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ContinuousWave: Post-Classic Whalers
2009 Whaler Build Quality: 280 OUTRAGE, others
|Author||Topic: 2009 Whaler Build Quality: 280 OUTRAGE, others|
posted 02-18-2009 10:53 PM ET (US)
I had a chance to crawl around a 2009 Boston Whaler 280 OUTRAGE at a local boat show. Wow--the quality of the design and construction really impressed me.
The new console design on the 280 OUTRAGE is beautifully integrated with the metal structure that supports the top. The large aluminum supports are nicely decorated channels that are precisely bent and formed to fit to the console shape. All the fasteners are hidden. I'd like to see the details of how Whaler has built this. Some sharp engineering went into it.
The console is enclosed on three sides by glass. Again, no fasteners are visible. The glass pieces appear to be held in place by an adhesive.
In the forward cockpit there was something going on with the bow cushions and seats. I couldn't quite figure it out, and no salesmen came over to help, but I think there is science and design with the way the filler panel in the bow fits in place. It looked like there were supports in place so it could be moved back to fit against the console, too.
I stepped down from the starboard side hatch into the little cabin under the console. When you are down there you realize just how deep this hull is. It is a long step down into the cabin. From the cabin you can access the main electrical panels by opening a bi-fold cover. On the starboard side is an elaborate circuit breaker panel which also has the primary battery distribution switches. On port there is an expansion panel with pre-wired fuse blocks to which you can add ten more accessories like navigation instruments, displays, sounders, and so on.
When you do add some accessories, you'll want to certain about your choices because you will probably be flush mounting the displays and instruments into the blank laminate of the upper helm dashboard. You or your installer will have to have a steady hand when making these cuts. You don't want to mar that beautiful laminate work.
The helm is set up on the port side of the console. The boat is rigged with twin Verado motors and the usual DTS top-mounted controls. A VesselView instrument panel provides the engine data read out. The twin 250-HP Verado motors looked great. The integral hydraulic steering system and all-electrical shift and throttle controls make the engine rigging beautifully simple and clean. The seats are great. They're deeply padded helm seats with flip up cushions that turn them into leaning posts. You can adjust for fore and aft position of the seats over about a six-inch range. I liked the seats back as far as I could get them to give me more room.
The steering wheel is nicely positioned. The axis of rotation is near vertical, which I like. Yes, I know it's the middle of winter, I am indoors at the boat show, but standing there at the helm with that wheel in my hands gave me a great feel of boating fun possibilities. Driving this big Outrage will be a blast.
I also enjoyed looking at the new 130 SPORT and 150 SPORT designs. They're great boats, and filled with quality. The navigation lamps are very nice LED fixtures. And I loved the pair of huge cleats incorporated on the inboard side of the transom. I thought I saw a flaw in the gel coat on the 150 SPORT. Could it be? No. It was just some adhesive material stuck round the fitting for the sun top support. I rubbed it off with my finger, and the little flaw disappeared.
In general, I liked what I saw. There was good design on display. And good build quality to match. Whaler for 2009 has raised the standards!
posted 02-19-2009 01:34 AM ET (US)
Thanks for the thorough report. You drew a great picture in this reader's mind.
Did you happen to notice how many salesmen were present and if they were with other customers? I find it interesting in the fact that for such a detailed description you must have really pored over that vessel and not a single salesman showed any interest in you. Given the interest you must have shown in the boat to gather such detail to form the impressions you relay here. How long were you on the boat that no one took notice?
Thanks again for the assessment.
posted 02-19-2009 02:33 AM ET (US)
jimh, Thanks for the review.I always prefer the boat reviews/descriptions contributed on discussion boards as opposed to the company brochures.
BlueMax, Any true BW salesman would know who Jimh is....and that he`s one of the biggest Post-Classic tire kickers out there. Maybe that`s why they never went over to talk with him...they`re on commission.
posted 02-19-2009 02:56 AM ET (US)
Great report Jim,
Thanks for the detail. I don't get a chance anymore in Utah to see any new Whalers anymore as the local dealer is gone.
My work takes me to the coast and I have been in every Whaler dealer between Seattle and San Diego over the years.
Especially as of late, I see critical comments regarding the newer Whalers with regards to build quality. While nothing is perfect, I generally disagree with the comments and just move on.
I have been the owner of two 80s era classic 18s and have really enjoyed them. One I have modified with a T-top, overpowered it with a 200hp and drilled it all over. The second came prestine and I kept it that way. I now own a "modern" 20 outrage and really enjoy it.
I think there are many points to a quality boat. One is "style", another is the "extras" that are appointed on it.
On a classic 18 outrage, I like the teak doors (3), the front cast bow cleat, the cast end pieces on the rear corners of the rub rail and a few other assorted metal bits.
Put them in a pile and what does the "extras" I mentioned cost Whaler in the build process. Teak doors and metal parts? Probably $600-1000 back then.
The " style " of the smirk bow is classic and it all comes together well.
However, I wonder if Boston Whaler tooled up and reporduced the 18 again, exactly the same, priced it the same in todays dollars, would it sell well enough? It was an expensive boat in the 80s, priced in the the low 30k area I believe and would probably be in the 50k to 60K today. I just don't know if it would sell. It would be classic, but also old fashioned in a way and off the charts expensive for an 18ft anything.
My point is, take those "extras" trim pieces away, examine the gelcoat, non skid, the actual fiberglass layup in the boat and I don't think it is any better than todays boats.
I have drilled all over on a classic. If anything, the modern day outrages seem to have a better glass layup, more weight, yes, but at least as durable and tough as the classics.
They are minus some of the classic "trim" pieces that are nice, but still great boats that are still "unsinkable"
Think about this angle on things. Look at Grady-White. Great quality, great company, they also sink. They have also had the easier road of consistant ownership. That means alot. Same with Everglades and Bobs nice work. I doubt however a generation of young boaters are affording Everglades and growing up in them like some of us. They are very expensive. Will Everglades survive the eventual "change" of its legendary owner and founder when it is passed onto his son?
I am not sure Grady White would have the marketplace and as loyal a customer base has it has enjoyed if it was "compelled" to put on a certain outboard vs another. Grady has a choice of outboards, Boston Whaler hasn't for a long time.
Think about it. Would you bet your investment/retirement portfolio on the second generation of Everglades carrying it foward?
Sometimes the ultimate durability of a brand and its function are best demonstrated by rough times like Whaler has gone through with difficult buyouts, different owners, change of culture from its founding state up north to Florida.
Could Grady White survived all that Whaler has gone though? Great boat, nice "trim" pieces, still sinks. Alot of boats have fit into that catagory over the years and are gone today. Without the relative calm water of consistant ownership like Grady has had, who knows?
Boston Whaler has survived much more difficult years and is still here. It is the brand I would buy again new, even after owning classics. It is beyond unsinkable, it is a survivor.
posted 02-19-2009 09:34 AM ET (US)
More on the 280 OUTRAGE:
In the under-console cabin there is also a built in shower. The shower head is contained in a molded inset on the cabin bulkhead, and at first glance you don't recognize it as a shower head. It pops out of its recessed housing with an attached hose. The shower head is a long cylinder, not much larger than the hose. It looks very space age.
There is another shower at the transom. There are also capped water faucet outlets fore and aft where a hose can be attached to use for a fresh water wash down of the cockpit. And there is also a sprayer on a telescoping hose at the bait preparation station. These are all fed from a 3.3-GPM pump and a 28-gallon tank. The fresh water plumbing system must be quite complex. WInterizing this boat for layup in northern climates will require some attention be paid to this fairly complex system. Boaters often remark about the high cost of these new boats, but they don't realize how much gear is integrated into the them.
Behind the console helm seats there is a beautiful built in locker and live well. There is a sink on the port side and a large, deep live well on starboard. If it were my boat, I'd probably throw some crushed ice in the live well and use it to keep the beer cold, or keep it dry and use it for storage. But there appears to be some circulating and fill pumps--not being an avid angler I didn't investigate too much.
There are pull-out drawers beneath the sink on port. They are beautifully crafted from a material like KING StarBoard. They have slides with smooth rolling action. It is a fine piece of marine furniture.
The bait well is part of another elaborate plumbing system, the raw water system. There are through hull inlets, strainers, pumps, valves, and drains. The cockpit has three fish lockers and each has a discharge pump to drain them overboard. Again, more complexity! All these pumps are electrical and have a circuit breaker, switch, and perhaps indicator lamps associated with them. If you're the skipper on this boat, you'll need to study and familiarize yourself with a lot of plumbing. These big boats have systems that are far more complex than my simple 22-footer.
posted 02-19-2009 10:44 PM ET (US)
The helm console backside wiring is not visible without removing some fixed panels, so I did not see it. In the console cabin on the port side there is some exposed wiring related to the accessory distribution block and fuse panel. It is done in a workmanlike manner. It is not done like an art object.
posted 02-19-2009 11:55 PM ET (US)
After giving the 280 OUTRAGE a look-over, I surveyed with an eye to sleeping overnight onboard. There is plenty of room to make up a large berth in the forward cockpit, and I am sure it would be a comfortable spot. The problem, of course, is canvas, or lack of canvas.
If you took the boat to a really good canvas maker, I am sure he'd be able to come up with a forward shelter. The shape of the frame cross members would have to be a compromise to allow them to fit into the pointy bow. Boats with more blunt and rounded bows can permit the frame of a forward shelter to have flatter cross members. Another problem for a forward shelter canvas is the frame could not easily slide forward for storage. On classic Whalers the cockpit sides do not narrow as you approach the bow, but on these newer Outrages the gunwales narrow as you go forward. This would prevent using a sliding track for the forward shelter frame, as has been done so successfully on classic Outrages. I guess we'll have to leave it to an inventive and skilled canvas designer to come up with a forward shelter for a 280 OUTRAGE.
After you get the forward shelter made, you'd want more weather canvas to tie the forward shelter into the console area and its nice fixed top. The top perimeter is made of tubular aluminum. Fastening the canvas to it might take some inventive techniques. The goal is to end up with a boat that is rain tight. If you are stuck on the boat at a marina for a rainy weekend, you will appreciated staying dry on the boat.
With the bow and console area buttoned up, it would also be nice to be able to use the aft cockpit, too, so we'll need some canvas and a folding frame for that. All this canvas won't be cheap. I'd allocate about $15,000 to have it custom designed and fabricated.
I was just listening to a WEST Marine motion picture report from the Miami Boat Show, and the on-camera announcer said that there were "hundreds of Florida center console boats here, from 17- to 36-feet." He also commented about how all these center console boats are alike. This, sadly, is part of what many feel about these newer Boston Whaler designs--they are very much like other Florida center console boats.
The way people use their center console boats in Florida apparently does not include any plans to stay overnight on them. I think most buyers of a Boston Whaler 280 OUTRAGE are probably going to use it to go fishing. Maybe they'll start early in the morning, they'll run a long way to the fishing grounds, they'll troll in the ocean for several hours, but they'll get home or back to port by evening. They'll sleep in their own bed at night, not on the boat. That's a good plan for Florida, but it doesn't fit with my typical use of my boat.
In fairness, I have to say, I have a cabin boat, and Boston Whaler makes nice cabin boats, a whole line of CONQUEST models, but there are some who would like a center console that could be fitted up with enough canvas to make it an overnighter or a foul weather boat. The beauty of the older designs is they lent themselves to a forward shelter and other weather canvas that can wrap the crew up into a cozy environment on a cold autumn afternoon or a rainy summer night.
posted 02-20-2009 08:27 AM ET (US)
I looked at the 280 OUTRAGE at the Jersey show yesterday myself. In addition to all the things Jim Mentioned it had rod holders mounted along the transom and up both gunnels (I think 10 in total)and the hard top had 6 of 7 more rocket launcher style rod holders. It had convenient storage for downrigger weights. It had Stainless steel toe rails and padded combing.I also noted drop seats stored in the gunnels and in the transom. Those fish boxes were huge! I thought it was a sharp looking rig.
posted 02-20-2009 10:00 AM ET (US)
When I finished my tour of the topsides of the 280 OUTRAGE, I carefully walked aft, through the transom door and onto the engine well deck, stepped over the boarding ladder, transferred over to a set of portable stairs the dealer had placed next to the boat. The stairs were five steps in height, and I had to carefully step down to them from the engine well deck. This should give you some idea of how tall this boat is when on the floor of the boat show. It also gives you some idea of how tall it would be on the highway if you were towing it.
Towing a 280 OUTRAGE is going to take a great deal of preparation and investment. The first problem is the width. With a beam of almost nine and a half feet, the boat will be wider than most states allow on their roads without a special permit. If you are just moving the boat a few miles to a launching ramp, it may not be a problem, but if you plan on interstate travel, acquiring permits will add to the transportation cost. Assuming we can handle the paperwork, let's get this boat on a trailer.
The 280 OUTRAGE weighs 6,100-lbs dry and without engines. The pair of Verado motors, their propellers, their lubricating fluids, and other rigging will probably add over 1,600-lbs. If the 200-gallon fuel tank is full, add another 1,250-lbs. If the freshwater tank is full, it adds 230-lbs more. With a boat this big, the three batteries will weigh 250-lbs. And we must have some gear, perhaps 200-lbs at least. This means the boat is going to weigh around 9,430-lbs. A trailer to handle that load will probably weigh 2,500-lbs itself. This means the total towed weight of this rig will be around 12,000-lbs. We are going to need a big truck.
To haul a 280 OUTRAGE around on a trailer you will need a 3/4-Ton rated truck. Fortunately, these days you can find trucks with tow ratings to match this load. The only problem is most of us don't want a 3/4-Ton truck as our daily driver, so your 280 OUTRAGE tow vehicle is going to be a special-use vehicle. Figure a $40,000 truck will do the job, unless we want a lot of leather seating and multiple DVD players.
When finally off the boat and with my feet back on the ground (or the concrete of the exhibit hall), I looked at the price of the 280 OUTRAGE. It was a big number, over $100,000 but under $200,000. I don't feel like it's over-priced. You are getting a lot of boat with a lot of added-on equipment and features. However, there were no electronics included, so we should allocate at least another $10,000 for that task. That should get is a top-grade radio, SONAR, GPS receiver, chart plotter, and a couple of big color displays.
posted 02-20-2009 12:43 PM ET (US)
I agree on the pricing, I thought that boat in better times would go for 20% more easily.
posted 02-22-2009 10:48 AM ET (US)
My boat weight estimate (9,430-lbs) was not too far off. In a performance test, Boston Whaler gives the boat weight as 9,050-lbs. They must not have had the fuel tank topped off.
posted 02-22-2009 01:32 PM ET (US)
Jim. I sent you pics of the 280 Outrage from my phone; I am at the nj show. The pics are from my phone, so pardon their quality.
posted 02-22-2009 04:03 PM ET (US)
Sal--Thanks, I will look for the pictures in email. If you are negotiating a price, ask for $10,000 off to re-do the electrical installation.
posted 02-22-2009 04:54 PM ET (US)
I'm a "buy and hold" kind of guy...
posted 02-23-2009 10:02 AM ET (US)
I spent about two hours a Marine Max yesterday crawling all over the 220/250/280 Outrages. As Jim said there has been alot of solid engineering that went into the design of these boats. The helm area and T-Top are second to know in design. The inside console wiring could be cleaned up very easily. Basically there just needs to be a little more attention to detail in the area of electrical wiring.
Here are some pictures I took.
This was a very interesting step up 220 Outrage.
Twin 115 Verados .....
280 on the left 250 on the right (both of these boats are sold. To date they've sold 2 250's and one 280.
Aft access to the batteries, tranducer area, and bilge area. This area covered by a hatch that provides good and provides easy access to the area.
There you go .....
posted 02-23-2009 12:28 PM ET (US)
There is also a departure from previous Outrages in the area of hull design. There have been some dramitic changes in this area in as much as the chines have been narrowed, the dead rise has been increased, and more flare added to the bow. In a head sea this really softens the ride and makes the ride much drier.
The other thing is that the T-top legs are virtually flush with the console sides adding more room to walk forward and aft. This also adds to the aerodynmaics of the console and cuts down on weight.
280 Outrage bow ... you can really see the flare
250 Outrage bow .....
2007 model 240 Outrage bow .... notice the more blund vertical sides to the hull
220 Outrage T-top design ..... you can really see the design difference bewteen the new & old T-top designs
2007 model 210 Outrage t-top design
posted 02-23-2009 05:03 PM ET (US)
Uhhhhhhhh... Jim? His er... pictures are better than mine.
posted 02-24-2009 04:30 PM ET (US)
Hey guys – thanks so much for the pics and insights. I’d be curious to get your thoughts on the new 220 Outrage. How much bigger/different does it feel than the 210? I’m in Atlanta, and we finally just got a Whaler dealer, but the odds of them stocking an offshore-oriented Outrage are slim. This is jet ski/bass boat/pontoon country. I looked at the 210, but the wife wanted a porta-potti for those bucks (she fishes too), so I had to go elsewhere. But the 220 seems to fit the bill. How’s the boat show pricing? I’ve seen some incredible deals on other higher-tier brands but have heard that BW isn’t moving much on price.
posted 03-01-2009 09:19 PM ET (US)
Careful, the 220 is not even CE rated for offshore use.
|L H G||
posted 03-04-2009 06:15 PM ET (US)
I'm going to be a contrarian here. Reading all these beautiful descriptions of these supper rigged, super equipped, high weight and high powered Outrages, I wonder what the year is. Certainly not March of 2009! Does anybody at Whaler, and other boat companies, have the slightest idea of what they are doing?
Is anybody reading this is willing to admit that the U.S. Standard of Living peaked in 1971, the year of the famous ribbed side Outrage, and that we are now facing a HUGE DE-LEVERAGING and DE-VALUATION of our lifestyles and buying abilities? You should be. In light of where were are right now, and where we are headed, these beautiful, well made boats seem utterly ridiculous to me, stuffed with relatively un-important and worthless, high cost accessories, a luxury and extravagance few can afford or in reality need (even thought they want you to believe you do). Sorry, but that's the way I feel. The state of the Marine Marketplace indicates I am correct. And the recent casualty in the Gulf indicates these boats are not even as safe as they are cracked up to be.
Where is a "Down East New England" conservative, design oriented, highly rational and efficient mentality similar to Dick Fisher's now that we need him? He would be be appalled to see these excesses in Whaler Outrages and Conquests (although he might love the 150, 170 and 190 Montauks). Even the sizing system using these SeaRay 3 digit numbers is a joke. A legal way of IMPLYING length that doesn't exist. Get rid of that marketing garbage and get back to reality.
Compare these "whales" to the mean and lean, highly efficient and under-equipped (by todays standards) Outrages of the 70's and 80's, still the boats keeping Boston Whaler's name famous and well known. The new "220" has really no more interior usable space than an Outrage 20 or classic 21, the 250 is really nothing more than an Outrage 22 with a Whaler Drive, and I doubt if the 280 has any more useable interior space than my 25 Outrage with full transom.
The question is in this new economic world we are all facing, do we need this huge size and weight, this excess of extravagant accessories and rigging, this outragegeous cost that nobody can afford or finance. I doubt it, as none of this means you will enjoy the boating, fishing and cruising any more that with a lean and mean classic, or a Montauk 19. Who has the capacity to buy, finance, fuel and trail these beasts? Not many, except for a few rich people, who may not be that rich anymore after they get taxed to pay for the excesses of the rest of us over the last 20 years.
And don't tell me that BW *HAD* to offer these boats because the competition does? They're not selling their over loaded boats either, and many brands are disappearing altogether. Who in the world needs two freshwater shower stations in an Outrage?
A 1971 Dick Fisher 21 Ribside Outrage or a new 2009 Outrage 220 - put the two at any dock, and see what gets the attention.
posted 03-04-2009 08:25 PM ET (US)
I must share your observation on today's boating choices in today's changing economic world. Perhaps it is our "advanced" age Larry, but I prefer to think of it as "wisdom".
As I walked the New England Boat Show last week, I echoed your thoughts.
I'm one of the bad guys......I won't be getting a tax break from our new Administration. Yet, I realized that I could not really afford, or justify, any of the quality lines offered up by the numerous manufactures.
Boston Whaler's larger boats, along with Grady White, Everglades, Edgewater, Pursuit, and a few others were truly awesome in their surreal features while striking me as bloated and over-powered.
What is the future of these top-of-the-line companies? Can they all exist in 1, 2 or three years? What about the other marginal lines?
As you mentioned: Where is a "Down East New England" conservative, design oriented, highly rational and efficient mentality similar to Dick Fisher's now that we need him?
Although I still own a classic 13' Super Sport, (and wish I had a 15, 17, and 190 Montauk to play with too!
I guess that if your NOT a liberal when you're young, you've got NO HEART.
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