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  15' Dauntless Questions-Please Help

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Author Topic:   15' Dauntless Questions-Please Help
David Mc posted 04-17-2004 04:30 PM ET (US)   Profile for David Mc   Send Email to David Mc  
Johnj80, et al, your posts are great! Have a deposit on a '96 15' Dauntless with a 2 stroke 70 Johnson, with a brand new power head. Price is under 8k. The boat will be trailered extensively, as I play racer-chaser to my son who races an Optimist up and down the eastern seabord. It also has to do double duty in getting him from our home to the YC during the week. He is 13. I was drawn to the boat because of its 1) size, relative to my son's age; 2) trailerabilty; 3) simplicity/self draining cockpit, i.e, no need for the battery killer; 4) Whaler resale. I can spend more, but cannot find a better boat alternative. When I go out to play support boat, can you put 3 adults in the boat for the day?
John, you just repowered...is this an ok engine? Any quirks? Would it scare you that it has a new head? I need to get many years out of it.

Sounds like it needs: 1) new scuppers; 2) fins; 3) Pate tank. Anything else? I have seen pictures with a bench in the back, and/or, back seats with back rests? Can you still get these parts?

The boat will be launched alot via hoist; any figures on the length of the bridles so it doesn't damamge the windshield?

While it is at the yard, should I have them move the motor up or down?

Thanks, from one blue water sailor to the other.

David Mc

JohnJ80 posted 04-17-2004 10:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
Hi David,

Great choice. My kids also have an Opti and that is exactly what we use it for many times. They go and twiddle around in their boat and the D15 provides the stable platform for us to watch and keep boat traffic off of them. Works great!

The 70 Johnson is a great motor. I believe that Whaler was packaging those motors with boats when the Dauntless 15 was in production. I had problems with mine - I bought it used like you did. My VRO was chirping only briefly when the engine was idling and it turns out it was not putting out enough oil. Long story made short, I wound up trading the motor off.

I think these are great motors, but the VRO thingie is just not something I would ever trust again. Advice given to me was to mix a little oil in the gas (maybe to the 200:1 or so) to make sure that if the VRO is a problem, that the engine is still getting oiled. That all being said, many have had great luck with this motor and I concur with those experiences not that mine was the rule.

I would look very much into the engine height. I can't help you much on where I had it my Johnson since I learned the lesson when I repowered. I can tell you that now the evinrude 75 FICHT I have on there is all the way up and it runs great there. You will need to check cooling water on the Johnson since I think the pickups are higher on the lower unit than on the motor I have now.

If you get any porpoising at modest trim heights, you should consider a fin. If you don't forget it. I would do the height adjustment experiment first (that is the only way you can do it, as an experiment). I think it likely you will wind up with a fin but this won't help much unless the motor height is properly set.

My boat has the back platform and seats - it came that way. I would call whaler on the parts.

The scuppers and Pate tank are both great ideas. Highly recommend the pate tank. I have not been able to get any size or shape 6 gallon tank that fits well. The Pate is perfect. As a sidebar, when I went to the new engine my gas usage dropped something like 40% from the Johnson 70. That made that tank seem a whole lot bigger! If you have to look at repowering, I think that the new Evinrude E-Tec engines would be just about perfect. I believe there is a 70 HP one that would really be a nice motor for that boat.

Trailerability of the Dauntess 15 is just fine - very easy to trailer. Just make sure your trailer is able to carry the weight. The Dauntless is a heavy boat and many dealers back then were putting them on trailers that were a tad too small to save a few bucks.

You an easily put 3 adults in that boat. We have often gone out in the boat to go to dinner with 4 adults and two little kids. For 3 adults, you can put two adults on the pilot seat and one on the cooler no sweat. If you need more, just get a bigger cooler. The boat handles the weight with no problems.

What is exceptional about this boat is its seakeeping abilities for a 15' boat. It is amazingly dry even in some pretty rough conditions. The flare on the hull is great for deflecting spray. The fine entry is very nice for dealing with waves. If you have good seamanship skills this boat will reward that experience. You will be amazed at how wide of a sea state range she will accomodate.

The Dauntless does have some different handling characteristics at slow speed. Because of the entry and the deep V in the front, there isn't a whole lot of boat to help it track through slow speed turns (idle throttle like in docking). You need to position the motor for thrust and then pulse it in and out of gear to get it to maneuver in tight quarters. if you try and power through the turn, you will 'spin out' and it will be difficult to control the placement of the stern - very much unlike the racing yacht hulls I am accustomed to! Be careful, I learned this lesson the hard way with some yard repair bills for dings.

$8K for a D15 on a trailer is a very good price. I paid $10.2K for mine 3 years ago and that was pretty low when I did an internet survey.

Things to look for - have the engine leakdown tested to make sure rings are ok. Also have a mechanic evaluate whether a ring job was done. There is a limit to how many times that this can be done before the block is a throwaway. Also, you may want to have the mechanic check out the VRO to make sure it is putting out the proper volume of oil at both idle and running speed.

I would find out the circumstances of the new head -why did it need one. Given the price, I think that you are pretty much getting the motor for free. The motor of that vintage has a resale of about $1500-$2000 if I recall. If you don't feel that the history of this motor is good, trade if off and look at that new E-TEC. Like I said, I think you are pretty much getting the motor for free so anything you would get on a trade for it is a bonus. (I could be wrong on motor prices now - haven't checked).

The other thing I added that you may want to look at is a boarding ladder. If you are doing the chase boat thing and 13 year olds are going to have to climb in from the water, a ladder for entry from the water is not a bad idea. I added this ladder http://www.boatladder.com/da3rung.htm with the discrete swim platform. I really liked this addition.

Enjoy your boat. You made a good choice in my opinion. Let us know how it goes.

J

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