Think of Boston Whaler, and small, unsinkable fishing boats will spring to mind. Well, now it's time to think again: the famous American boatbuilder's 320 Outrage is one serious sportsboat.
Although primarily designed for the US sports-fishing market, the Boston Whaler 320 Outrage will equally appeal in the UK to the discerning dayboater.
Very similar in all aspects to the existing Boston Whaler 270, it offers just a little extra room all round.
The walkaround decks are spacious and feel very safe, with high freeboards, which on the forward half of the boat are topped by a stainless steel guardrail.
There is no shortage of storage, including lockers in the cockpit sole both fore and aft (the former fitted with a drain), underseat lockers in the bow and cubbyholes in the coamings.
Behind the helm seat there is a sink and live bait well, with further storage underneath.
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If fishing is your game, you’ll also be pleased to know that there is room to stow no fewer than 29 rods around the boat!
Ample seating is provided, including a foldaway full-width transom bench, a double scat forward of the helm station and wraparound searing in the bow.
Best of all, twin adjustable helm seats offer excellent support, with squabs to allow comfortable helming while standing.
Our test boat’s helm station was particularly uncluttered thanks to its Mercury Smartcraft system, which has a single electronic instrument displaying all engine information for both engines, including a useful fuel consumption read-out.
A locker for electronics is located above this, and another on the underside of the hardtop bimini.
Having no sleeping accommodation doesn’t necessarily negate the need for domestic facilities, and tucked cleverly away inside the console moulding is a very spacious toilet compartment, albeit one that it is a little tricky to get in and out of.
The most interesting and most expensive item on the options list is an Active Deck Suspension System (ADSS), whereby the section of floor underneath the helm seats floats on a pneumatic shock-absorbing set-up, which can be adjusted to suit the severity of the seas.
It will set you back £11,000, so you would have to be very serious about your boating to specify it, especially as the hull gives such a soft ride anyway.
Outboard power might not be to everyone’s taste on a 32ft boat, but the twin 250hp Mercury Verados fitted to our rest boat excelled in all areas.
Not only were they extremely quiet, smooth and responsive. but they also gave us a top speed of 40 knots with three people on board.
Acceleration was swift, with planing speeds reached in just 6 sec from standstill.
The downside, of course, will be the cost of fuel; although modern four-strokes are relatively economical, we were still consuming 14gph (64lph) across both engines at a cruising speed of 21 knots.
With marina petrol now costing around £1 per litre, this means running costs of over £60 per hour.
Underway, the boat felt solid and composed, even when faced with some sizable chop, and the deep-vee hull behaved impeccably.
Turns were tight, with little loss of speed and no evidence of cavitation.
Along with the light and balanced steering set-up, the hand grip on the steering wheel helped to make driving the Boston Whaler 320 an absolute pleasure.
First published in the August 2004 issue of MBM.
- Solid build
- Great performance
- Lack of facilities
- High running costs
This might seem expensive for a dayboat.
But if you are after a well-built and capable sports boat and believe that you get what you pay for, it is well worth a look.
Price: from £106,000
Length overall: 32ft 2in (9.80m)
Beam: 10ft 2in (3.09m)
Displacement: 3.85 tonnes excluding engines
Engines: Twin 200hp-300hp outboards
Enquires: Dorset Yacht Company
Tel:: 01202 67 4531