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Author Topic:   Dauntless 16' Performance
Stonacek posted 02-19-2002 10:09 PM ET (US)   Profile for Stonacek  
I am the very proud and happy owner of a 2001 Dauntless 16' after one season. 90 HP 4stroke Merc. Overall very happy overall w/ the boat save two things.

1. Water in stern at idle w/ people sitting in back. Have tried foam plugs and basis posts in this forum will fashion rubber stoppers for next season.

2. Difficulty getting to plane especially on the Fourth of July which is the one time a year I alter the usual routine of cruising/fishing and instead get good laughs watching 30-40+ year olds demonstrate decaying waterski skills. In any case this is the one legitimate disappointment I've had w/ the boat. I knew I was making a tradeoff going with the 4stroke vs 2stroke and even with this issue am still happy with the 4stroke overall. My question is whether anybody has any suggestions on how to improve this performance issue.

I've considered working with the dealer on a new prop setup but don't want to get into a possible over rev situation and given the boat performs more/less fine the other 100 days/year not sure it's worth it. Other thought was a whale tail attachment to the lower unit. I've seen these advertised in magazines but have heard not concrete reviews on whether they work in general let along on a Dauntless 16. Intuition is that it would help but not sure how much it would affect top end speed, of which I have no complaints and plenty but wondering if there are porpoise effects, trim problems, or similar. Please advise your best thoughts.

Thanks in advance

Stonacek posted 02-20-2002 12:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Stonacek    
After spending the better part of an hour reading through historical posts to this site from numerous knowledgeable folks, it is clear to me that some of you will be asking what type of prop I currently have. Don't know answer to that as boat and all info is 3 hours away at my cabin but can tell you it is stainless steel and was recommended strongly as the standard prop by either Merc or Whaler. My dealer discussed getting next pitch down but was concerned with RPM issues. General question is whether best solution is likely to be via new prop or via doel fins? And depending on which, do you have product recommendations. Thanks again in advance.
Clark Roberts posted 02-20-2002 07:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
suggestions: Adjust engine height so that anti-cavitation plate is approx one inch above bottom of hull; select a prop that will allow engine to rev to 6000rpm at wide open throttle (wot) with light load... /a DoelFin will most likely help out ! That's about it.. Happy Whalin.. Clark... Spruce Creek Navy
Whaletosh posted 02-20-2002 09:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
As you asked (via e-mail) I am responding here.

Tsuriki, B Bear, Blackdog, and Ventura 16 probably can help as well. If memory serves me B Bear has a Dauntless 16 witha 90 Honda on it, which is heavier than your 90 Merc. so his advice may well help the most.

First, what I learned last summer about my Dauntless 14 is needing to be modified slightly as I have a new motor.

Now for my suggestions.

Clark is right, he has enough experience to back it up, raising the motor is probably in order. Your dealer should have installed it with the top bolts through the holes second from the top. If that is the case your anti-vent plate should be at the one inch above the bottom that Clark recommends. Check it with the motor trimmed so that the anti-vent plate is parrellel with the bottom.

Second you need to start playing with props. Again, Clark is right, you want your prop to hit 6000 RPM at WOT with a light load. You would probably be best served by a Mercury Trophy Plus or Vengance. The Trophy Plus starts out at 17" in pitch so that may be too tall for you. If it fits a Trophy Sport may work, but I don't think it would fit your motor. You migh also consider a Michigan Wheel Rapture prop, and Cabela's offers a line of SS props that you may want to consider.

Now specifically for the 4th of July weekend, or whenever you are trying to pull up those 40 somethings on skies. Get a secondary prop. Make it an in inch or two less in pitch than your normal prop. you will have much better skiing performance. At WOT on you normal prop you are going to be approaching 40 MPH. Who skies at that speed? I don't ski, but I bet that isn't common. So you can control the engine speed with the throttle. Just watch you tach so that you don't over rev. I have owned 7 boats. I have usually had 2 props for all of them. On my Dauntless 14 I bet I am going to end up with 3, a Rapture for when it is just me, a Trophy Sport for most of the time, and another Rapture for the occasional times when I have the boat loaded with familial whales. If cost is an issue (when isn't it) use an aluminum or composite prop for the secondary prop. It is a good I dea to keep a spare on board anyway. changing the prop is a 5 minute job. If Land and Sea made a Torue Shift prop to fit your motor it would really help, but it would cost you about $800. They don't so it is all acedemic.

Lastly, you probably will need to install a hydrofoil. Many Deep Vs, regardless of make, benifit from foils or trim tabs. You could install trim tabs, but they are expensive and the foil would do the trick. Clark recommends Doelfins, I recommend the SE Sport 300 (available fom Cabela's). Follow the instructions for mounting and don't use it to stand on as some would suggest.

Good luck

Whaletosh posted 02-20-2002 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    

check e-bay for props as well. as an Example there is a 14.5 X 15 Vengeance on there right now wth a buy it now price of $225.

Stonacek posted 02-20-2002 10:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Stonacek    
Thanks for advice. Think I'll start with the doel fin and then add second prop depending on how much that helps. I've seen question as it relates to doel fins regarding possibly voiding warrenty. Doesn't make sense why it would but on Merc website it states warrenty doesn't cover "use of an accessory or part not made or sold by us". Curious also as to why Merc doesn't offer these accessories? I've seen responses that it doesn't void warrenty, can anyone confirm?

Also now that you mention it, I'm 90% certain my current prop has the word "Vengance" molded into the steel. Still don't know pitch however.

One the ice melts, I'll start the trial and error process and will advise what my dealer recommends also.

B Bear posted 02-20-2002 07:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
Lots of good avice given by Whaletosh and Clark Roberts.

As for your question about the Doel fin, I have installed one on my Honda 90, the result was about a 1 mph loss on the top end at WOT, increased trim range, lowered mimum planing speed by 500 rpm, reduced bow rise when coming out of the hole. (both reduces time to get on plane)
The only caution would be when fully trimed at WOT making a hard turn in a small chop cause the hull to bounce (porpose) through the turn. The first experience at this my be
Ventura 16 had added doel fins to his boat (a Ventura 16) stated that it changed the handling of his boat in very postive ways. This was is a thread in the Performance forum titled "Doel Fins" which has been lost since it was over a year ago.

The guys are quite right about a second prop with less pitch and more torque (pull) for skiers. I use a smaller pitch for trolling to lower my bottom end and to have the pull for the rigs I am trolling, same idea.

As for water intrusion from the aft scuppers, I have very little problem with it. What I have done is to:
1)Use better weight distrubtion by keeping some occupants forward on the bow cushion and cooler at rest to offset anyone sitting in the aft seats. Or to move my extra cooler and or gear forward.
2)I maintain a full tank of fuel, this acts as ballast keeping more weight at the center of the boat, and reduces the effect of free surface, where if the tank is (lets say) <=1/2 full, as weight is brought to the back, as in people in the aft seats, the fuel would also move to the aft of the tank lighting up the forward and compounding the weight in the aft. This would also happen when you would "come out of the hole" to get on plane.
Well these are my thoughts, I know the increased weight of the fuel means less top end, yet this coupled with a doel fin I still ret about 37 mph on the gps at WOT, which for me is fast enough. Blackdog loves his speed though.
I believe if I ever repower in the future I would go with a 115 which would increase my mid-range.
Tsuriki uses stoppers in his scuppers and Tallydon had onced use a ball float check valve on a 15 he had. There is plenty of space to set up such a check under the aft seats in the bilge well.

Hope this helps, I hope the others will chime in for you.
Good luck

B Bear posted 02-20-2002 07:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
As an after thought you may look into self adjusting trim tabs for boats under 20 feet.
As for the warrenty issue, i was concerned also, in my case the add on would void the warrenty concerning the lower unit housing, but the lower unt mechanical aspect is still covered.
Honda uses Mercury bigfoot lower units (according to LHG).
JohnAz posted 02-20-2002 09:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnAz  Send Email to JohnAz     
I am assuming you had the trim full nose down, and any passengers well forward for the start,,,,,those are 2 critical things,,
there is another way to get a BIG skier up and that is to Accelerate the boaty in a turn and leave the skier in the water not moving, then straighten out the boat and pull , skier has to be verry strong though..
blackdog posted 02-21-2002 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
I think bow rise is common on the 16 Dauntless and it may have something to do with the notch on the aft part of the keel, gas tank placement or just the general geometry of the hull. It is sort of built like a Fire Hydrant, short and fat! I noticed the 180 no longer has this notch in the keel and I asked this question before but no opinions were forth coming on the board. It would be interesting to hear from a 2001 18 Dauntless owner and one of the newer 180ís for 2002. I am curious as to why they eliminated the notch?

As mentioned above I have the lighter 2 stroke, Ficht 115, and it weighs in around 375lbs or so. Full tank and 1 or 2 people on board time to plane is around 4-6 seconds I believe but there is considerable bow rise. The hull is however very stable and as everything else there are trade offs but over all a very comfortable dry ride and the Accutrack hull sticks in turns. She tracks true and the no feedback steering is tight, you can take your hands off the helm and maintain a true course.

As for Doelfins. I havenít added one, as I wanted not to add any aftermarket stuff until after the Mfg 2-year warranty passed. I may try one this summer but I want to first experiment with the ss prop.

No water in through the scuppers.

Bear, lets try to get some Striper Fishing in this March!


Ventura16 posted 02-21-2002 11:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura16  Send Email to Ventura16     
A lot of good advice here and I agree with pretty much everything that has already been said. I suspect that my situation is a little different from the Dauntless. Not only do I have the lightest motor (303 lbs.), but I think that the Ventura probably has more weight forward than the Dauntless. I would guess that the dual consoles together outweigh the center console and I believe they are positioned a bit farther forward as well. Not to mention the weight/placement of my 2 pedestal seats vs. the leaning post on the Dauntless. Consequently, I have never had water come in the scuppers, even with a couple of guys in the stern. And I'm definitely no lightweight. ;-)

As I mentioned in my e-mail response to you, the Doel-Fins have made a huge difference for me...maybe proportionately more because of the factors mentioned above. They might not have as much effect with the heavier 2 & 4 strokes...but at $25 it is hard to go wrong. I still plan on doing some prop swapping this summer to see if I can improve it even more...I've just gotta tinker with stuff.


B Bear posted 02-21-2002 11:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
Your on!
Here fishy fishy.......
Bubba is out there waiting........
Live to fish , fish to live
Stonacek posted 02-22-2002 01:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Stonacek    
Thanks for all your advice. I may reverse the order and start with some prop experiments before I start drilling holes. Plan to talk to my dealer this weekend. With the warm winter we're having the ice will probably be gone in 45 days. Sounds like you folks are closer to salt water or at least great lakes?
fno posted 02-25-2002 07:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
I too, own a 2001 16' Dauntless with a 90 Merc 4 stroke. You probably have a 13.5' x 16 pitch Merc SS prop. I did too. Used it one weekend and swapped it out with a 15 pitch. Top end went from 42 mph to 40,accels mcuh better. I also bent the 16 pitch prop early on. I learned that the guy who fixes bent SS props can also repitch it up or down one inch. This cost less than $100. Better than a new SS prop @ $300+ Now I have a 14 pitch for skiing.Much better hole shots, top end is 38-39 now. I haven't tried an aftermarket fin yet and the water that does come in the drains is warm so I don't really mind it much. My dogs usally drink it. Any other questions, fire away.
fno posted 02-26-2002 05:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
Clark, I have considered moving the motor on my 16 Dauntless as well but have had no guidance on the subject. This hull has a step in front of the motor. How does this relate to positioning the anti-cavitation plate one inch above the hull line?
Stonacek posted 05-28-2002 11:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Stonacek    
Now that boat is in the water I have some facts to deal with. Current prop is 16' Vengance SS. Bow rise and difficulty holding plane still a pain but guess i'm getting used to it, my kids think it's fun holding on to the bow rails trying not to fall downhill to the stern. WOT RPM's at 5200 w/ moter fully trimmed down, and 5600 w/ moter trimmed up for optimal speed. Position of motor is 3 holes from the top, not 2 as was suggested, but moving the motor sounds like major deal. I could use some help on prop decision, do I go w/ 15' or 14'? Doelfin still sounds like ideal solution but not brave enough yet to drill the holes...
blackdog posted 05-29-2002 08:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
Drop me an email. I may have some info for you.

Clark Roberts posted 05-29-2002 12:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Fno, hummmmm, I would consider the top of the notch for baseline positioning... water surely comes off flat at that point!? Raise engine so that anticavitation plate is 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches above the top of notch... check that cooling water is flowing from "tattle tale" hole... watch temp gauge.. etc,..etc... I'm betting that you can run 2" above but only testing will tell for sure.. Happy Whalin'... Clark.. Spruce Creek Navy
B Bear posted 05-29-2002 05:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
Man o man,
There sure have been a lot of old threads surfacing lately.

Update on this one - I now have a 13 1/4-16 pitch SS prop with Doel fins. Quick to plane,slight bow rise. Remains on plane to a low of 3400 rpm new WOT 5600 rpm. Top speed with a Honda 90 36 - 37 mph. Cruises at 30 mph at 5000 rpm. Never used scupper plugs.

JohnJ80 posted 06-13-2002 11:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
Here is how I handled the water coming in the flap scuppers on my D15. These are some ping pong ball scuppers from Rabud

I was able to unscrew the flapper scuppers that were factory installed and put these in the same holes. No more water problems. They are pretty cheap, so its an easy experiment to see if they would work.


pflcjl posted 01-02-2009 02:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for pflcjl  Send Email to pflcjl     
Can I get some recommendations for a prop size on a Dauntless 16 2005 with a 2005 115 2 stroke....I am looking to maximize top end performance....Thanks...
Marlin posted 01-03-2009 05:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
A stainless steel Vengeance in 16 or 18 pitch should get you in the ballpark, depending on your lower unit gearing. I got very good results with a 17 inch pitch Trophy Plus, but odds are my 4-stroke gearing (at 2.07:1) is probably different than yours. See my writeup at .
Ridge Runner posted 01-07-2009 02:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ridge Runner  Send Email to Ridge Runner     
You might want to look at Permatrim instead of Doelfin.
Tom W Clark posted 01-07-2009 08:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
You might want to start a new thread in the Performance forum instead of reviving a seven year old thread to tag a new discussion onto.
Jefecinco posted 01-08-2009 09:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

Agree with Tom that a new thread is called for.

However, I have a 99 Dauntless 16 with the notched hull and a 115 HP two cycle emgine (Evinrude FICHT). IMO, good top end performance with our hull is available but only at the cost of good low and mid-range performance.

When I took delivery of this boat it had a Stilletto Performance Propeller 21319 01319 vented 13 1/4 X 19 installed due to my instructions to the dealer that I wanted a propeller for best top speed. With one person aboard performance was very good all round and top speed was excellent.

Several months later I began using the boat for fishing with a total of three aboard plus all the gear, ice, bait well, etc. Hole shot became terrible and in order to get on plane at all it was necessary to send the passengers forward. I then installed a Stingray hydrofoil stabilizer which was a little helpful.

After consulting with the members of CW and in particular with advice of Tom W Clark I installed a Stilletto Bay I four blade 13 1/4 X 15 propeller and raised the engine one hole. The result has been incrediblely positive. Hole shot is now almost instant and accelleration is very fast. The boat holds well on plane at 3000 RPM and top speed is only down a little. My Dauntless has become a very nicely performing little boat with excellent load carrying capabilities.

I recommend you raise your engine one hole before doing anything else. It's very easy and I was able to do it on the trailer without any help. If interested I can recommend a procedure to do the job. After raising the engine if you remain unsatisfied it may be time to consult with Tom Clark on a propeller change. If you don't want to change the propeller a hydrofoil stabilizer may be worth a try.

IMO, ultimately, you're going to be changing your propeller if you're seeking good all round performance. If speed is your only goal the 13 1/4 X 19 vented Stilletto and engine height adjustment may be a solution for you. But before buying any replacement propeller I would consult with Tom W Clark.

Good luck.


RLSmith posted 01-10-2009 05:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for RLSmith  Send Email to RLSmith     
I have a 2000 Dauntless 16' (notch) with a Suzuki DT115S 2-stroke EFI. I realize everybody uses and loads their boats differently, but here are my observations after years of using this boat.

* The boat feels very heavy and needs lots of oomph to plane. The payoff is more stability and space than most 16' boats. Which in turn often means more passengers than most 16' boats, aggravating the problem.

* My boat has trim tabs. They are always helpful when the water surface is not completely flat. But for watersports like tubing and skiing at a reasonably low speed, the trim tabs are essential to plane quickly, and keep the bow down to a reasonable level. Without using my tabs, the experience is not as enjoyable for either the operator or the person/people being towed. The tabs are probably not useful for skiing at a high speed. I don't like the additional complexity of having tabs, but they sure do pay off sometimes.

* I have never had trouble with water flooding the deck through the scuppers. This is probably due to a light engine, plus most passengers do not want to sit next to a loud engine. My single battery is in the center console. If I had the problem I would definitely try the Rabud ball scuppers I have read about numerous times on CW.

* The notch is not very deep. I cleaned my hull today so I just got a fresh view. I suspect raising the anti-ventilation plate to 1.5 inches above the notch would be too hight.

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