John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Boston whaler 200 dauntless
Length 20'6"
Beam 8'5"
Draft 12"
Fuel capacity 75 gals
Capacity 8 persons
Maximum HP 175 hp

When I was asked to review a Boston Whaler, I got pretty excited. I have fond memories of my high school summer job, when I taught sailing and chased after a fleet of Sunfish in a vintage 17-foot Boston Whaler Montauk. We sure burned a lot of gas water skiing after work and zipping around the back bays of coastal New Jersey in that boat.
For my test ride, I met with Rick Boulay Jr. from Chesapeake Whaler Towne at the Piney Narrows boat ramp on Kent Island. He had the new 200 Dauntless center-console on a trailer, and in a few minutes we were ready to go.

The Dauntless is different from the Boston Whaler of my youth. The reverse sheer line gives it a much sleeker look, and I was quite impressed with the details. This boat is a fishing machine, a cruising runabout and a ski boat in one.

Our test boat was equipped with anActivity Toweraft which combines a poling platform for fishing in shallow water and a ski tow bar with a ski and wakeboard rack. The rack keeps gear out of the boat, leaving more room for walking around. The Dauntless has a full-beam single-level casting platform aft that hinges up to become a full-length cushioned backrest for an aft bench seat.The seat forward of the console opens to reveal a live bait well that can also be used as a cooler. In this particular boat, the console seat itself concealed a roll-out cooler, but this can be replaced with an optional second bait well. A three-inch cushion converts the large casting platform in the bow to a comfortable lounging space. No matter where you sit or stand, one of the many built-in drink holders aboard is within easy reach.

Our test boat was equipped with a Bimini top. It set up quickly and provided cover for passengers both forward of the console and at the wheel. The Bimini supports are mounted to the bulwarks with a universal ball joint --an innovation which should eliminate the inevitable damage caused by side loading the support arms. Buyers can opt for a T-top.

Perhaps the Dauntless's most impressive (and luxurious) feature is its fully enclosed step-down head.

Our test boat was powered by a 175-hp Mercury Verado. The Verado has a "fly by wire" shift-and-throttle system controlled by an electronic shifter for smoother operation. The smooth hydraulic steering allows for a standard tilt helm. The console instrumentation and switches are oriented vertically in the center, which provides plenty of room for two eight-inch electronic displays mounted on either side.

The Dauntless was a pleasure to operate. Rick and I spoke in conversational tones throughout the test ride. At 3800 rpm, we made 23 knots in calm conditions. Wide open the Dauntless made 37 knots. We carved tight turns while on plane, and I was surprised at how well she held the turn without the stern "skidding out" or experiencing excessive cavitation, and we drove the boat over our wake enough to feel confident that it would have no problem in choppy conditions. The 200 Dauntless is an exceptionally well thought out boat and is a good choice for both the avid angler and the family cruiser.