Boston Whaler 320 Outrage
JUNE 2003
 
   
Length overall  32'2"
Beam  10'2"
Draft  22"
Displacement  8,500 lb
Fuel Capacity  300 gals
Water Capacity  40 gals
Transom Height  30"


The new Active Deck Supension System under the helm station sole provides a smooth ride even in the most beastly seas.

The Boston Whaler's biggest boat to date is also the most revolutionary one they've built since they pioneered the unsinkable hull back in 1958. The new 320 Outrage is available with an optional Active Deck Suspension System (ADSS) designed to alleviate the amount of impact you feel when you operate the boat in rough seas.

The sole beneath the helm seat is actually a platform that's hinged back by the transom with shock absorbers underneath. The shock absorbers are compressed air cylinders that automatically adjust to the amount of weight on the deck. You can control the ADSS with a switch on the dash that activates the air compressor, and adjusts the air pressure for a firmer or softer ride, depending upon sea conditions.

Or you can lock it off altogether, with lift jacks that fix the deck in place for running at slow speeds or in calm water. And the wild thing is, it really works. I took a test drive at the Miami Boat Show from Sealine Marina on Biscayne Bay out the South Cut through the inlet, where the seas were three-to-four feet, and still we were going about 26 knots, with the deck absorbing the pounding.

We stopped and turned the system off, just for the sake of comparison, then revved it up. And sure enough, we didn't get up to 20 knots before it was plain that we didn't want to take much more of that abuse. Fortunately, with the ADSS, you don't have to. It takes a little getting used to, but that's preferable to getting your teeth jarred, your knees slammed and your kidneys rattled.

And that's just the new high-tech aspect to this very fishable center console. There are many others to laud, like the recessed bow rails and offset cleats, designed so there's nothing to snag flies or lures. There's a deep anchor locker in the bow, complete with remote control for the standard Lofrans Progress I anchor windlass, more storage underneath the bench seats wrapped around the bow, and deep fishing lockers under the forward cockpit sole. Incidentally, all the roomy area around the bow stayed quite dry through this ride, which is pretty remarkable in itself.

Then, there's a comfy bench seat forward of the center console. The interior of the console is all molded fiberglass for easy cleaning and maintenance. There's a Vacuflush toilet with a 6.5-gallon holding tank, a 1100-gph sump pump in the sole, a nifty vertical rod storage arrangement that consists of recessed cups in the sole to secure the rod buts, and a flip-up holder at counter height. You can use the pull-out faucet on the sink to rinse off the rods and lock them inside, secure and dry.

The center console features a high dash providing room for up to three10-inch electronics displays, plus a locking electronics box and flush-mounting surface space. Standard Mercury Marine Smart Craft instrumentation allows you to easily monitor engine functions with the push of a button. Trim tabs and hydraulic tilt steering are standard. The seat is a double with fold-up cushions for stand-up operation.

Aft of that is a commodious bait prep station with a sink and a deep circulating baitwell and tackle storage behind lockable doors. There are more fish lockers in the sole on either side, and a bench seat across the transom that folds down, out of the way.

Of course, there's more rod storage under the gunwales, along with sockets to secure the down-rigger weights. You can get optional port and starboard 12-volt receptacles for plugging in electric reels or down riggers. Fresh and raw water wash-down systems are located near the transom for easy clean-up after you land a fish through the transom gate. And the stainless-steel toe rails are standard.

The standard fiberglass T-top has a ladder built into the tower and a hatch that allows access to the top so you can easily install a custom observation post or upper station. The T-top comes with a lockable electronics box, floodlights to illuminate the cockpit both fore and aft, red and white dome lights, five rod holders and an overhead mesh bag to store life jackets.

This model was powered by twin Optimax Mercury Marine 250-hp outboards, while 225-hp engines are standard. The 320 Outrage has a fuel capacity of 300 gallons.

The hull is a refined version of the "Accutrack" hull system Whaler introduced in 1996. The deep-V hull features a sharp angle of entry that transitions to a 23-degree deadrise at the transom. Reverse chines and running strakes run the full length of the hull to provide lift and good tracking, and deflect the spray, accounting for the remarkably dry ride. There's also an innovative keel pad to enhance low-speed planing. Like all Whalers, this one is built with that exclusive "Unibond" foam-filled construction that makes it unsinkable. This one can hold up to 4,800 pounds of additional weight when completely swamped with water.

While the Boston Whaler folks didn't haul out a chain saw and cut this one in half to prove its unsinkablity, they did just that to a 180 Dauntless and have launched it (the aft half, anyway) on a tour up the East Coast. So keep an eye out for that unique sight on a waterway near you sometime this season.