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.

APRIL 2012
 
   
Length overall  27' 10"
Beam  9' 6"
Draft 20" (engines up)
Max. HP 500  
Fuel 200 gal Water 30 gal 
Weight 7,300 lb (dry, w/o engines)        
Base Price $191,738

Boston Whaler's 285 Conquest is all new. Her running bottom, with 20 degrees of transom deadrise, carries halfway forward, where it makes a quick transition--with the chines rising to present a sharp bow entry to oncoming seas. Bottom strakes and wide chines provide lift and dampen spray. Unfortunately, Eastern Bay didn't provide any wind on sea trial day to challenge the 285, but the design and Whaler's robust, unsinkable Unibond construction promise a seaworthy vessel. The twin 250-hp Verado outboards were remarkably quiet, especially at cruising speeds from the 20s to the low 30s, with good fuel efficiency.

The 285 Conquest is designed as a commodious day boat for a family or a group of friends, with serious fishing and comfort features that can stretch into overnighting on a weekend. The cockpit is large and uncluttered, with fishboxes in the sole. The transom has a livewell in the port corner, a very sturdy and smoothly folding bench seat on the centerline and a transom door to starboard. An optional sunshade cranks out to cover the whole cockpit.

The helm deck makes efficient use of space for a refrigerator, fishing tackle and general storage. Opposite the seamanlike helm is a seat that converts from a space for two with an aft-facing seat behind, to a full-length lounge for one. The bulkhead under the aft-facing seat holds a tackle center. Whaler offers the 285 Conquest with three helm-deck options: an open version with sturdy Stratoglass panels above the safety glass windshield and wings; a glassed-in cabin with Stratoglass aft curtain; and a fully enclosed pilothouse. The cabin provides a V-berth forward with dining table, a galley to port opposite an enclosed head and a transverse double berth beneath the helm deck. 


Boston Whaler, Edgewater, Fla. 800-Whaler 9 (800-942-5379); www.bostonwhaler.com.