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Author Topic:   Dauntless180's ability on Chesapeake Bay
papageorge posted 03-24-2004 06:34 PM ET (US)   Profile for papageorge   Send Email to papageorge  

I am recently retired and am seriously ready to purchase a new 180. I love its lines and its abundant storage space and of course the Whaler rep. My one major concern is because of its low interior freeboard (20") and shallow draft, I will be tossed around like a cork in the 2 foot waves that can come up in the upper bay with little notice. My current (AND FIRST) boat is a 13 year old 20' bow rider I/O weighing in at 3,000 lbs. I bought it used three years ago for a pretty cheap price. I fish and cruise the bay from just above the bay bridge to Pooles island. I often travel from the Millers Island area to Swan Point and Rock hall. I also fish the seven foot knoll area and I like the white rocks at the mouth of Rock creek. All of these areas at times can produce quite a chop.

Can the 180 Dauntless handle this?

By the way, the 180 I am lusting for is powered with a 135 Merc Optimax. Is this match up a good way to go??

anxiously seeking advice,


Lars Simonsen posted 03-24-2004 08:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Lars Simonsen  Send Email to Lars Simonsen     
I have a Dauntless 18 w/ a 135 Optimax, and I like it a lot. I would not hesitate to take it out on the Chesapeake bay. But, I don't fish there often (I'm in Northeast NC), and have never taken my boat out in the Chesapeake (maybe this year, though.)

However, the Dauntless hull is notorious for its "pounding" ride. I have recently put Bennett M-80 trim tabs on mine, and that has really made a huge difference. Because of the boat's wide beam, and fairly flat hull at the stern, as well as its tendency to ride with a high bow, it doesn't really cut through waves very well. Instead, you get the waves pounding on the bottom. With the trim tabs, you can keep the bow down, and use the bow to cut the waves. It makes for a much, much smoother ride.

I would highly recommend that before you buy the boat, you take the Dauntless out for a sea trial on the roughest, windiest day you can. If you sea trial it in smooth water, you won't get a real test of the hull.

If you buy it, I would also highly recommend that you put trim tabs on it. The boat is very dry running, stable and fast. It also has lots of room for an 18' boat. The one thing I hated about it was the beating it gave me in the chop. The trim tabs have greatly improved that one problem with the hull.


prxmid posted 03-24-2004 08:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for prxmid  Send Email to prxmid     
If you are uncomfortable in your current boat, The Dauntless won't be any improvement. I have an Outrage 18 and the chop in the bay makes for rough going. I go out in a Dauntless 16 from time to time and it'll rattle your fillings loose.
kamie posted 03-24-2004 11:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
I would second the suggestion to take out the dauntless for a test ride. You may also want to consider the Nantucket in addition to the Dauntless. Not as nice on the storage but 2" more freeboard. Not sure how it will handle the chop but it wouldn't be any worse than the dauntless or Outrage.

Couple of older threads you should check out with info on the Dauntless, Nantucket and Classic Outrage

Cole posted 03-25-2004 12:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Cole  Send Email to Cole     
How about a 1999 or 2000 18''s a truly "huge" 18 footer
dauntlass 18 posted 03-25-2004 07:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for dauntlass 18  Send Email to dauntlass 18     
I had a Dauntless 18 and use my boat in the area you mention quite often.I put in on Sue Creek or Bush River.My boat was powered by a 150 hp Optimax.I do feel the 135 Optimax would be plenty of power for the boat.I did not have trim tabs on the boat but a fin on the cavitation plate of the motor lowered the rpm required to keep the boat on plane.I think the boat would fit your needs per your post but I do think the the 18 or 21 ft Outrage 1999 or 2000 model year would be even better.The current model year Outrage is sold as a 210 Outrage.Take a demo ride in a Whaler you will find them all rock solid.
papageorge posted 03-25-2004 08:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for papageorge  Send Email to papageorge     
thanks for the info. I had not considered trim tabs. Somehow, I had always associated them with larger boats. But I see your point. Question, would the tabs increase fuel consumption? Also, you said that the 180 tapers down to almost flat at the stern. BW booklet does not show the degree of deadrise at the stern, do you happen to know what it is for the 180? From your comments and others that I read, it appears that the 180 can handle the Chesapeake Bay alright, except that I should be ready for a somewhat rough ride under certain chop conditions. Additionaly, I will be sure to go on a test ride (preferably in rough weather) before laying my money down.


You said that if I am uncomfortable in the chop in my current boat, I would be uncomfortable in the 180. Thats true, but I would like to think that in the 180, I would not be any more uncomfortable. Additionally, in a new 180 (or any new boat - I hope) I will not have that surge of anxiety when turning on the ignition key after drift fishing or being at anchor for a few hours. I'm also expecting that Whaler "reputation" to keep my anxiety level low.

Another question to all. I have never owned a boat with an outboard motor. I often see adds for used boats that put an emphasis on the fact that the motor was recently repowered, even if the boat is relatively new,i.e., year 2000 or 2001. Is it purly a question of the number of hours used and how well the motor is maintained? Are there other factors? Does any one know how long a reasonably well maintained outboard will last in terms of hours? (there is probably no easy answer to that question)

Thanks again,


Lars Simonsen posted 03-25-2004 09:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Lars Simonsen  Send Email to Lars Simonsen     
I seem to recall that the dauntless has 17 degrees of deadrise, but I could be wrong. I just threw away my "Boat Buyer's" edition of Sportfishing magazine that had all the specs on just about every boat imaginable.

They claim that the trim tabs improve your gas mileage. I don't really believe that, although I can see how it might be true (you can keep your boat on plane, the most efficient "attitude" for the boat, at lower speeds). I can also see how the trim tabs could reduce your mileage if you keep them down all the time (increased drag). I haven't carefully measured my fuel consumption, but I can say that the Optimax on the Dauntless hull is very fuel efficient, even with the trim tabs. My prior boat was a Montauk with a 1990 90hp evinrude. It guzzled gas compared the the Dauntless/Optimax. The optimax also uses expensive 2 stroke oil (about $19.00/gallon), but it only sips that. It's a very efficient motor.

Just remember that the Dauntless is an 18' long boat. If it had three or four more feet of length hanging off the front of it, it would reach across the waves much better and would be a much smoother running hull. An 18' boat is only going to be so smooth . . .

I fished at Oyster last year, both in the ocean and in the Bay at Kiptopeke state park. It was pretty windy and rough, but I wouldn't have hesitated to go out in my Dauntless.

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