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ContinuousWave: Post-Classic Whalers
c.1999 CONQUEST 21 For Fishing 30-miles Offshore in Ocean
|Author||Topic: c.1999 CONQUEST 21 For Fishing 30-miles Offshore in Ocean|
posted 01-15-2011 06:51 PM ET (US)
I don't know if [a 1999 Boston Whaler CONQUEST 21] is the right boat for me and the family or not. Bought my first [Boston Whaler boat] in April, against the replies of most, a 16SL. [ASIDE--I do not understand this comment. I read your prior thread on this topic where you solicited advice and most all replies endorsed the 16SL--jimh] My family and I love it. [The 16SL] does porpoise and takes some getting used to, but the space and storage on this small boat are tremendous. Bought the boat, then talked the wife into a beach house last month. We now need a bigger boat for cruising with the wife and four-year-old. But I want to use the next one to go 20- to 30-miles offshore fishing. I was looking in the 24-foot-range but [a listing on a local craigslist for-sale website for a 1999 CONQUEST 21 for $15,000] looks like an good deal. Anyone have any experience with some rough seas in [a Boston Whaler CONQUEST 21]? Or, do I need to double my life insurance? I have been wavering between a [center console boat for] fishing for me and cuddy for the family. Is there any room to fish on small a cuddy? Anybody that has one or fished on one let me know what you think. Thanks!
posted 01-15-2011 07:26 PM ET (US)
If the boat, trailer, and engine are in good to excellent condition that sounds like a good deal to me. Less than a year ago I sold a pristine 1999 16 with low hours for more than the asking price on that conquest.
Some would caution against going 20 - 30 miles offshore with any boat powered with a single engine. My opinion is that if the engine is in excellent condition and properly maintained it would be a low risk enterprise. Towing insurance is much more affordable than two engines.
Others will have to answer your question on fishabilty of the boat. I am used to fishing from smaller boats so I would say it should fish four but that's just a guess.
posted 01-16-2011 08:46 AM ET (US)
Your situation is a common dilemma for boaters. You want a center console boat for fishing, and you think your family wants a cabin boat for cruising or overnighting. Deciding which boat to buy will depend on who will really be using the boat. Many times a new boat is purchased for the family use, but the family turns out to only want to use the boat about once a year. The boat owner wants to use the boat every weekend. Buy the boat for the purpose that you anticipate it will be used the most.
Going offshore 30-miles into the ocean in a 21-foot boat with a single engine to fish can be done, but it will require extremely good maintenance of the engine and careful selection of the sea state and weather. If you are retired and can wait for the necessary weather window, I am sure you will be able to get out that far for fishing. If you want to fish in a wider range of weather conditions, you may need a larger boat.
posted 01-16-2011 08:48 AM ET (US)
This article was posted twice. Please do not duplicate postings. The duplicate has been removed.
posted 01-16-2011 12:07 PM ET (US)
I would go with the CC if it were just for me but the whole family goes fishing quite often. I do not want to get too large a boat (over 24') because when I take the family we cruise or fish in the bay or just offshore. Also, when I flounder fish, I usually drift on an incoming or outgoing tide and want a something I can manage. The only offshore fishing will be done with a buddy or two five to ten times a year. I would keep the 16SL but "The Admiral" has told me I can only have one boat. I think the Conquest 21' will fit the bill but am not too sure of the fishability of this boat, both bottom fishing and trolling. I have a friend who takes an 18' McKee [over] 20-miles offshore but I am a bit hesitant to go with him in this small a craft. I have never been on a Conquest and wanted some input on handling and offshore safety in the 21', and if [readers] think I should move up a size. Any input would be appreciated. I am fishing in and around the Holden Beach area of North Carolina. I currently take my 16SL out up to eight miles offshore but only when it is flat and no clouds on the horizon. I have hit some three to four foot rough stuff on the way back in when the winds picked up but the 16SL is a trooper and never felt unsafe. It is just too small to get the the grouper ledges which are 10+ miles out. Thanks!
posted 01-16-2011 12:56 PM ET (US)
I do not fish the ocean with my 21 Conquest, but I do however fish the Great Lakes and often find myself 20 miles from port. The Conquest 21 is solid in rough water. I run it on Lake Erie and Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan water conditions are more in line with what you will most often encounter on the ocean, and that is where the boat is at its best. As with any boat you must learn how it handles each condition before you find yourself in 6-foot quartering seas 30-miles from shore trying to get back. From my experiences the boat does better in large swells than it does in small chop. On Lake Erie we can go from dead calm to 4-foot snotty chop unlike any place I have ever seen in five minutes flat! Those conditions are more of a challenge in the boat and require trim tabs to keep the bow down as expected. On the west side of Lake Michigan I mostly encounter ocean like rollers at a much longer frequency than the fast chop on Lake Erie. The 21 Conquest does really well in both head and following seas here. Quartering seas will get you wet if the wind is right but not too bad considering its only a 21-foot boat. I have been running this boat for eight years now and the worst conditions I have ever encountered was a trip to the Canadian side of Lake Erie where we were about 12-miles from shore when an unexpected storm came across the lake. By the time we got the fishing gear back in the boat we were in solid 8-foot, vary close span waves. We were able to fight the waves back to shore and at no point did any one feel unsafe in the boat. It was slow going but the boat handled fine. There are several others on here who run the 21 conquest and 21 Ventura (same hull) on the ocean and I am sure you will get there feedback soon. If the boat in question is in good shape $15,000 would be a steal in my opinion. I do not feel I could replace my conquest for $15,000.
posted 01-16-2011 01:26 PM ET (US)
Draggenballs--what motor did your Conquest come equipped with? Have you had to re-power? I am a little worried due to all the problems Mercury had in the 2000 to 2002 motors. I am waiting on the owner to get this info back to me. but he cannot reply until midweek when he sends me all the info and some additional info. In your opinion how many people can this size comfortably fish without crowding? I would assume you are bottom fishing and not trolling fishing the Great Lakes but I could be mistaken. Do you think this is a good fit for my family of three with an occasional offshore trip with a friend or two? Thanks.
posted 01-16-2011 02:54 PM ET (US)
I do both jigging and trolling from the boat. If you are trolling, up to five can be on board as long as everyone knows what to do. If you are drifting or bottom fishing four is really the max I would like to fish with.
My Conquest came with a 1999 Mercury OptiMax 200, and I have never had a problem with it. It‘s my understanding the major problems with the OptiMax came later after some changes were made. I use a Yamaha T8 for a kicker to save gas and hours on the big motor when trolling.
There are four of us in my family: a 15-year-old girl, a seven-year-old boy, wife and myself. We do not go out as a family as much as I would like, but at least four or five times a year, and the boat is comfortable for us. The cabin is not big enough for all of us to sleep over on the boat but two people could sleep there if needed.
I have owned several boats both larger and smaller than this, and it is really a great fit for me and what I use it for. I would not consider selling it as I do not know of another boat I would rather have at this point. One of my neighbors has a 205 Conquest and to be honest I don’t think there is a comparison. The 21 fishes as a much larger boat than [the 205 Conquest].
You can contact Mercury and give them the serial number from the motor and they will tell you the history of the motor before you make your decision. I don’t have the number with me but a quick google search should get it for you. If the boat and motor check out good, I don’t think you could go wrong at that price.
posted 01-16-2011 03:15 PM ET (US)
Most fishing in Lake Michigan consists of trolling at a slow speed for salmon or lake trout. The use of dipsey divers or downriggers is common.
I would rarely describe Lake Michigan conditions as similar to the long-period fair weather swell found on the ocean or even the Gulf of Mexico. In most situations, I'd consider it to be "worse" in terms of quality of ride due to the short period chop.
If you're 30 miles offshore with a single engine and have problems, you may have difficulty raising SeaTow/VesselAssist. Further, if conditions are bad, the tow boat captain does have discretion, that is, he can decide not to come to get you. In either case, you may find yourself alone, without power in bad conditions for a significant period of time (the time it takes to raise them, the time it takes for them to get to you, and the time it takes for them to tow you home). These alone would cause me to consider very carefully the decision between twin engines and a single with tow insurance. Obviously, the parameters change as you get closer to shore, but If I were to venture that far offshore regularly, I'd be very uncomfortable with just "insurance" for towing me in - I'd rather affect a self-rescue with the second main engine, if possible. Remember also that your prevailing winds from fronts are conspiring to keep you off shore - you're not generally going to drift back to shore - so you want enough power to help overcome those forces working to keep you away from shore when conditions deteriorate.
Venturing offshore on a regular basis would also cause me to consider the intended use of the vessel when it was being designed. I believe that the smaller Conquests are really more bay boats designed for big bay fishing and entertaining. The Outrage series is definitely intended for offshore use. Personally, I'd be looking at over 23-feet. Even Dave Pendleton will tell you that his 23-foot Conquest (I/O version) is "not an offshore boat" because of the way it handles sea conditions in Lake Superior, where he frequently uses it.
My points above lead me to offer the following advice:
Times are tough. There are a lot of distressed boat sales happening right now - the market is virtually flooded with them, and buyers can work sellers down on the price. In some cases, the discounts seen are very significant. Look for an Outrage 240 with twin 150's or better.
posted 01-16-2011 03:52 PM ET (US)
[Apparently intends to quote this paragraph]I would rarely describe Lake Michigan conditions as similar to the long-period fairweather swell found on the ocean or even the Gulf of Mexico. In most situations, I'd consider it to be "worse" in terms of quality of ride due to the short period chop.[End of material which was inteneded to be quoted]
I agree, my comparison of Lake Michigan conditions to the ocean is to say Lake Michigan is more like the ocean than the brutal chop of Lake Erie. I do not mean to say they are the same only that when fishing over 500-feet of water on Lake Michigan the wave period is more similar than 35-feet of water 20 miles out on Lake Erie.
posted 01-16-2011 05:00 PM ET (US)
Thanks for the responses. Draggenballs, can you give me informattion on [boat speed] or fuel burn at various [engine speeds]? If purchased I am going to install a 10- to 15-HP kicker for trolling and emergency use if necessary. I would not want to make a 25-mile journey back on a 15-HP motor, but it would be better than nothing. I believe bluewaterpirate Tom has a 21 Conquest and frequently goes offshore. I will email him and make sure I am correct. From Tom's website videos, the 21' looks like an ample vessel for my needs.
Steve in NC
posted 01-16-2011 06:17 PM ET (US)
bluewaterpirate Tom has a Ventura which is the same hull but an open bow as opposed the Conquest cabin. I would assume the ride is very similar.
Fuel [economy] while on plane at 4,000-RPM with no trim in calm seas is about 3-MPG. It goes down from there considering speed and sea conditions. Most days on the water with mixed fishing and water sports I average around 2-MPG. I don’t know how much fuel the T8 burns but it’s not much at all. I can run out 5-miles and troll for 4-hours and only burn 6-gallons or so. I would take care in considering a kicker and make sure you get a high-thrust kicker. My first kicker was a normal Mercury 15-HP FOURSTROKE and it did not provide enough thrust to keep [the boat] heading into waves. With the T8 this is not a problem even in a 20-MPH head wind. Top speed with both kickers is around 7-MPH, the top non-planning speed. I often troll for muskey on Lake St. Clare where desired speeds are 5-MPH and my kicker has no problem with that.
posted 01-16-2011 07:35 PM ET (US)
We have a 2002 210 Ventura powered by a 225 Opti. The boat and motor combo have over 3,700 hours on them. The Ventura hull is the same on as used by the Conquest.
My wife and I fish this boat 50 miles offshore on a regular basis. On a typical run to Big Rock (located 43 miles SE of Morehead City NC) we'll cover 140 to 150 miles. The sweet spot oo this combo is around 4,300-RPM that will get you on average 31 to 33-MPH. It carries 92 gallons of gas of which we'll burn right around 55 to 60-gallons making one of these trips. About 100 miles of the trip is run at 4,200 to 4,500-RPM.
Our Ventura has gotten us thru some real tuff stuff. It's a very stable and safe hull. The Opti has been nothing short of spectacular and is a perfect match for this hull. It is a very powerful motor. Yeah, it's a bit noisy but very good on gas. Fully loaded for an offshore trip I average around 12.5-gallons-per-hour at 4,300-RPM, and that's not bad considering it's pushing a 5,200-lb boat.
Here's some of videos and pictures.
Running in .....
Fishing set up ......
Dockside at Ocean Isle Beach NC
Don't have a kicker as you see ... never felt the need for one. Always fish with buddy boats plus have Sea Tow.
There you go .....
posted 01-16-2011 07:46 PM ET (US)
Here's the correct link for running for the barn .....
posted 01-16-2011 07:59 PM ET (US)
Thanks Tom and sorry for my confusion on your boat. From you website, I see you are a pirate. I finished my five year stint in Greenville in 1992. If you ever get down to Holden Beach look me up. Dragenballs, my troll would be 3 to 7-MPH depending on what I was fishing for and would use the main engine if I needed more trolling speed. If you have any photos of your setup please post or email them to me when you have a chance. Thanks again for all the info. I am going to head down this coming weekend and take a look at the Conquest and do a sea trial if the weather permits and let you know what happens.
posted 01-16-2011 09:05 PM ET (US)
Here are a few picturs of my boat.
posted 01-16-2011 10:42 PM ET (US)
Thanks Draggenballs. You must fish a lot more than take the family cruising with that setup. Is your kicker tied into your steering and trim as I could not tell from photos? I do not think so from what I could see. How does she handle the rough stuff when you run into it?
posted 01-17-2011 01:14 AM ET (US)
thruhike - In trying to provide straightforward answers just to the questions (above) that you asked, while not getting into other discussion topics, I can say from actual experience that:
Yes, my Conquest 21 has often safely and securely carried me and my crew through some very rough seas. We have rough water out here in the middle of the Pacific a lot more frequently than we have calm water, yet we have ventured over 40nm offshore, both for trolling and deep bottomfishing. My single Honda outboard (no auxiliary motor) has taken us out and brought us home every time. None of us aboard felt the need to double our life insurance after our return to port.
That same rough water causes center consoles to be undesireable out here...unless one enjoys being wet and cold the whole trip. (I again speak from experience, having fished aboard a Montauk 170.) And, yes there is ample room to fish from the cockpit of a Conquest 21, as the marlin and YFT that've come aboard for a ride to dinner have shown. When we cruise or picnic, the family thoroughly enjoys the comforts of the cuddy cabin.
Given your stated desire to not go with a larger boat, my humble opinion is that the Conquest 21 would be a very good choice. For me, it's been the ideal choice.
Hope this helps answer some of your questions. E-mail me if you have more specific questions.
posted 01-17-2011 08:59 AM ET (US)
thruhike, yes we fish more than cruse but all the equipment comes off without tools and is easily stored and out of the way for other activities. I use a connecting rod (easy steer) between the main motor and kicker and I have a remote control for throttle.
HawaiianWhaler, How are you? I need to send you an email (it’s that time of the year again, ha ha.) Hope everyone is doing well.
Thurhike, if you want to know how the conquest 21 does in rough ocean water HawaiianWhaler is the expert! He runs his boat in some of the roughest seas in the world and has landed fish that make everything I have ever caught look like bait. Heck some of the fish he catches makes me look like bait. Great guy, very fun to talk to.
posted 01-17-2011 01:19 PM ET (US)
The area you'll be fishing the depths will never make it to 100 feet even at 30 miles. The prevalent summer time wind pattern is south to southwest. Because the beaches and ocean accesses Shallotte and Lockwood Folly inlets both face South these wind patterns will affect the them. Shallotte Inlet is a crap shoot at best because the channel markers are never in the right place so you'll have to read the water which can be a bear on a falling tide on a south to southwewst wind. Wind in the 15 + flavor will make for a ruff ride out with the waves coming at your bow all the way over to a beam sea. Returning from offshore will in most instances give you a quartering sea.
Wave periods usually are between 5 - 8 seconds so if there more than 15 mph of wind can be stacked pretty close together ..... if you run on step you'll spend some time in the air and get wet if you don't have your curtains up. The boat will handle them with ease the rest is up to you and your crew. I fish the area south of Holden's Beach alot so I know the area. You can get some barn burner afternoon thunderstroms in the summer time so you have to be prepared for that contingency. One of the worst thunderstorms we ever encountered was right off the Shallotte Inlet sea buoy.
posted 01-17-2011 02:00 PM ET (US)
This is what you'll get running a 30 miles radius centered on Holden's Beach. As you see you'll never see 100 feet of water. It's a good area to fish but at times it can get real chewed up. The Conquest will handle anything it will throw at it rest is up to the captain and crew.
As I mentioned in the previous post we ran into a thunderstorm about 8 years ago ...
The weather forecast called for a hot partly cloudy day with low humidity and no (zero) chance of TS.
It's a day my wife and I will never forget.
We were fishing 25 miles SSE of Shallotte Inlet off the coast of NC. About 2 pm our VHF radio started squawking a Marine Warning NNE of our position near Southport (really couldn't see anything at that point that looked threatening). I had been watching to the north all day but hadn't seen any indications of TSs. We decided to wrap up our fishing adventure and head for the inlet. About 6 miles SSE of the sea buoy the horizon to our north (as far as you could see west to east) turned an ugly black greenish color and the air around us became charged with static electricity. We could hear the static electricity jumping from rod to rod. We stopped long enough to stow the rods, lower our VHF antennas, check our PFD's, get our water goggles out to keep the impending driving rain out of eyes, and get the ditch bag handy.
About the same time a friend of mine came by and motioned for us to fall in astern (he had radar). About 1 mile from the sea buoy all hell broke loose ... lighting starting popping all around and it went from calm to blowing a gale (50 - 70 mph) from the north. When the wind hit us were in 30 feet of water and in the lee of Ocean Isle and Holden's Beach, thank the Lord! We were running about 40 mph when the winds hit us ... it had a big impact on our forward speed. The visibility dropped to just about nothing and the air temp went from hot to ice cold (big micro burst). The wind actually was knocking the tops of the waves off forming walls of water that were coming over the bow. As we approached the SI sea buoy (50 yards on the starboard bow our hair stood straight up (we both instinctively ducked so we could kiss our backsides goodbye) immediately followed by tremendous flash of white/reddish/orange light and the loudest clap of thunder I've ever heard. Lighting had hit the sea buoy .... I swear to this day the water was smoking around it and our Whaler. We managed to navigate the inlet and run for cover ..... we did this by following our outbound track and keeping a visual on our friends Contender. The water goggles helped save our butts (kept the driving rain out of our eyes). The rain felt like rocks when it hit us. At one point it started to hail.
Lessons learned were many ......
1. Never trust the weather forecast
2. Water goggles are a good thing
3. Expect the unexpected
4. Funny thing my wife and I always talk about how we would handle situations before we leave the inlet (that helped us out big time) we both knew what we were going to do before we did it.
That was in 2003 ... we now use XM weather and keep in touch with others when we fish offshore. I always thank the good lord after returning from offshore!
Last year we had a fisherman die while fishing in the Jolleyman King Mack Tourney around the 4th of July (very experienced fisherman) They and a bunch more got caught in a wicked TS 15 miles south of Southport NC.
Our helm mounted camera took this .....
posted 01-17-2011 02:31 PM ET (US)
Bluewater I usually come in through Lockwood no matter which area I am going to fish. I was almost swamped by a large catamaran (although almost everything is bigger than my 16) hauling into Shallotte Inlet last summer in a mid-morning, quick developing fog. Low to no visibility and I was creeping at maybe 5 knots. Missed me by a couple of feet going at least 20. No radar on his boat either. Maybe my imagination, but it seems like Shallotte is more dangerous with currents and captains than Lockwood. It also seems to have quite a bit more traffic going to Ocean Isle. Although I did see a boat plow over the wreck at Lockwood entrance going about 30. Gouged the bottom of his boat and took out one of his twins. I think he limped into Holden Beach Marina but hard to feel sorry for the guy. Based on what I have experienced in my 16 and other boats when with friends, the following seas coming back into the beaches is the main worry. It can rough in a short amount of time where it was reasonably smooth coming most of the way back in. Thanks all for all the input and advice.
posted 01-18-2011 05:27 PM ET (US)
I just wanted to add that I had some very similar questions when I was considering buying various models of whalers, and I wanted to set some expectations for those who may not be as experienced as some of the boaters out here. My first boat was a 17 Dauntless quickly followed by a 20 Dauntless. I had enough experience running around Cape Cod Bay in the 20 to realize that I did not feel comfortable venturing offshore in a boat that size, especially with my kids.
I ended up keeping the 20 for tubing and waterskiing in the bay, but I acquired a 28 Conquest for offshore fishing (bluefin). The 28 is a very sturdy and relatively heavy boat and can handle some pretty rough weather, BUT, what I know now and only through experience is that it can be REALLY uncomfortable for yourself and your passengers if you are stuck far from land when the wind starts blasting and things get snotty. In other words, the boat can handle some rough conditions perfectly safely and can be perfectly happy to plough its way up and down 6 footers, but the people on board may be getting the pulp beat out of them which is no fun!
For the Cape Cod area, I tend to draw the line at 15 knots of wind, or even 10-12 if it's blowing from the North. With 15 knots, we get 3-5 foot waves (again depending on the direction and what land may be sheltering) and beyond that it get's pretty nasty in my opinion. And this is in my 28 - I would not dream of going out in my 20 when it's blowing like that.
I also spend a bunch of time on my buddy's 33 foot center console (Grady) which is an incredibly seaworthy boat, but also really exposed to the weather when we're fishing in October or November. In my 28, I can zip up all the canvas and be completely enclosed - we've literally gone out fishing after scraping the ice off the windshield first and it's pretty cozy despite not having a cabin heater.
I realize that lots of people out here would disagree and are happy to go out in rougher seas, but I just thought it might help anyone who hasn't already found themselves several miles from shore being tossed around in poor visibility.
posted 01-18-2011 09:49 PM ET (US)
Thanks for that JTC.
My post above was premised on my perception of the situation.
From thruhike's post in early March of 2010 (linked to in the first post in this thread), I understand that the 16SL that he currently owns was his first boat purchase, made early last year.
The intended use for the boat was as follows:
Now in his second year of boat ownership, he seeks to venture offshore 30 miles up to 10 times each season.
That alone, in my opinion, justifies going larger than a 21. A larger boat provides you with some additional room for error. Those errors will be reduced with experience, but in my experience, a greater safety margin is probably a good thing.
...and again, in this current used boat market, there really is strong motivation - you can get MUCH more boat for the same dollar that you could just three years ago.
This post is in no way meant to attack the abilities of forum member thruhike, but, rather, to try to provide the best advice for someone seeking to venture offshore in his second year of boat ownership.
Good luck in your search, and above all, have fun and prepare well.
posted 01-18-2011 11:12 PM ET (US)
Thanks, Dave, for looking after my safety. Actually the 16SL was my first [Boston Whaler boat] but not my first boat. I actually have gone offshore quite a bit since I was a small kid as I love to fish for the big guys. I think what I want out of a boat, Boston-Whaler-manufactured or another brand, just does not exist: small enough to not be too big for close-in and the bays, large enough for the big water. Ideally, I would have two boats but the wife will not even consider this. According to her, if I had two, then I would want three, and so on. She is correct as I love boats.
I have never had a sea trial in a Conquest as there just are not that many in this area. For fishing in this area, there are so many more Grady, Contender, Worldcat, even Cobia [boats] in the 20-foot [and larger] range it is very rare to even see a [Boston Whaler boat] outside the inlets and rivers. I have not even seen a Conquest docked anywhere around my area, and I keep my eyes open for other [Boston Whaler boats]. Maybe I need to look at the 23-foot, as well, although Draggenballs is more than than happy with the offshore capability and fishability of his 21-foot.
The big problem is there are no 23 Conquest boats in my area, so a sea trail to compare the two is tough.
I would never trade my weather in the South for the Northeast, but I sure would like your inventory of cabin boats to choose from. Thanks all.
posted 01-19-2011 08:50 AM ET (US)
Most boaters who travel 30-miles offshore on a regular basis use boats with twin outboard engines. Tom--Bluewaterpirate--is an exception. The most interesting comment from Tom regarding his use of a single-engine boat for making long trips offshore is this remark:
While having twin engines is not a guarantee against the boat becoming disabled offshore, it is certainly a comforting hedge against that situation. If the primary purpose of a boat is to be used to operate 30-miles offshore for fishing, I would give strong consideration to having twin engines.
posted 01-19-2011 09:56 AM ET (US)
Statistically speaking in NC, I would say the split is 50/50 in regards to single versus two engine boats fishing offshore. The move into todays economy in the 25 and under class is to hang a Yamaha 300/350 or a Verado 300 on the transom.
One thing for sure there is some dealing going on ......
Outrage 320 ......
Taken in mid December 2010
Was sold for $175900 ...... know the gentleman that bought it.
Next door to MarineMax is the Grady dealer ......
This is their new Freedom 255 dual console ......
Some interesting times for the boating community.
posted 01-19-2011 10:19 AM ET (US)
Twin engines are certainly a comfort offshore and add versatility anywhere.
They are not, as Jim points out, a guarantee against a complete power loss at sea. Unfortunately a great many engine failures are due to battery failures or fuel quality or delivery system deficiencies. To have true engine redundancy requires redundant fuel tank and delivery systems and redundant batteries properly wired. The battery redundancy requirement is easy to correct but dual fuel tanks and delivery systems are very rare in recreational boats.
A problem with twin engine installations is that it is common to have engines sized properly for best operation with both engines but, unfortunately, also common for one of a pair of engines to be unable to sustain the boat on plane. In these instances the boat must return to port at hull speed.
Twin engines are also a huge expense relative to single engines.
If the purpose of twin engines is redundancy in order to return to port when one engine fails the use of a small recoil starter "kicker" engine with a portable fuel tank could make better economic sense for many offshore boaters.
posted 01-19-2011 02:19 PM ET (US)
Butch has it right IMO on a twin engine set-up unless you can plane on either one you may as well have a good main and a decent kicker or go with at least one other boat for extra safety.
It was one on the main questions we asked CLK when he bought his triple Outrage 370, could he plane on two of the three.
As for going offshore 30 miles in a 21ft boat I would say it's 70% skipper and 30% boat that makes it safe.
bluewaterpirate and others are obviously experienced and competent owners this should not be underestimated in their account of what you can and cannot do in a 21ft hull as Jim noted it takes considerable planning.
I agree the cabin offers more protection against the elements when you have to bob your way home at slow speed but I'm not convinced that boats with a walk around cabin take any less water from a bow wave over a centre console.
posted 01-19-2011 05:35 PM ET (US)
Thruhike: Generally, most folks will tell you is that you need a boat at least 22 feet or larger to go offshore. In reality, bigger is always better for offshore. Of course bigger costs a heck of a lot more to maintain and run. Since not all of us can afford a 40 foot sport fisher we have to make compromises.
Regarding fishing thirty miles offshore with a Whaler 21ft Conquest: In my experience, 30 miles off shore is no rougher than 1 mile offshore. In fact, it will probably be rougher 1 mile offshore because the waves may stack due to them being over more shallow water. Usually the most dangerous waters are the inlets to harbors bays which aren’t even offshore. In decent conditions, going thirty miles offshore takes less than an hour. Where I live I see a ton on Montauk’s going far offshore. It’s all about the conditions. The worse they are the more uncomfortable it is. If you can take discomfort, you can take a 21 Conquest out in the same seas would test 26 foot boat. Both of you will have a hard time but the guy in the 26 footer will be a little more comfortable. As far as safety goes, I’d much rather be in the 21 Whaler than a 26 foot sinkable brand.
Also, that 21 Conquest is a big and deep 21 footer with lots of freeboard for its size. I believe they ride more like most 23 foot non-whalers. That vintage of post-classic hull is very stable and rides very well in following and confused seas. If you keep the bow down, it will also have a decent ride in head seas. Another feature of that hull is it is very dry running. You will be bone dry except when running in an aft quartering sea 3.5 feet or more. I would have no problem taking that boat offshore, they are made for it.
Most dangerous thing about being 30 miles offshore is breaking down with nobody around. Where I live most folks have twins or a substantial kicker, especially with older motors. It is good to be under power at all times in the ocean and be able to buck a current to get home. If you don’t have auxiliary power, have Sea Tow and/or go out with a buddy boat. You should also have an EPIRB and a good radio or two.
Lastly, cuddy/cabin vs center/duel console. In my opinion, due to the thickness of a Whaler hull, the smaller Whaler's cabins are too small for overnighting, and as a result, robs you of valuable deck space during the day. Even the 23 Conquest’s cabin is too small. That’s’ why I got a center console 23 Outrage. As a day boat, it is much more spacious for fishing and carrying passengers.
posted 01-19-2011 09:10 PM ET (US)
Lots of good comments here. For anyone curious about the 28 Conquest (also known as the 295 Conquest in later years), it has completely independent motor systems with separate fuel tanks and batteries. There are emergency override switches so you can send fuel from the port fuel tank to the starboard motor or you can temporarily bridge the batteries together to start one motor if its "own" battery is dead, but the boat was designed so that one motor system can fail without affecting the other. I'm not sure about the smaller Conquests, but I would guess they are similarly designed. One motor, however will NOT get the boat up on plane - not even close. So if you lose a motor, you are definitely limping home at 6 or 7 knots...
I second the above post about having an EPIRB, extra radio, and other redundant safety equipment. In fact, I have two of everything on board: a handheld VHF and handheld GPS as backups to my fixed systems, a main boat EPIRB and also a personal EPIRB. Plus a good collection of offshore flares, etc. The only major piece of safety equipment that I don't have is a liferaft which I"ve been considering. I know, of course, that my whaler is unsinkable, but there are probably some scenarios (capsizing or fire) where a liferaft would be highly desireable.
posted 01-20-2011 08:55 AM ET (US)
Well this is for another debate, but many of you have touched on what part of Whaler's soul was sold.
My 25' Outrage is modestly powered at 260 HP (twin 130's), and yet it can easily plane on one engine. The older boats were designed with more of a safety/contingency mindset, and raw utility was placed in front of the desire to look good in the harbor.
So, I guess if you want to go offshore regularly, you're stuck with one of the older hulls. :)
Just messing with you post classic guys, of course. But there may be something to it regarding the utility. I'd say a fully-restored old 21 Revenge from the 70's with twin 90's might be better off offshore than a 21 Conquest. I saw a nice candidate in Muskegon, Michigan last spring for a pretty aggressive price. Add new modern motors on the transom and you're in business, plus, you'd make the wife and kids happy too, since it would make an excellent bay and skiing/tubing boat.
posted 01-20-2011 09:56 AM ET (US)
This is true. Another aspect of boating in bad weather: most people won't go out into really bad conditions, but it is common to have to return from offshore when conditions have worsened. The excellent down wind and following sea ride of a Boston Whaler are an advantage in such conditions, particularly at inlets.
posted 01-20-2011 10:28 AM ET (US)
Seriously though...thruhike - given that your boating experience is much more substantial than previously indicated, I wouldn't worry as much about going offshore in a 21, with the proper precautions.
Like I say - prepare well, be careful, and have fun.
posted 04-26-2011 09:04 PM ET (US)
I ended up with a 21 outrage. Found one with a repowered Yamaha 4-stroke with less than 150hrs. Boat was solid with no cracks although the canvas and upholstery were in rough condition. Sold the wife on a bow dodger and she agreed to nix the cabin so I get the best of both worlds. It has been tough getting a quote on the canvas from the guys listed on continuouswave.com but I found a highly recommended company, blue water canvas, in Wilmington, NC who is making it all for me. I will let everyone know how it turns out and if its great, I will post the contact info on this site. Thanks for all the input and advice. Grouper season opens in a couple of weeks and I will let you know how the new addition handles. I took it out on Saturday in 3-4 footers with no problems and 15 mph winds. Only went out a couple of miles as the forecast was for worsening conditions but she performed nicely in the limited time I had. I do think the Outrage pounds more than the Conquest based on the lighter bow but will be more fishing friendly.
posted 05-01-2011 11:56 AM ET (US)
Steve, congrats on your new purchase, you will love it! I had that similar yet hard decision to make as well on my last purchase. I was looking at a 2005 24 Outrage with a 225 4 stroke Merc with 60hrs (always slipped in saltwater) vs a garage kept, freshwater only 1998 Conquest 21 with a brand new Etec 225.
After careful consideration I chose the 21 Conquest for several reasons. First off b/c I live in Half Moon Bay and used to freeze my butt off in my previous boat which was an Outrage, I wanted a boat to offer more protection from the elements. I got wet many times in my Outrage and was over that. Secondly, I feel like the Conquest is a better "family boat" which proved to be true when I took it to the lake on a camping trip and my 2yr old could take naps up front and out of the sun. It was perfect for that. The third and main reason I bought that Conquest was because I didn't think I would ever have the opportunity to buy one that clean and well cared for ever again and I have always wanted one.
With that said, if I lived in a place where the climate was warmer then I would have gotten the Outrage. The Outrage is an all out fishing machine. Center consoles are great for fishing and I like leaning posts for running in rough water better than seats.
There are definitely pros and cons to either design (probably why walk around cuddies came out). It definitely boils down to what features are important to you. Both boats are plenty seaworthy and can handle the rough stuff just fine. Just pick you days to go out. If you are way offshore and the wind picks up head in. Enjoy your new boat!
posted 05-01-2011 08:51 PM ET (US)
Congrats .... use your tabs push the bow down a little it will smooth the ride in a head sea. Your Outrage is one tuff customer.
posted 05-03-2011 01:08 PM ET (US)
Thruhike: That pounding can be fixed. Like Bluewaterpirate said, push the trim tabs all the way down and tuck the engine all the way in.
If that doesn’t fix it, some say try a stern lifting prop which usually are the 4 bladed props. I chose to put Whale Tail XLs on my engines. They solved my pounding problems and made me fall in love with my boat all over again.
posted 05-14-2011 09:40 PM ET (US)
Ran the new to us Outrage on Tuesday for an over 80 mile round trip. Nice seas that were glass on the way out. Trolled about an hour with nothing but as we had 12-15 dolphin chasing the boat I don't think too many game fish were sticking around. Moved to another spot about 8 miles further out and more dolphin. So bottom fished for a few hours with some luck. 2-3 foot seas on the way back in with no problems. The boat and motor were both flawless. I really love the Yamaha engines. They really have some giddy up when you hit the throttle. I am happy to report that momma and the kid are happy with the new ride and I am really glad I was able to get the CC. Thanks for all the advice. Now if anyone wants to buy a 1992 16 SL then give me a ring as I am already hearing the two boat tongue lashing from the wife and I have to unload her much to my dismay. For all the bad press the 16 SL gets on this website, it is a great boat that can do anything in this size. I think it must be envy. Thanks again and happy boating.
posted 05-19-2011 01:09 PM ET (US)
THough having 2 engines gives a margin of safety, its not essential, thousands of ocean going vessels use one engine all the time! I still have to see a 75 foot fishing tug with a kicker :) Having 2 engines does not entail any less maintenance or carefulness either, all engines should always be in tip top shape. The main issue with boating 30 miles from shore is communications, unless you have a 30 foot mast on your VHF you will not have ship to shore radio, thus if there are few boats around and you do get into trouble you're in a pickle. Personally I find a cabin boat to be a little more sea worthy than an open boat of the same size since its harder to swamp. As with any other boat weather and sea state are the most important parameters you can take a 15ft skiff 30 miles out as long as the weather permits. My 235 can tackle big water quite comfortably (up to 8 feet)as long as you dont expect it to go on plane. If you cruise at less than 17 knots it can handle pretty much anything (in reason) without drama. My brother in law and I regularly take his 21 foot 20+ miles off the PR coast to fish. His Bertram 34 we take anywhere :)
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