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The 15-foot Hull

Dimensions & History

DIMENSIONS (from 1984 Catalogue listings)
  Length......................15 feet 3 inches
  Beam........................5 feet 8 inches
  Draft.......................8 inches (with engine tilted clear of water)
  Weight, bare hull...........500-550 pounds without accessories
  Maximum horsepower..........70 HP
  Minimum Horsepower..........20 HP
  Shaft Length................20 inches
  Capacity....................5 Persons
  Swamped Capacity............1,650 pounds (then 1,800 pounds after c.1987)


HISTORY
  Designer....................Bob Dougherty
  First year offered..........1976
  Last year offered...........1994
  Colors......................Desert Tan
  M.S.R.P.....................$ 4,615 in 1994 for Base Hull
  Models offered
     RECREATIONAL
        Sport............1976 - 1978 Mahogany thwart seats and side console;
                                     side railings.
            
        Sport............1978 - 1990 As above but now optional seat back 
                                     and wrap around railing.
                                     
        Super Sport......1985 - 1993 Mahogany pilot thwart seat with seat back
                                     and storage compartment, combined
                                     side and bow railing.
                                     
        Sport Center Console
                 ........1984 - 1988 Mahogany thwart pilot seat with wrap
                                     around rail and backrest; molded center
                                     console.
                                     
        Super Sport Limited
                 ........1987 - 1990 Molded interior insert with dual consoles,
                                     dual windshields, upholstered bench seat,
                                     storage compartments.
                                     
        Mischief.........1988 - 1990 Molded topsides runabout with cockpit
                                     seating for two; available with bright red finish!
                                     
        Sport GLS........1990 - 1994 Molded side console and 
                                     molded thwart seats.
                                     
        Standard.........1997 - 1998 Darker tan gelcoat, red striping. 
                                     Optional molded side console
                                     and "Star-board" seats.
                                     
     COMMERCIAL
     
        Alert 15.........1983 - 2000 Tiller steering, single thwart seat;
                                     haze gray gelcoat.
        
        Utility 15.......1983 - 2000 Molded side console with two thwart seats,
                                     side rails; single swivel seat optional;
                                     deck box optional.                                    
                          
HORSEPOWER vs. SPEED (from 1977 Factory brochure)
      20 HP = 20 MPH
   35-40 HP = 28 MPH
   50-55 HP = 34 MPH (exactly my observation--JWH)
   65-70 HP = 42 MPH
   
   Also see Clark Robert's comments on performance of the 15.
 

Description

The 15-foot hull was introduced in 1976 after the re-design of the original Whaler hull forms (the 13-foot in c.1971 and the 16/17-foot in c.1975), and thus all vintages of the 15 display the "smirk" appearance at the bow. The runners of the outer sponsons, which are a little narrower (in comparison) than in the 13-hull, are brought up and across the bow, forming a large reverse chine which contributes to deflecting water away from the boat at the bow. The center section of the hull is much larger forward than the sponsons and provides a fine, deep-vee entry, producing an nice ride in chop and waves. At the stern, the 15 hull has a somewhat unique transom, lowered to create depth, offset slightly to the rear to add length, and raked a few degrees from vertical. The contour of the bottom is a central rounded vee, several inches deeper than the sponsons that flank it on either side. There is not a large flat bottom area aft, which makes the hull a little harder to plane. (Again, see Clark Robert's comments.) Because of the narrower runners and the larger rounded vee center section, the 15-foot hull is somewhat more sensitive to lateral trim than either the 13-foot or 16/17-foot hulls.

All models have a trapezoidal bow locker with drain and a stern motor well with scuppers. All models also had a rear bilge sump with drain. The hulls prior to Hull No. 5A0857 have wood embedded beneath the cockpit floor only in a one foot wide strip running up the center; later hulls had wood reinforcement for the full width of the non-skid portion. A diagram showing the embedded wood denotes all the variations. The center console had a tunnel molded in the cockpit floor from the drain sump to the console.

The lack of a flat transom made mounting auxillary or "pony" motors quite difficult, so Whaler developed a special offset bracket. This drawing shows the details of the bracket and should enable its duplication; thanks to Fred Voltaggio for sending it.

The 15-foot hull had a long run, from 1976 to 1994, and bare hulls may still be available from Boston Whaler Commerical Products Division, although the cost may be somewhat higher than when offered in the recreational line.

Photographs

Photo: Whaler 15 Hull front view Whaler 15
This head-on view shows the larger center hull section with more deep-vee entry which produces an outstanding ride in waves and chop.

 

Photo: Whaler 15 Hull side view Whaler and Whale
The Whaler 15 carries its weigh better than I do. Notice how the hull sits right on its lines. I often see boats, even Whalers, where the weight of the outboard has the static trim way down in the stern. Those boats sit with a very pronounced bow-up trim. Not the Whaler 15 hull. This boat has a great profile.

 

Photo: Whaler 15 Hull side view Whaler 15 Transom
The 15-hull can be identified by this unique transom, which is lowered from the main hull, offset several inches to the rear, and raked.

 

Photo: Whaler 15 Hull side view Whaler on Plane
Burt Lake, Michigan provides a nice backdrop for the Whaler up on plane and going about 25 MPH. (Bimini maker says that is the maximum speed for the bimini.) With 50 HP, top speed is about 35 MPH, bimini down, one person, calm water, small fuel load.

 

Photo: Whaler 15 Rub Rail Rub Rail
Three components: "desert tan" colored molding capping the hull-deck joint; a white molding with a track; a black rub rail insert into the track. The black rail runs completely around the hull in one piece, secured on the opposite side as seen here with a screw.

Models, Seating & Console Variations

While the hull stayed intact, the interior of the 15-foot varied quite a bit over the years of production. Many models with various seat and console combinations were offered. The 15-foot Whaler in several models is featured in the CETACEA collection on Cetacea Page 50.

Owner Testimonials

Whaler owners are generally pleased with their boats, and the Whaler-15 is no exception. Here are some owner experiences and testimonials:

Price

Price information is available for selected models and selected years.

Many thanks to all contributors, especially Larry Goltz, who provided most of the historical information on this model.


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Copyright © 1999 by James W. Hebert. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs Copyright © 1999 James W. Hebert. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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