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Author Topic:   Looking for purchase advice on Whaler
JohnH posted 08-26-2001 10:37 PM ET (US)   Profile for JohnH   Send Email to JohnH  
I am currently considering the purchase of a Whaler. I am considering a new 18 Daunless, or possible a 21 Outrage. I don't know a lot about Whalers, but have learned a tremdous amount from this site. There seems to be a vast amount of knowledge here. I have seriously considered a new Sea Ray 21 Bow Rider, also. I will probably do most of my boating on Lake St. Clair, in southeastern Michigan, which is quite shallow in most parts. It tends to get quite choppy, although there certainly aren't the large waves as seen in the ocean, or even on Lake Michigan, Huron or Erie. I have spent a fair amount of time on this lake in an early-80s Chris Craft 281 Catalina (a very wide and heavy 28 footer), and also on a '90 25/28 Carver. Both boats can be tossed around pretty good on a windy/busy day on this lake, and although I've never felt in any danger, the ride could get uncomfortable unless going quite slow at times.

I would also like to be able to take my trailer my new boat to some of the great inland lakes and rivers in Northern Michigan for weekends, and this is why I'm looking for a smaller boat. Also, I really enjoy the feeling of being down near the water, as opposed to the feeling I get in larger cruisers. I'm not a huge fisherman, however I would certainly think that I will spend a fair amount of time doing that in my new boat. I'm not particularly concerned with top end speed, but I would also like to be able to pull my 7 year old daughter and her friends tubing and skiing as she gets a little older. My wife enjoys boating, but doesn't care to overnight, go fast, or feel unsafe.

One of the reasons I am considering a Whaler is the problems I've seen on numerous friends' boats over the years. Mechanical, stuctural and cosmetic problems seem to be almost expected in boating. From what I've been able to figure out (guess?) over the years, Boston Whalers, Tiara's and maybe Cobalts seem to be the boats mentioned repeatedly as the ones that will stand up over time. I don't mind spending the money on quality, if it's really true. Whalers seem VERY expensive compared to most other brands, but I also hear that the resale is quite good.

The 18 foot Dauntless seems quite seaworthy compared to a "standard" 18 footer (Sea Ray, Four Winns, etc.). And the 21 Outrage seems outright huge compared to the 21 Sea Ray Bow Rider I am also considering. I am looking for any advice anyone can contribute regarding the ride in chop/waves, handling, etc. compared to a "sport boat", as well as the quality, longevity, resale, etc. as mentioned above.

I feel like I would be giving up what "appears" to be a lot or good looking creature comforts (plenty of cushy seating, carpet, stereo, bow seating) as well as what at least "looks" like a safer (meaning my wife will feel that she sits "down" in the Sea Ray, not "on" the Whaler), and spending a lot more money to do it.But the last thing I want to do is buy a boat and have problems when new, and have things start falling off and breaking within a couple of years.

Sorry the rambling message, but I didn't know quite where to start. Again, any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

B Bear posted 08-26-2001 11:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
I'll start off on this. Ride through the chop would be better on an Outrage 210 or 21 than on a Dauntless 18, this was relayed to me by Dauntless 18 after he purchased a Conquest 21, which I believe is the same hull as the Outrage. If you are considering the Outrage 21 maybe the Dauntless 22 would be more in line since it will also have a head in the center console. Remember these are Vee planing hulls, they act as displacement hulls until they achieve enough speed to get up on plane. I would also get trim tabs for these hulls.

You can consider an older Outrage 18 to 22 also which carries less draft, and from what I hear is quite seaworthy. This same hull new is still offered in the Guardian. Hopefully some of the other members that are more familiar with these can tell you more about them.

Unlike some opinions here I don't think the new Whalers are as glitzy or luxury oriented as the SeaRay, Cobalt or most of those sport boats you have mentioned. I do not think I have seen any Whaler with snap-in carpets on the deck or burl wood dashes. The Whaler models you have mentioned are more fishing oriented, and will do well at recreational activities that you have mentioned. The new Whalers do have things like cup holders, decent storage, showers and seating though.

The plus to the more Spartan Whaler is that it is by far easier to clean, hose off the decks with no carpet to clean. The quality is there because mistakes cannot be hidden behind the carpet. Most of all it won't sink as with the boats you had mentioned, even if holed, that can save your life and the lives of your family someday.

I can only speak for myself here. I like outboards quite a bit more than I/O, which are found on the boats you have mentioned. A few reasons being:

Able to raise the tilt on an outboard much higher than on an outdrive when in the shallows.
Outboards are easier to for routine maintenance and to work on than an Inboard engine.
An outdrive is very expensive compared to a lower unit.

Most of all you need to test ride these boats and engine combinations to find what you really want and need for yourself and your family. Who knows what you'll end up with.

Good luck

Joe posted 08-27-2001 01:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Joe  Send Email to Joe     
John, I bought a used 19' outrage 3 days ago. I don't have much to offer by way of comparison to other makes or even other Whalers. However, vacationing in the U.P. as a wee lad, I remember my dad saying, When your boat sinks the Coast Guard comes and picks you up in a Whaler. Food for thought. My little ones are 2 and 4 and I wouldn't have anything BUT.
dchapp posted 08-27-2001 09:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for dchapp  Send Email to dchapp     
I have a 2000 21 outrage w/225 optimax. Great boat in coastal NC for all conditions, from skiing to fishing in rough water.
JohnH posted 08-27-2001 12:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnH  Send Email to JohnH     
Thanks for the input. Every bit helps. I'd rather do this right the first time!
dauntlass 18 posted 08-27-2001 08:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for dauntlass 18  Send Email to dauntlass 18     
John: I have had an 18 Dauntless with 150 Optimax power, and now have 21 Conquest with 200 Optimax power. Both boats were 100% top quality throughout. You may want to look at a Conquest. It has V bunks and a head. The hull is the same as an Outrage as far as I can see comparing them side by side. I see from your post that you've had some large boats. The only way I can describe the ride on our Conquest is it exceeds some of the Owens, Trojans, Chris Craft 26' to 28'cruisers we have owned.
Ventura16 posted 08-27-2001 10:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura16  Send Email to Ventura16     
John, I live on one of the inland lakes in the Detroit area, and my next door neighbor has a 2000 Outrage 18 with a Mercury 135 Optimax. That is a boat that I would seriously consider in your situation. It is much bigger in usable interior space, beam, freeboard and storage than a Dauntless 18....and much less expensive and easier to tow than an Outrage 21 (or 210). It is fast, very comfortable (available with either leaning post or 2 pedestal seats), and very stable...he routinely fishes Lake St. Clair with it and has taken it to Miami a couple of times for some ocean fishing.

If you want to check his boat out, send me an email ( and I'll arrange it...I love my Ventura 16, but the 2000 Outrage 18 is a very "big" small boat...I seriously lust after is a great combination of fishing boat and family boat.


reelescape1 posted 08-27-2001 11:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for reelescape1  Send Email to reelescape1     
Just my $.02...I now have a '90 22' OR, twin Evin. 88 SPL's...rigged for offshore out of Chas. SC. We go 50-60+ miles one way to fish and it's a great feeling knowing the UN-sinkability of the boat! Are there smoother rides in rough water?? YES! You will have to answer that trade-off for yourself. Personally.....I would like to find an older 25' OR with Whaler drive and twin v-6's !
JohnH posted 08-28-2001 12:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for JohnH  Send Email to JohnH     

Thanks for the generous offer. I was at the dealer -- Colony -- today, and apparently the 18 Outrage was TOO good a boat, because they no longer make it, so I would have to look at going used, which is certainly a possibility. They did have a 21 Ventura sitting in the water waiting for the "almost" new owner to take a demo ride before signing the papers. That looked very interesting for my situation, so maybe I'll take a close look at the Ventura 18 -- kind of in between. If that doesn't seem like the answer, I may take you up on the offer. I live in St. Clair Shores, so I can't be very far away. Thanks again.

Ventura16 posted 08-28-2001 08:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura16  Send Email to Ventura16     
John, I know that the Outrage 18 was discontinued at the beginning of this year...I don't really know why. I've heard a lot of guesses (too expensive to make and sell, too close in configuration to the more profitable Dauntless 18, too much of an in-between size, etc.), but no real answer. From my experiences with my neighbor's boat, it certainly wasn't a performance or quality issue. I've been seeing a good selection of late-model Outrage 18's on between $28K and $32K.

That being said, I do think that the Ventura series of boats is highly under-rated. My Ventura 16 shares the hull of the Dauntless 16 and has all the great Boston Whaler attributes (ie. unsinkable, high quality construction and components), that we know and love. It offers comfortable cruising for 6 and is easy to fish with 3 on board...all in an easy to tow and store package. The Ventura 18 and 21 just give you more interior room and better big water capability...the V18 shares the hull of the Dauntless 18 while the V21 has the same hull as the Outrage and Conquest 21's. Although the Ventura's are the closest of all the Whalers to the configuration to a more conventional "sportboat", they still retain that basic Boston Whaler goodness...well-thought out and tough boats built for the long haul. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one to anyone. My offer still stands...if you want to check out the Outrage 18...or my Ventura 16...drop me a line. I'd be happy to just talk Whaler's with you anytime.


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