Boaters automatically associate the Boston Whaler name with durability, quality materials and, let’s be honest, a price to justify everything that goes into each boat. It is the Mercedes of coastal boating. The reputation is so strong that it’s never needed to jazz up the boats beyond a simple, yet unmistakable, white hull.
So you might imagine our surprise to see a Whaler emblem on a 13-foot sport boat clad in an optional orange blaze wrap. Called the 130 Super Sport, the boat is a departure from that conservative look for which Whaler is known. Even better, buyers can score the base 130 with a 40-horse motor for a special introductory offer of $9,995. It weighs less than 1,000 pounds, so you can practically tow it behind a bicycle. Yet the boat is constructed with unibond and foam-filled processes, which along with the materials used, are reasons Whalers are known to last a long time and hold their resale value.
We ran the 130 on a freshwater lake, runabout-style, able to stay on plane at 14-15 mph and testing the hard chines in creative turns. Had there been a beach nearby, we could have used the boat as a swimming stage. But we also used it as you might a skiff, sneaking through narrow canals and into a stump-laden cove, easily able to monitor the water next to the hull — which, by the way, drafts just seven inches. It is unintimidating in every way for boaters of any — or no — experience.
Key Note: The base price makes it more enticing to spring for additions like a livewell, bucket seats and sun top.
• The scuppered deck will quickly drain the cockpit of moisture, making it simple to hose off at the end of the day.
• Long safety rails in the cockpit and bow are high end; they’re fastened, bonded and made of stainless steel.
• Huge anchor locker in the bow will also be used for general in-deck storage.
* Length Overall: 13’3″
* Beam: 5’10”
* Dry Weight (w/ motor): 820 lb.
* Fuel Capacity: 6.6 gal.
* Maximum HP: 40
* MSRP (special introductory price on base boat): $9,995
* NMMA Certified: Yes
* Test Engine: Mercury 40 hp four-stroke
* Test Prop: 10.375 x 14 Black Max, aluminum
* Test Load: People (385 lb.); Fuel (6.6 gal.); plus weight of options
* Minimum Planing Speed: 14 mph @ 3,300 rpm
* Top Speed (w/ added weight of options): 32.0 mph @ 5,500 rpm
* Time to Plane: 5.5 sec.
* Time to 20 MPH: 9.1 sec.