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Author Topic:   Dauntless 15 - a new owner's notes
PaulVT posted 10-24-2001 08:34 PM ET (US)   Profile for PaulVT   Send Email to PaulVT  
I recently bought a '98 Dauntless 15 with a 50 Merc 4 stroke. Thanks to this board and some friends for steering me towards BW. The Dauntless replaced a sailboat we'd used for many years on Lake Champlain. It was time to try something different. I wanted a boat small enough to trailer by myself yet seaworthy when the wind kicks up in the broad lake.

Here are some notes and impressions from a newbie.

The boat porpoised unacceptably when my wife and I took it out for the first time on our own. This wasn't noticed on the sea trial as we had one person in the bow during the run. Porpoising could be tamed somewhat with trim, but the range of useful trim was very limited, and it was too tender for my tastes. I added a Stingray fin, and it greatly improved the situation - it's like a different boat. If you don't have ballast (e.g. bodies) in the bow, I'd highly recommend a fin. The motor had holes drilled for a Stingray, so I bought that brand rather than Doel.

I had some strange behavior with the electrics. The tach wouldn't work at high RPMs, and the voltmeter hinted at charging, but read somewhat low. I suspected a problem with the wiring harness, but the problem was a loose ground at the voltage regulator in the motor. Other than the lights, wiring is not BW, but rather whatever harness the dealer installs. BW offered no help, but a Merc service manual proved very useful.

This is a Merc item, not BW, but I wasn't comfortable that I never heard the alarm in the console for low oil pressure or overtemp. I didn't understand why it didn't sound as a prove-out when the key was turned on. The alarm isn't powered by the battery, but by the ignition coil under the flywheel, independent of the 12V system. Apparently by the time it has enough voltage to power the alarm, the oil pressure is up to snuff.

Now for a question: What do you do about the 'hatch' cover on the deck immediately in front of the outboard? Mine is screwed and glued in apparently, but I'm suspicious there might be water down below. Whaler doesn't mention this. Is the space below foamed after the outboard is mounted? My boat will definitely see freezing conditions for a few months. I'll pop or pry the lid off to check for water.


huladick posted 10-24-2001 10:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for huladick  Send Email to huladick     
I too have a 15' Dauntless (97). I notice a porpoise in mild chop, but can trim it out completely if needed. I have not tried the fins, but may have to look into it. Luckily I have had no other problems with the boat or motor. (75 Merc). Good luck and enjoy.

Dick M.

Tsuriki BW posted 10-25-2001 12:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
Is the Dauntless 13 and 15 the same as the Dauntless 14, except for length?

I have a Dauntless 14 and have not experienced the porpoising you guys talk about.


Tallydon posted 10-25-2001 05:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tallydon  Send Email to Tallydon     
I owned a D15 and loved the boat but traded up to the D16 for a deeper vee. Now, my experience with the D15. Yes, it porpoised a lot without a doel-fin. After adding it, never had much of a problem unless I was heading into the wind without another body on board. Still, I was able to trim it out. I had a Merc 50/4 and the combination gave me around 30 mph. Now, the little hatch in the well before the motor. I too worried that it was filling with water and adding more weight back there. And sure enough, after removal of the cover, it was. I patched the screw holes with epoxy, gel-coated them and left the cover off. To lessen the amount of water in the well while underway, I stuffed an inflatable fender in there and that displaced most of the water that could reside there. Afterwards, while cleaning up, I removed the fender, and removed the remaining water by hand. It worked for me.
JohnJ80 posted 10-28-2001 08:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
I just bought a d15 this fall. great boat! I also noticed alot odf porposing (johnson 2 stroke 70hp). It seems to be difficult to get it out, starts up again if I hit some chop.

I am going to try one of the fins described here. anyone have some more experience on what they will do in terms of performance?

also, exactly what is the purpose for that little screw down cover anyhow? seems an odd config for a bilge and/or drain plug.

jimh posted 10-29-2001 01:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am curious about the Dol-Fin device. When you are operating at planing speed, is the Dol-Fin still in the water?

I would suspect that at planing speeds it should be out of the water or at least right at the surface level.

PaulVT posted 10-29-2001 10:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for PaulVT  Send Email to PaulVT     
I was quite disappointed with the boat's behavior initially, and when I realized the motor had holes in the cavitation plate that matched Stingray's pattern, I immediately added the fin. I may have lost 1 mph on the top end, but I prefer to cruise on plane well below WOT, so I'm not that concerned about the top end. I'd highly recommend the Stingray if you have trouble with porpoising (Doel may be as effective, but I have no firsthand knowledge.)

If you do a web usenet search ( ) on hydrofoils and Doel or Stingray, you'll find discussions on the merits of them. The fins are supposed to act like hydrofoils and add lift to the stern. Concensus from the usenet groups is they aid in faster out-of-the-hole performance, less porpoising, lower minimum planing speed, etc. at the expense of a little more drag.

The fin is attached to the cavitation plate so it is well in the water at planing speeds.

Re: the hatch in the motor well. Mine was chock full of water in spite of lots of caulking under the edge of the plate. I'll use Tallydon's approach next summer.

jimh posted 10-31-2001 12:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
On my engine set ups, the cavitation plate is not "well in the water at planing speeds." It is barely in the water at all. I can stand at the transom and look over and see the top of the cavitation plate just about even with the top of the water.
jimh posted 10-31-2001 12:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I just tried the google search suggested above; totally surprised that it returned only about ten postings on "Doel Fin".

Part of the problem might be that no two people spell it the same.

Personally, I cannot see where appendages of this sort are going to be beneficial. There are two possible positions for them:

--they are submerged at planing speeds, or
--they break the surface at planing speeds.

If they are submerged at planing speed, they must be creating significant drag. See how much drag by taking one of them in your hand and holding it in the water while you are going 35 MPH. It will probably rip your hand off.

If they break the surface at planing speeds, then they can't be doing much (at that speed).

Maybe they do something up to the point where they break the surface, but what? Do you think they act to raise the stern of the boat?

My feeling on them is this: if a $30 add on makes your $5,000 outboard work better, why don't outboard makers just make larger cavitation plates? It would only cost them $5 in additional costs to make 'em like that to begin with.

jimh posted 10-31-2001 01:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In contrast to puny results produced by the Google search on USENET, I found that the topic of Doel Fins had been rather expertly discussed at length right here on continuousWave.

This is quite an interesting discussion; see:

Van posted 10-10-2005 01:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Van  Send Email to Van     
I to have a D15, I am not certain what year model it is. I also have the problem with porpoising at low speed. I am curious about trying one of the fins mentioned above.

Besides unwanted water, What is under that screwed down deck plate. I have yet to remove it.

I am using a Tohatsu 45 HP outbord and am thinking about upgrading. Is the largest outboard I can use 70HP?

I also would like to add an aft platform I have seen in ads selling used boats (D15); any idea how much they are.

Van posted 10-10-2005 06:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Van  Send Email to Van     
This is from Boston Whaler parts and service dept.
"The plastic rectangular plate in the motorwell of the 15' Dauntless covers the bottom engine mounting thru-bolts. This plate should be sealed up with silicone to prevent water from sitting in the area as it could cause the bolts to rust."

I hope this helps. I know I will now remove it to inspect the bolts. They have been there since 1995.

thediscusthrower posted 10-12-2005 02:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for thediscusthrower  Send Email to thediscusthrower     
I bought a 1995 15' Dauntless back in November 2004 and spent lots of weekends (about 7 months worth) getting her back to like-new condition. As part of the effort, I also wondered what was under the plate just below/forward of the motor and suspected both water and oil. The plate itself provides access to the motor/transom mounting bolts.

As suspected, the space was full of a water/oil concoction which stunk like nothing else. Pepe Le Pue bigtime! I vacuumed the crap out, cleaned it up 100% and siliconed both the screw holes and the plate. I think I did a good job sealing it up, but the only way to tell would be to remove it again for an inspection.

As far as the boat goes, I absolutely love it. Not only is it good on fuel (70 hp), it is a one man operation getting it on and off of the trailer. It's also fantastic in rough water. I haven't gotten wet yet. It's also not so overwhelming in terms of size so it gets a bath each and everytime out. It takes me to many of the same places that the big bucks rigs go, as I always see them fishing nearby. So, I figure keep it at 15' for a while and enjoy the ride. Maybe a bigger one later on. If that's the case, it'll be hard to let this one go.


rickrfa posted 10-12-2005 04:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for rickrfa  Send Email to rickrfa     

I have a 97 dauntless 13/50Hp merc 2C. Mine had a doel fin when I bought it. I have also noticed that it is very sensitive to trim for porpoising, but down trim totally eliminates it (but with probably more down trim than I would like). I also think I need to raise the motor one hole, as the anti-cav plate is a little below the bottom of the boat as it sits now. From what I have read, that will help with the porpoising issue.

As for the cover plate on the motor well, I had the same experience as others, I took it off after buying the boat, and there was a foul accumulation of water/oil/slime.

I ended up cleaning everything up, and using thick weather gasket material from home depot underneath (stuck on the cover plate) before screwing it back down. I also installed a 4" access port (about 10 bucks from west marine), so I could open it up and inspect/soak up any water that does get in after a day of boating. So far, the gasket seems to be doing the trick, I don't get any water in at the end of a day. (also tested it with a hose after I installed it. I leave the cover plate off when the boat is stored in my garage so it stays nice and dry between uses.

I also added a couple extra screws to hold it down, as mine was somewhat distorted in some areas and not forming a good seal with the gasket. Be sure to bevel out the gel coat layer for the screw holes if you add any, to avoid spider cracks. The weather gasket material is less messy than trying to fill the gap with silicon, and also allows you to make adjustments to "tune" it to fix leaks.

rickrfa posted 10-12-2005 04:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for rickrfa  Send Email to rickrfa     
Just to clarify, I meant to say I leave the access port cover off, not the whole cover plate, when I store the boat.
TarponWhaler posted 10-16-2005 11:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for TarponWhaler  Send Email to TarponWhaler     
I have a 15D from 1997 with a 70 Johnson from the same year. The boat rides great, but I want to upgrade.

What's a good asking price?


SteviLad posted 10-17-2005 12:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for SteviLad  Send Email to SteviLad     
How do you think that the new Montauk 15 with a Merc 60 HP 4 stroke, would compare in performance & ride comfort to the Dauntless 15?
Florida15 posted 10-26-2005 03:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
I had a 1996 Dauntless 15' and I don't remember the cover that you guys are talking about. There was the cover over to the side that had the drain plug down in a box. That's not the one is it ?
Brad, you are probably looking at somewhere around $8500 - $ the spring. Now is not the time to get top dollar for a boat.
I sold my 1996 last spring , it had a 1996 Johnson 70, for $8600.
Plotman posted 11-01-2005 11:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
PaulVT - I think you need to seriously look at whether or not your engine is mounted too low. Look at the outrage 19 porposing thread in the performance section.

95% of the time, a boat that is prone to porposing has the engine set too low on the trasom. A doel fin is NOT the answer, because if it is still in the water when you are on plane, that is a sure sign that the engine is too low.

Many, many riggers/mechanics mount engines all the way down because they don't know any better. Most Whalers work best one or two holes up.


Tom W Clark posted 11-02-2005 10:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

This thread was started in 2001, four years ago.

Florida15 posted 11-02-2005 12:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Some of us are just slow readers.

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