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Models

The Whaler 13-foot hull was available in many models:


Standard

The base model was the "Standard" 13-foot hull, intended for tiller steering and utility use. This c.1980 photograph shows the newer "Desert Tan" gelcoat color; the original had a white hull and blue interior. The seats are mounted farther aft to enable better tiller steering. Note also the shape of the forward locker, here more squarish than vintage boats.

Photo: Whaler 13 Standard c.1988
Standard 13
Standard features include: Mahogany bow locker cover; Two Mahogany thwart seats; Port and Starboard mahogany seat risers; Heavy-duty rub rail; Pair of ski/lifting eyes; Bow eye with lifting eye; Chrome bow norman tie-up pin; Drain plug.
Photo credit: BW Catalog

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Trophy

Intended primarily for fresh water fishermen, the Trophy added tandem swivel centerline seats with upholstered cushions and backs mounted on a fiberglass frame. The boat was piloted from the front seat using a stick steering mechanism. An electric trolling motor could be mounted to an optional safety frame.

Photo: Whaler 13 Standard c.1988
1970 Trophy 13
Notice that low registration number! Also, the boat looks quite a bit smaller when you see it with two grown men aboard instead of small children. Using boys in all those ads...those advertising guys weren't so dumb, eh?
Photo credit: BW Catalog

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13 Sport

One step up was the 13 Sport model, which added a side steering console. This model was often sold with optional side rails and seat backs. The seats moved forward about a foot. At some point (1990's ?) the pilot thwart seat was raised by mounting it to the top of the seat riser, instead of being held captive underneath it as shown here.

Photo: Whaler 13 Sport c.1988
Sport 13
Standard features include: Mahogany side steering console with stainless wheel and mechanical steering; Mahogany bow locker cover; Two Mahogany thwart seats; Port and Starboard mahogany seat risers; Heavy-duty rub rail; Pair of ski/lifting eyes; Bow eye with lifting eye; Chrome bow norman tie-up pin; Drain plug.
Photo credit: BW Catalog

 

Photo: Whaler 13 Sport c.1970
1970 Sport 13
In the days before product liability lawsuits and political correctness, Whaler could show two boys out having a good time with their boat. The sad thing is that these days, not only do catalogs not show photographs like this, but kids learn how to swim in the pool at the health club instead of diving off their Whaler. Of course, the outstanding stability of the Whaler hull keeps the boat from capsizing even with all that weight on the rail.
Photo credit: BW Catalog

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13 Sport Sourpuss

A variant of the 13 Sport model, the Sourpuss featured a full width console with the steering mounted on centerline. The side railing was wrapped around and across the cockpit, forming a support for seat backs.

Photo: Whaler 13 Sourpuss c.1976
Sport 13 Sourpuss
This 1971 hull shows the Whaler in transition. The transom is still cut for short shaft outboards and the interior is still blue, however, the motor well and rub rail are new designs. The stainless steel wheel is an owner-upgrade.
Photo credit: Russel Bauer, <RBauer@co.chippewa.wi.us>

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13 Super Sport

Another step up was the 13 Super Sport model. A wrap around bow railing was added, along with seat backs for the rear seat which also included storage compartments. The seatback has a compartment, and later, when the seat was raised to the top of the risers, another compartment was added under seat. Options included a complete set of upholstered cushions.

Photo: Whaler 13 Sport c.1988
Super Sport 13
Standard features include: Mahogany console assembly with mechanical steering and stainless steering wheel; Stainless low-profile bow/side rails; Mahogany bow locker cover; Two Mahogany thwart seats; Aft storage seat; Port and Starboard mahogany seat risers; Heavy-duty rub rail; Chrome bow norman tie-up pin; Drain plug; Pair of ski/lifting eyes.
Photo credit: BW Catalog

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13 Super Sport Limited

Toss out all the varnished mahogany interior and replace it with a molded dual-console and you have the Super Sport Limited. Upholstered seats were standard, as was an extra fifty pounds. This model was a precursor to the no-wood Whaler of today.

Photo: Whaler 13 Super Sport Limited c.1988
Super Sport Limited 13
Standard features include: Fiberglass console and seating unit; Upholstered seat and seat-back cushions; Two under-seat storage compartments; Aft seat-back storage compartment; Port box storage bin; Mechanical steering with stainless wheel; Fiberglass bow locker cover; Stainless low-profile bow/side rails and aft grab rail; Chrome bow norman tie-up pin; Bow eye with lifting eye; Pair of ski/lifting eyes; Heavy-duty rub rail; Plexiglass windshields; Stern deck; Ski pylon.
Photo credit: BW Catalog

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13 GLS

The 1990's brought on the trend away from wood components in the interior and trim, resulting in 1991 with the introduction of the first GLS model. It had a molded side console and thwart seating.

Photo: Whaler 13 GLS c.1991 13 GLS c.1991
This early variant of the GLS shows the molded side console and synthetic seats. The owner has added aftermarket cushions and a backrest.
Photo credit: Larry Goltz

Fast forward to 1994 and you find the second 13-GLS model with a new fiberglass console onboard. The steering wheel is back to an almost vertical orientation, my preference. Study this catalog photograph for some other insights: Notice the prominence of the Mercury outboard, no surprise since Whaler and Mercury are under the same corporate umbrella. We're more politically correct, too: Mom's at the controls and junior is just a passenger, and they are both are wearing PFD's. We don't see the kid out by himself, diving off the rail anymore. And, hey, they're going fast, almost as much fun as a jet-ski.

Photo: Whaler 13 GLS c.1988
13 GLS
Standard features include: Bow locker with fiberglass cover; Stainless steel welded side rails; Bow eye/lifting eye; Bow norman pin; Ski eyes/lifting eyes; Heavy-duty rub rail; Fiberglass side console; Stainless steel steering wheel; Removable forward fiberglass bench seat; Fiberglass pilot seat with backrest and storage; Teleflex no-feedback steering; Battery box with hold-down; Mercury pre-rig.
Photo credit: BW Catalog

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40th Anniversary 13-foot Classic

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the classic 13-foot Whaler, the factory offered a special limited edition (250) in 1998. The gelcoat colors returned to the original white hull and blue interior. Highly polished mahogany seats and console returned, but with a more modern shape and better dashboard area. Buyers also got a 20" x 30" limited edition watercolor print of a classic Whaler, signed and numbered by the artist. If you judge the target market by this promotional photograph, the boat was aimed at men who had (or wanted) a Whaler of their own in the 1960's. Now they're grown up and introducing their kids to boating and fishing in a nostalgic Whaler. Given the current rage of 1960's "retro" fashion, it looks like Whaler was ahead of the curve again.

Photo: Whaler 40th Anniversary Edition 1988 40th Anniversary Edition 13-ft Classic
A brass plate on the dashboard (inset) carried the hull number. White rub rails were faithful to the original. The mahogany was finished with a UV inhibitor to improve wear. The side rail configuration is different, now mounting directly to the topsides instead of inboard to the cockpit.
Photo credit: BW Newsletter

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This article first appeared February, 2000. Copyright © 2000 by James W. Hebert. All rights reserved.
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Author: James W. Hebert