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Author Topic:   2008 180 Dauntless Compared to Earlier Versions
kmwford posted 04-09-2010 03:13 PM ET (US)   Profile for kmwford   Send Email to kmwford  
I have been looking at 18 to 20-foot Boston Whaler boats for some time now. I have tested a 2008 Dauntless 180 with a Mercury Verado 135-HP, but would prefer 150-HP. I love the craft. Are there significant difference in design, ride, usability and the like between a Dauntless built from, say, 2002 to 2007 and one built in 2008 and beyond? I understand that Boston Whaler redesigned the 180 in 2008.

Finally, I expect to use the boat for inshore fishing and skiing with my children, but also want to be able to fish in the Atlantic not far off of Sandy Hook, where you can find modest chop, but also heavy traffic and related wake. I tested the Dauntless in fairly [low seas] conditions. Would anyone caution relying on the 180 for open ocean fishing?

Thank you all in advance. I have followed this site for some time (great job Jim) and look forward to joining the Boston Whaler family.

podosky posted 04-11-2010 03:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for podosky  Send Email to podosky     
We have a 2006 180 Dauntless and fish the Atlantic all the time. I have even taken it to Sandy Hook. We normally fish South Jersey, and run inlets all the time.

If you want to ski and fish, this is a great boat. We have a 150 verado and the ski pylon and it is an outstanding ski boat.

Hands down this is the most versitile boat I have had. Very seaworthy for its size. We fish south Jersey, the northern Chesapeake, and water ski Upstate NY. We needed something trailerable, seaworthy,and both family and fishing friendly. A tall order, which the Dauntless completes well.

The 2008-present Dauntless is shorter and has less swamped capacity. When onboard it gives the feel of a smaller boat.

Given the choice between the 2002-2007 vs the 2008-present, I would go with the larger model.

"Feejer" on this site did just that. He bought a new leftover 2007.

If you have any questions let me know. This will be our 5th season with the boat, and we could not be happier.

Marlin posted 04-12-2010 11:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
From my comments at , regarding the "old" 180 Dauntless model:

I certainly don't know all the detailed history of the 180 Dauntless like I do the 160, but there are at least three significant changes to that model over its production history: a change in the aft quarter seats from fixed seats to a really cool fold-down seat/casting platform, a removal of the "transom notch" in the hull centerline to improve buoyancy for the heavier 4-stroke engines, and a change in the fuel vent from integrated with the fill line to a separate vent on the port topsides. I believe that all of these changes were made during the 2002-2003 timeframe.

Of those changes, I'd say that the rear seat probably has the biggest impact on use of the boat, but that the fuel fill was also a big deal. I don't think I'd want an older (pre-2002?) boat without the topsides fuel vent.


kmwford posted 04-15-2010 12:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for kmwford  Send Email to kmwford     
Thank you all--very helpful
jimh posted 04-15-2010 08:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Regarding the ride qualities of a 2008 or newer 180 DAUNTLESS compared to previous versions, I suspect that there will not be any dramatic difference, particularly in regard to the comfort level one might anticipate in really rough sea conditions. There isn't really anything magical that can be done in an 18-foot boat hull to make its ride in rough seas to become substantially better than another hull of very similar size and design. If anything, my impression--and it is only an impression and not based on research or measurements--is the newer hull seems like a bit more aggressive in entry deadrise. Perhaps it might slice through waves a bit better.

The general characteristic of the DAUNTLESS series has always been the relatively low gunwale height as compared to the OUTRAGE series. The lower gunwales make the boat easier to access from the water for activities like water skiing. A person trying to get back into the boat from the water won't have to climb over tall gunwales.

As for suitability for use in the ocean, I can't offer much advice as my time on the high seas is limited. My impression is that offshore ocean waves are generally widely spaced and are not breaking waves. In this regard I don't know that there would be any special liability from using a DAUNTLESS as compared to an OUTRAGE, other than the greater risk of falling overboard due to the lower gunwale height.

podosky posted 04-15-2010 11:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for podosky  Send Email to podosky     
The gunwale of the Dauntless is only 2" less than the Outrage. The 2002-2007 has a much deeper V entry than the 2008-present when compared side by side on the trailers.
masbama posted 04-17-2010 01:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for masbama  Send Email to masbama     
I have a 1999 18' and I think it is a fine boat. I have a jack plate that I use to adjust to water conditions and depth. The fuel vent is no big deal except the boat needs to be level when filling or else it will be a quirky event.
podosky posted 04-17-2010 04:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for podosky  Send Email to podosky     
"The gunwale of the Dauntless is only 2" less than the Outrage."

I was comparing the 180 Dauntless to the 190 Outrage. The Dauntless retains the 20" interior freeboard throughout the entire line(180,200,and 230).

Proportionally, this gives the 180 the greatest interior freeboard height of the entire Dauntless line in comparison to its length.

Our 2006 180 Dauntless: Overall length 18' 6"
Interior Freeboard 20"

190 Outrage: Overall length 18' 10"
Interior Freeboard 22"

These two boats are really not that different in dimensions. In these similar sizes, I can not believe anyone would be more prone to falling overboard in the 180 Dauntless.

The differences between the Dauntless and the Outrage series of boats becomes greater as the boats in both series become larger. As stated earlier, the 230 Dauntless retains the same 20" interior freeboard. For comparison the 220 Outrage has an interior freeboard of 26" and the 250 Outrage has interior freeboard of 28".

As Jim stated earlier there is no magic to an 18 foot boat. Whalers are extremely stable for their size but any 18 foot boat is capable of only so much. I have had ours out in conditions I later wished I hadn't. It has always performed admirably.

MontanaWhaler posted 04-21-2010 05:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for MontanaWhaler  Send Email to MontanaWhaler     
I've got a 2005 180 Dauntless with a 150 Optimax. We use it here in Montana most of the time. However, we also use it offshore in Southern California and have made 40 mile plus runs there. We've used it offshore in South Carolina and off of Marathon Key, Florida. While a larger boat would certainly be more capable, it does just fine. The versatility of the Dauntless in a relatively compact easy-to-tow package is hard to beat.

On the South Carolina trip, we were headed out through Pawley's inlet one day and mistimed a wave which broke over the bow and filled the boat with about 18 inches of water. Like most Whalers, it quickly bailed itself through the large scuppers it has and we just continued on through without the need to slow down and risk being hit by the next wave. I'd never do that again intentionally but it reminded me why I bought a whaler!

I would guess that the 2008s and higher are quite capable too. Like anything designed to handle lots of situations well it's not really the best at all of them but I think very good in most cases.

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