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Cetacea Page 54

March 7, 2002

Boat Show Bonanza

In northern climates, winter boat shows are one way to revive dormant northern boaters and get them thinking about boating again. Manufacturers roll out new models of boats and motors, and Michiganders and Minnesotans alike put on a pair of dusty Topsiders and crawl all over them. Here we present a little round up of photographs of Whalers, other boats, and engines to power them, all seen at recent winter boat shows in Detroit and Miami.

Outboard Motors

The first Whaler, the 13-footer, was typically powered by an outboard that you could carry aboard and clamp on the transom. Those days are over. Outboard are getting bigger, more powerful, and heavier, particularly the newest 4-stroke or low emission 2-stroke models in the 200-250 HP range.

If you haven't seen them, here is a quick look at several of the latest outboards, including the first known published photographs of the big Mercury prototype previewed at the Miami Boat Show. Was this the engine that Brunswick C.E.O. George Buckley described as "revolutionary"? Also, another "prototype" engine emerges from Mercury's past, shown to dealers a few years ago.


Photo: 2002 Ficht 250-HP Outboard on display at Detroit Boat Show. Don Jahncke and Bombardier model included for size comparison and to permit double entendre on 'cowling' and 'model'.
Evinrude Returns
The Bombardier-owned Evinrude line returned to the market with this 250-HP engine. The shapely cowling on this model brought several of us over for a closer look. That's FORUM lurker (and two-Whaler owner) Don Jahncke on the left.
PhotoCredit: Tom Greenberg - Reference: 54-01


Photo: 2002 Honda 225-HP 4-stroke Outboard on display at Detroit Boat Show.
Hi-Tech Honda
Honda's 225-HP engine features unusual multiple overhead cams and variable valve timing. Check out the engineering just in that floor stand; it's holding up 585 pounds and $17,000 of engine. This display didn't seem to draw customers over. I think the Honda guys need to work more on marketing at live events.
PhotoCredit: Tom Greenberg - Reference: 54-02


Photo: Mercury pre-production outboard on display at Miami Boat Show
Mystery Mercury
While competitors Yamaha and Honda had production 4-stroke engines with 225-HP, Mercury could only let customers gawk at this very large prototype. Representatives were mum about what was under the cowling.
PhotoCredit: Jeff Angeleri - Reference: 54-03


Photo: Mercury pre-production outboard on display at Miami Boat Show
Curvy Cowling
The Mystery Merc showed some unusual styling and design in the cowling and engine mounts. It looks like the powerhead could be extending down into the upper part of what would otherwise be the leg. Close ties between Mercury and General Motors in I/O engine production may perhaps provide a hint at where this 4-stroke block will be sourced. Horsepower decals had not been applied, but you have to think that if they waited this long and it is this big, they would be applying "250" (or more) to the shroud.
PhotoCredit: Jeff Angeleri - Reference: 54-04


Photo: c.1997 Mercury prototype outboard
Outboard of Tomorrow?
Just because there is a prototype doesn't mean there is a production version. A few years ago Mercury showed their dealer network this engine, apparently a futuristically styled 100-HP outboard of tomorrow. The 2002 models doesn't quite resemble it, yet.
PhotoCredit: Mystery Merc Dealer (Thanks!) - Reference: 54-11



There were plenty of Whalers at these two shows. Southeastern Michigan SeaRay mega-dealer COLONY MARINE had ten Whaler hulls on display in Detroit, ranging from 12 to 29 feet. At Miami, the undisputed capital of boat building, the annual Boat Show has become the place for major product introductions. The Boston Whaler factory did not miss their cue, revealing the newest model to carry the MONTAUK name at the February 14-24, 2002 show. (See the REFERENCE Section article on the Montauk 170 for details.) Here are some of the other boats on display at the indoor Detroit show and the huge Miami indoor, outdoor, and in-water event.


Photo: 2002 Boston Whaler 255 Conquest view from stern looking forward along sheer line
A Wavy 255 Conquest
A new model for 2002, the 255 CONQUEST looked rather un-Whaler-like when viewed from this angle. That curving sheer line and slab-sided hull were remiscent of a power-cat or a Sea Swirl. This is really a very large boat with a beam of 8-foot 6-inches and a hull weight of an astonishing 4,900 pounds. It is probably underpowered when equipped with a single 225-HP Optimax, as was the case with this one. That is the minimum horsepower for this hull (max. is 400), but it keeps the price down for boatshow keel-kickers. The insert shows the detail of the molded-in pocket for the trim tabs. Worries about engine reliability were assuaged by that sign that offered a FIVE-YEAR warranty on the big Optimax.
PhotoCredit: Tom Greenberg - Reference: 54-05


Photo: 2002 Boston Whaler 210 Outrage view of center console and seats
210 Outrage
Also new for 2002, the 210 OUTRAGE showed a welcomed tendency to a smaller, leaner boat. With a 20-foot 6-inch LOA, it once would have been called a "20". The boat comes with a 95-gallon internal tank, weighs 3,300 pounds, and is rated for 200-HP maximum. The new style of center console includes plenty of curved surfaces, fancy translucent oval logo on the front, and seat cushions with stitched "Boston Whaler" and two-tone vinyl. That kind of schmaltz was not in Dick Fisher's school of purposeful design.
PhotoCredit: Tom Greenberg - Reference: 54-06


Photo: 2002 Boston Whaler 210 Outrage view of cockpit from port stern quarter
Outrage 210 Cockpit
This stern view shows an angle missing from the catalogue photographs. The semi-circular motor well molding is not exactly unique to Whaler. We saw almost the exact same layout on the stern of a Bayliner of similar size. This boat has the Deluxe Leaning Post with Livewell option.
PhotoCredit: Jeff Angeleri - Reference: 54-07


Photo: 2002 Boston Whaler 210 Outrage and 21 Ventura side-by-side
Two 21-footers
Seen side-by-side with a 21-VENTURA, the new 210 OUTRAGE has some noticeable differences. The gunwales are narrower, eating up less cockpit beam and are also lower, better for fishing. The new Outrage also features the return of a classic detail, hawsepipes to lead lines to cleats mounted below. Many current Whaler models use dreadful deck mounted cleats like those on the Ventura.
PhotoCredit: Jeff Angeleri - Reference: 54-08


Photo: Boston Whaler 16 Dauntless with hull sawn in half
Chain Saw Whaler II
After you cut a perfectly good DAUNTLESS 16 in half for marketing and promotion, you don't just throw it away. You drive it around in-water boat shows to hammer home the point!
PhotoCredit: Jeff Angeleri - Reference: 54-09


Photo: Boston Whaler 2002 255 CONQUEST on plane with twin engines; red freighter hull in background
Demo Riding
For demonstration rides, the 255 CONQUEST was wisely equipped with twin outboards.
PhotoCredit: Jeff Angeleri - Reference: 54-10


Photo: Edgewater 2002 boat with green hull accent; thunderstorm clouds in background
Whaler Owners Sea Green?
This new model from Edgewater Boats shows with a wonderful sea-green hull accent, chosen from the palette of an old MIAMI VICE episode. At one time you could look to Edgewater for flashes of retro-Classic Whaler lines, but no longer. This boat has a wonderful sheer line, and this great photograph captures it on land but looking like it is running 35-knots in front of that approaching storm front.
PhotoCredit: Jeff Angeleri [High-Resolution Image available] - Reference: 54-12


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This article first appeared in preview form on March 7, 2002.
Last modified: Sunday, 01-Jun-2003 14:56:39 EDT
Author: James W. Hebert