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 outrage 280
AUGUST 2009
 
   
Length overall  27' 7"
Beam  9'4"
Draft  20"
Bridge 8'9"
Weight  6,100 lb
Price as Tested  $154,200

I hadn't taken a Boston Whaler airborne since I was fifteen. But this past June, while zipping along at 35 knots on the way back in from a boat test aboard the new 28-foot Outrage, another powerboat buzzed across my bow and presented the perfect boat wake–I couldn't resist. I pitched straight into the roll of water ahead of me and heard the engines spool up in a characteristic high-pitched whine as the props came out of the water. I bent my knees in preparation for a typical hard landing but was surprised when she just eased back into the water stern first. That was just one of the ways the new Whaler is different. (The thrill was the same.)

Boston Whaler is a brand that just about every boater knows–or do they? I recently met with Rick Boulay from Chesapeake Whalertowne on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to take the all new 280 Outrage for a test ride. Although I thought I knew what to expect, I was surprised by the amount of innovation Boston Whaler has packed into this new model. The most obvious new design feature is the integrated center console and hardtop assembly. Because the structural support for the hardtop is built into the center console itself, there are no structural support stanchions landing on the deck where they can block the walkway and stub toes.

The console also features a full wind-shield and wiper. The aluminum support structure is powder coated so it blends in nicely with the hull, giving a sleek and finished look. The console seating converts from leaning post to chairs with built-in foot rests so you can sit without having your feet dangle. Integrated hand holds are in the right place.

Below the console, there is a head compartment with standing headroom. It is equipped with an electric flush head and a hand shower but no sink. Back aft, there is plenty of room for fishing and a convenient bait station behind the leaning post.

The entire boat is designed to be snag-free for fishing. To that end, the mooring cleats are located on the inside of the bulwarks, and there are hawse holes through the top of the bulwark. Each of the hawse pipes has a built-in cup holder. The back of the hard top has rocket launcher-style rod holders.

Up forward, the anchor stows on a through-stem roller, and there is an electric windlass to heft it aboard. The forward seating arrangement has a V-shape. A cooler provides seating at the front of the console, but also moves to fill in the forward V and make one large lounge area for sunbathers.

Underway the Outrage was a blast to drive. Our test boat was equipped with twin 250-hp Mercury Verado outboards. Although she will accommodate a maximum of twin 300s, I found that the 250s provided plenty of power. At wide-open throttle we made 45 knots. As usual, the Verados were so quiet you could carry on a conversation at normal volume even while running at high speed.

In tight turns at high speed, the deep-V hull held her edge without the slightest hint of skidding.  All in all, the Boston Whaler 280 Outrage is a well thought out center console boat that lives up to the Whaler reputation for quality build but really moves the ball forward for innovation.