When Boston Whaler began showing off its new multi-purpose, dual-console Vantage series of family boats, the company sent its principal naval architect, Bobby Garza, to the fall boat shows. For Chesapeake Bay Magazine, Bobby’s presence at the Annapolis Powerboat Show offered a rare opportunity for insight into the thinking behind this important new series. Dual-console boats built for families who are serious about fishing, day cruising, and tow sports have become the hottest market segment in 20’ to 33’ outboard boats over the past several years.
From these basics, Garza said, the design team set up the 230 with a menu of accessories for multiple uses on varied waterways, including a tower with both wakeboard racks and rod holders
Rather than rush into this market, though, Whaler’s design, engineering, and customer support staff consulted their Dealer Design Team, their Dealer Council, and especially their customers. Their first move doesn’t get much press, but the teams decided that they would design the hulls for these boats (there’s a single-engine 230 and a twin-engine 270) specifically for a dual-console layout, where they could precisely control the center of gravity and the ways the hulls responded to people sitting in the bow or stern cockpits while underway. On the 230, which we examined closely with Garza, they began with a transom deadrise and running bottom of 20 degrees, sweeping smoothly to a sharp bow entry, with wide chines for stability at rest and for damping spray. So far, no surprise, but they tapered the chines inward slightly to narrow the after part of the hull, reducing buoyancy in the stern and allowing the bow to rise to the seas, even with weight concentrated forward. The design change produced no loss of stability, and there’s still plenty of buoyancy to carry the engine chosen for the 230 (a 6-cylinder Mercury Verado). The hull even responds better at moderate speeds. It’s a trick that Downeast workboat designers learned years ago to help their hulls negotiate rough waters, but it’s not often used by mainstream builders today. Recessed trim tabs give the skipper maximum control over the hull’s running attitude.
The second major trick was designing asymmetrical consoles, with the port console wider than the starboard and the sturdy windshield modified accordingly. The difference is so subtle that most people don’t notice, but it allows for a double-wide, multifunction companion seat to port and a wider, deeper head compartment in the port console. Built on a sturdy stainless frame, the port seat offers multiple configurations, from an aft-facing lounge for 2 to fore-and-aft seating for 4. With an optional table hooked into its after end and the sturdy transom seat in place, it offers picnic seating for 4. To starboard, aft of the seamanlike helm, is a wet bar and countertop with cooler beneath. The table, by the way, also has a mount in the bow, where it provides picnic seating for four. The bow deck is squared off to increase space and provide a mount for a convenient bow ladder. The anchor is recessed below, but still readily accessible. The cockpit sole, starboard console, and bow seats all offer abundant storage.
From these basics, Garza said, the design team set up the 230 with a menu of accessories for multiple uses on varied waterways, including a tower with both wakeboard racks and rod holders. The transom features dual swim platforms, and the retractable ladder on the starboard platform is angled away from the engine. The cockpit sole compartment holds rod racks for 3, as well as space for boards and vests. The Fishing Package includes a live well and under-gunwale toe rails. A look under the large “mechanical access” hatch in the cockpit reveals a pair of solid pads in the otherwise foam-filled bottom for mounting transducers and through-hulls.
Power for the Vantage 230 includes 225-hp, 250-hp, and 300-hp Verados, all differently programmed versions of the same supercharged 4-stroke. From company performance figures, it looks as if the 300 offers the broadest performance profile, with efficient cruising speeds from the low 20s to the mid-30s. Top speed is around 50 (if burning premium gas).
- LOA: 24’ 5” (w/ swim platforms)
- Beam: 8’ 6”
- Draft: 17” (engine up)
- Transom deadrise: 20˚
- Weight: 3,900 lbs. (dry, w/o engine)
- Max power: 300 hp
- Fuel: 111 gals.
- Persons capacity: 10
- Water: 20 gals.
- Base Price with 300-hp Mercury Verado: $100,100
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