Boston Whaler Goes to the Mats for Early Adoptors
Few boat builders introduce more new models in a year than Whaler did at the Miami International Boat Show. Models ranged from an exciting new Dauntless 17 to the 285 and 315 Conquest.
The Dauntless 17 brings a sporty new open craft to the market that provides Whaler’s solid foam filled construction techniques, durable, high gloss hardware and colored gel coat sides. While it is sure to provide the best teen boating memories for the next generation, it’s the new line of Conquests that will build memories of angling adventures and distant cruises.
The new Conquests are growing the express category. We got a sneak peak of the 285 a couple weeks before the show. It’s available in an open, closed and pilot house configuration. The salon below can be airconditioned and Whaler will factory install a diesel genset to power it. Diesel’s ultra low carbon monoxide emissions make the extra fuel tank worthwhile for liveaboard boating. The availability of helm deck AC adds to summer comfort in humid climates.
Whaler’s engineers expended great effort to develop innovative ways to integrate comfort, utility and versatility into their boats. This effort was all successfully applied in the cockpit where foldaway seats can be quickly tucked under the gunnels or into the transom to clear the deck for angling.
Walking to the foredeck we found wide stairs and an ample walkway around the windshield. Grab rails along the hard top are well-positioned for secure passage.
The open Conquest is distinguished from the closed configuration by the use of clear flexible side curtains instead of fixed glass windows. Both add ventilation with a cleaver windshield vent that opens electrically. The pilot house closes the helm deck entry with glass doors that allow extended season boating in enclosed comfort.
We test drove the Conquest with twin Verado 250 outboards and found it had exciting acceleration mid range power. In the narrow channel of the intercoastal waterway, we spun the helm hard to port and fed in throttle bring the rig around sharply, smoothly and comfortably in control.
The beauty of Whalers is the seamless integration of fishing, fun, cruising and relaxation. The 285 Conquest clearly reflects this DNA.