If one could get fuel every 200 miles it would be possible to cross an ocean in a Boston Whaler, but here we look into a simpler method: shipment via standard container. We see the mechanics of shoe-horning a Boston Whaler into a shipping container, and we also get a peek at some beautiful blue water boating in Queensland, Australia.
A Canadian who grew up in Nova Scotia, Blair Way (tazway©austarnet.com.au) emigrated to Australia a few years ago and took his 1991 Boston Whaler Walk-Around 21 with him to Queensland, Australia's northeast state whose coastline lies behind the Great Barrier Reef. The process of shipping it there was quite interesting and required some substantial engineering on Blair's part to accomplish. Once the 21-foot Whaler was in the southern hemisphere, Blair put it to good use exploring the Whitsunday Islands.
"I am sending a couple of shots for the Cetacea section. I am particularly proud of these pictures as it has taken quite an effort to get my 1991 Boston Whaler Walk-Around 21 (with 175-HP Yamaha) to Australia. I have the original 1991 brochure from Whaler, and I set a goal that one day I would get a W/A-21 to Australia. I have had it here for over a year and visited a good part of Queensland with it.
"The Walk-Around 21 is a great boat, trailerable yet fuel efficient, and a sleep aboard for the weekend reef trips. The Yamaha 175-HP engine is a 1992 model--the boat could do with extra HP--so I want to move up to 250-HP when I replace the current outboard. I have a dual battery system due to the remoteness of places I visit, so we can always get started. Being a mainly fresh water boat, mine is in great shape, and I am slowly cleaning up any rough areas and upgrading as I see fit. I have removed the ugly blue hull stripe to return to the original black Whaler arrow. The seats need to be replaced but that is an expensive proposition down under.
"To ship the Whaler to Australia I built a special cradle for it so the hull could fit inside a standard shipping container. This meant the boat had to be heeled over to a 58-degree angle to fit in the 8-foot wide, 40-foot long container. In this way the boat could be transported as regular cargo and also be protected during transport. The shipping companies told me a boat with an 8.5-foot beam could not fit in an 8-foot-wide container. After some tricky calculations and profiling of the hull form, I figured I could do it. I did have to remove the windshield and the bow railings.
"Loading was a very unsettling process to supervise. The cradle size was restricted by the space so it was not as solid as I would have liked. With more time and hindsight I would have used a steel frame with wood and carpet lining. The trailer was partially dismantled (fender removed) and slid in on its side quite easily.
"Many people questioned why I shipped it down, but I assume all the Whaler owners will understand. I have been a Whaler fan since I was a kid growing up in Nova Scotia.
"Once here in Australia I had some glass work and gel coat repairs completed, and I re-assembled the windshield and rails. The boat came through with only one scar at the stern, which occured while loading into the container.
"Since its arrival in Australia I have trailered the boat over 6,000 kilometers and visited some great tropical waters. I am sure it is the only Boston Whaler Walk-Around 21 here. I brought a 1978 Outrage to Australia when I moved down here in 1994, and it is most likely one of very few Outrage 21's here, too.
"The underway photographs are of the Whaler in the Whitsunday Islands, which are not unlike the Virgin Islands, but with fewer boats. Whitehaven Beach is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind beach, that has to be seen to be appreciated. The picture does it no justice. The Taz picture is our one-year-old Fox Terrier that loves the boat, the water, and anything else fun. When we are not on a plane he believes the pulpit was built for his exclusive use. He first jumped off the pulpit when he was only 4-months old, to follow me snorkeling.
"I hope people enjoy seeing a Boston Whaler in Australia. I am sad to say I doubt I will ever be able to get a Rendezvous of Whalers together here since there are very few in the country. If there is interest I could provide more Whaler down under news. On a sadder note they market a "Aussie Whaler" down here which is a very bad copy of a Boston Whaler hull form with a terrible fit out. It is a shame they can use the Whaler name.
"I hope you guys enjoy the information,
Nova Scotia Home Waters
The journey began from Nova Scotia. The 1991 Boston Whaler Walk-Around 21 has terrific, if not quite "classic" lines. The boat was designed under the supervision of Peter Van Lancker and utilized a new hull form.
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-01
Blair built this unique plywood cradle to tilt the Walk-Around 21 for entry into the shipping container.
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-02
Test Run Stern View
With the boat on its custom cradle, clearance for the shipping container is carefully checked.
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-03
Test Run Bow View
It looks like the fixed windshield will have to go, but the railing will be a close fit.
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-04
Off With the Windshield
In order to fit the container, the windshield was removed. The tilt-back helm console allows access to the interior fasteners.
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-05
Measure Twice...Cut Once
Those measurements and calculations proved to be rather accurate. How does the photographer get out?
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-06
On Her Beam Ends
The boat's trailer found a home on the right side of the container.
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-07
The welded one-piece bow railing had to be removed. It was carefully wrapped in protective plastic, and stored against the topsides of the boat.
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-08
Safe On the Trailer
Blair met the ship at the dock and got the boat out of the container and back on its trailer. That was quite a project in itself!
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-09
Ready in Queensland
The 1991 Boston Whaler Walk-Around 21 is now back in one piece, on its trailer, and ready to go on the road and water in Queensland, Australia.
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-10
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands
All the planning, effort, and expense of shipping pays off when you can use your Boston Whaler to explore beautiful waters like these. Those Australian registration numbers are rather prominent!
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-11
A Whitsunday Afternoon Cruise
Captain Cook gave the region its name when exploring there in 1770, having entered the waters on the third Sunday of June (by his reckoning), which was Whitsunday that year. He initially called the area "Whitsunday's Passage." Like the white robes worn on Whitsunday (fifty days after Easter), the beaches are of beautiful white sand.
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-12
Dog Days of Summer
A Fox Terrier named Taz enjoys the bow pulpit.
PhotoCredit: Blair Way - Reference: 75-13
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This article first appeared November 17, 2003.
Last modified: Monday, 17-Nov-2003 19:51:06 EST
Author: James W. Hebert