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Author Topic:   Conquest 235 Impressions
fno posted 06-30-2005 08:45 AM ET (US)   Profile for fno   Send Email to fno  
I had the opportunity last week to board a new 235 CONQUEST at my local dealers lot. This was a fully dressed out boat with all the bells and whistles available from Boston Whaler. As ususal, the fit and finish waere impressive. The hull and overall shape of the boat is a winner as well. The cuddy is still spartan, but much more suited to sleeping two people than the Eastport (a good place for life jackets) This hull sported a 225-250 Verado. Also included was an anchor winch, hard top, porta potti, fishing package, Nothstar 6000i, stereo, and Navman VHF radio. On first look, the Verado side mount controls looked pretty cheesy, but upon closer inspection, it is well made and contributes to the clean dash layout. There are two insulated fishboxes in the deck that have latches on the doors ( a first for me) They were not as long as I would prefer, but will hold a days worth of fish for me. (Read between those lines) Other low points for me are the lack of a swim door in the transom. It makes for a climb to get back in the boat with dive gear. Also, the motor well is huge and intrudes into the cockpit way too much. Add to this the fold out seat and rail that surrounds the motor well takes another 6"-8" of deck space. Overall, it's a lot of boat for a lot of money. I recall the price being in the mid 70's
bluewaterpirate posted 06-30-2005 05:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
The large "knees" that are molded into the hull (motor well) distribute the load of the engine's thrust to the rest of the hull from the transom. As for the seats I find them to be very functional especially when taking friends out. You can actually sit on those benches & carry on a normal conversation even at high engine rpms. They hide away & pose no problems when leaning into the bolsters fighting fish. The transom design was actually designed from customer input to maximize aft cockpit space. The Lenco Tabs (electric) take a little geting used to because they deploy more quickly than the Bennetts (hydrolic) I have on our Ventura 210. The boat has good sea keeping characteristics & a is very functional in regards to off shore fishing. Had ours out to Big Rock last week 50 miles off the NC coast. Will post some pictures soon. As with any Whaler u can personalize the boat after the sale to suit your needs.

Tightlines .......

Tom

BarryGreen posted 07-01-2005 08:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for BarryGreen  Send Email to BarryGreen     
fno - I have a 235 CONQUEST that has about 20 hours on it now, and I echo most of bluewaterpirates comments. I have the 250 Verado and so far I'm impressed. So quiet that you hear minor noises you never heard before. Fit and finish are excellent, boat runs very smooth. I have both the stern and port side foldout seats, and they are very functional. I passed on the BW electronics; installed my own to get what just I wanted. The deckboxes are on the small side, but they stay very dry and are useful for utility storage.

Issues:
1) I dislike the SmartCraft system display, much prefer gauges that are easy to read at a glance and are all available simultaneously. Paging around the SmartCraft LCD display while running the boat can border on the unsafe. There is, however, a "favorites" system that helps somewhat.
2) I've installed trim tabs on all my boats, and to me it's inexcusable for BW not to provide trim tab indicators on a $70K boat. This would probably cost the factory an extra $50 initially; now I will pay Lenco $300 and throw away the base module and replace it with one with the indicator option. The "run them full up for a long time, then down for 3/5/8 seconds" is a silly approach.

andygere posted 07-01-2005 04:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I just had the chance to check one out at my local dealer this week as well. Overall, a very nice boat, but it seems like a lot of boat for a single outboard, even a hot rod Verado. Since there's no transom door, I can't figure out why Whaler didn't set this boat up to allow use of either a big single or twins. It looks like adding even a kicker motor for trolling and reliability would require an aftermarket bracket and some custom fabrication. In this respect, I think Whaler is out of touch with how the world outside of Florida approaches fishing and boating. Regarding the huge motor well, it looks like you need it in order to tilt that massive Verado powerhead forward. Fold out seats are nice, in that they are out of the way when not in use, and you don't have to lug them down to the dock when you want them. I like that feature.
prm1177 posted 07-02-2005 12:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
I agree, Andy. I looked at the 235 before buying the 1998 Conquest 23 and the 235's lack of the twin option is the reason I bought the older boat. Curiously, they kept the folding seat option, but not the transom door (which is really useful). It would be interesting to sit in on one of their new model design meetings one day.
bluewaterpirate posted 07-07-2005 03:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Actually adding a kicker is easier than u think. The plumbing for the kicker is already installed. As to the stern design it has its goods & others. Having fished offshore from a Ventura 210 for the last 3 years I like the idea of getting back to where the fish is swimming. The transom wall takes up cockpit space & sometimes gets in the way of fighting fish. As for the motor taking up cockpit space no more than a transom wall does. In todays world of higher gas prices I think Whaler looked at the market & made a choice. It trailers with ease. Pulling mine with a Tundra 4 x 4 V8. My humble opinion. Some pics below.

Fuel Tank Detail

Engine Well

On Trailer, Front

On Trailer, Side

On Trailer, Rear

Tom


jimh posted 07-07-2005 09:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Nice pictures. In general, I find the lines of the 235 CONQUEST to be quite pleasant. I'd like to have chance to sea trial one, too.

I agree that the engine well does appear a bit too large. I have not studied it closely, and perhaps there are reasons for it.

One detail that deserves mention: the deck hatches are equipped with gaskets and locks. This keeps water in or out of the below deck compartments, as appropriate (depending on the use as either live well or for dry storage). The gaskets and locks also cut down on rattles from the hatches.

Boston Whaler head of engineering Ron Berman told me that the move to the gaskets and locks on the hatches was also due to a need to make the boat quieter.

"As the engines get quieter, we have to make the boat quieter, too," he told me when I visited the factory in March of 2005. The extremely quiet running Verado engine makes any noise from the boat more noticeable.

bluewaterpirate posted 07-08-2005 12:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Thanks for your help Jim ...... These pictures include the fresh water shower system, fishbox & hatch cover (Jim mentioned these features), trim tab installation, Verado motor mount & integrated steering system, and thru hull fitting that feeds the live bait well & Verado Power Steering Pump (these 2 are located next to the transom under the engine well).

http://home.earthlink.net/~bluewaterpirate/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/freshwater.jpg

http://home.earthlink.net/~bluewaterpirate/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/fishbox.jpg

http://home.earthlink.net/~bluewaterpirate/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/trimtabs.jpg

http://home.earthlink.net/~bluewaterpirate/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/veradoenginemount.jpg

http://home.earthlink.net/~bluewaterpirate/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/thruhullpowersteering.jpg

diveorfish posted 07-08-2005 02:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for diveorfish  Send Email to diveorfish     
Jimh: I can attest to the noise of the hatches slamming when going out in rough conditions. When you got a little airborne and came down hard, the hatches slamming made it sound like the boat was coming apart. I fixed mine though with a $5 box of Home Depot, white, adhesive weather striping. Now my boat is as quiet as a church mouse.

On the 235, the fish box latch plus the piston thingee is a bit of overkill. The black rubber trim (which I wish mine had) probably solves the noise problem. I had one piston thingee on my anchor locker and that broke off in the first week. I would bet that the piston thingees on the 235's fish boxes would break off fairly quickly as well. The fishbox latch also looks like just more hardware to rust.

The recessed trim tabs are a very nice touch.

I get killed for saying this but I would probably not buy this boat because it doesn’t have the eurotransom with door and swim ladder. My current setup had makes it too easy to get on and off the boat be it in the water or on the trailer. In fact, a question to the owners of non-eurotransom boats: How do you get on and off the boat when it is on the trailer?

Other than the eurotransom problem (for me only) it is a very nice boat.

Sal A posted 07-08-2005 07:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sal A  Send Email to Sal A     
I saw up close the 235 Conquest with a single 250 Verado at Ocean Beach Marina about 10 days ago, and even asked the salesman to quote me the price. Obviously I found the boat to be finished well, but what impressed me most was the stern deck space, and the cuddy layout. What I didn't like was the fold up seats that seem to be so prevalant on so many walkaround boats nowadays. They remind me of the cheap fold up shelves you find on most of today's gas grills. I would much prefer to leave it off and have a few deck chairs instead.

Barry, how do you fnd the balance of your boat? Is it stern heavy; does it need any bow ballast?


jimh posted 07-08-2005 08:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
You can see several views of the 235 CONQUEST under construction:

http://continuouswave.com/whaler/reference/factory.html

There are also several pictures in:

http://continuouswave.com/whaler/cetacea/cetaceaPage80.html

bluewaterpirate posted 07-08-2005 09:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
I find our 235 with the 250 Verado to be well balanced & very easy to trim (it's by no means stern heavy). Hole shots are good as is cruise speed. Getting up on step & remaining there is not an issue. The new hull design is very predictable & efficient. We ran offshore Wednesday in 2 - 4 seas & maintained 32 mph at 4400 rpms without pounding or or getting wet. The boat trolled in the same conditions with ease.

I ordered the boat with a 3B Mirage 15 3/4 17P prop but am in the process of changing over to the new 4B Revolution 14 5/8 15P prop designed specifically for high HP single Verado installations. I'm more interested in cruise performance than high end speed. This prop is now available .

The Verado has been impressive. Quiet & economical at cruise speeds (up to 4800 rmps). At than point GPH increase substanially. It's so quiet that when u fire it up the starter is designed to disengage automatically in the event you don't hear the motor start. I have to look at the pea hole to make sure it's on. I'm thinking about adding smart guages in addition to the SC5000 Smart Craft Display. It's taking me some time to get used to the all digital presentation. You really have to take some time to learn all the features and how the info is displayed.

One thing I've really noticed is that the boat handles much better with the Verado package than my Ventura does with the Opti package. You can see in the picture I posted that the motor sits more upright on the motor mount. Thrust direction is more precise because of how the steering system is designed. Steering is effortless as is the DTS System. There is no gear crutching etc. You'd better be hanging on when you put the hammer down because the engine spools up instantly not lag whatsoever. Docking is easy because of the hull design, steering system, and DTS.

I do like the piston on the fishbox lid because when I'm in beam seas trying to sling a big fish into the box the lid stays open. The hardtop is built with quality materials and is solid as a rock. The weather curtains work well.

I will try to post a movie I took Wednesday off shore. It really shows the handling characteristics of the boat in the ocean.

What are your impressions Barry?

Thanks .......

Tom

prm1177 posted 07-08-2005 01:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
Sal,

Having a CQ23 ('98), one of the features I really like is the fold away seat. It's out of the way when your fishing and serves as a handy toe-kick/hold for your shoes in rough seas. The locking mechanism is ingenious, and when you need the seat, it's right there. It's nice to see this model in production, particularly with the Verado. Whaler is discouraging owners of past 23s from repowering with twin Verados. Their engineering team hasn't tested the combo, and is concerned with porpoising at mid to hi throttle with the extra stern weight. I suspect this is the reason twins were not packaged with the new model.

bluewaterpirate posted 07-08-2005 02:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Whalers fold away seat design is a big selling point and one feature others try to replicate . Look at the newer Grady's fold away seats.

Tom

tombro posted 07-08-2005 03:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for tombro  Send Email to tombro     
Tom--Can't wait to see your movies! Already getting blood on the decks, huh?

As for the seats...as long as they are not in the way _too_ much, no problemo. Why, the folding stern seat is what sold "The Admiral" on our new Ventura 210. I didn't argue...(^_^)

bluewaterpirate posted 07-08-2005 05:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Tom .... u enjoying the Ventura?
tombro posted 07-09-2005 07:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for tombro  Send Email to tombro     
Tom--taking delivery in just a couple of days...will send you and email.
BarryGreen posted 07-11-2005 01:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for BarryGreen  Send Email to BarryGreen     
diveorfish -

Just my opinion, but I think the gas struts on the fishboxes are a great idea. I just sold a 20' Outrage with the same style deckwells but no struts, and I almost crushed a finger several times over the years as those long, heavy lids slammed shut. And the gasketing is great in keeping the boxes dry. Also, if you look at the quality of the hardware, it won't be rusting for a long time.

And not to seem argumentative, but if the 235 Conquest had the eurotransom I probably would NOT have bought it. I bought a year-old 1998 Outrage in 1999 when I discovered the new Outrage was eurotransom. Some of this is personal opinion, but to me the eurotransom is a fad, and, in fact, you can see manufacturers moving away from it now. Just doesn't look like a boat to me. And you get off the boat by stepping over the narrow section of transom onto the swim platform, and then down the ladder. My wife (with two repaired knees) has no problem with it.

Sal A -

I understand your point about the fold up seats, but take a good look at how BW implemented them on the 235. The brackets are HEAVY duty, smooth, inconspicuous, and work well. The two fold out seats add a lot of extra sitting space, and with the Verado you can actually sit back there and talk at 35 MPH. Very practical.

The boat is not stern heavy. I had the same concern due to the Verado, but BW designed the hull and location of everything else around that issue. Remember, the hull is not as deep-v as a Outrage, and the two batteries (I went with size 27's) are pretty far forward as is the hardtop. With a big CQR anchor, chain, etc. out on the bow pulpit, the balance is just fine.

I agree with bluewaterpirate and his experiences. Even though I've been spending most of my weekends snaking wires through the hardtop and hoses through the bilge, I'm very pleased with the boat. I've got the 4 blade 17p prop and feel it is overpropped as I can just touch 5800 rpm. I'm going to consider the new 4b 15p prop once I save enough money to afford it. I agree vehemently on the SmartCraft display; a nice gadget but give us at least an analog tach, fuel and trim gauges. They work much better for most of us humans.

One last thing; this boat has the highest level of overall quality I've ever seen in 30+ years of boating. It's a great thing to see in these days of often shoddy manufacturing practices.

Barry

Peter posted 07-11-2005 03:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
For the amount of money paid for a Conquest 235, they should throw in a free prop swap from the 17P to the 15P Rev 4. I think its unfair that they give you no choice in motors and then don't have a prop that is quite right for the boat. I'd complain about it till they give in.
bluewaterpirate posted 07-11-2005 03:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
The prop issue that was been brought to Mercury's attention by the Verado User's Group. This group has had a direct dialogue with Mercury over the last 7 months. Mercury has been very quick to respond & remedy the 2 known issues brought to their attention by the group (cowling leak problems on the triple intallations & power steering motor whine problems). The group is comprised of boat owners that have purchased boats that are being delivered with Verados.

Good point Barry contact your Whaler Dealership & see what they can do for you. The new Revolution prop has been on the market less than a week.

Tom

bluewaterpirate posted 07-11-2005 04:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
By the way, you can order any prop on your Verado equipped boat u so desire. They will tell you what is recommend but the choice is yours. I went with the Mirage 15 3/5 17P. Like all new motors I'm sure the correct prop selection will be evolving process. Time will tell.

Tom

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