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  320 OUTRAGE, 305 CONQUEST Tests

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Author Topic:   320 OUTRAGE, 305 CONQUEST Tests
jimh posted 04-15-2004 01:46 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Boston Whaler plans to have their 320 OUTRAGE and 305 CONQUEST boats at the Stuart, Florida, owner's event, and will make them available for in-water demonstration rides.
Both boats will be powered with new Mercury VERADO engines.

If you are interested in these new boat designs or the new engine set up, this would be a great chance to take a look at these new products. You really get a much better feel for a boat when it is in the water and underway, more so than on a stand at a boat show.

If I get a chance to go for a ride, I will take some notes and post my impressions when I return.

jimh posted 04-22-2004 01:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Some notes from Stuart:

The 320 Outrage was the same boat we rode in Miami, but the 250-HP Verado engines (PV-1 vintage) were removed and just a day or two before the rendezvous new (PV-2 vintage) 275-HP Verado engines were received and fitted on the boat. The boat was delivered to Stuart from Edgewater on its own bottom, I believe, so the engines had several hours of run time before the Stuart demonstration rides began. The 275-HP Verado engine needs premium fuel, and when we arrived on Friday there was a fuel truck at the quay feeding the Outrage with high octane gasoline. My surmise is the pumps at the host marina were not 91-Octane fuel.

There was quite strong interest in the 320 so we did not get a chance to go for a ride. The test boat had plenty of passengers all weekend and we were busy with other things, so it just slipped by without us getting out to run the new engines. The boat driver told me that the 320 Outrage is now a 50-MPH boat with these 275-HP twins on the transom.

The 305 Conquest was quite an amazing boat. The most impressive thing about it was its size in the water. When I was aboard at the Miami boat show, the cockpit seemed nice, but I was not overly impressed with the total size. When actually in the water and at the dock, the boat simply seemed much larger than it felt indoors. Climbing down into that big cockpit from the pier was a different experience than stepping aboard at the indoor boat show from a closely surrounding walkway.

The feel of the boat was simply very big. It felt like a yacht, not a small cuddy cruiser! And this was before we left the dock. When we got a ride on the water, again the boat just felt so big and solid it was startling. It was a totally different impression than what I felt from the indoor boat show setting. This was counter to my normal sense. I would think the boat would seem bigger indoors than when outdoors and in the water. Not the case here. Much more impressive outdoors and floating than indoors and on a stand.

This boat had a pair of 250-HP Verado engines. (Maybe the ones from the 320 Outrage?). This particular boat was also the same one we saw in Miami with the 225-HP Four Strokes rigged on it. I think some guys worked late a few nights to get this set up in time for the weekend. Of course the boat had the DTS throttles, the SC5000 SmartCraft digital instrumentation, and the new Verado electro-hydraulic steering.

Will Rogers, Boston Whaler Sales Manager was our pilot. I cajoled Will into letting me start the engines. This is rather cool. There is no key. You flip on the engine ignition switch toggle, then press a start button. Just a momentary push of the button, and the computer takes over and starts the engine. If you push the button again while the engine is running, the computer system is smart enough to know not to engage the starter motor again.

While still tied to the dock, I got to fiddle with the DTS shift. I think Will was a bit nervous about this baby, as it is the factory prototype/demonstrator boat and they'd just rigged about $45,000 worth of engines on it. The DTS shift is really smooth. It gives you great control.

Then we got to play with the steering. This is unique, too. You turn the wheel and once you let go, the electric control just holds the wheel in that position. Will said that while bringing the boat down from Edgewater there were stretches where he didn't have to touch the wheel for miles, the boat just tracked straight and the steering did not vary a bit. (Nice job, huh? Driving $210,000 boats to weekend rendezvous. Somebody has to do it!)

When it came to leaving the dock, Will took over. Out in the intracoastal there was quite a lot of traffic, and Will seemed to be hanging on to the helm rather tight, so, no, we did not get to take the helm. It was just as well as Will gave us a rather amazing demo ride.

First he shoved the DTS throttles forward and in a few seconds we were up on plane, the boat accelerating up to about 40-MPH without much effort it seemed. Into a strong head wind and chop, we were out of the wind, practically no engine noise, and riding as steady as a rock. You don't think you are on a boat, you think you are on a vessel!

Next, Will announced "I am going to put us through some high speed turns." Using the suicide-knob on the racy three-spoke wheel, he cranked the helm hard over. The big Conquest leaned into a very sharp turn. With no sign of the props busting loose at all, the boat slowed a bit and cut a very sharp 180-degree turn, and crossed its wake. Will announced "Now the other way," and cut the wheel hard the other direction. The big Conquest leaned the other way and rocketed around again.

Chris and I were sitting on the wrap-around seat to port at the cabin companionway, and she turned to me and said, "This feels like a ride at an amusement park!" It was hard to connect this agile turning performance with a big 30-foot cabin boat.

Next we slowed down, Will tweaked the trim tabs, and got the boat onto a slow plane. And I mean slow. We were cruising along at 11-MPH on plane. "This is not the most efficient speed," said Will, "but it shows how the hull will stay on plane at slow speeds so if you are in a big sea you can still make way without pounding too hard."

The test track was a particularly narrow stretch of the intracoastal, and to add to the fun, a Grady-White 27-footer with a pair of Yamaha engines had run aground on a shoal just a few feet outside of the channel. There was quite a bit of confusion at this point, with several law enforcement agencies, the Coast Guard (in a 270 Outrage Whaler), and a tow boat all standing off the stranded Grady. Add to this the usual Saturday afternoon traffic, and it was not exactly the best place to turn the boat over to us for a real hand-on's drive.

The overall impression of the 305 CONQUEST is very positive. If only you could trailer this thing! It is quite a boat, and a very fitting flagship for the Boston Whaler cabin boat line.

Later we talked to a dealer who has already delivered a 305, and has already sold three more, all of his allotment for the year. So I guess you could say the boat is a success already, even if we did not leave a deposit on one.

We had some other test rides at Stuart; look for notes from these in other articles.

erik selis posted 04-22-2004 03:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     
Fine report Jimh!

What was your impression of the cabin space inside the 305 CONQUEST?

Erik


divefan posted 04-22-2004 10:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for divefan  Send Email to divefan     
Rode and drove the 320. Maxed it in the icw at 40.5 knots merc guy said probably not propped correctly. Should have been giving an additional 6-700 rpm's. Boat and motors otherwise were fantastic. A very different boat from my old 2002 31' contender with twin yama 225 4-strokes even though they are essentially the same class of boat. One thing was the optional helm deck. This thing blew my mind. I won't get into the tech mumbo jumbo I'll let someone else do that. But, I will say if you have the bucks to throw around (and you will need the bucks to buy this boat setup anyway) you must buy this option. WOW. Like riding on air. Never seen anything like it. Throw away all of your soft cushions and other leg savers. This thing makes it a breeze to run a big center console boat at any speed, for any length of time, and in any type of water. Shock absorbers on the water. What will they think of next?

I guess by adding the Verados which take electronic controls (a la morse and glendenning) from the big sportfish and yachts to the center console crowd and using a movable shock absorbing helm deck BW has really made a leap forward in the 30' plus niche of cc boats. Now whether or not the hardcore tournament fishing crowd who dominate in the 30' plus cc market will warm to all of these very expensive options is another thing. But, I guess BW is not really eyeing this market anyway. This is purely a LUXURY 32 footer for someone who is willing to really open the checkbook.

It was all really cool. True. The future is here today.

diveorfish posted 04-22-2004 05:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for diveorfish  Send Email to diveorfish     
What kind of account balance would you need for the 305?
nooner posted 01-23-2006 08:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for nooner  Send Email to nooner     
In response to the guy who did a sea trial on the 305 Conquest, IT IS TRAILERABLE. Secondly, What do you think of a 2006 305 Conquest with 250hp Verados, electronics,invertor, no generator,for $163,500?
oroseiwhaler posted 05-01-2006 06:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for oroseiwhaler    
After i bought 2 new F150 Yamahas, my dealer invited me to try the 320 Outrage on the Porto Rotondo Boat Show last saturday.
So i went there with a bangin heart and gave it a try:
There where a 320 Outrage and a 320 Outrage Cuddy Cabin moored and first i checked both.
The Outrage has the usual Outrage layout with a huge bow area and was equipped with the Sun lounge option. A queen size bed is small against that.
The Cuddy Cabin model impressed me with his very clever bow area layup,the seating area is cool for cill out or having non fishing people and especialy kids safe out of the way and sight. The cabin is rather small, but 2 people can "sleep" in it if needed. The bowdeck could be used as sun lounge or for spinning and fly fishing. This version has a longer Hardtop wich covers also the bow seating area.
Both hardtops are made with the usual BW oversized tubings and quality, the CC version is longer and the Outrage version has a integrated ladder and a door to climb up to the top of the hardtop. There is no tuna tower /fly bridge option from BW, but a local welding shop could make the railings.

Both boats where rigged with 2 275 HP Verados and so we pressed the ignition switch and suprised that the motors are almost unhearable we left the dock.
Outside the harbour we pressed the binnacle down and the 10'000 pounds jumped to plane and reched 32 knots again surprised that we can still talk with normal volume. This is not only the merit of the Verado engines, also the huge console protects perfectly against windnoise.
The electro-hydraulic steering and shifting is very smooth and the shifting goes like butter without any "grinding" noise - simply a short "klonk". Very cool!
The smartcraft display shows any possible values, but it is quite small, so you have to scroll to much tru the pages. Interfacing it with a big display will help to show the desired values in a more ergonomic way.
The Verados are burning around 20 gallons per hour at 28 mph wich is a acceptable value, going faster they start to getting quite thirsty with around 57 gph at 6000 rpm.
I felt the boat a little bit "soft" or underpowered and that 2 300 HP motors would give the boat some more "sportive" caracter, if wished indeed.
The boat rides very soft, stable and gives a strong sensation of safty and control at any speed, especialy at full speed. The test conditions were flat sea with 1 feet chop and i hoped to find some harsher conditions out of the bay, but the sea remained calm, so i could'nt test it under rougher conditions.

As usual, time flyes by, and back at the dock i realized that i'm felt in love with a beautiful, thirsty, luxury loving lady wich i'm not able to reach her. For now!


Chris

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