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Cetacea Page 52

February 19, 2002

Unusual Whalers

Mention "Boston Whaler" to most boaters and what comes to mind is either the classic 13-Sport or the 17-foot Montauk boats. Further study of older Whaler boats reveals that during almost 40 years of production the fine folks from Rockland turned out dozens of different models in the 13-foot and 16-foot hulls. Some of these boats were available for only a year or two, and, as a result, finding one of them today is rather rare.

Not long ago there was quite a FORUM thread about a mystery boat and what model it might have been. In the course of this back and forth among our avid cetologists, two rather rare models came up as guesses for the mystery boat: the TASHMOO and the COHASSET.


Before we get to the boats, a word or two about the names. "Tashmoo" (pronounced "TASh-mu") is a word I often heard mentioned around the house while growing up. My father, who was born in 1910, had the good fortune of having a cousin and uncle with a rather fast Chris-Craft speedboat powered with a big Kermath engine and often rumored to have carried some Canadian whiskey across Lake St. Clair in the 1920's. This gave my Dad access to the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair as a boy and young man, and he often spoke of his adventures, including seeing and riding on the grand old excursion steamer TASHMOO. In her day, the TASHMOO was probably as famous, at least around the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, and Lake Erie, as another White Star liner, the TITANIC, and she met with a similar fate.

The word "tashmoo" comes from an American Indian language and is interpreted as "meeting place." It is also the name of a lake that opened to the Sound on the northern shoreline of the island of Martha's Vineyard. One historical accounts denotes "Tashmoo" as the name of an Indian Prince who led his tribe to settle in the vicinity of the lake that now bears his name. In addition to the lake, the Tashmoo name was also associated with an inn on the island. It is probably from these locations that Dick Fisher became familiar with the word "tashmoo" and used it as part of his naming motiff which employed geographic place names for his boat models. (See Cetacea Page 25 for more geography used as Whaler model names like Menemsha.)

"Cohasset" is a coastal town in Massachusetts, not far from the original Whaler factory in Rockland. A tribe of indians in the region also were known by that name. The word "cohasset" is interpreted to mean a "long rocky place."

It is interesting to keep in mind the geographic references of these two models, Tashmoo associated with a gentle inland lake, and Cohasset with a coastal fishing town, and to see if there is any linkage between the boats and their place names.

Now, on to the boats themselves.

1971 Boston Whaler 16 Tashmoo

John Dunlap of Thornwood, Illinois, sent me several fine photographs of an unusual Whaler his family owns, a TASHMOO, the first cousin to the BASSBOAT and the precurser to the NEWPORT. It was available from 1971 until 1973, then it was apparently superceded by the NEWPORT, which appeared in 1974. It has the top deck molding with small gunwales, bow railing, and bow windscreen which would later all be seen on the NEWPORT, and the center console and rear deck of the BASSBOAT. (Compare it with the BASSBOAT seen in Cetacea Page 5.) John writes:

"I hope [these photographs] give the Whaler Forum and continuousWave a chance to identify [a TASHMOO]. My hull number [3A5074] is a 1971 number, but from what I was told by Boston Whaler, it was probably not configured until 1973."

"What you see is what I got when I purchased it two years ago on a tandem trailer with keel rollers and bunks. My wife loves the Whaler (better than our other Ski/Speed boat, a bow rider) because she can sit and read with her back against the center console, or sun herself on the cushions, or move about and fish."

"The pictures were taken at our place in northern Michigan, about twenty miles south of the Mackinaw Bridge. If you are ever up this way, stop in and we'll go get some great smallmouth bass."


Photo: c.1971 Boston Whaler 17-TASHMOO
Boston Whaler TASHMOO c.1971
This rare Boston Whaler TASHMOO model has a deck molding with small gunwales, a tinted bow windscreen, and bow railing, which would all appear again on the longer-lived NEWPORT. The bow deck, center console, and aft deck were simultaneously available in the BASSBOAT.
PhotoCredit: John Dunlop - Reference: 52-01


Photo: c.1971 Boston Whaler 17-TASHMOO
The TASHMOO Lounger
The raised forward deck is nicely cushioned. The throttle rigging uses side-mount controls instead of binnacle mount, with the result that they end up on the left hand side of the console. The stern seat back may not be a factory original item.
PhotoCredit: John Dunlop - Reference: 52-02


Photo: c.1971 Boston Whaler 17-Tashmoo
Unique Stern Compartment
A short molded stern deck conceals the battery, fuel tank, and rigging from view and creates a little casting platform for fishing. The 55-HP Johnson is mounted on a setback bracket, moving it aft about 6-8 inches, definitely not OEM rigging!
PhotoCredit: John Dunlop - Reference: 52-03


1972-1974 Boston Whaler Cohasset

In this same era, Whaler was also pioneering the new center console boat that would eventually be known as the MONTAUK. Before the design evolved into that configuration, the first center console model showed up as the COHASSET. This early iteration of the center console open boat had an unusual console design, reminiscent of a pedestal sink. Add the console to a base 16-foot hull with a single helm seat and you had the COHASSET-I model, made only in 1972. Change the seat to the Reversible Pilot Seat and add twin fuel tanks, and you had the COHASSET-II, offered from 1972 thru 1974.

Ron Louzon was kind enough to send some old catalogue photographs that show the console and the two varients of COHASSET These very nicely illustrate the two variations of COHASSET that were available.


Photo: c.1972 Boston Whaler 16-Cohasset console
Cohasset Console
The first incarnation of a Boston Whaler center console looked like this.
PhotoCredit: Boston Whaler - Reference: 52-04


Photo: 1972 Boston Whaler 16-Cohasset I
The COHASSET I featured a single pilot seat behind the unusual center console pedestal. This model was offered only in 1972.
PhotoCredit: Boston Whaler - Reference: 52-05


Photo: c.1972 Boston Whaler 16-COHASSET II
With a Reversible Pilot Seat and twin tanks, the boat became the Cohasset-II. This model was available 1972 - 1974.
PhotoCredit: Boston Whaler - Reference: 52-06

More Reading

For more information on the classic 16-foot Boston Whaler, see articles in the REFERENCE section of the website.

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This article first appeared February 9, 2002.
Last modified: Sunday, 01-Jun-2003 14:56:38 EDT
Author: James W. Hebert