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Author Topic:   New Whalers vs Classics and other boats
Camuyano posted 04-28-2004 11:06 AM ET (US)   Profile for Camuyano   Send Email to Camuyano  
A recent post in which Boston Whaler history was referenced plus talk about repowering Montauk 170s have me wondering if Iíve made a wise decision. I was almost ready to order a new Sea Hunt with a 90 hp Yamaha but decided to buy a new 170 Montauk over the phone even though it is probably 5k more because it is the ďunsinkable legendĒ.

The Sea Hunt is a budget boat yet it is ranked fourth by JD Powers & Associates in customer satisfaction behind Scout with 4 out of 5 in all but one category, Instrument Panel, where it got 3 out of 5. Boston Whaler is second behind Grady White with 5 out of 5 in all but one category, Quality and Reliability, where it got 4 out of 5. However Jimís history of Boston Whaler seems to indicate that the new Whalers are mass-produced shadows of their classic forbearers. Is there some classic Whaler bias here or are the new boats that much worse than the old ones?

I donít mean to offend or start a big controversy here. I will probably be happy with the boat despite its shortcomings but is it really worth paying that much more?


Sal A posted 04-28-2004 11:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sal A  Send Email to Sal A     
I am a post classic buyer, and my boat is awesome. While it is true that there is some "classic" bias on this forum, it is still pretty fair, and more importantly the forum here will give you quality information content that just doesn't exist on many other forums. Most of us don't buy boats because we want a forum to approve, and I believe you are no different. My guess is you just want to feel comfortable with your purchase, which is an expensive one.

The MT170 is not only an incredible boat, and drier than its predecessor, I imagine the resale on it will be outstanding as well. The layout, ease of use, and economy of the model will please you. It may be more money than the other boat you were looking at (I have seen that boat, although have not been on the water in it), but I'll stake my money that the MT170 will be a much better value. Enjoy your purchase, and feel good about your decision! You will have great fun in the well thought out, quick-planing, and improved riding MT170! Look at Erik's boat in cetacea, and then rest easy with your decision.


Marlin posted 04-28-2004 11:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
In general, Boston Whalers are significantly more expensive than most other similar models by other manufacturers. However, they typically have superior build quality and fit-and-finish (gelcoat, structural joints, etc.) and superior-quality components. And of course, their construction results in incredibly large swamped capacities, the ability to self-bail when swamped, and huge margin of safety even in a catastrophic accident.

These qualities are true of both the classic and post-classic boats, though it's undeniably true that the classic boats are lighter and perform better with similar or less power. The aesthetic differences between the classics and post-classics are in the eye of the beholder, and nobody can help you answer questions of style.

The question remains- "is it really worth paying that much more?" Only you can answer that question. But if you value quality, safety, and longevity (including good resale value), then the answer is almost certainly "yes".

It sure was for me! I looked at a 17' AquaSport for about $18K, a 17' Mako for about $21K, and bought a 16' Whaler for $26K.


Moe posted 04-28-2004 12:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
The quality of modern Whalers today is every bit as good as vintage Whalers. In fact, the 150 Sport is the highest-quality product I've bought in years, and that includes stuff from Honda/Acura and Toyota. The "quality" issue is sour grapes.


dittybag54 posted 04-28-2004 12:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for dittybag54  Send Email to dittybag54     
The answer to your question, for me, is yes. The discussions over classics versus post is mostly friendly mental exercise. The vast majority of folks here just love Boston Whalers, period. I am not qualified to debate the pros and cons of old and new as well as others here and regardless it is largely a moot point when comparing Whalers to other boats.

Here is my story. After owning many sailboats my wife and I decided to get a boat just to run around the sound and bays in. We wanted a Whaler and went to look at them repeatedly. One day we found an Aquasport that was 3 feet longer and came with the bimini for less money than the fairly bare Whaler. We succumbed to the lower price but I should have listened to my salesman (the Aquasport salesman) He said if my heart was set on a Whaler to just go ahead and get it. He said I would never be satisfied with anything else. I bought the Aquasport anyway and congratulated myself on my wise bimini-topped money saving purchase.

Kept it less than two years; can't explain it as it was a great boat. It was just a boat to me however; felt zero attachment to it. Bought a Whaler this year. Money is a relative thing; you will likely be a very happy man.


tully_mars posted 04-28-2004 12:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for tully_mars  Send Email to tully_mars     
I just did two searches for boats on

1995-2000 17' Sea Hunts

1990-1995 17' Boston Whaler Montauks

The avearage price of the Sea Hunt boats is under $10,000. The average price of the Montauks is around $11,000 to $12,000.

So you will get some of your money back, because the asking price on a Sea Hunt IMO is more flexible than the asking price of a Whaler. An note, the Whalers above search I did on purpose to find older boats. There are no Sea Hunts before 1995 I could find. I wouldn't want to compare a 14 year hold Sea Hunt to a 14 year old Montauk for resale if I had the Sea Hunt.

Other notes, seems to me JD Powers impacts new sales only and in my case I don't see much credit there anyway. If you read on you will find the JD Powers articles can be bought by the manufacturer. Don't know if it true but what water does a magazine article hold against a larger survey like, for instance, the used market.

Capt. Tully Mars

prm1177 posted 04-28-2004 02:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
Having owned both, I'd say the quality is similar. The newer models have deeper V's and a softer ride. The older boats are of the tri-hull/gull-wing type and can offer more useable space inside at the expense of a harsher, wetter ride. New hulls offer more amenities, older hulls are more utilitarian. New hulls use more stainless, Whaler board, and vinyl materials, older hulls more wood. It is a matter of preference, but BW has done a remarkable job in keeping it's build, fit and finish quality over the years. My BW 13 was a high quality boat in 1965 and my 1996 Outrage II 17 is a high quality boat now.
jimh posted 04-28-2004 02:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have re-read my article on Boston Whaler history with an eye to locating the portion wherein I am supposed to say that "the new Whalers are mass-produced shadows of their classic forbearers."

Actually, the article was written some time prior to the re-introduction by Boston Whaler of the Legend (nee "Classic") series of boats, which is the catagory that the 170 MONTAUK belongs in. I think that it is not fair to either me or to the Boston Whaler company to ascribe the "mass-produced shadow" appellation to the Montauk 170.

I have been a fan of the 170 Montauk since its introduction, a relationship you could infer from the fact that I published the first photographs of it, the first details of it, and in some cases informed dealers and customers of the boat before Boston Whaler had.

The section of the web site that concerns itself with Boston Whaler boats has from its inception been extraordinarily biased toward the classic boats of the Boston Whaler company. I don't think there is any doubt about that. I think anyone familiar with the web site and its many contributors would think it would go without saying that there is a bias toward the classic Boston Whaler boats.

The word "bias" is probably not the best to describe the situation, either. "Bias" may to some imply an unreasoned preference. I don't think the preference that many have for the older Boston Whaler boats is unreasoned or without foundation.

The quality of the boats made by Boston Whaler is probably higher now than at any time, a result of modern manufacturing techniques, more attention to quality control, and better technology employed in their design. I hardly think you will find much serious complaint with the quality of boats made by Boston Whaler, and especially with their most recent products.

But the older boats do have a certain style, a refined utilitarian design, and a definite purposeful look that is very attractive, particular to male boaters who grew up in the 1960-1980 era when Boston Whaler was inventing its boats.

Whaler's own literature can show you how it actually costs less to own a new Boston Whaler than competing models like a Scout, based on the resale value of the boat after a few years of ownership.

My recommendation is to enjoy your new Boston Whaler and don't worry if some folks think one made in 1987 looks a little more "classic" than yours.

skategoat posted 04-28-2004 04:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for skategoat  Send Email to skategoat     
This is an interesting thread. I've read very similar discussions in Porsche forums. There are many parallels. The main points are the same:

1) Classic Porsches were better built than current ones.

2) Post-classic Porsches have been surpassed or equaled by other manufacturers at a lower price point.

Issue #1 is a matter of taste and budget. Some guys, like me, enjoy working on our own cars. That's pretty much impossible with anything built after 1994, so that's why we go after the older models. We also convince ourselves that they are more "classic" in their looks and have better horsepower/weight ratios (sound familiar?).

But the bottom line? Older cars are much cheaper. I can't afford the $80k plus for a new Porsche so I drive an old one worth maybe $25k.

Issue #2 simply cannot be argued. There are, indeed, cheaper cars that are better in terms of performance. Heck, the new Nissan 350Z gives the 911 a run for its money at half the price .

But...they aren't Porsches. As the slogan says - "There is no substitute.".

The bottom line here? Drive up to valet parking in a 15 year old Porsche and a 15 year old Nissan. See which one gets the attention.

Now, substitute "Boston Whaler" for "Porsche".

Jerry Townsend posted 04-28-2004 04:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Imanuel - Welcome to the continuouswave web site. You have made the right decision on your purchase of the 170 Montauk. You will, I'm sure, enjoy your boat.

There is, as you point out, some bias - but just "chuck" it - forget it. As Walter Cronkite would say "That's the way it is." And there are some where the bias is more "hard-core" than others - but that is their choice.

There are differences between the so-called "classics" and the "post-classics" boats - some good, some bad. But, a lot depends on the users point of view as well. But, for those keeping an open mind, I believe the benefits of the redesigns have been, in general, favorable and good. Again - they are both Whalers - though some people don't see that.

Take weight for example - the "post-classic" boats are heavier - and weight, by itself, requires more energy to get moving, perhaps a larger engine and may impact the towing aspects as well - but weight also makes the boat more stable and provides a softer ride. The deeper "V", though not very pronounced, is similarily a benefit to the user.

I have had a so-called "classic" (a 13 Sport) and now have a 17 Outrage II - and the quality of both boats is superb. Performance cannot be compared because of the size difference. Now regarding resale value - the Whaler will hold it's value much better than brand X - as has been proven many times. After having the 13 Sport for 20 years, I sold it for 50% more than I paid for it new in 1976. --- Jerry/Idaho

macfam posted 04-28-2004 04:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for macfam  Send Email to macfam     
I think you made the right decision for the best overall value in boating. Period.
The 170 is expensive to buy, but the cheapest to own over time. Not to mention, best quality, and safest.
JD Powers ranks "initial quality". They don't rank quality "over time".
I believe Whalers(classics and post-clssics) will "outlast" any boat manufactured.
I don't think anyone else comes close.
My humble opinion......
whaler3 posted 04-28-2004 05:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for whaler3  Send Email to whaler3     
They should call them "LIFETIME" They will last foreever with any kind of care. Just look at the older ones. It easy to say that a lot of them outlasted the motors that came with them new. Look at the boat yard junk boats-Whalers don"t end up there.
Liteamorn posted 04-28-2004 06:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Liteamorn  Send Email to Liteamorn     
I recently purchased a used 1998 Montauk, my search for a boat started with an aluminum CC because of the ease it would trailer but that search became futile theres just not that many out there any more, I then decided to look at smaller fiberglass models, I had owned a 19' Mako and I was familiar with quality boats and center consoles.
I am 50 so I hoped to be buying my last boat, in 10 to 12 years I plan on retiring and moving to the west coast of Florida and fish there for the rest of my days away.
I was amazed at how many 20 and 30 year old Whalers there are out there with new engines. This boat filled the bill to a "T" I really became attracted to the simplicity of design and layout. If I take care of her (and I always do) she will look as good as she does now in 20 years and she probably will have a 2015 4 stroke on her (maybe the 3rd engine :) ).
My first night out a guy in a Katama came by it must have been 30+ years old and she still looked great, I smiled knowing I made the right choice.
So smile, you made the right choice and it will be the right choice A) for many years to come or B) when you decide to sell it.

Enjoy your boat, tight lines Ed

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