This year looks to be even better with that giant warm blob of water out there slowly moving in, creating another El Niño effect, which always means good fishing. I also trailer down to Baja regularly, Bahia De Los Angeles specifically, in the Summer for the same fish but much flatter water.
I am anxious to see how well this [1991 Boston Whaler OUTRAGE 17] boat performs in the rough Pacific, in the afternoon coming back against the swell and wind. I had a Bayliner ski boat that actually did better in the rough waves than my 21-foot deep-Vee Striper center console, so every boat has its pros and cons. I keep looking at this boat on its trailer and wondering if it can really handle it. It looks so tiny compared to almost every boat I have had in that length range. I have been reading and researching it, and everyone claims it is the best there is.
I remember many years ago an old fisherman from the east coast told me that the Boston Whaler was unsinkable, sure, but that didn't stop them from being completely drenched, or even tipping in rough water. I have stayed away from then since then, but this was a steal, and I am intrigued with the idea of getting a boat this light that can easily be trailered, yet still handle the rough returns from a food day fishing here. I realize the only way is to get it in the water, but this isn't a good time to launch, with unsettled weather and big tides. Plus, I am outfitting it with new bait tank, electronics, a Stryker T-Top, and other gear first.
Anybody have experience with this [1991 Boston Whaler OUTRAGE 17] boat in rough ocean water? I was reading it is supposedly a classic because Bob Dougherty designed it--which sounds good to me. Love to hear some experience with this model.
posted 05-24-2015 03:06 PM ET (US)
I had a 1994 17' Outrage 17 with Yamaha 115-HP two-stroke-power-cycle engine for six years off the Jersey coast and in the Florida keys also during the same time frame. At 17-feet 6-inch she felt like a much bigger boat than her actual size. She is also a very dry boat. With a 115-HP engine [a 1994 Boston Whaler OUTRAGE 17] would run to 45-MPH. I had her sail fishing in the Keys and striper fishing off central Jersey coast and never felt unsafe, even in seas it was designed to handle. I just sold her last month as I came into a 1981 OUTRAGE 18 that I finished restoring over a two-year period, so the the 17 had to go. I hope this helps.--Vinny
posted 05-25-2015 07:36 AM ET (US)
The Boston Whaler boats with the classic moderate V-hulls with twin runners or sponsons and with a fairly constant deadrise--the OUTRAGE style hull--excel in running downwind and down seas in really big waves. They will track extremely well and will give you a very confident feeling for a boat of their length.
As for going upwind and into head seas, do not expect any miracles. Pushing a 17-foot hull upwind into head seas is going to be a rough ride. There is no magic cure for that to be found in the classic Boston Whaler moderate V-hull design. The boat will throw off spray from the bow and should keep you dry, but the ride will be as you might expect from a 17-foot boat in big waves.
I have rationalized these characteristics by noting that most people are not going to leave port and venture out into really big seas, but it is more likely you might leave in moderate seas and have to return in much bigger seas if a wind comes up while you are offshore. In that regard the sea keeping characteristics of the classic Boston Whaler OUTRAGE style hull will give you a very decent trip back.
posted 05-25-2015 07:40 AM ET (US)
I would not put much stock in reports about Boston Whaler boats from old fishermen on the East Coast. For every one hundred old East Coast fishermen that will testify that a Boston Whaler is a rough and wet boat, probably only one of them has actually been in an c.1990 OUTRAGE hull offshore.
posted 05-25-2015 12:21 PM ET (US)
A 1991 Boston Whaler OUTRAGE 17 hull is not considered to be a classic just because Bob Dougherty was involved in its design. The designation of a classic Boston Whaler hull is generally given to:
--the open 13-foot and 16-foot skiffs, with and without the smirk at the bow, originally designed by Dick Fisher and Richard Hunt;
--the original OUTRAGE rounded-aft bottom hulls; and
--the later moderate V-hull OUTRAGE hulls with nearly constant aft dead rise, which I believe had great influence from Bob Dougherty.
All of these designs feature twin runners or vestigial sponsons and most have the line from these sponsons rising at the bow and meeting high on the bow stem, forming what is called a smirk due to its resemblance to a facial expression.
The end of the classic period is usually demarcated by the introduction of the hull design that was (and still is) called an Accutrak hull. The Accutrak (or sometimes AccuTrak or Accu-Trak) hull appeared in 1990's and represented a significant change in the look and design of the hulls.
Bob Dougherty was involved in the design of many Boston Whaler boats. In 1990 he was head of Boston Whaler design, but under the new ownership of Boston Whaler by the Reebok shoe company, Bob and Boston Whaler parted company in a rather abrupt and unceremonious manner, which, not so coincidentally, now demarcates a clear change in the hull designs. Boston Whaler continued to and still continues to make hulls with the classic OUTRAGE moderate V-hull design, but its application is limited now to boats for commercial or government products. To learn more about the history of Boston Whaler, the company, see
To learn more about the original Boston Whaler hull design, see
I think you can count on the information you'll find there more than recitations of some dock talk from old salts on the East Coast.
posted 05-25-2015 10:31 PM ET (US)
I appreciate all responses to my post, and feel even better about my purchase. I brought up the old salt from the east coast only to explain my hesitation to buy any whalers over the years, since I have considered them an east coast boat. I haven't run into many of them out here, and when I did, they were way over-priced. My wife is from Long Island, and said everyone had a whaler. I have not seen many on the waters out here. Actually, I am excited to get on the water, wishing the tides would also cooperate. We don't leave port when it is windy or rough.. ever, as that is plain stupid here. But regardless of how calm it is, the return back is always far rougher due to the tides. I am more anxious to pull it down to Bahia de Los Angeles, in Baja Ca, and get it out where the big fish are. In summer down there,it is either too dangerous to go out (rarely) or so flat you could ice skate on it. The Sea of Cortez is like no other in summer, as long as you can handle 105 degree weather while fishing. Thank you for your info.
posted 05-25-2015 10:33 PM ET (US)
BTW, I only stated the boat was a classic from several posts I read from this site, so I hope you have also corrected those who seemed closely connected to BostonWhaler about the fact that they are misleading readers
posted 05-25-2015 11:33 PM ET (US)
I owned a 1991 Outrage 17 I with a F115 for 7+ years while living in Maine. I ran the boat 7-8 months a year in mostly poor conditions and [small craft advisory] conditions. If you do a bit of searching you may find some of my posts concerning how this model runs in poor and downright bad conditions.
I recall reading here that West Coast sea states are a bit different than northern New England, so, if you want to know how a boat handles a certain sea state, you should state what the conditions are.
I ran in large swells and took breaking 3-foot waves over the bow in winds up to 25-knots. It was rough and you take a beating. Over the years I had the bow locker yank its hinge fasteners out, partaily ripped out the reverisble pilot seat from the deck, and snapped a nylon vhf antenna mount
[The OUTRAGE 17] is very sensitive to stern weight. It requires a high capacity bilge pump if shipping water. It is laterally tippy given its LOA versus beam.
For a 17-foot center console boat, it is a beast and is hands down awesome in the [bad conditions]. If I were to do it again, I would go for the 1986 to 1989 Outrage 20.
posted 05-26-2015 09:43 AM ET (US)
BAJA explains further:
There is no dispute about the 1991 Boston Whaler OUTRAGE 17 being a classic. You first wrote:
I tried to explain that the notion of a Boston Whaler boat being a classic model is not based on the design having been made by Bob Dougherty. There are many Boston Whaler boats that are considered to be classic models that were designed by someone besides Bob Dougherty.
posted 05-26-2015 09:53 AM ET (US)
BAJA (on his third post to this website) advises me on how to run a website:
Thanks for giving me advice on how to run the website. Generally the discussions on the website are focused on boats and related topics, but it is just great that you, on just your third post, have already found a defect in the website and want to let me know about it. Please pass along any other defects you find in the website, but perhaps you can email them to me. I prefer to keep the focus of the actual website on boating, rather than collecting reader's opinions about how to run a website.
posted 05-29-2015 11:22 AM ET (US)
Just reading BAJA's first post, I would suggest he gets his Outrage 17 wet and try it out. You can read all you want, but until you have driven the boat in rough conditions you won't know how it handles.
Let us know how she handles.
posted 05-29-2015 04:58 PM ET (US)
Based on BAJA's earlier comments, he got that 1991 OUTRAGE 17 boat with a 2004 Honda 90-HP outboard at a very attractive price. Even if he hates the way it rides in the open water of the Pacific Ocean, he can easily rid himself of the boat and probably even make a few bucks in the process.
posted 05-30-2015 10:35 PM ET (US)
The boat will perform great, just make sure that you are not asking/expecting miracles to happen, you have the boat setup properly.
Jim already mentioned it, but the hull's real strength is tracking "downhill". Having said that, if set-up properly, it should ride fairly well going up into slop, comparing it to other boats in its class.
I am currently on my third Whaler, an Outrage 22. On the way out to the fishing grounds, heading into the waves, I frequently pass Striper's, Trophy's, Grady's. That is not due to the hull riding better or worse, only that I'm keeping up and sometimes passing without being uncomfortable. It was the same story in my Outrage 18 and Montauk 17.
Make sure the boat is not too stern heavy. That really can kill the ride. Also, make sure the engine is mounted high enough and that you have a good propeller--some experimentation may be required. I tested several on my 22-footer and the difference can be very dramatic. One propeller in particular on my hull, the REVOLUTION4: the boat rode awful. Small bay chop was rattling my teeth. If I had no other experience but that one, I would probably also reference Whaler's as "back breakers."
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