John page williams
The following review was written by John Page Williams, Editor-at-large, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. John, senior naturalist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, has been a regular contributor to Chesapeake Bay Magazine for 30 years, specializing in environmental issues, nature, wildlife, fishing and boats. He has been testing new and used boats for the magazine's Time-Tested and New Boat News departments since 1998.

FEBRUARY 2013
 
   
LOA  24' 5"
Beam  8' 6"
Draft 17" (engine up) 
Deadrise 200           
Fuel 111 gal
Max. Power 300 hp

Last fall, Boston Whaler introduced two new multi-purpose Vantage family boats. Dual-console boats built for fishing, day cruising, and tow sports have become the hottest market segment in 20- to 33-foot outboards. Rather than rush into this market, though, Whaler’s design, engineering and customer support staff listened first—to their dealer design team, dealer council and their customers. At the Annapolis Powerboat Show, we had a rare opportunity to go over a new Vantage 230 with Whaler’s principal naval architect, Bobby Garza.

The teams decided that they would design the Vantage hulls (there’s a single-engine 230 and a twin-engine 270) specifically for a dual-console layout. That way, they could precisely control the center of gravity and the ways that the hulls respond to people sitting in the bow or in the stern cockpit. On the 230, they began with a transom deadrise and running bottom of 20 degrees. Wide chines offer stability and damping of spray. At the transom, Garza tapered the chines inward slightly, reducing buoyancy there to allow the bow to rise to seas more easily. There’s no loss of stability, there’s still plenty of buoyancy to carry the engine chosen for the 230 (a Mercury Verado), and the hull responds better at moderate speeds. Recessed trim tabs give the skipper maximum control over the hull’s running attitude.

The second innovation is asymmetrical consoles, with the port one wider than the starboard. This allows a double-wide, multi-function companion seat to port and a wider, deeper head compartment in the port console. The sturdy port companion seat offers multiple configurations, from aft-facing lounge for two to fore-and-aft seating for four. With an optional table (which also has a mount in the bow) and the transom seat in place, it offers picnic seating for four. To starboard, aft of the seamanlike helm, is a wet bar and countertop with cooler beneath. The bow deck is squared off for more space and a bow ladder for beaching. The anchor is recessed but still readily accessible. The cockpit sole, starboard console and bow seats offer abundant storage.

From these basics, the design team set up the 230 with a menu of accessories for varied waterways, including a tower with both wakeboard racks and rod holders. The transom has two swim platforms, and the retractable ladder on the starboard platform is angled away from the engine. The fishing package includes a livewell and under-gunwale toe rails.

Power choices for the Vantage 230 include 225-hp, 250-hp and 300-hp Verados. According to company performance figures, the 300 offers the broadest performance profile, with efficient cruising speeds from the low 20s to the mid-30s. Base price for a 230 Vantage with a 300-hp Verado is $101,100. www.whaler.com.