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Cetacea Page 36

March 18, 2001

Classic 1970-71 Boston Whaler 21 Outrage

The Progenitor of the Outrages

This installment of CETACEA looks at the original model Outrage, a nameplate has been applied to many different hulls in Boston Whaler's history. The unusual model name was chosen by Boston Whaler founder Dick Fisher, based on a remark of his friend Wm. J. Mills. When Whaler's canvas vendor was shown the prototype's hull, his reaction was to declare, "That's Outrageous!" (See Whaler Radio) Considering the never before seen ribbed hull sides, the wild banana curve of the shear line, and the extremely low rub rail strake, what else could he have said? The boat was brought to market as the "Outrage" model.

The 21-Outrage was first produced and sold in 1970, although perhaps marketed as a "1971" model. Prior to this model, Whaler only made 13- and 16-foot boats. Even today, a 21-foot trailerable outboard is a larger boat than most, and in 1970 it was Whaler's first entry into the "big boat" marketplace. The unique Whaler hull construction technique created a relatively light boat that could obtain good performance from the limited horsepower of the outboard engines of that era. Following the 21-Outrage, later known as the 21-Outrage I, the 21-Outrage II and 21-Outrage III were produced 1971 and 1972.

Manufacturing the hull with the ribbed sides proved to be a problem, as the boat was difficult to extract from the molds once it had been filled with foam and cured. A re-design, minus the ribs and with an integral fuel tank system, took over the Outrage name in 1972 and remained available until 1982, although after 1980 its production was sporadic. The Outrage named continued with other Whalers, but none since have had an appearance quite as unusual as the original.

A fine specimen of classic early Boston Whaler Outrage is owned by Paul Plante of Quincy, Massachusetts, who sent these photos to me several months ago, and who has gently prodded me to publish them on several occassions. Truth be known, the pictures were swallowed up by my large "flat-file" filing system, but resurfaced just briefly a few days ago, long enough for me to get them on the scanner. Recent interest in this era of Outrage classics makes their appearance here all the more timely.

Paul's story of how he came to own this virtual time machine is quite interesting; he writes:

"This boat is a true classic Whaler. There is an engraved metal tag on the floor that reads 'THIS BOAT WAS BUILT FOR FREADERICK L. REAGEN 1970.' It was built in Rockland in 1970 and delivered to Boston Boat of Dorchester on August 3rd, where it was sold to my neighbor, Mr. Reagen, for $5,584.00.

"When I was a boy, Mr. Reagen took me out in the boat only a couple of times, but I fell in love with her. Fred passed away in late 1998, and in his will he left the boat to me. I never thought in my wildest dreams that one day she would be mine!

"The boat was a prototype, Hull No. 007, built for testing before mass production of this model. It was used only 21 times during the summers of 1970 to 1978 based on a log that Fred kept. He lived by himself and only used the boat maybe three times each summer. When Fred was diagnosed with cancer in 1978, the boat was put into storage. She was completely taken apart, each piece wrapped up and stored in dry storage. The canvas top and windscreen are still in mint condition.

"I brought the boat to Bill's Outboard in Hingham, Massachusetts with the original twin Bearcat 55-HP engines mounted, which I sold to a mechanic at the shop. When the mechanic saw the boat for the first time he had to sit down! 'She's gorgeous,' he said. He remarked how the boat looked as though she had just come from the manufacturing plant. While he worked on the boat there were many offers to buy it.

"I bought a new 1999 Mercury 175 engine and had it put on her. Top speed is 45-MPH. She flies! The teak wood is in beautiful condition and just needed a little oil. She draws a crowd at my marina, and when I gas up somewhere else people always say something to me about her. I have even had people ask to take her picture.

"I contacted Chuck Bennett at Boston Whaler who sent me some history on the boat. The girl in the photographs is my oldest daughter, Kayla. The boat was named after my wife Tara and Kayla, so I named her KAYTARA."

1970 Boston Whaler 21 Outrage No. 007


Photo: 1970 Outrage 21 at dock, bow view
1970 21 Outrage Hull No. 007
This early Outrage 21 was produced in 1970. Note the original tan canvas, still in excellent condition. The fabric is most likely actually 100% cotton canvas from Wm. J. Mills. The bow line is secured to a sturdy sampson post while the heavy duty navigation light fixture doubles as a chock. The bow deck is also ribbed like the hull sides! The shear line of this hull is remarkable for the "banana" curve, and the low rubrail shear strake--a completely "Whaler" innovation by designer Dick Fisher.
PhotoCredit: Paul Plante - Reference: 36-1


Photo: 1970 Outrage 21 at dock, stern view
That's namesake Kayla (Paul's daughter) jumping off the boat. A Mercury 175-HP outboard has replaced the original twin Bearcat 55-HP 4-strokes. The console and pilot seat have molded bases and wooden tops.
PhotoCredit: Paul Plante - Reference: 36-2


Photo: 1970 Outrage 21, cockpit from stern view
Ribbed Topsides
The unique ribbed topsides are a distinctive feature of early Outrage hulls. Difficulty in getting the boat out of the molds resulted in the ribs being removed a few years later. The wide gunwales were also new for Whalers. Note the wood trim on the cockpit bulwarks. If those are teak or mahogany strips they'd be quite expensive to add to current production boats.
PhotoCredit: Paul Plante - Reference: 36-3


Photo: 1970 Outrage 21, console and bow platform shown
Teak and Holly?
The teak planked console has a very yachty appearance, reminiscent of a teak and holly cabin sole. The forward cockpit deck is leveled by the use of an optional platform, also crafted from fine wood. The console is protected by canvas splash cloths. The forward-stowing canvas appears to be a forward shelter.
PhotoCredit: Paul Plante - Reference: 36-4


Photo: 1970 Outrage 21, stern cockpit and motor well
Stern Details
The stern cockpit houses twin fuel tanks. The motor well is protected with a stern railing. Notice the ribbed details on the decking. A stern cockpit sump drains water overboard via a bilge pump. Eventually the fuel tanks moved to an integral fuel system with a tank in a hull central cavity.
PhotoCredit: Paul Plante - Reference: 36-5


Photo: 1970 Outrage 21, close up of transom
Inset Transom
The transom is mounted inboard slightly from the stern of the boat in an inset engine well. This design essentially creates two large "trim tabs" from the rest of the hull aft, which can reduce the effectiveness of engine trim adjustments. Transom height is set for 20-inch engines. Experimenting with a jack plate would be a natural for this hull, which only weighs 1600 lbs.
PhotoCredit: Paul Plante - Reference: 36-6


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Author: James W. Hebert