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Author Topic:   1999 DAUNTLESS 18
arkwhaler posted 06-15-2005 05:05 PM ET (US)   Profile for arkwhaler   Send Email to arkwhaler  
I currently have a rough 1970 NAUSET and I'm looking for something a little meatier and self-bailing. I am considering purchase of 1999 DAUNTLESS 18 with 135-HP Mercury OptiMax which has only been used in fresh water. I consider it to be a reasonably good [price]. My concern is the boat's handling and overall "whaler-ness.". The euro-transom and cockpit layout doesn't bother me. It will be used for inland lake fishing where a raised casting deck is a plus.

Is the DAUNTLESS 18 handling and performance really that bad as some have described? Surely it must be better than previous 18-foot runabouts which I used as a kid. We don't have any big water here, but there can be quite a bit of chop. And, yes, I did consider 1980's Outrage, but availability here is very limited. And I actually think for lake fishing the raised deck and transom layout might be superior. My fear is the lack-luster reception that the DAUNTLESS gets here, and I ask for a little feedback on this particular model.

jimh posted 06-16-2005 12:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[This article has been moved to this location from another area. Please use the POST-CLASSIC area for discussions of Boston Whaler boats which were first designed after c.1990.]
jimh posted 06-16-2005 01:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Boston Whaler boat company in the 1990's, like almost all boat builders, changed their boat design philosophy to rather specialized boats for particular purposes from the earlier one-style-fits-all approach that characterized the pre-1990 era boats. As a result, some critics find that special purpose boats, like the DAUNTLESS, are less attractive for certain purposes than the earlier boats, like a classic OUTRAGE from the late 1980's.

One should not infer, however, that just because a DAUNTLESS does not provide all of the same features and capabilities as a classic OUTRAGE, that this makes it a bad boat. For the purposes it was intended, the DAUNTLESS looks like a fine boat.

Your proposed use seems to be a good match with the DAUNTLESS.

Also, don't get confused with criticism of a dual-console bow-ride style boat that was also called a DAUNTLESS at one point.

The DAUNTLESS looks like a good boat for in-shore or inland lake fishing, diving, or water sports. It is not a good choice for long offshore trips or overnight cruising. It has some nice fish boxes and built in storage. The gunwale height may be too low for some tastes, but it probably make for excellent fishing.

I don't know much about its performance and handling, but it does have the Accutrack hull. The boat is a bit beamy at 8-feet. In the classic hulls, you had to go to a 25-foot hull to get that same beam.

The general wisdom is that the newer style hulls like the Accutrack need to be powered near the maximum rating to get good results. This boat was rated for 150-HP. The 135-HP OptiMax is probably decent, unless you plan on having three 200-pound fishing buddies with you at all times.

I recall that there might have been some changes in the underwater running surfaces on this hull. particularly in the area near the motor. Perhaps someone has more detailed information and can comment.

jimh posted 06-16-2005 01:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Another area of criticism of the DAUNTLESS is the lack of a pre-designed factory available all-weather canvas protection system. If you plan to use the boat in cold weather or rain, this is probably a drawback of the DAUNTLESS.

The only factory available canvas was a sun top. There were no forward shelter, side curtains, windshield, and back curtain available to turn the boat into an all-weather platform. Again, this may not affect your use of the boat, and may have no bearing in your decision.

jimh posted 06-16-2005 01:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There are many previous articles with direct comments on the DUANTLESS 18:

erik selis posted 06-16-2005 06:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     
"Is the DAUNTLESS 18 handling and performance really that bad as some have described?"

Where did you get that idea? The 180 Dauntless is a fine boat and handels great if you put the right power on her.
A minimum of 135-hp and preferably 150-hp. It also has one of the best designed consoles Boston Whaler has ever made. It also has more inside space than a Classic 18-ft Outrage.

I have been out many times in both models mentioned above and as much as I love the lines and the general feel of the classic Outrage I honestly see no reason whay the 180 Dauntless would be a lesser boat.

Most people who bash the Dauntless have never been in one or either can't afford one.


JohnJ80 posted 06-16-2005 09:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
The Dauntless' are great boats for chop. They have different handling characteristics than the classic whalers but they are fine boats!

I have a D15 and I have used it in all conditions from flat calm to 50+kn winds at night in a storm. I have taken it through 4'-5' wind driven chop. It is the dryest runabout style boat that I have ever had. I have no fear taking my little kids out in it in conditons that many others would call extreme. Heck, we take it out in those conditions just for fun!

It is a great boat to fish from. With the front platform for casting and the rear deck (at least in the 15) for another caster.

If they are stern heavy they will tend to porpoise if you trim out too much in some conditions (bear in mind, you can make almost any boat porpoise by trimming out too far). This is easily controlled by either trimming back in, adding a fin if the motor is at the proper height or with trim tabs (which I would practically recommend for a canoe, I like them so much).

The Dauntless line is very sensitive to engine mounting height. Generally, higher is better and the higher you go the less porpoising you will have.

The Dauntless is a heavy boat (a good thing IMO). So, put the max horsepower on it.

We love our D15 and wouldn't trade it. I would love to have a D18 but I am constrained by city dock restrictions to being less than 16' otherwise I would. If the price is good, and the HP is fine, then I think you would have a nice rig.

They are great boats just different than the classics. IMO, they are one of the best whalers around.


DeepSouthWhaler posted 06-16-2005 11:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for DeepSouthWhaler    
I purchased a 1999 18 Dauntless this past February. My previous boat was a 17 Montauk. The boat was a big step up. The boat is powered by a 150 Optimax. I took it out just after the purchase for a run. The boat had a lot of bow rise when getting on a plane. It did plane rather quickly and the 150 Merc gives it plenty of power. That same day I ran out into a coastal bay where it was about a 2'-3' chop. The boat ran bow high and pounded some on the stern. The ride was dry. After that first trip I took the advice of others on this site and added trim tabs. This changed the way the boat performs. You can easily keep the bow down when getting on a plane and the tabs help the boat plane even faster. Since the tab installation I have taken the boat out in moderate to heavy chop. The tabs allow you to lower the bow and allow its sharp entry to break the waves. The stern of the Dauntless does not have nearly the deadrise that the newer Outrages do. I primarily use the boat for marsh and coastal fishing in southeast Louisiana. The boat's draft is very shallow and allows entry into the marsh. The boat has a 24 volt trolling motor which works well. Overall I am pleased with the Dauntless and would recommend this boat for inshore fishing and water sports. The boat is very stable and would be capable of short offshore runs on the right days.
arkwhaler posted 06-16-2005 12:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for arkwhaler  Send Email to arkwhaler     
Thank you for all the insightfull replies. I suppose I was getting cold feet, as this will be a sizeable purchase with my current budget. Some mention in other posts of profound bowrise, purpoising, and other issues "fixed on the post-2001 models" fueled my concern. However, responses here have reinforced my decision to purchase this boat. My wife is fond of this boat's aesthetics, and it helps that the boat is equipped with not only the fishing package, but also the rear bench cushion with backrests. (and suntop).

It should also fulfill the watersports needs of my 2 under-5 children for at least 8 years. . . at which time I will still have a great bass and striper boat while enduring the pressure for some kind-of wakeboard mastercraft or other such junk.

It sounds as though I might have to invest in some trim-tabs, but I think I might try a Doel-fin first, as it is so inexpensive. I'm really fired up now and can't wait to take possession of this boat. The boat has sat without running for two years, so as soon as the fuel system is flushed and gas is changed, she's mine. (and yes this would worry me more if I didn't already know the owner and history of the boat.)

Thanks again for the insight.


lurkynot posted 06-17-2005 10:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for lurkynot  Send Email to lurkynot     
arkwhaler, I have an 01' and use it all around the Great Lake area. This is not to say it suffices as a great off shore boat, however I do pick my days ussually most when I am chasing kings. Most of my use is on Lake St. Clair which is probably on of the best proving grounds for a boat against brutal chop because of several reasons including weekend boat traffic and its shallow depth. My Dauntless is the 18 model was purchased new w/o trim tabs. The boat was at at a huge disadvantage w/o them because of its notorious "bow high ride" which is inherit in the hull design. This would cause the mid to rear section of the boat to be pounded especially with people on the rear bench. After adding the tabs the ability to change the pitch of the boat under all conditions made the forward part of the hull do its job and was a major improvement. With that said I have since added an electric troll motor to the bow which required two additional batteries to the console area. To my suprise the added mass of those batteries has made a huge difference in the ride. The hull now stays down even with the tabs up on those not so nasty days and with just the trim swith for the engine and those batteries mounted fore the boat is a joy to ride in. This boat is a great all around boat,in my opinion one of the best for fishing and cruising with the family.

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