Having a blast on this punchy centre console sportsboat from Boston Whaler
“Don’t you just lurve zis ’ull!” grins my French skipper. We’re at the Brunswick press event, on the beautiful island of Saint-Honorat.
On the transom is the very latest supercharged Mercury Verado outboard – the new 350 – and it’s running flat out.
On calm water that equates to 44 knots; on the long low swell we’re running through we’re still maintaining 41 knots. The Boston Whaler 270 Dauntless is flying, literally!
We’re blasting up the faces, hanging airborne momentarily and then falling, catching the water stern first before dropping the bow gracefully and barrelling up the next one.
It feels epic, purpose-built for this kind of treatment, and that’s because it is.
Boston Whaler makes serious heavy-weather boats designed to get sports-fishermen out to their favourite fishing grounds quickly and safely.
It’s not perfect however, for example, there’s a thick grabrail running around the windscreen, but from where I’m sat it is out of reach.
And the seat itself is flat of base and back, lacking the security of a wraparound bolster. I need something to hang on to.
The next day I get it, and it’s called a steering wheel.
With the kill-cord securely strapped to my leg I nudge the stainless-steel throttle into gear, take a deep breath and flatten it – when in France!
That brand new Verado 350 lets out the cultured howl of a Siamese cat gone feral and in 15 seconds we’re at 40 knots: this new engine really is a monster.
And yet the sheer capability of the Boston Whaler 270 Dauntless tames it so utterly that you almost find yourself wishing for more.
Hard turns fail to faze it – the boat sling-shotting through improbably tight direction changes like a fairground ride.
Even with the wheel to hang on to I still find myself wishing for a little more side support.
I’m also wishing for a better power trim switch, the one in the latest Mercury throttle lever is awful, hard to operate and lacking the intuitiveness of earlier rocker switches.
But enough nit-picking, the truth is I’m having a ball.
And good though it is through the turns, what the Boston Whaler 270 Dauntless does best is cover ground – quickly and, within reason, irrespective of sea conditions.
Suddenly I’m a gnarly sports-fisherman, carbon fibre rods erect, blasting my way to another tournament win in my bulletproof Boston Whaler.
But is this how people really use them?
A few do of course, but most simply relish in the sheer capability of the craft, in the same way that we drive Range Rovers that never go off-road while wearing 300-metre dive watches that we take off before getting into the shower.
It’s about knowing that, while we’ll probably never use it, that surfeit of capability is there as we’re pottering about with our families.
Boston Whaler understands that too and has put a lot of thought into the usability of the 270 Dauntless.
Up front there’s a U-shaped seating area in the bow and a drop-in table that converts it into the perfect picnic spot.
The two seat ends also angle up to make a pair of forward facing loungers.
Just ahead of the centre console is another lounger, the base lifting to reveal a deep locker.
Under the console itself hides a small heads compartment. A little tight of access, it offers a very useful toilet or a handy place to change.
Back aft the floor of the flat, raised ‘landing deck’, designed for hauling in ‘the one that didn’t get away’, lifts to create a transom seat and new for 2015 is the optional drop-down side door giving easy access for swimmers.
High bulwarks protect wide non-slip decks that encircle the whole boat – this is a serious centre console fisher at heart after all.
But Boston Whaler has cottoned on to the fact that most people buy these boats for their core attributes yet never actually put them to their intended use.
So what you get is the heart that makes Boston Whalers great: the unsinkable unibond construction hull (a famous marketing campaign involved sawing one into three sections, each of which floated with the floor clear of the water); the phenomenal seakeeping; and the epic performance (especially with this latest and most powerful Mercury outboard).
And most of all the sheer quality of build and engineering that is designed to absorb all the abuse that the most serious sports fisherman is ever likely to throw at it.
Yet what you see, touch and use is utterly family friendly.
Just don’t be surprised if, after a day on the water, while blasting home at 40 knots on your Boston Whaler 270 Dauntless you find yourself unaccountably dreaming of landing ‘the big one’.
First published in the August 2015 issue of MBY.
Price (base boat with 350hp Verado): £97,539 inc UK VAT
Length: 27ft 10in (8.48m)
Beam: 9ft 0in (2.74m)
Fuel capacity: 575 litres (126 gallons)
Water capacity: 68 litres (15 gallons)
Displacement: 2.5 tonnes
RCD: C for 12 persons
Engine: 350hp Mercury Verado
Contact: Dorset Yacht Company
Tel: +44 (0)1202 674531