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Cetacea Page 39

May 8, 2001

Intracoastal Waterway Whalers

Worries of global warming seemed far away this winter as Michigan and the rest of the midwest experienced the coldest November - January in the last 100 years. We did slip away in February for a week respite to the south, making our initial visit to SE Florida and the beautiful waters of the Atlantic Coast and Intracoastal Waterway. We were just astonished at all the Whalers we saw on the water down there. Cruising around for a few days was like turning the pages of several decades of Whaler catalogues. We spotted boats from all eras of Whaler design. In this installment of CETACEA, we take a sampling of them, which we present in no particular order.

Reebok Era Hulls

When Boston Whaler was owned by Reebok from 1989 until 1993, the design of the larger hulls was modified to a more deep vee hull and away from the classic Bob Dougherty twin sponson and "smirk" style boat. We saw several boats from that era. Brian Blazer sent in a nice digital image of a 23 Walk Around he was cruising on in Punta Gorda. This model was built for only a brief period and is rather a rare find. Its high price tag during a period of generally depressed boat sales kept it from being a big seller.


Photo: 1993 23 Walk Around in slings
1993 Boston Whaler 23 Walk Around
When athletic shoe giant Reebok became Boston Whaler's owner, they revised the classic twin sponson hull into this more aggressive deep-vee. The sponsons are reduced to vestigial chine lines. This was a high quality boat, but only produced for a limited time from 1991-1993.
PhotoCredit: Brian Blazer - Reference: 39-1


Meridian Era Hulls

Meridian took over from Reebok in 1994. With the 23-Walk Around not selling well, they didn't want to just throw out all the expensive mold tooling so they adapted it into a new center console model, the 24 Outrage. Our Master Cetologist Larry Goltz spotted and photographed a fine example of 24 Outrage on a lift along the Intracoastal Waterway. While these era boats were built with the same tranditional foam filled hull technique, their lines were quite a departure from the classic Boston Whaler hullform. Ironically, this boat is named Miranda, darn close to Meridian!


Photo: c.1994 24 Outrage on lift
c.1994 Boston Whaler 24 Outrage
When production of the 23-Walk Around ceased, the same hull evolved into the 24-Outrage for 1994 thru 1997. Compare the lines and you'll find they are very similar aft; in the bow it looks like a bit of the Whaler Smirk was put back into the hull. The welded T-Top is not a factory accessory.
PhotoCredit: LHG - Scan: JWH - Reference: 39-2


Photo: c.1994 24 Outrage on lift, rear view
c.1994 Boston Whaler 24 Outrage
The deep vee hull continues all the way to the stern. There is not much left of the twin sponson hull in this era of Whaler design.
PhotoCredit: LHG - Scan: JWH - Reference: 39-3


Offshore 27

The largest hull in the classic Whaler line was a 27-foot boat produced in several models. It was available as early as 1983 as the 27 Cuddy. As recently as 1998 you could still get a 27 Offshore. We spotted one of these converted for use as a commercial towboat in a marina in SE Florida.


Photo: Whaler 27 Offshore in use as Tow boat
27 Offshore
The 27-foot hull was the largest produced in the classic twin sponson style. This big 27-foot Offshore has been adapted for use as a commerical towing vessel.
PhotoCredit: JWH - Reference: 39-5


Photo: Whaler 27 Offshorein use as Tow boat, stern view
27 Offshore
With 450 HP on the transom and 27 feet of very stable Whaler hull to work from, TowBoatU.S. has a very capable vessel! The presence of rod holders reveals this boat's origin as a recreational division product originally.
PhotoCredit: JWH - Reference: 39-6


SeaRay Era Whalers

For boat builders, there is something that always makes one want to build bigger boats: bigger profits. The difference in labor between a 25-foot boat and a 30-foot boat may not be too great, and the material costs are proportionate, but the price that can be charged goes up exponentially. And many builders are also attracted by the prestige of making such expensive and refined yachts. In the 32-34 foot range, the luxury performance cruiser is a tough marketplace, and Whaler's latest designs face very heavy competition from more established builders (in that market) like Tiara, Cabo and others. With a base price around $350,000, Whaler is not exactly shooting for being the lowest priced! They still offer a unique feature: unsinkability. In SE Florida's prime Whaler water, we happened to sight one of these new luxury yachts.


Photo: Whaler 34 Defiance
2000/2001 Whaler 34 Defiance
This 34-foot Whaler twin diesel inboard passed us close abeam in the Intracoastal Waterway near Ft. Lauderdale. Available only from special dealers and with a base price over $350,000, I don't think I am going to see too many more of these.
PhotoCredit: JWH - Reference: 39-7


The What-Might-Have-Been Whaler Era

If Whaler had retained senior designer and Vice-President Bob Dougherty, he might still be drawing boats for Whaler. Instead, he launched his own company, Edgewater Boats. Their largest boat to date is a 26-foot hull, which is really a 24-footer with a molded-in engine bracket. Ironically, this boat looks more like a Whaler than some of the current Accu-Track hull boats. [Also see our extensive reference article on engine brackets and Boston Whalers.]


Photo: Edgewater 260 on hoist, stern view
Edgewater 260
This 26-foot Edgewater was designed by Bob Dougherty, the man who drew the lines for many Classic Boston Whalers. The molded-in engine bracket design is very interesting.
PhotoCredit: JWH - Reference: 39-8


The CML Era

While several miles upstream from the Ocean on one of the many canals and rivers in Ft. Lauderdale, we crossed paths with a classic Whaler from the CML era, a mid-1970's 19-Revenge. And we also spotted a 25-Temptation, a plush, sport boat made from 1986 until 1989.


Photo: Whaler 19 Revenge
Mid-1970's Whaler 19 Revenge
This very nicely preserved 19-Revenge has been repowered with Johnson Ocean Runner. Although almost 30 years old, this boat is still a comfortable day cruiser.
PhotoCredit: JWH - Reference: 39-9


Photo: 25 Tempation along seawall
c.1988 25 Temptation
With the classic 25-Outrage hull as a base, Whaler added this sporty top deck, creating the "Temptation" model. The radar arch is owner added. I think all Temptations were full transom boats, most delivered with either Whaler Drive or I/O power.
PhotoCredit: LHG - Scan: JWH - Reference: 39-11


Fisher Era

Although we were just off the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by recreational boats as large as 300 feet, we did see a number of smaller Whalers from the 13-foot and 16-foot hulls of the original Dick Fisher era. One particular sighting made its own editorial statement.


Photo: 15 Whaler [SS Limited] and mega-Yacht share seawall
"My other boat is a Boston Whaler"
The owner of this nice waterfront home on a canal off the Intracoastal Waterway has two boats on the seawall. I am not sure who made the large yacht in the back, but that 15-footer in front is a Whaler!
PhotoCredit: JWH - Reference: 39-10


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Author: James W. Hebert