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ContinuousWave: Post-Classic Whalers
Boston Whaler-- cutting corners?? 305 Conquest
|Author||Topic: Boston Whaler-- cutting corners?? 305 Conquest|
posted 01-23-2006 09:55 PM ET (US)
I'm a father of 4 boys in southern california and i'm seriously looking at a new 305 Conquest with 250hp Verados and am a sea trial away from writing a check.I did a sea trial on a 2004 with the 225 merc/yamahas and was impressed but felt it to be slightly underpowered.
Anyway, I spoke to guy who many say is a "whaler guru" and he said he was disappointed with newer model whalers saying there are corners being cut. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any more specifics out of him, so is anyone able to give more insight into whether BW has cut any corners in any aspect of their production/finishing process?
Any additional thoughts on a new 305 Conquest with the 250 verados and electronics for $164,000 (all options except generator)would be appreciated. Thanks!
posted 01-23-2006 10:03 PM ET (US)
This is just another man's opinion...but...
While I'm no fan of the newer designs (I think they lack the character of the classics) and I wish they'd bring back wood accents; I truly believe that the manufacturing process at Whaler is as good as, or better than it has ever been.
Modern manufacturing techniques, computer aided design and automated measurements of materials all mean that your new hull was built to exacting specifications of strength and materials.
As for finish - well, that's something that you can judge for yourself given a careful inspection before you ink the deal.
The Verado power should be an excellent match for this boat - I don't think you'll be disappointed there.
Good luck with your purchase!
posted 01-23-2006 10:12 PM ET (US)
There are several "Whaler guru" out there who don't have a very high opinion of newer Whalers. Most of them have no first hand knowledge. Whalers have changed, but are very good boats. I'm sure a couple 305 owners who can answer your questions and will respond.
posted 01-23-2006 10:40 PM ET (US)
Thanks for the quick response! Do you think the price I mentioned above is accurate? too high? great deal?
posted 01-23-2006 10:53 PM ET (US)
Here's a post by a couple members who purchased 305s recently. http://continuouswave.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/011419.html
posted 01-24-2006 09:44 AM ET (US)
I think since you were unable to get specifics out of the "guru" that should speak volumes for itself-he couldn't elaborate. I would take his silence as a measure of his supposed knowledge.
Many of the new Whaler owners, including the 305 owners, have expressed great satisfaction in their boats. In any boat produced today when you look in areas like the bilge, behind instrument panels, etc., you will find some things that you wish the factory would have paid more attention to. Boston Whaler does a much better job "behind the scenes" if you will, in those areas.
For example, in one account I read about a customer seatrial during the Miami or Ft Lauderdale boatshow, a Boston Whaler Representative was having a conversation about how quiet the Veradoes were. The BW Rep stated that the company is looking into NVH (noise, vibration and harmonics) issues due to the engine being so quiet, it exposes any squeak and rattle. However, the Whaler is one of the best designs to showcase the Verado technology because the hull is so quiet to begin with. This does not sound like a company who cuts corners very often.
How much do you feel an unsinkable hull is worth when you're 50 miles offshore with your family in a squall and realize that you received bad fuel-cutting your engines off? Boston Whaler doesn't have to make their large cabin boats do any more than have positive floatation. They go the extra distance to create a boat that actually floats level when swamped and has a lot of extra reserve capacity. Although realistcally, wave action will have a large effect on the swamped boat, you get the idea-they give you the best chance to survive. Boston Whaler puts safety into their design and that cost is not borne by other manufacturers.
As a negative observation, one area I found lacking in the new Whalers was the quality of the vinyl seating and bolters. Since that is a wear product, I could replace all the vinyl easily and chalk it up to my preference.
Another negative is the high cost of a new boat. That is a personal decision that only you can justify.
I would suggest that you use the "search function" for some member's comments on the newer boats. I'm sure you will find a few comments about cost, Mercury-only engine options, euro-style transoms, etc. These are mostly opinions and not really about the functionality of the new hulls. I would not hesitate at all to purchase a new 305 if that design fits your family's needs. It's a nice boat.
posted 01-24-2006 10:10 AM ET (US)
I have a 2004 305, use it a lot (500 hours)and am satisfied with the quality of the boat.
I have found a few things that I wish BW had invested a few more dollars into such as painted aluminum brackets rather than stainless steel to attach the gunnels to the hull but overall even looking into every nook and cranny of the boat, everything is well finished, high quality and with reasonable care it will last long and look good after years of use.
I have seen cheap vinyl on other boats, but not on my 305. The stainless steel is heavy gauge, looks good and is very servicable. The aftermarket parts and equipment on the boat are of high quality, not the cheapest available. For instance, the boat has a china bowl Sealand toilet.
I had several problems with the boat such as a miswired generator, but BW customer service stood behind me in Mexico even when the dealer punted.
The hull is a good design has a smooth ride even in rough seas and is a very stable fishing platform. I am comfortable 60 miles from port even when the wind starts to blow. It will plane comfortably into a tight 3 foot chop but you will put water over the top.
I have YamaMerc efi 4-strokes and am satisfied with the performance and love the reliability. A few more ponies wouldn't hurt as the hull can handle them.
Talking to people on the dock you will find most people who tell you what a great boat BWs are but a few who say Brunswick is trading off the name and BWs are an overpriced Trophy or a Small Sea Ray.
posted 01-24-2006 05:13 PM ET (US)
Thanks all, your comments have been very helpful.
posted 01-24-2006 10:12 PM ET (US)
I don't know about cutting corners, but I will say this: I have a Whaler brochure from circa 2003 which extols Whaler quality. It presents a picture of the bow rail mounts of a competing brand that Whaler describes of an "inferior" design (rail stanchion held to deck with only three screws). When I bought my '04 Montauk 170, its bow rail was secured to the deck using the very same method pictured in the earlier brochure, then labeled as being "inferior".
What Whaler deemed inferior in 2003 was SOP in 2004.
Still a good boat, though. However, I must confess that I have not been impressed with over-engineering in the '04 model like I often was with my late 70s Montauk.
posted 01-24-2006 11:13 PM ET (US)
thank marsh, can you elaborate a little more by what you mean over engineering? maybe give some specifics? thanks.
posted 01-25-2006 10:37 PM ET (US)
It's a bit hard to explain unless you've had the chance to know and operate both a classic Montauk, and a post-classic, but here are a couple of examples:
1. The bow rails, as described above. I never actually tried it, but often speculated that my classic Montauk bow rail was so secure, so well-engineered, it possibly could have been used as a lifting point for the entire boat. I shutter to think what would result if my post-classic bow rail encountered any sort of substantial stress. It's not strong enough to sit on, for example. Or at least it does not seem to be. The center stanchion not present on the post-classic is a design weakness, IMHO.
2. El Cheapo tackle drawer latch in the '04 fishing package broke the first time it was opened. It's a plastic friction-type latch, of the sort that would not have been seen on the earlier vintage. Of course, the "fishing package" probably didn't exist, either.
3. RPS seat: the '04 shakes and rattles; the earlier vintage, made of teak, ss, and composite, was solid as a rock.
The post-classic Montauk is in many ways a fine, fine vessel. But in my humble opinion, is not quite as robust as the classic. I still do not know if it's fair to refer to this as cutting corners. Probably just the evolution of the product. Sheet metal in automobiles is much different (i.e. thinner) nowadays, than compared to 50s and 60s automobiles. Is that the result of corner cutting? I guess it all depends on how you look at it.
posted 01-25-2006 10:44 PM ET (US)
I think an important qualifier is appropriate here.
The quality of many components available from OEM manufacturers has steadily gone downhill - either from cost cutting measures or simply the fact that some of the OEM vendors from yesteryear are no longer making some of the parts. Wilcox Crittenden Lamps for example. The perko's available today are just not the same.
Therefore, inasmuch as the quality of available componentry has gone down, some of the accessories on Boston Whaler boats may have gone down somewhat.
I still think that the manufacturing process for the hulls themselves is as high as it has ever been (I don't like the designs as much, but the quality is there).
The fit and finish is also something that the factory directly controls - check out the wiring on one of these boats and realize that they know what they're doing.
posted 01-26-2006 01:14 AM ET (US)
thanks marsh, now i understand what you mean.
posted 01-26-2006 03:53 PM ET (US)
I'm a mother of 6 girls in south-Eastern Maine, and I think we have some Boston Whaler Conquest 305 trolling going on with nooner and sideshow.
posted 01-26-2006 08:05 PM ET (US)
posted 01-27-2006 07:08 AM ET (US)
"check out the wiring on one of these boats and realize that they know what they're doing."
Oh yeah, look at the wiring in my 2004 170 Mtk. It's not that great (extensive thread on this last October).
Also, you are asking the question in the wrong place. Obviously a Whaler forum will be biased toward Whalers but this one goes the next step - people who criticize Whalers are not taken kindly to. Been there - when I was boat shopping.
Having said that, this is an incredibly useful forum for people who own Whalers - it's just that IMHO it is much less useful for those trying to use it as a resource while making a buying decision.
posted 01-27-2006 10:21 AM ET (US)
When I looked at the wiring under the console of a 210 Outrage this past summer, I was pretty impressed. Your experience with a Montauk may have been different.
posted 01-30-2006 02:03 AM ET (US)
One process that is underway at Boston Whaler is the increased use of components which are made by other Brunswick owned marine companies. For example, you will see only NAVMAN or NORTHSTAR electronics on Boston Whaler boats with factory-installed electronics. Those brands are owned by Brunswick. They make good stuff, some of the best in some cases. You will also see more products from ATTWOOD, another Brunswick acquisition, used on more Brunswick boats.
Using intra-corporate resources makes sense, from a corporate point of view. In a recent presentation to investors, senior Brunswick management told of their success at increasing the margins on their boats. They even provided slides showing how all boat brands would begin to standardize on certain components like bilge pumps. As a corporation they could order, say 100,000 bilge pumps from one vendor, instead of using ten different ones in ten different boat brands. That is good news for investors.
On the other hand, it does make for some problems in brand identity. If a Boston Whaler uses ATTWOOD products like bilge pumps, switches, and running lights, it becomes harder to differentiate a Boston Whaler brand boat from other Brunswick brands. In the old days, Boston Whaler typically used the best accessories you could get, and often the most expensive ones, too.
When you looked at an old Whaler it had Wilcox-Crittenden running lights. If you were to look at a new Whaler and find it had the same Attwood running lights that the Bayliner uses, it would not make quite the same impression, would it?
I think Whaler will have to play this sort of thing carefully. If they want to maintain their reputation as a premium boat, they should hold out for really premium accessories, even if they are only available from a non-Brunswick company.
As for the hull construction, I am certain it is done with more precision and testing than in the past. They seem quite serious about quality control. Read my article about the plant tour and you will get a flavor for how they are built at the present.
posted 01-30-2006 08:45 PM ET (US)
well, I made the call, and will now have a new 305 conquest ready for me in 2 weeks.
posted 01-30-2006 10:47 PM ET (US)
agreed - if they put the same running lights on as the bayliner it would be a probllem but if they put on LED running lighhts that are the upsacle ones sold by attwood, then you have some perceptible difference. Siemens makes all the elelctronics for Volkswagaen and BMW but BMW gets a more fully featured compaonent that VW. And you pay more for it....
posted 01-31-2006 10:06 PM ET (US)
nooner: Congratulations on your 305 purchase. I just bought a 305, but won't get it till May.......I live in Wisconsin, and bought the boat from a dealer in Indiana.
Re your question of price. During my research, the best I could find was a 2005 model for about $180K. This was in VA, 250 Verados (x2), and a generator. It also was a dealer demo with about 100 hrs on it. The Whaler site places a generator for about $16K, hence, your figure of $164 is right on. This also had the radar.
Do you have the radar, with the electronics package?........since it can be bought either way.
posted 01-31-2006 11:38 PM ET (US)
I will have the furuno navnet vx2 all inclusive GPS RADAR and Fishfinder. Also coursemaster autopilot and an inverter upgrade for $3K.
posted 02-01-2006 09:48 AM ET (US)
You'll love the boat. I've had plenty of boats and none of them have been perfect. The 305 is a very nice 30'er with a great balance of fish/family amenities. I've had it out the Gulf Stream out of the Keys and it is a very seaworthy craft. You will feel secure in it.
As far as quality, I've had one screw back out of a latch. There was one wiring problem which was aftermarket installation related. The generator's intake impellor needed to be replaced. The dealer had trouble getting it running on delivery and it disintegrated the next time I used the thing.
The Verado's thus far have been better than I could have imagined. The by-wire controls are extraordinary and here to stay. You'll see more manufacturers follow Merc on this once the consumer gets comfortable with the technology change. What it does for the captain relative to boat control and ease of operation is superb and equivalent to systems on large yachts.
The biggest problems I've had with this boat were caused by Hurricane Wilma and frankly, those were minor too.
Regarding the price, given the time of year, I think you are getting a fair deal. Wait till July/August and you might save some money on a leftover model.
Best of luck.
posted 02-01-2006 02:51 PM ET (US)
How adequate is the 24 gallon livewell? I've seen some 305's with after market center bait tanks installed? Is that overkill?
posted 02-01-2006 03:30 PM ET (US)
The serious offshore guys are going to want more capacity, hence the additional well. I'd be reluctant to put one one on the deck, but that's because I want to keep the boat more balanced between fishing and family use.
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