The recession of 2009 changed everything, according to Will Rogers, the man in charge of Boston Whaler’s range of larger 30ft plus boats like the new Boston Whaler 420 Outrage.
“In the past, when people thought of Boston Whaler, they linked us to our smaller runabouts – the 13 Supersport or the 17 Montauk, for example – because for years, that was very much our business,” says Will. “Our core values were unsinkability and fishing. That’s all we talked about. The recession of 2009 changed all that. While we absolutely hold dear to those principles, we realised that to survive and prosper, we needed to broaden our marketplace.”
The 27 Outrage was the first of the super- sized Whalers. Launched in 2010, it was an immediate hit, proving that there was a market for bigger boats and paving the way to take the brand beyond 30ft.
In 2012, the expansion programme went into overdrive with the launch of the 32 Outrage, another extremely successful craft, the 345 Conquest, which introduced cabin boats and triple outboard engines, and the 37 Outrage, which won European Boat of the Year.
It was a brave move in difficult times, but it has proved absolutely the right decision. A brand new 60,000 square foot facility has been created, exclusively to build the large triple and quad-engined boats, whilst employee numbers, which stood at 350 in 2010, have more than doubled.
The 420 Outrage takes the brand past 40ft for the first time. “Our hope was to gradually increase production toward 25 boats per year. In fact, we’ve just passed this model’s first anniversary and have smashed that figure already. We’re discovering markets that we hadn’t even considered. For example, it’s proving surprisingly popular in the megayacht community.
“They’re being bought as tenders; apparently, the owners like the safety and quality, plus they’re amazingly versatile, so whether running guests into shore or taking the boat exploring for an afternoon, it works well for them. And of course it’s a huge compliment to us that these boats are being chosen by people who could literally have whatever they want.
“In addition, we’re finding that some boaters, who maybe had two or three boats pre 2009, are less comfortable with that concept post recession, and want a single boat that can do everything.”
Boston Whaler design manager Charlie Foss has a mantra – “The boat is the tool, not the experience” – and this new flagship of the range encapsulates that philosophy perfectly. “My job,” Charlie tells me, “is to ensure that our boats are the best tools to access that experience.”
Read the full report on the Boston Whaler 420 Outrage in the July 2017 issue of Motor Boat & Yachting.