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Author Topic:   Boston Whaler Molds Sold to METAN MARINE
Tom Hemphill posted 08-18-2015 06:45 PM ET (US)   Profile for Tom Hemphill   Send Email to Tom Hemphill  
I stumbled across a Craigslist ad, apparently from Birbarie Marine in Branford, Connecticut.


Brand New Metan Skiff--manufactured by Metan Marine in Halifax, Mass.

A true classic look with a high tech construction and finish.

Metan Marine has purchased many of the old Boston Whaler molds--this is the first one being produced. Watch for the classic 16 and 21.

10 Year hull warranty, advanced vacuum infusion lay up, composite Penske board transom core construction.

The perfect boat for kids to learn the water, or as a tender for your larger boat.

13' with Mercury 20 H.P. Outboard w/ trailer

A retro beauty--Mahogany seats, stainless hardware. Made in U.S.A.

Birbarie Marine

jimh posted 08-19-2015 08:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
This advertisement is the first time I have heard a mention that Boston Whaler molds for their classic 13-foot hull have been sold to METAN MARINE of Halifax, Massachusetts.


for more information. METAN does not make any mention (that I can find) of having purchased any molds from Boston Whaler.

jimh posted 08-19-2015 09:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The use of a particular hull design was not afforded copyright protection under federal law until the passage of the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act.


It would appear, at least at a layman's view, that METAN MARINE could reproduce the hull of a Boston Whaler boat that was being sold prior to the October 28, 1998 date in the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act, without infringement of any copyright protection afforded by the act.

The hull of the 13-foot boat was afforded patent protection, but I believe that the patent only claimed several useful inventions in the manufacturing method for boats, not in the hull design or external shape.

There are patents for designs, but I have never heard that the design of the hull of the Boston Whaler 13-foot boat has a design patent. Note that a patent protecting a design is a different type of patent than a patent that protects a useful invention.

Design Patent- Issued for a new, original, and ornamental design embodied in or applied to an article of manufacture, it permits its owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling the design for a period of fourteen years from the date of patent grant. Design patents are not subject to the payment of maintenance fees. Please note that the fourteen year term of a design patent is subject to change in the near future.

Since the design patent only protects for 14-years, it would seem unlikely that a hull design, even if patented back in the 1960's, would still be protected by patent today.


jcdawg83 posted 08-19-2015 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for jcdawg83    
If Metan starts making [a copy of a another model, not the 13-foot boatmentioned in the advertisement], I will definitely be interested.
boatdryver posted 08-19-2015 09:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     
Some of the restorations Metan Marine has produced on classic Boston Whaler boats have looked sensational in photos. If they were to build [another model of Boston Whaler boat, not the 13-foot boat mentioned in the advertisement] one at a time I'm sure the quality would be top-notch, but doubt I would be willing to pay the price.


jimh posted 08-19-2015 09:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am very skeptical about the claim being made by BIRBARIE MARINE that METAN MARINE has purchased old molds of Boston Whaler manufacture. Boston Whaler does not sell their old molds. When they dispose of a mold it is cut into pieces. The pieces are usually taken offshore and dumped in the ocean to form artificial reefs or some similar disposal method.

It is more likely that METAN MARINE has made their own molds, taking the mold from an actual Boston Whaler boat hull that was in excellent condition. This is known as "splashing" a mold from a hull. This seems much more likely to have occurred.

padrefigure posted 08-19-2015 10:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for padrefigure  Send Email to padrefigure     
I agree with Jim--looks like a splash of a classic 13, but with the transom raised to 20" and maybe a tweak of the splash well. I could not find a price for the boat, but it should make a great tender.
alchse posted 08-19-2015 10:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for alchse  Send Email to alchse     
The craiglist ad lists a price of $15,900 that includes with Mercury 200-HP outboard engine and a trailer.
jimh posted 08-19-2015 11:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Boston Whaler 13-foot boats have a transom for 20-inch-shaft outboard engines. It is only the very oldest models that had transoms for 15-inch-shaft outboard engines.
jimh posted 08-19-2015 11:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
About the method of construction of Metan Marine's copy of the classic Boston Whaler 13-foot hull, the Metan website says:

Advanced Vacuum Infusion Lay-up using Vinyl Ester Resins

The mention of vacuum infusion as the method of lay-up of the hull laminate suggests that the laminate will be fully cured before any foam is added to the double-bottom hull space between the hull and deck liner parts. This seems to be a departure from the method used by Boston Whaler, the UNIBOND method, in which the foam is introduced into the double-bottom space while the hull laminates and deck liner laminates are still wet and curing, permitting a primary bond between the foam and laminates to be created as they cure together.

It remains to be discovered if the Metan Marine method of construction also uses the very high-strength molds which are clamped together to keep the expanding foam under pressure in order to increase the density of the foam. It also remains to be discovered if foam is used at all. An advanced search using GOOGLE that searches the domain METANMARINE.COM for use of the word "foam" returned no results.

leadsled posted 08-20-2015 05:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for leadsled  Send Email to leadsled     
In the 1970's I worked in the molding department of Boston Whaler. I helped lay-up the bottom part of the hull. One crew used a chopper gun to lay-up the top part of the hull and our crew used a chopper gun to lay-up the bottom at the same time. After the fiberglass was rolled to infuse it with the resin, the two molds were put together and clamped. A guy on top of the mold would mix up the two-part foam in a hurry with a big drill with a paint stirrer. He would pour the bucket of foam through the hatch and clamp it shut. The round impression in front of the front seat of a vintage 13-foot hull--[the sprue]--is where the foam was introduced into the hull. There were holes along the gunwales where the extra foam would would exit from the pressure. If you remove the rubrail on a old 13-foot hull you will see the hole near the stern. If all went well the whole hull would be full of foam. They would tap the whole hull down with a hammer to check for any voids to make sure.

To start making vintage 13-foot, 16-foot, 19-foot and 21-foot hulls would be a major undertaking. There are none of the molds left. They may be buried under the Home Depot which is where the old Rockland plant was, from what is rumored.

porthole2 posted 08-20-2015 06:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for porthole2  Send Email to porthole2     
Boston Whaler does not sell their old molds. When they dispose of a mold it is cut into pieces. The pieces are usually taken offshore and dumped in the ocean to form artificial reefs or some similar disposal method.

Interesting, so Boston Whaler lay up their plugs with something other than fibergalss reinforced plastic?

jimh posted 08-20-2015 09:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The method used by Boston Whaler to make a Unibond hull is well-known, but it is always interesting to hear from someone who worked at that task first hand.

The plug, that is the part used to form the impression in the molds, is made from various materials. The molds, that is the part that takes the impression from the plug, is made with fiberglass reinforced plastic, but then it is heavily reinforced with steel. To learn more about the Unibond process, read:

Boston Whaler Factory Tour
Where Legends Are Made

But all of this is old hat. What is new is the claim made by Birbarie Marine that Metan Marine "has purchased many of the old Boston Whaler molds."

The obvious inference is that they purchased them from Boston Whaler, as who else would have them to sell? But Boston Whaler says they don't sell their old molds, and, in fact, they destroy their old molds so they could not ever be re-used. Boston Whaler is so circumspect about this that they document the destruction of the molds photographically. Then they dispose of them in the ocean.

The notion that someone other than Boston Whaler might have obtained ownership of some 40-year-old mold dug out of a landfill, and then sold this to Metan Marine is quite hard to accept.

msirof2001 posted 08-20-2015 02:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for msirof2001  Send Email to msirof2001     
Splash molds ought to be highly effective. Dentists do this all the time on teeth. Taking impressions for veneers and crowns. I was surprised to see that a hull sold prior to 10/28/1998 could be copied. In the case of my 1995 OUTRAGE 21, someone could splash it and sell it? Interestingly, Whaler still makes that hull (last time I looked) in their commercial line. Just couldn't imagine someone getting away with this legally. But maybe so. It seems strange to me.
jimh posted 08-21-2015 01:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have seen on some bass boats--probably on a RANGER boat--a notice on the hull that it was protected by the hull design copyright. RANGER's website says:

Ranger also received the first-ever "Protected Design" hull copyright registration from the U.S. Government.


I don't know what the status might be for present-day production boats from Boston Whaler. You'd think their hull designs would be registered and copyrighted, but I can't cite any instance of that.

Peter posted 08-21-2015 07:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
This link will take you to a list of vessel design registrations at the U.S. Copyright Office ==> . There are no registrations in the name of Boston Whaler nor does there appear to be any registrations for any other Brunswick brand.
Jeff posted 08-24-2015 05:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jeff  Send Email to Jeff     
All of Metan's boats they are producing are not from Whaler's molds. Those are all long since gone. They are casting new molds off of old hulls.

Their hulls are not foam filled unibond construction either. They are using glassed foam stringers for the hull and glueing the cockpit part to it. They have a photos on their Facebook page.

jimh posted 08-26-2015 08:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It sounds like Birbarie Marine just made up that story about Metan Marine having purchased "many of the old Boston Whaler molds." Perhaps Birbarie Marine thought saying that would give the boats being made by Metan Marine more provenance.
Binkster posted 08-26-2015 10:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for Binkster  Send Email to Binkster     
I agree with jimh. I always thought Metan's marketing methods were suspect. Remember the TV trailer they made for a reality TV show they were trying to push a couple of years ago? They may do great restoration work, but the personality profiles they put forth in the trailer made them out as a bunch of goof balls, especially the owner and his ditsy wife, always fighting back and forth. No wonder the show didn't make it onto TV. They didn't take criticism kindly, I got a lot of nasty e-mails from them, I think, because I wouldn't send them plans for the custom mahogany side console I designed and built for my 13 footer.


Mambo Minnow posted 08-26-2015 08:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mambo Minnow  Send Email to Mambo Minnow     
I am by no means an endorsement of Mike Borelli or Metan Marine. However, having lived in Massachusetts the last 4 years I can tell you he represents at most of the major regional boat shows, including the New England Boat Show and Newport International Boat Show. He just attended a Rockland, ME classic boat show last weekend and his Nauset restoration won best in show award.

He does charge a premium price, and he uses Awlgrip extensively vice re-gelcoating. Lately all his engine mountings have been Evinrude E-Tecs. He seems to have gotten a lot of Hurricane Sandy restoration work from insurance companies the last several years and many of his jobs appear to have come out well.

I guess if there ever comes a day that all the barnyard mint condition hulls are expended, then his restorations allow the legend to live on a little longer.

macfam posted 08-27-2015 08:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for macfam  Send Email to macfam     
Along with Mambo Minnow, I too have seen their boats at the local boat shows here in the New England area.
Pretty boats for sure, but not originals.
Their prices are astronomical in my opinion.

For me, find a decent original Boston Whaler of your choice. Restore it the way you want it. And that way you still have a REAL Boston Whaler.

jimh posted 08-27-2015 10:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I don't have any opinion about METAN MARINE. I don't know them, I haven't dealt with them, I haven't seen their boats.

I found it odd and misleading that BIRBARIE MARINE, apparently someone selling a METAN MARINE-made boat, would advertise the boat with the imprimatur of Boston Whaler by suggesting it was molded from the original molds used by Boston Whaler.

Based on what I can find out from Boston Whaler, it is extremely unlikely that Boston Whaler has sold old molds to anyone at any time. And it seems particularly unlikely that Boston Whaler would have sold molds to someone who was going to go into direct competition with them in making 13-foot small boats.

I don't have any particular beef with METAN MARINE, but I would think they'd not want to see their boats misrepresented by their dealers.

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