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Author Topic:   Dauntless 15 First Ride and Experiences
David Mc posted 05-05-2004 09:33 PM ET (US)   Profile for David Mc   Send Email to David Mc  
Well JohnJ80 et al, I have finally returned from a huge Opti Team Trials in Fl and picked up the boat today after a brief test ride. Took her home and plucked her in the water and nosed down the Severn in a medium-small chop to pick up my son at sailing who was expecting me in the station wagon.

First Impression-is it the boat, or am I back on a hobby horse again? I have never expereinced the "porposing" motion before on a small boat. What are the mechanics behind it? Will the fins really cure it?

A very weird experience and uncomfortable in a head-on sea. Had to put the bow all the way down to reduce the motion. Any thoughts?

David Mc

Fountain00 posted 05-06-2004 01:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Fountain00  Send Email to Fountain00     


I too bought a Dauntless 15 last fall. It has a 60 hp Merc 2 stroke which came with a stingray fin on the cav plate. With the fin I had very little trim ability without popoising. Worse yet at various speeds the fin sprayed water into the back of the boat. It seemed to me that the motor was mounted too low causing the fin to "ride in the water" as opposed to on top of the water. Not wanting to fiddle with the motor height and never having had a fin on the cavitation plate of any other whaler I had (Sport 13 & 15) I simply removed the fin. The result was no more spray and very bad porpoising problem. The trim range is now zero. To answer one of your questions yes the fin will help. Hopefully you will not get the sprayback that I had. I will be raising the motor 1-2 notches in the next 2 weeks and I will let you know how it worked. Others have had success. My 13 ss and 15 ss had much more trim range than the 15 Dauntless before porpoising. I could "air" both out on flat water for a very nice quick ride. Having owned 2 others and ridden in 8-10 other whalers I think the 15 Dauntless really is not that great of a design. Been in many under 16 ft boats that didn't require fins. I do love everything about the boat EXCEPT the Ride presently. I hope to correct the problem within the next month becuase to me ride is everything.

frontier posted 05-06-2004 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for frontier  Send Email to frontier     
We have a 1996 15 Dauntless with a 75 Merc 2 stroke. We've owned a bunch of Whalers from 9' to 22', and this Dauntless is one of the best! Smooth dry ride, handles like a sports car, great torque & speed. And easily towed with our Camry. Any porposing is easily controlled with the standard power trim (no doel-fin).
David Mc posted 05-06-2004 09:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Mc  Send Email to David Mc     
thanks for your reply. How does one move the engine up? Do I have to get the block and tackle of the wagon-wheel in the barn and find a sturdy oak tree? Anything simpler?

David Mc

whalerfran posted 05-06-2004 10:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerfran    
David, I have the same set-up as frontier and have had the same good experience. I will check this weekend to see where the engine is mounted and send you an email with that information. Fran
Fountain00 posted 05-07-2004 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Fountain00  Send Email to Fountain00     

Frontier and Whalerfran:

It seems that David Mc and I, along with some others, have a porpoising problem with the Dauntless 15. Are you both using the trim at all? I can "easily control" the porpoising by trimming the boat all the way in and leaving it down. That defeats the purpose of having power trim. If you ARE using the trim to adjust for weight change, water conditions, performance than maybe there is hope for this boat. I just never needed to adjust motor height, add fins etc to any other Whaler (or any boat) that I've had. The ability to use the power trim is important to me and I cannot on this boat-yet. Raising motor and adding fin per JohnJ80's posts.


frontier posted 05-07-2004 07:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for frontier  Send Email to frontier     
I notice you have a 60 Merc, which is much lighter than my 75 (207# vs 305#). I wonder if that makes a difference? Porposing is not an issue with our Dauntless 15. It does not have to be trimmed in "all the way". A small wave might set off minor porposing at certain RPM's, but that is easily controlled. Top get top speed, I trim it way out with no porposing. The cavitation plate is actually slightly lower than the center of the bottom of the boat, but the 75 has another plate above that effectively controls the spray.
whalerfran posted 05-08-2004 06:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerfran    
Mike, I trim in to keep the bow down in chop. When the water is calm, I trim up. It amazes me how the boat then lifts up and takes off like a scalded dog. In either case, I have not experienced porpoising. I will check on the mounting hole and report. It might make a difference. Fran
JohnJ80 posted 05-08-2004 09:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
The Dauntless 15 is VERY sensitive to vertical height adjustment on the motor. I really can't emphasize that enough.

With the motor too low the ride will be on the bad side of awful, hammering hard - you want to sell the boat. You will also have no trim range - like zero without porpoising. The porpoising is violent.

Raising the motor up will cure almost all of this. Adding a fin - but only once the motor is up - will also yield great dividends. You will then in almost all cases should be able to trim up a minimum of 30-40% of the trim range at cruising speed in flat water. At WOT, in calm or downwind, you will be able to go almost to 100% of the trim range.

This done, I would be surprised it you didn't find the Dauntless 15 to be a very sweet riding boat. That was exactly my experience.

To move the motor up - it's easy if you can get your boat on a trailer. All you need are a floor jack (~$20 or so), 2 3/4" wrenches or sockets, some Silicon sealer, and a couple to three 2x4's. Plan on one helper. You can move this taking about 15 minutes at a crack after you do it once. Two hours will get you the whole experiment complete.

see for directions.


David Mc posted 05-09-2004 08:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Mc  Send Email to David Mc     
johnj80 et al: I have put a fin on, a stingray, and will report back. I have one hole left to go up; measuared the cav plate with the engine all the way down and it is even, to a 1/4" below keel.

Will report back.

wetdogsoup posted 05-09-2004 10:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for wetdogsoup  Send Email to wetdogsoup     
D15 lovers,

Have the D15 with the merc 60/2 setup. Per John's experience, raised the motor to the top mounting hole (only downside is I have to trim down a tad before initiating a sharp turn or prop will ventilate - using perf S/S prop). Went straight to trim tabs w/o using a fin.
Figured I wanted the tabs eventually anyway, just to satisfy the engineering geek side of me.

Love the control over the boat. Porpoising is a thing of the past. Once you do tabs you'll never go back!


davej14 posted 05-09-2004 11:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
I have a question on the straight forward proceedure for raising the motor. I was looking at Merc's that were mounted to various transoms at a Bass Pro store today. There are no slotted bottom holes, just sets of holes. It would not be possible to "slide" the motor up on the transoms I saw without completely removing all four bolts. Do whalers have some type of sliding bolt in the bottom mounting locations or did the new Merc's eliminate slotted holes on the bottom of the mounts?
David Mc posted 05-10-2004 06:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Mc  Send Email to David Mc     
The stingray fin solved all of the purposing problems and the test conditions were ideal yesterday with the weekend chop.

David Mc

davej14 posted 05-10-2004 08:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
Anyone have comments on the slots vs. holes for the Merc motor mount?
whalerfran posted 05-11-2004 02:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerfran    
As stated earlier, I have a 75 hp Mercury on my 15' Dauntless. The engine has upper and lower sets of mounting holes, with five holes in each. The engine is bolted through the fourth hole from the top in each set. This puts the cavitation plate almost flush with the bottom of the V in the transom. I hope this helps.
JohnJ80 posted 05-11-2004 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
from this i get that the motor is one hole from the AV plate being as far down as it can be.

That sounds to me like the place that Whaler recommends that the motor be set up with the AV plate 0-3/4" above the bottom of the hull.

You should be able to move up a hole - especially if you have porpoising and a harsh ride. Whaler's guidelines are way conservative. I have my motor all the way up on my Dauntless 15 and it is fine. The more up I went the better it got. My motor weighs about what the Merc 75HP motor weighs so they should be similar.

The guiding thing is (a) cooling stream peeing out the back and (b) no prop blowout the way you load and drive the boat.


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