THE UNSINKABLE LEGEND
B O S T O N
W H A L E R
B O A T S
volume 10 issue 1
M A G A Z I N E
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Mia, nice meeting you last night. About our date...would you like to join me on my boat tomorrow?
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whaler president’s letter
L Keeping the legend growing.
At Boston Whaler, we celebrate the importance of living in the moment. It’s why we design boats that are incredibly comfortable, easy to maintain and easy to operate—so that our customers can focus on the joys of the present.
In this issue of the magazine, you’ll meet several Whaler owners who are very good at savoring the moment, from a fun-loving couple in Fort Myers (page 18), to a professional angler exploring Costa Rica (page 44), to a Midwestern couple who have rescued countless dogs and treated several of them to boat rides on Lake Michigan (page 26). These boaters exemplify the spirit of seizing the here and now. Still, in boat manufacturing—just like in boating—it’s important not to lose sight of the horizon. That’s why we’re proud to announce the new Brunswick Fiberglass Boat Technology Center, a joint In boat effort with Brunswick and Sea Ray to design, engineer manufacturing— and launch the future of the marine industry. We’re just like in boating— thrilled to see the center take shape right in our it’s important not backyard, and excited to see what this group of powerful to lose sight of the minds can accomplish. (For a preview, turn to page 4.) horizon. By actively working to create new possibilities in the future, we can help to ensure great “present moments” for generations to come.
President — Boston Whaler
President, Boston Whaler
Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Customer Service
Manager of Content Development & Marketing Events
Marketing & Sales Event Coordinator
Digital Marketing Specialist
Marketing Services Technician
Amy Wideman Editor at Large
Jennifer Chesak Editor at Large
Digital Creative Director
Kraig Devenport Art Director
Justin Goode Photographers
Mike Calabro, Steven J. Conway, Robert Glover, Richard Steinberger
Whaler magazine is published two times a year for Boston Whaler by Dino Publishing LLC. Any correspondence should be directed to: Dino Publishing 350 W. Hubbard St., Suite 400 Chicago, IL 60654 www.dinopublishing.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The opinions expressed in this magazine are not to be considered ofﬁcial expressions of Dino Publishing or Boston Whaler. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject all editorial or advertising matter. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, or artwork. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph, or illustration without prior written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Printed in U.S.A. Copyright © 2019 Boston Whaler.
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© 2019 JL AUDIO, Inc. “How we play”, “JL Audio” and the JL Audio logo are registered trademarks of JL Audio, Inc. For more information on our complete line of products, please visit your local authorized dealer or www.jlaudio.com.
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volume 10 issue 1
Something to Crow About
Randy and Abby Crow flock to the Whaler lifestyle, using their 270 Vantage and 170 Dauntless to unlock the full potential of Fort Myers.
It’s a Dog’s Life
Indiana residents Chuck Babilla and Kelly Rinker treat their five rescue dogs to cruises on Lake Michigan aboard their faithful 250 Outrage.
A Tale of Three Whalers
The 350, 380 and 420 Outrage offer superior comfort and capability. Learn about the standout features that set these models apart from the pack.
When Colorado summers fade, Florida winters take center stage for avid anglers Ray Cooper and Anita Valdez and their Boston Whaler.
Navigate Ideas for your boating bucket list, docking technology with the power of AI, a sneak peek at the Brunswick Fiberglass Boat Technology Center and more.
Experience A 130 Super Sport proves itself the perfect tender for a Pacific Northwest couple’s adventures, from the Gulf of Alaska to the Sea of Cortez and beyond.
Travel With more than 50,000 inland lakes in the region, the Midwest holds endless possibilities for trailer boaters. Hitch up your Whaler and explore!
Profile A North Carolina boater sets her sights on the same Whaler model she drove in her teens, working as a camp counselor and ski-boat driver.
The Jurassic Fish of Costa Rica
Celebrity angler Henry Waszczuk takes readers on a tour through the Pacific waters off Playa Flamingo, where volcanic structures and colorful species make for excellent fishing.
On The Cover: Rescue pup Calvin enjoys the view from his adoptive parents’ 250 Outrage.
Photo by Mike Calabro
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NAVIGATE Hooks, news, gear and info to help make the most of your boating lifestyle
Announcing the Brunswick Fiberglass Boat Technology Center A New Home for Innovation
Coming this fall: The Brunswick Fiberglass Boat Technology Center (BFBTC) will launch a new era in marine innovation. Located on the grounds of Boston Whaler’s headquarters in Edgewater, Florida, the 45,000-square-foot BFBTC facility will be home to the industry’s most formidable product development team. Its mission: To design, engineer and launch industry-leading products for Boston Whaler and its sister company, Sea Ray, that continue to advance the limits of boating comfort, capability, enjoyment and ease of use. “Our commitment to providing boaters with a seamless on-water experience remains our priority,” said Whaler President Nick Stickler, “and it inspires us to keep raising the bar.” WHAT ELSE IS NEW? Turn to page 6 for the latest developments in docking technology.
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N AV I G AT E
This season, spice things up by adding some new to-dos to your boating agenda. Here are a few of our favorites to get you started:
Organize a Raft-Up Circle up with a group of fellow Whaler owners for a laidback day of transomhopping and sharing snacks, stories and sunscreen.
Fish in a Tournament It’s not always the most seasoned angler who wins the prize. A little skill and a lot of luck can be a prize-winning combination. Search online for fishing tourneys near you.
Hit the Road Set your sights on a destination in a new state, then hitch up your trailer and go!
Keep it Clean Give back to the waterways that give us so much: Participate in a local conservation organization’s cleanup efforts, or organize your own Marina or Beach Cleanup Day.
Navigate at Night Navigational equipment has come a long way, but there’s still satisfaction to be gained from tuning in to your senses and teaching yourself a new skill. Ask your Whaler dealer for recommendations on a night boating class.
PROTECTION FOR HULL HEALTH Applying a fresh coat of antifouling bottom paint to your Whaler’s hull is a good way to help protect its performance, as well as its good looks. Of course, it’s important to choose the right products. You can trust the experts at Interlux, makers of the Micron Extra series of antifouling paint, to give your boat the TLC it deserves. Micron Extra delivers long-lasting antifouling protection against all types of fouling in all waters by incorporating Biolux® Technology to control slime and algae. Its controlled polishing action helps to maximize fuel efficiency while minimizing drag and preventing paint buildup, allowing your Whaler to be hauled and relaunched without reapplying. For answers to dozens of commonly asked questions that can arise before, during or after painting your boat, head to the Support section of Interlux.com for a searchable database of advice.
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N AV I G AT E DECISIONS, DECISIONS Water-skiing or wakeboarding? Marlin or Yellowfin? Mai tais or margaritas? Boating poses a lot of win-win scenarios, but on dry land, the questions aren’t always so quick to answer. When it comes to selecting boat insurance, Boater’s Choice makes it easy to arrive at the outcome that suits you best. The representatives at Boater’s Choice can talk through your insurance plan options and assist you in choosing from a variety of A-rated carriers. Let Boater’s Choice help you find the right insurance solution, so you can get back to pondering the fun stuff. Get your personalized, no-obligation quote at
MAKES PERFECT SENSE If the idea of approaching a crowded dock in your Whaler stirs up butterflies in your stomach, you’ll be pleased to hear this: Raymarine and Boston Whaler have harnessed the power of AI to make docking easier than ever before. DockSense™ is a revolutionary assisted-docking system that combines FLIR navigation, machine learning and sensing technology to aid in steering and throttle command — in effect, forming a Virtual Bumper™ around your boat. DockSense was a hit when featured on a 330 Outrage with Mercury Joystick Piloting at February’s Miami Boat Show. Watch for the technology to become available on Whaler models this year—and plan on quashing those butterflies once and for all.
COVER UP IN STYLE Out on the water, the weather can change quickly. Luckily, Boston Whaler’s online apparel store has just what you need to dress comfortably, whether your boating forecast includes blue skies, blustery winds or all-out downpours. Choose from a vibrant selection of tees and tanks, sweatshirts and pullovers, headwear and jackets, with subtle Whaler logos that broadcast your impeccable taste. Mother Nature may rain on your boat parade, but she can’t stop you from looking sharp.
Head to whalerapparel.com to shop the store.
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EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA SET SET SET OF OF OF EYES EYES EYES With Raymarine With Raymarine With Axiom Raymarine and Axiom FLIR and Axiom ClearCruise™ FLIR ClearCruise™ and FLIR ClearCruise™ Combine Raymarine Combine Combine Raymarine AxiomRaymarine with Axiom thewith FLIR Axiom theM132 FLIR with M132 orthe M232 or FLIR M232 thermal M132 thermal or cameras M232 cameras thermal and and cameras and take advantage take advantage of take ClearCruise™ advantage of ClearCruise™ thermal of ClearCruise™ thermal objectobject recognition thermal recognition object technology. technology. recognition FLIR FLIR technology. FLIR Thermal ClearCruise™ ThermalThermal ClearCruise™ elevates ClearCruise™ elevates your awareness your elevates awareness your withawareness with visual visual andand with audible audible visual alerts alerts and audible alerts when boats when or obstacles boats when orboats obstacles enter or the obstacles enter camera’s the camera’s enter field thefield ofcamera’s view. of view. This field This powerful of powerful view. video This video powerful video analytics technology analyticsanalytics technology works technology both works day both and works daynight and both night and daymakes and andmakes night your your and time time makes ononthe the your time on the water saferwater and safer relaxing. water and safer relaxing. and relaxing. Visit flir.com/marine Visit flir.com/marine Visitand flir.com/marine watch and the watch video and thewatch video the video
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N AV I G AT E
READY, STEADY, GO Guests at the recent Boston Whaler Captiva Rendezvous tested out Seakeeper’s gyro-stabilization technology and gave it two very steady thumbs up. You see, Seakeeper works to virtually eliminate boat roll, dramatically cutting down on the rocking and swaying that rough conditions cause. How does it work? Inside a vacuum encapsulation, a flywheel spins at speeds of up to 9,700 rpm. When the boat rolls, the gyro tilts fore and aft, creating a powerful gyroscopic torque to port and starboard that counteracts the motion. Luckily, you don’t need to fully grasp the physics to enjoy the benefits—just step onboard and let Seakeeper work its magic. View product demos
and learn more by visiting seakeeper.com.
BOAT CAMPING TIPS Beachside camping is a novel way to take advantage of your Boston Whaler’s capabilities. A Whaler lets you reach more remote campsites than you could by car, and often have them all to yourselves. You’ll fall asleep under the stars, lulled by the sound of water lapping against the shore. Keep in mind that boat camping presents a few unique challenges, but with some smart planning, it’s sure to be an excellent adventure. Gear Up for Safety You’ll be spending a lot of time outside, and relying on your own preparation, so pack accordingly: Bring plenty of sunscreen, a warm change of clothes, a fire starter and a first-aid kit. Find Shelter Think about where you’ll sleep. If you’re using a tent, consider a compact backpacking-style model that will stow easily on your Whaler. Don’t forgo plenty of bedding, though—the wee hours can get chilly! Meal Plans Certain foods fare much better than others at a campsite. Do the bulk of your meal prep before packing, including items that can easily be reheated rather than cooked from scratch.
NO BONES ABOUT IT Dogs have the right idea: The best way to ride in a vehicle is with the windows all the way down, letting the breeze ruffle your hair… er, fur. And so it goes on a boat: The best way to cruise is facing into the wind, eyes closed, ears back, heart wide open. Got a furry friend who’s always happy to jump onboard and remind you to relax and soak it all in? Share your photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #WaggingWhalerWednesday. You might be featured in an upcoming post from the official Whaler Owners Club!
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Water Wisdom Make sure to bring lots of fresh water. Pack as much as you think you’ll consume, and then pack more. Your onboard coolers should be full of ice and bottled water. Get An Early Start Afternoon thunderstorms are common in many areas in the summer. It’s a smart idea to be at your campsite and set up early, so you can relax and enjoy yourself the rest of the day. Leave No Trace It’s simple: Pack out what you pack in—and if your Whaler doesn’t have a head, please dig a hole! Leave the beach as pristine as you found it, so the next merry band of boat campers can enjoy it too.
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For over a century, a league of canned crusaders have been fighting to keep boats safe from barnacles, slime, algae and other aquatic evils that rob your boat of its true performance. With advanced know-how and unique capabilities, each antifouling is tailored to different conditions, and has the power to defeat fouling in all its forms. Micron® Extra leads the charge in all waters. Using its signature dual-protection with boosting Biolux® technology, it provides high-quality, multi-season protection that survives hauling and relaunch without the need for repainting. For super-powered antifouling protection and proven performance, choose Interlux®.
The hero your boat deserves!
All trademarks mentioned are owned by, or licensed to, the AkzoNobel group of companies. © AkzoNobel 2018.
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N AV I G AT E TOE-TAPPING TUNES
Your soundtrack is an important part of a great day on the water, so you deserve audio components that contribute to peak boating experiences. Boston Whaler is proud to feature JL Audio marine loudspeaker systems and components, American-made products that are specially designed, tested and tuned for open-air boating environments. Looking for a little musical inspiration?
We recommend the following playlist for putting those JL speakers to use:
The Beach Boys
“Walkin’ on Sunshine”
Katrina & the Waves
Florida Georgia Line
“Take It Easy”
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
HAVE A GAS There’s an easy way to help maximize your Whaler’s performance and prevent unnecessary maintenance: Treat your engine to ValvTect’s X-Tended Protection+ Gasoline Treatment (XP+). This multi-functional, premiumgrade gasoline treatment keeps gasoline in prime condition, thanks to refinery chemicals specially formulated to improve gasoline performance in marine engines. XP+ contains ValvTect’s stabilizer, combined with proprietary corrosion inhibitor, water dispersant to remove controlled amounts of water, and a combination of specially developed gasoline detergents to help clean up carbon deposits and prevent octane loss. It all adds up to peak performance and smoother sailing—and that’s “fuel” for a memorable season.
Visit valvtect.com to learn more.
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As a benefit to owners, every new Boston Whaler comes with a free 95-day Sea Tow membership, and exclusive discounts are available for annual memberships. Sea Tow provides its members with valuable services including fuel drops, jump starts and towing, with experienced Captains available 24/7/365 in case you run into trouble. But did you know their assistance extends beyond the water, as well? Sea Tow is dedicated to spreading the message of boater safety, and they’ve built a library of online resources to educate and empower: Visit the Captain’s Classroom section of Sea Tow’s website for helpful articles, tools and tips for ensuring everyone on your Whaler stays safe. If you’re looking to join the program or renew your membership, head to seatow.com/bostonwhaler. And if you have any questions about your Trial Membership, call 800-4-SEATOW.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Frechette
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Built To Last.
Your Boston Whaler is built to stand the test of time— introducing multiple generations to the thrill of boating. When years of sun and weather exposure eventually take their toll on your boat’s canvas, go directly to the company that Boston Whaler trusts. Great Lakes Boat Top has more than 30,000 original canvas patterns so your new canvas fits and looks as good as it did on the showroom floor. Count on canvas from Great Lakes Boat Top to make your boating experience more comfortable. Through June 28, 2019, Boston Whaler owners get 20% off any replacement canvas orders by using promo code: BW619. Request a no obligation quote online or call one of our canvas experts to confirm that we have your pattern available. • Original canvas patterns dating back to 1993. • Fast turnaround — ships within 7 - 10 business days. • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and superior customer service. • Bimini tops, cockpit covers, bow/tonneau covers, full enclosures and much more. • Sturdy construction and marine hardware. • Industry-leading Sunbrella® canvas with a 10-year fabric warranty.
Off er available to retail customers only. Not valid in conjunction with other promotional off ers. Expires June 28, 2019.
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Christopher and Diana Dentâ€™s 130 Super Sport has rewarded the adventurous couple with some epic sights. Their travels have taken them from the glaciers of Alaska (above) to the spectacular Sea of Cortez (top).
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Our Whaler to Adventure
A 130 Super Sport proves itself the perfect tender for a Pacific Northwest couple’s adventures Story & photos courtesy of Christopher Dent
Growing up on Puget Sound in the Seattle area, I had wanted a Whaler since the first time I laid eyes on one. In high school, my brother and I drove a bevy of boats; some we made, some we bought, all made out of wood. But across the inlet to Oyster Bay lived a 13-foot Boston Whaler… and I wanted one. Many years later, while in graduate school, I worked in Connecticut as a water-ski instructor for kids from New York City. We had two boats at the camp and my favorite was a 15-foot Boston Whaler. When I wasn’t teaching the kids how to water-ski, I would take the Whaler out on the lake (Dog Pond) by myself and crank the wheel at high speed, loving the feel of the boat clawing into hard turns. But it would be several decades later before I had my own. A few years ago, with the kids grown and all but out of the house, my wife, Diana, and I discovered big boats and the cruising/exploring lifestyle. At the Seattle Boat Show in 2012, we found and fell in love with an openocean capable, 1999 50-foot Nordhavn. Three months later, we were cruising the waters of Washington and British Columbia and loving every minute of it. The Nordhavn came with a 10-foot rigid-inflatable tender with a 15-horsepower motor that was adequate but it couldn’t plane with more than two people aboard, it would only do 15 knots, and it just seemed too small. Here was the opportunity for a new tender: a Whaler. In 2015, at a boat show in Portland, Oregon, we found
the Boston Whaler representative and quickly cut a deal on a new 130 Super Sport with the 40-horsepower Mercury engine. Adding the bow railing, a bimini top and the Glacier Green hull color to the basic package, we were set. That April, we loaded the Whaler onto the back of the Nordhavn, cast off the lines and headed down the Columbia River, traveling 110 miles to the Pacific Ocean and on to points north—way north—including Angoon, Alaska, where we saw humpback whales breaching; and up to Prince William Sound for breathtaking glacial views. In November of 2015, we set our sights on destinations farther south: After a 1,000-nautical-mile trip from Portland to San Diego, we joined the CUBAR (Cruise Underway to Baja Rally). The event, hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club, was conceived by boater Bruce Kessler as a way to help powerboaters experience long-distance cruising to Mexico within the safety of a large flotilla, complete with mechanical and medical personnel. Alongside more than 30 other boats, we set off for new adventures in a new country! Twelve days later, we made it to La Paz in Baja and began exploring the Sea of Cortez. Again, our 130 Super Sport proved an ideal vessel for travels ship to shore, ship to ship, and ship to margarita—I mean, ship to marina. From the Gulf of Alaska to the Sea of Cortez and beyond, our Whaler has taken us exactly where we want to go: new adventures!
We loaded the Whaler onto the back of the Nordhavn, cast off the lines and headed down the Columbia River, traveling 110 miles to the Pacific Ocean.
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(Clockwise from top) An island in Lake Kabetogama, the highly trailerable 190 Montauk, driftwood on the shore of Lake McConaughy, and two scenes from Lake Okoboji: early morning and nighttime on the Fourth of July.
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With more than 50,000 inland lakes in the region, the Midwest holds endless possibilities for trailer boaters Story by Abhinanda Datta Trailering photo by Richard Steinberger
For boaters, the toughest part of planning a vacation in the Midwest isn’t deciding what to pack or where to stay… it’s deciding which lakes to explore! With tens of thousands to choose from, the region’s extended list of possibilities can be daunting. From the deep, meandering lakes of Indiana to the picturesque, jagged shorelines of Missouri, the central states of the U.S. offer up a stunning array. So to help narrow it down, we’ve compiled the following list of must-see spots. Tappan Lake, Ohio Surrounded by more than 5,000 acres of lush pine forests, this scenic reservoir with a 399-horsepower limit is perfect for those who favor serenity over a whirlwind of activity. Still, there’s plenty to do and see, with a healthy fish population maintained by the Division of Wildlife, and easy access to hiking trails through the Tappan Wetlands. Two public ramps are available to launch your Whaler, and more than 500 campsites and 11 vacation cabins provide rustic accommodations. Lake Wawasee, Indiana Located southeast of Syracuse in Kosciusko County, Wawasee is the largest natural lake within Indiana’s borders. It’s surrounded by beautiful lakefront homes that contribute an inviting aesthetic. Several lakeside marinas are available, offering supplies, fuel and services, and nearby walking, hiking and cycling trails offer a place for boaters to get out and stretch their legs. Chicago residents have long considered this a popular summer destination for its many fisheries and the sprawling Oakwood Resort. After you’ve seen Wawasee in the summertime, consider a return visit in the winter months: as the lake freezes over completely almost every year, residents and visitors enjoy snowmobiling, ice fishing and other tests of bravery.
Lake Okoboji, Iowa This spring-fed lake is the most magnificent shade of blue, but that’s not the only thing that makes it one of Iowa’s greatest vacation destinations: At 134 feet deep and covering more than 3,800 acres, Lake Okoboji is well suited to boating activities from fishing to watersports to long, leisurely cruises. It is one of the three principal lakes among the Iowa Great Lakes, a glacier-carved group in Northern Dickinson County. And for entertainment of a totally different flavor, nearby Arnold’s Park amusement park is replete with thrill rides, a roller coaster, minigolf, food stands, and Ferris wheel views to take it all in. Lake McConaughy, Nebraska Nebraska’s largest reservoir, Lake McConaughy offers boating, fishing and camping opportunities galore, along with white sand beaches perfect for pausing to soak up the sun. (Head to the designated swim beach located at Martin Bay for the best swimming.) More than 100 miles of shoreline and 34,700 acres of water, accessible via several public boat ramps, provide ample space to roam on your Whaler. If you want to spend some time on land as well, the lake is home to a Water Interpretive Center with an aquarium and the Kingsley Dam. One thing to keep in mind: the state takes boat education very seriously and requires you to possess proof of completing a boating safety course. Lake Kabetogama, Minnesota With dazzling clear-blue waters and more than 25,000 acres of forest and surrounding area to explore, Lake Kabetogama is an outdoor-lover’s paradise. As one of the 10 largest inland lakes in a state with more than 10,000 of them, Kabetogama is ideal for fishing and cruising. Even though summer is a short-lived season here, the bordering wilderness makes the ride a picturesque affair. No matter which Midwestern locale you and your Whaler splash down in, plan on taking lots of photos!
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(Top) Elizabeth and her daughter, Sally, leave old-fashioned ideas about â€œgirl captainsâ€? in their wake. (Bottom left) A view over the bow at sunset. (Bottom right) Elizabeth poses happily with her husband, John, and her brand-new Montauk.
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Eyes on the Prize
A North Carolina boater sets her sights on the same Whaler model she drove as a teenage camp counselor Story by Amy Wideman Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Purrington
Elizabeth Purrington had her first experience with a Boston Whaler when she was still young enough to count her age on two hands. As a ten-year-old attending Camp Seafarer in Arapahoe, North Carolina, Elizabeth was able to check out “baby Whalers,” her nickname for the camp’s small, single-engine dinghies. She and her fellow campers would hop in their respective Whalers and putter around the Neuse River as an older counselor supervised from a 15-foot Montauk. In Elizabeth’s eyes, that counselor had the plum role. She returned to Camp Seafarer each summer and worked her way up the ranks. At 16, she became a counselor-intraining. At 17, as a full-fledged counselor, she finally scored the position she’d been wanting: “Now I got to be the one driving the Montauk with the littler kids around me in their small boats,” she reminisces. At 18, she was finally old enough to pull water-skiers as the camp’s motor boating counselor. “The laws required a Coast Guard license to pull skiers—so I trained and got licensed,” she says. “From then on, I was driving the Montauk all summer long.” She and the rest of the motor boating crew were also tasked with keeping the boats in working order, which meant that the group—all women—learned how to repair motors, take things apart, clean them and get them running again. Elizabeth says the education was hugely valuable, though she adds, “These days, everything is computerized. There’s no way I would touch a modern engine.” By age 21, Elizabeth’s camp days were over, and it seemed like a chapter of her boating life had closed. Still, memories of driving that Montauk always held in a special place in her heart… until three decades later, when she decided to reopen the chapter once and for all. “Last year, my husband and I bought a townhouse in Wilmington,” she recalls. “I started thinking, I just turned
50, time’s ticking, and this has been my dream: I always, always wanted a boat.” So, with that same determination that earned her a role as camp counselor, she set about finding her dream boat. “Everyone around town had suggestions,” she says. “I told them all, no, there’s no need for hunting around. There’s only one boat for me: that Montauk.” Only one question remained: Did she want to track down a boat from the ’80s and refurbish it, or would she rather have a more current model? When Boston Whaler introduced an all-new edition of the 150 Montauk last year for its 60th anniversary, the question resolved itself. “I was in love with it from the moment I saw it,” Elizabeth says. “It’s so easy to maneuver—that has not changed in all these years. It’s still so easy to drive, and it’s the perfect size. Our family of five rides comfortably.” Elizabeth and her 16-year-old daughter, Sally, frequently take the Whaler out by themselves. “We pass all these boats and it’s all men driving,” Elizabeth says. “I don’t know what they think, but I am the driver.” Conveniently, the Montauk fits neatly in the Purringtons’ garage, keeping it safe from the severe storms that can blow through North Carolina. The family takes it to destinations all around Wilmington, including the barrier islands of the Intracoastal Waterway. Occasionally they’ll stop and fish, or take the tube or skis for a few laps—causing a swell of nostalgia. “Just getting the tow rope in the water, it’s shocking how it all comes right back,” Elizabeth says. She’s open to the idea of letting someone else take the helm. “Last year it was too precious for me to let anyone else drive it, but this year I’ll let them,” she laughs. But there’s one thing she’s not open to considering: any other model besides the 150 Montauk. “Even our dealer said to me, ‘This is a good place to start, but you’ll be back for something bigger…’” she says. “I told him, no. This is IT. This is the only boat for me.”
It’s so easy to maneuver—that has not changed in all these years. It’s still so easy to drive, and it’s the perfect size.
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CROW ABOUT Florida boaters Randy and Abby Crow flock to the Whaler lifestyle
Story by Amy Wideman | Photos by Mike Calabro
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W When the universe gives you a cool last name, you may as well have a little fun with it.
Boaters Randy and Abby Crow have taken theirs and created a whole lifestyle, one centered around good times with family and friends and celebrating the great outdoors. A hub of activity for the couple is their home in Fort Myers Beach, Florida—specifically, the converted garage they call the Crow Bar. Outfitted with TVs, colorful signage and a wet bar, the garage-turned-beachhut overlooks the Crows’ swimming pool and, beyond it, the system of canals that make the area such a boater’s paradise. Raised up on a lift, their 270 Vantage sits ready to launch on a moment’s notice. As Michigan residents, the Crows had been vacationing in Florida for more than 20 years when, in 2011, the opportunity to buy a home there presented itself. A friend told them a neighbor had decided to sell her 1957-style beach house, complete with original shag carpeting and green linoleum. “Just like the Brady Bunch house,” Randy describes.
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(Opposite) Life at the Crow Bar ranges from chill to lively, but thereâ€™s always a good chance of sun and fun. The Crows use their 270 Vantage (left) and 170 Dauntless (bottom) to cruise the waterways of Fort Myers and beyond. (Below) One of several custom signs around the property.
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“The 270 Vantage is a good manageable size, and it’s stable enough to handle any current. You’re not going to end up soaked.” (Above left and opposite) Randy and Abby rave about the dual console layout of the Vantage and how it lets family members engage from all parts of the boat. (Right) A replica of Christopher Columbus’s ship, the Nao Santa Maria, made a stop in Fort Myers Beach on its tour around the coast.
They poured three years into renovating the place, adding the pool and the Crow Bar, while keeping the vintage charm that drew them to the cottage in the first place—right down to the pastel-blue paint job with bright white trim. “Everything nowadays is getting monstrous and stucco,” Randy says. “We wanted to stay true to the beach vibe.” They also worked to ensure things were as boat-friendly as possible. As Randy explains, “We’re less than five minutes from the Gulf—how perfect is that? We built the boat house so when we want to go, we can do just that: get up and go.” With the Florida house all ready, Randy says he then “got the hots” for their first Whaler, a 2014-model 270 Vantage. They had tested other brands, but friends in the area kept recommending Whaler. By the
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time he stepped aboard the Vantage, he was sold. They christened it Rockin’ Crow. In 2017, the couple moved into a newer version of the same model, this time with Mercury Joystick Piloting, dual 300-horsepower white Verado engines and “all the bells and whistles.” Recently, they added a 170 Dauntless to their collection and named it (what else?) Rockin’ Crow Jr. Originally intended as a fishing boat for their son and grandkids to enjoy, the 170 has proven a great vessel for Abby to practice her captaining skills. “Both boats handle so well,” Randy says. “For someone new at it, it’s great for getting the confidence levels up. The 270 Vantage is a good manageable size, and it’s stable enough to handle any current. You’re not going to end up soaked.” “Boating in Florida is a different animal,” he continues. “In Michigan, you could boat in a straight line. Down here, everything’s a turn here, a turn there. You have to contend with the currents, the tides, the winds. You could get into shallow water. So it’s great to have boats that make things easy.” Abby raves about the safety of the Vantage, with its deep sides and thick coaming. “You never have to worry about the grandkids as it’s a very safe boat! It really handles the waves no matter what.” She also appreciates that the dual console layout makes it easy to talk with family members in all parts of the boat. “Since there’s no center console, you feel more connected,” she says. “Everybody has a place to sit and you can still talk to each other,” Randy concurs. “We like taking friends up the river into Fort Myers to walk the shops and grab lunch. They can’t believe how comfortable the trip is.”
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“Abby worked on the 270 the other day. It’s such a quiet boat. You can slow down to an idle and answer calls, answer clients’ questions, then back to boating we go!” Proximity to downtown isn’t the only perk of the Crows’ nest. Being located so close to the Gulf, fantastic fishing opportunities are also just a hop, skip and a thrust of the joystick away. Randy loves taking his son, Steve, and 10-year-old grandson, Carson, to the reefs off Fort Myers beach or the area’s back bays in search of fish. “My grandson… From the time he wakes up until the time he goes to bed, I’m not kidding, he loves being out there,” Randy says with a laugh. “At his age, we’re fishing for anything that’s biting when he gets his mid-winter or spring break. With summer coming up, he called to remind me, ‘We’re coming down and we’re going to do some SERIOUS fishing!’” The Crows enjoy taking all of their grandkids—Carsen (10), Camryn (7), Barrett (4) and Gunnar (5 months)—to explore nearby destinations including Marco Island, Pine Island, Sanibel and Lovers Key. The tiny village of Matlacha is a favorite, with its super-colorful architecture and easygoing pace. “The water is SO blue, then all of a sudden this funky little fishing town appears,” Abby describes. They’ll pack sandwiches and make a day of it, stopping to swim and play, and making sure each little one has a chance to “sit on papa’s lap.” Whether they’re cruising into downtown or exploring farther afield, the Crows value the strong sense of community they get from
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Rockin’ Crow and Rockin’ Crow Jr. see plenty of use, especially when family comes to town. Thoughtful touches like in-seat storage (opposite, center) and cutting-edge features like Mercury Joystick Piloting (opposite, right) make their outings more comfortable all around.
other Whaler owners. They’ve enjoyed docktail parties hosted by their dealership, MarineMax, and frequently run into fellow customers. “Rarely do you encounter another Whaler where somebody isn’t waving to you,” Randy says. True, they get plenty of warm-fuzzies from non-Whaler owners, as well. Their eye-catching home, the Rockin’ Crow duo and coordinating crow-themed “No Wake” signs all add up to an irresistible photo opp for the many boaters who pass by on their way into town. The Crows still have a home back in Michigan, where they own a full-service marketing agency, RCP Marketing, and Abby works for Source One Digital, which specializes in retail, decor and sports signage. Randy also records voice tracks for clients for TV and radio commercials. The Gear Group is their promotional products and apparel company. That all helps explain how they’re able to decorate their Florida property and hook up their guests with crow-themed swag including Crow Bar cups, coasters, T-shirts and koozies. “Things to put a smile on the faces of family, friends and passersby,” Randy describes. Abby heads back up north regularly to meet with clients, conduct tours of the print shop and do press checks. Thanks to technology, though, they’re able to conduct most of their work remotely—even as remotely as out on the Vantage. “Abby worked on the 270 the other day,” Randy says. “It’s such a quiet boat. You can slow down to an idle and answer calls, answer clients’ questions, then back to boating we go!” They consider themselves very fortunate to have found and embraced the Florida boating way of life. “We really never thought we’d own a house a block from the beach, or own one boat down here, let alone two!” Randy says. But like their namesake, the Crows have truly taken to their surroundings—and have watched their boating dreams take wing.
TEN MILE CANAL A BRIEF HISTORY
First dug in the 1920s, Fort Myers’ Ten Mile Canal was created by the Iona Drainage District for the purpose of directing water toward Estero Bay, Florida’s first aquatic preserve. It was widened and deepened in the 1970s, when measures were also taken to prevent saltwater intrusion. Since that time, the population surrounding the canal has nearly quadrupled, from 150,000 to more than 500,000.
As urban development increased and neighboring crops and pastures grew, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection recognized the need to protect Estero Bay. This launched a pilot project designed to clean the water flowing along the canal, though the use of a filter marsh. Some 400,000 cubic yards of material were excavated from a site adjacent to Ten Mile, and pipes were laid to redirect the flow. As it moves slowly through the marsh area, the water is purified by plants such as bulrush and water lilies before returning to the canal. Today, a 6-mile linear park trail parallels the canal, with a possible extension in the works. The John Yarborough Linear Park offers locals and visitors a great place to stretch their legs and appreciate the feats of engineering that went into Ten Mile’s creation.
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D OG’S LIFE Lake Michigan boaters Chuck Babilla and Kelly Rinker treat their rescue pups to Outrage outings.
Story by Amy Wideman | Photos by Mike Calabro
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Kelly Rinker has made it her mission to help out dogs that have been dealt a bad hand. She and her boyfriend, Chuck Babilla, have been fostering abused and abandoned pups for 15 years, working with Sherri Christopher at Guardians of the Green Mile to rescue the dogs from shelters. In that time, Kelly estimates, they’ve brought more than “75 or 100 of them” into their home. As fosters, their goal is to get the dogs comfortable with living as part of a family so they can be adopted out more readily. “Guardians of the Green Mile is an amazing organization,” Kelly says. “Great rescues are why fosters like me can save more.” Over the years, they’ve “foster failed” several times, meaning certain pups have charmed Kelly and Chuck into adopting them permanently. (And really, who could blame them?) As part of the deal, those lucky dogs get to enjoy the boating lifestyle alongside their human parents.
(Above) Kelly and one of her “foster fails,” Stanley the Chihuahua, snuggle in the bow of their 250 Outrage. (Right) Meanwhile, the couple’s newly rescued Staffordshire Terrier, Calvin, keeps Chuck company at the helm.
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Chuck and Kelly live in Indiana and keep their Boston Whaler 250 Outrage at the Hammond Marina. Longtime boaters, they purchased the Whaler a few years ago after deciding to retire their jet skis. Chuck knew he wanted a center console model and says Whaler was at the top of his list of brands. When he found out the 250 was available for a good price at their local dealership, B&E Marine, he was sold. Since then, the Outrage has seen a great deal of use, and has played host to a great number of dogs. At present, the family’s adopted crew consists of three Chihuahuas: Geo, Stanley and Paco; Maxine, a Maltese; and their most recent addition, Calvin, an American Staffordshire Terrier. Kelly takes the 10-month-old Staffy to weekly obedience classes and showers him with plenty of affection. In the short time they’ve had him, they’ve already seen him make a ton of progress. “He’s still a bit tentative around people, still got a few demons he’s wrestling with, but he’s going to be okay,” Chuck says. Despite his larger size, the alpha of the bunch isn’t Calvin; it’s little Geo, who runs the household with a wired jaw and single tooth. “Geo’s a neat one,” Chuck says. “He’s the boss, no question. Even Calvin’s afraid of him.” Stanley, for his part, is the true water dog of the bunch, while the rest demonstrate varying degrees of enthusiasm. Once they’re all suited up in their life jackets and doggie goggles, or “doggles,” all of them are content to bask in the sun and go with the flow.
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“They love sitting up front and watching everything happen. I feel safe having them onboard.” “They love sitting up front and watching everything happen. I feel safe having them onboard,” Kelly says. “They bark a lot, but you know. They’re little. As long as we put out the potty pad, they’re good.” When the dogs aren’t along for the ride, the couple likes to open up the throttles and feed their need for speed. Kelly enjoys sitting beside Chuck on the helm companion seat, taking in the view as they hurtle over the waves. From Hammond, they have easy access to destinations all around lower Lake Michigan: Chicago, Michigan City, Grand Haven, New Buffalo… the list goes on. “The boat is like my SUV,” Chuck says. “I can go all the way up to Saugatuck because it holds 172 gallons of fuel.” Eventually, their goal is to get the Outrage rigged for fishing, creating even more possibilities. Salmon, steelhead, trout, smallmouth bass—Lake Michigan is populated with a variety of species to keep
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Stanley (above), Calvin (opposite) and the rest of Chuck and Kellyâ€™s pups demonstrate proper boating safety, wearing their life jackets and protective doggles whenever they head for the water. Their Outrage offers up plenty of comfortable seating to accommodate human and canine passengers alike.
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“It’s great that we have the ability to go fishing if we want to. It’s really versatile. Sometimes I’m kind of a nervous boater when I get out on a much larger boat, but I don’t worry on the Whaler.” (Opposite) Stanley takes his turn beside Chuck, helping navigate a few mildly choppy 2-footers on Lake Michigan. Chuck and Kelly tend to stay close to shore, jetting from Hammond to various lakefront destinations, but they appreciate that the Whaler can handle rough seas when put to the test.
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things interesting. “It’s great that we have the ability to go fishing if we want to. It’s really versatile,” Kelly says. “Sometimes I’m kind of a nervous boater when I get out on a much larger boat, but I don’t worry on the Whaler. It saves us money on gas, too!” In order to make the most of Indiana’s boating season, Chuck and Kelly are among the first to put the 250 in the water every April, and the last to haul it out each November. Late spring is when the region comes alive, with waterfront restaurants along the coast opening their docks to boaters. The couple frequently heads up to Chicago’s 31st Street Harbor for a beer and a pizza, or to the newly revamped Chicago Riverwalk for casual outdoor eats and prime people-watching. Or they’ll anchor out in “the Playpen,” a designated no-wake zone just offshore where upwards of 700 boats congregate on summer weekends. With stellar views of the city skyline and, at times, a raging social scene, it’s easy to see why the Playpen is a huge draw. The Hammond Marina offers plenty of entertainment for when they feel like staying closer to home, including the famed Horseshoe Casino, a 350,000-square-foot gaming vessel parked lakeside. Laying claim to the largest poker room in the Midwest, Horseshoe attracts scores of visitors from the Windy City and beyond. Many of them travel by boat and stay overnight in the marina’s adjacent guest slips. The Hammond Port Authority hosts events throughout the year, including a summer kick-off party in June, concerts, and a Venetian Night celebration in July. Chuck and Kelly appreciate the sense of community they get from their fellow boaters, as well as those boaters’ canine crew members.
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GREAT LAKES GREAT TIMES Lake Michigan spans more than 300 miles, stretching from Gary, Indiana, in the south all the way north to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Bordered by major urban areas, remote expanses of wilderness and just about everything in between, this Great Lake offers a nearly endless variety of boating experiences. Below, a few destinations worth paying a visit.
Port Washington Marina Port Washington, Wisconsin
As the home of Port Fish Day, billed as the World’s Largest One-Day Outdoor Fish Fry, and headquarters for one of the largest fishing charter fleets on the Great Lakes, Port Washington wears its piscatorial legacy proudly. The harbor welcomes boaters into the city’s charming historic downtown district.
DuSable Harbor Chicago, Illinois
“Lots of people in the marina have dogs,” Chuck says. “I keep treats on the boat to hand out. It’s a friendly scene. With dogs, you can pretty much count on getting unconditional love.” As one of the first center console models in a marina filled with cabin cruisers, the 250 Outrage has drawn its fair share of attention. “It gets people talking,” Chuck explains. “People realize what a perfect dayboat it is. They see how easily we can just get in and go.” Though Chuck and Kelly have had the Outrage for a few years now, it’s never given them a lick of trouble. “I would recommend that boat to anybody,” Chuck says. “It’s solid as a rock. Ten years from now it will still be going strong.” He also appreciates that the Whaler is classy without being flashy—a timeless aesthetic rather than a passing fad. “One of the nice things about the brand, it’s not one of those ‘trendy’ manufacturers doing some crazy new style every year,” he says. “Those things look like spaceships. Whaler is more like Harley-Davidson or Porsche; it’s a high-end brand that endures forever.” “People look at our boat, they love it,” Kelly concurs. “They point at it and wave. Everybody loves a Boston Whaler.” In that way, a Whaler is a lot like a dog wearing goggles: guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.
Step off your boat at DuSable and into the heart of Chicago’s downtown Loop area, where museums, parks, restaurants, and public art including Cloud Gate (a.k.a. “The Bean”) are all within easy walking distance. Or stroll the Lakefront Trail, which stretches 18 miles along the city’s shoreline, for uninterrupted views of the lake.
Sergeant Marina Saugatuck, Michigan
Docking your Whaler at Sergeant Marina puts you just a block from picturesque Saugatuck and a short walk to Oval Beach, celebrated by media outlets from National Geographic to MTV for its welcoming summertime vibes and natural beauty. From there, you can climb the 302 steps to summit Mount Baldhead, a giant sand dune overlooking town.
Charlevoix City Marina Charlevoix, Michigan
A popular summer destination for Chicago gangsters during the Prohibition era, “Charlevoix the Beautiful” is favored nowadays by more law-abiding citizens from Michigan and surrounding states. Enjoy guided walking tours to explore downtown, or time your visit for one of several annual events, like October’s Apple Fest or the Venetian Festival in July. Photo Credits:
Dietrich Zeigler, AMC Images, BeBoy Studio, Ehrlif Photography, Margouillat Photo.
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3 A Tale of
Three whalers The 350, 380 and 420 Outrage offer superior comfort and capability. Read about the standout features that set these models apart from the pack. With the decades of commercial success, critical acclaim and, most importantly, customer satisfaction that Boston Whaler has enjoyed, it might be tempting to coast for a little while, to let the Unsinkable lineup’s reputation speak for itself. But that’s the thing about true leaders: They’re not content to rest on their laurels. If a bar can be raised once, it can be raised again. Case in point: the award-winning Outrage series. Upon its debut and rise to popularity in the 1970s, the first 21-foot Outrage applied Whaler’s Unibond™ construction methods to create a center-console with more safety, more range—and, in turn, more ability for boaters to expand their boundaries.
Clover Smart Photos by
Since then, the Outrage has been refined and enhanced, adopting new technologies, design tweaks and clever seating upgrades, and in general receiving the kind of fine-tuning you would expect from an industry leader.
Today, Outrage remains the embodiment of Boston Whaler’s dedication to innovation and excellence. And nowhere is this dedication more apparent than in the series’ three largest models: the 350, 380 and 420 Outrage. Naturally their size is a distinguishing trait, but these Whalers stand ahead of the competition for many other reasons, as well. Here, we outline a few of the many features and attributes that set them apart.
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350 350 OUTRAGE
Boston Whaler’s 350 Outrage marries effortless comfort and major capability in one beautiful package.
Thoughtful amenities make this an incredibly versatile vessel: A deluxe leaning post can be optioned up for fishing or entertaining, a premium SirusXM-ready Fusion stereo and JL Audio speakers provide top-quality sound, and a convenient enclosed head with a vanity and shower adds comfort on long days. Of course, there’s a whole world of fun to be had off the boat as well. The 350 Outrage features a convenient portside dive/boarding door with a removable dive ladder that encourages boaters to take a dip, and makes it equally easy to climb back onboard. For all the gear that a full day on the water requires, the Outrage offers ample storage to swallow it all up—including a cavernous lockable compartment beneath the bow’s console lounge seat that can hold up to six Whaler’s fishing rods, two 5-gallon impeccable hull buckets, four dive tanks and construction a 136-quart cooler. Owner Rachel Heard and unsurpassed applauds the 350 Outrage’s engineering spacious layout that acensure predictable commodates more than just handling and her family. “My kids love bringing friends along,” she a safe, dry ride. says. “Some of their friends, that’s their first offshore trip ever. It’s neat to be able to give them that experience.” From a performance standpoint, the 350 excels: Triple Mercury Verado engines with available Joystick Piloting deliver superior fuel economy, lasting reliability and hassle-free docking, while Whaler’s impeccable hull construction and unsurpassed engineering ensure predictable handling and a safe, dry ride. For big adventures, memorable moments and hours of enjoyment, the 350 Outrage is a brilliant choice.
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0 380 380 OUTRAGE
The 380 Outrage is designed to empower epic offshore fishing runs as beautifully as it hosts social gatherings.
Incredibly comfortable and easy to operate, this sophisticated Whaler offers an array of advanced technologies including Seakeeper gyro-stabilization, Mercury Joystick Piloting and Whaler Watch remote monitoring, powered by NAUTIC-ON—to name a few. Bow to stern, the 380’s layout is remarkably intuitive and notably spacious for its size, with ample seating and storage for whatever the day holds. Meanwhile, a versatile, air-conditioned cabin and optional bow and stern sunshades provide extra protection from the elements. Just ask owners David and Becky Burleson, who use their 380 Outrage off Texas’s Gulf Coast: “Port Aransas can be very hot in the summer; the Outrage keeps us nice and comfortable,” Becky says. “The boat started off as more of an entertaining platform than a fishing platform, but as we got more into fishing we discovered it does that really well, too.” David raves about the technology that enhances their time on the water and makes his job at the helm a piece of cake: “It’s great that the engines turn without having to use a bow thruster,” he says. “With the joystick, I can get around the docks without running into them.” And because it’s a Whaler, the 380 Outrage delivers unsurpassed performance and a remarkably soft, smooth, dry ride, whether you’re chasing gamefish or chasing the horizon.
“The boat started off as more of an entertaining platform than a fishing platform, but as we got more into fishing we discovered it does that really well, too.”
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Serious anglers will benefit from choosing the optional upper station. This feature adds a huge advantage when scouting for fish.
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420 420 OUTRAGE
As the flagship of Boston Whaler’s legendary fleet, the 420 Outrage rises to any occasion.
Named Boating magazine’s Boat of the Year upon its debut, the 420 is ideal for hosting friends and family, and purposefully designed for comfort throughout. Among the features lauded by Boating’s editors: The two rows of cockpit seating that allow six people to sit or stand facing forward, and convert easily to face each other when at anchor, forming a natural gathering place. Speaking of gathering: The boat’s deluxe leaning post includes amenities for entertaining and serious fishing, including an electric grill, a freshwater sink, a 40-gallon livewell, a stainless-steel refrigerator, tackle storage drawers and more. So whether you’re preparing a feast for 12 hungry guests or baiting a hook for a hungry marlin, the 420 has you covered. Serious anglers will also benefit from choosing the optional upper station. This feature adds a huge advantage when scouting for fish, allowing you to see much farther and identify weed lines, coral passages, diving birds and breaking fish more clearly. The flybridge includes a full set of helm controls with a VesselView screen, threeacross bench seating, and a lounge in front of the console. Below deck, the 420 Outrage boasts a spacious cabin with a whopping 7 feet of headroom. Amenities including a fully enclosed head, a convenient galley, a state-of-the-art entertainment system, and a convertible V-berth encourage easy entertaining and effortless overnighting. Owners José and Mila Fullana cover long distances in their 420 Outrage, traveling from their home port in
Puerto Rico to destinations including the British Virgin Islands. “The 420 is our sports car,” Mila says. Jose concurs: “It drives very well.” No question, this boat was made for adventure. Quad 350-horsepower Mercury Verado engines combine with breakthroughs including Shadow Mode Technology and Joystick Piloting to deliver unbeatable performance and smooth, predictable handling. CZone digital switching technology comes integrated with the boat’s electronics, allowing for remote monitoring and control of various systems via the included iPad. And an available Seakeeper gyro-stabilization system virtually eliminates the kinds of rolling motion that can cause seasickness.
The 350, 380 and 420 each demonstrate Boston Whaler’s ability to balance powerful offshore performance and exquisite onboard comfort. It’s a balance few have achieved—as Jeff Vaughn, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Service, put it, “There is literally nothing else like them on the marketplace.”
And knowing Boston Whaler’s track record of leadership, the Outrage series will undoubtedly continue to expand the possibilities for boating enjoyment long into the future.
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Perfect Timing When Colorado summers fade, Florida winters take center stage for a pair of avid anglers and their 330 Outrage.
Story by Amy Wideman | Photos by Mike Calabro
Ray Cooper and Anita Valdez have a brilliant system worked out: They spend one half of the year in Colorado, and the other half in Florida—meaning you’ll find them enjoying perfect boating weather approximately 100 percent of the time. The couple hails from Broomfield, a suburban city nestled
between Boulder and Denver that’s home to a fast-growing tech industry. Opportunities for outdoor recreation abound, from hiking, horseback riding and biking in the summer to epic skiing and snowboarding in the winter. (Living in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains definitely has its perks.) Hands-down, though, the outdoor activity of choice for Ray and Anita is fishing. Each fall, they wave goodbye to plummeting temperatures and impending snow and head for the warm embrace of Fort Myers, where their winter home and a 330 Outrage await. The couple purchased their Boston Whaler in September of 2017 and took delivery shortly after Hurricane Irma swept through the region. (The new boat rode out the storm unscathed.) Ray uses a walker, so they had been on the hunt for a model with easier access than their prior boat. The Outrage’s portside dive/ boarding door proved to be just the ticket. They can lay down a platform to bridge the gap between dock and boat, and step directly into the cockpit—no stairs or ramps required.
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A typical run involves heading 60 miles or farther off the coast, stopping here and there to catch bait before hitting deep water. They usually bring friends along and make a day of it. Ray Cooper and Anita Valdez turn Florida's southwest coast into their boating playground each winter. The 330 Outrage's portside dive door makes for easy boarding, while easy access to the Gulf makes for incredible fishing.
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“On our last boat, it was really hard for Ray to get on and off,” Anita explains. “We saw that this one had a side door; we knew someone with a Whaler who was telling us about it. He swore he wouldn’t give it up for the world.” Intrigued, they sent a friend to their dealership, MarineMax of Fort Myers, to check it out. “As soon as Ray saw the photos, he fell in love with it,” Anita says. “He must have looked at it on the internet about 2,000 times!” They were equally impressed with Whaler’s reputation: “We had always heard good things about the brand. As they say, it’s unsinkable—crack it in half and it’ll stay afloat. You can’t beat that!” Plus, the Outrage offered the level of performance they were after. Its sleek variable-deadrise hull and a pair of burly 350-horsepower Mercury Verado engines sealed the deal, ensuring quick hole shots and fast planning, along with impressive fuel economy. When the day finally arrived to hand over the keys, MarineMax showed them white-glove service, getting Ray set up with an electric helm seat so that he can get situated easily and drive comfortably. Sales Executive Brian Kemmis and his team showed Ray and Anita how to operate the boat and its electronics, making sure they were fully confident before heading out. “They did a really thorough job walking us through things,” Anita says. “The techs there are so knowledgeable. They’ll come right out and take care of whatever needs to be done. And we’ve got Brian on speed dial for fishing questions. He’s the best.” These days, Ray is retired, having sold his successful Harley-Davidson business in Colorado about four years ago. Since then he and Anita have made boating and fishing their full-time passion. Asked
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if he still works, Ray cheerfully responds: “Fishing is the work!” Their house in Fort Myers is right on a deep-passage canal with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico and its healthy gamefish population. They keep the Outrage on a lift so it’s ready to go whenever they get the urge to drop a line. With more than 200 hours on the Whaler’s engines, it’s safe to say the urge strikes often. A typical run involves heading 60 miles or farther off the coast, stopping here and there to catch bait before hitting deep water. They usually bring friends along and make a day of it. “We go for grouper, snapper… Porgies are my favorite. We haven’t gotten any tripletail yet but I’d like to try for those,” Anita says, adding that they’ll gladly eat what they catch. “We keep the keepers!” In between fishing trips, the couple enjoys heading into downtown Fort Myers for lunch on the water, or cruising the Intracoastal Waterway to places like Tarpon Point. Anita raves about the comfort-minded amenities that make the 330 Outrage as well-suited for leisurely afternoons as it is for grappling with grouper. “There are so many nice things about it, like the awning over the bow. You can drop anchor and relax while staying out of the hot sun,” she says. “We instantly liked all the features, really. Especially the Joystick Piloting.” The joystick makes negotiating tight waterways and crowded marinas easier. It also aids in sliding the Outrage into its lift at the end of the day. Once they’ve had their fill of activity and tucked their Whaler in for the night, Ray and Anita often kick back beside their pool, which overlooks the canal. There, they can toast to another perfect Florida winter, and dream about Colorado summers to come.
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JURASSIC FISH OF COSTA RICA
Angler Henry Waszczukâ€™s fishing adventures have been taking him around the globe for the last 35 years. He has produced and hosted more than 1,000 sportfishing TV episodes, and has experienced the best of the best in fishing destinations, resorts and lodges. His black-and-white stalking segments are a trademark of his Fishing the Flats series. He also produces the popular Fins & Skins Classic Adventures. Henry has created a formula for outdoor success with his unique blend of education, entertainment and conservation. He owns two Boston Whalers: a 240 Dauntless, which he uses in Canada, and a 330 Outrage he uses in Florida and beyond. Here, Henry shares his experience fishing in Costa Rica with a chartered 345 Conquest.
Story by Henry Waszczuk | Photos Courtesy of Fins Media Group Additional photography by Jeffry Gonzalez, Joost van Uffelen, Claude Huot and Jason Richeux
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The tide had just turned and was slowly pushing toward the open ocean. I was told that at certain points, the reef dips more than 50 feet below the surface. It’s hard to believe the topography can go up and down so quickly this close to shore. Long ago, volcanic activity formed pinnacles that rise out of the ocean floor, attracting baitfish that start the predator-prey relationship. Marlin, sails, tuna and dolphin fish take advantage of the feeding opportunities here. One of the exciting things about Costa Rica is that these popular species can be taken year-round; the country’s fishability is known around the world. In most cases, it’s difficult to distinguish one reef structure from the next, but one thing is for sure: These underwater structures hold great appeal for smaller fish—and, in turn, for much bigger fish. They also host myriad invertebrates, including some spectacular anemones, which help keep the smaller fish there. To put it in layman’s terms, this volcanic region is a fish magnet. Unlike most fishing in the open seas, where you have just water to look at, and maybe a flying fish or a turtle or two, when you fish the waters of Costa Rica, it’s apparent you are fishing structure. The surface activity is incredible. Our trip from Playa Flamingo to the day’s fishing grounds was
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about an hour and a half in the direction of the Nicaraguan border. With calm seas, our Boston Whaler cut the water like a hot knife through butter. We were entertained by the Blue-footed Booby birds soaring at the same speed as our boat, occasionally picking off small bait from our wake. We could have stopped many times to fish, but I was told that the big ones were more consistent farther north, so north we went. As we traveled past gorgeous islands and craggy mainland shorelines, it was easy to see why the fictional Jurassic Park was set here. Mysterious, haunting and mesmerizing, I found myself wondering what dinosaurs may have crashed through each crevasse. The jungle forests are amazing—so full and so lush. This country is beyond beautiful. In what felt like no time, we had reached our destination. As the engines quieted to less than a purr, the crew quickly got the gear set in the live bait spread they had fished probably a thousand times before. The baits were big, just as I like them, and lively. We had goggle-eyed bonito, lookdowns and mullet. Once all the baits were in, we started our slow troll. In a flash, one of the baits shot up through the water like a giant fireball, a silver and black blur exploding on the surface and throwing water in every direction. “Rooster!” someone shouted. Line screamed off the reel.
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Costa Rica treats anglers to a full spectrum of incredible sights and impressive species, including (clockwise from opposite, left) cubera snapper, sea turtles, stubby-headed mahi-mahi, and breaching humpback whales. (Top right) A Boston Whaler 345 Conquest delivers the rugged comfort and purposeful amenities for big-time offshore fishing.
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(Left) The unmistakable comb of a roosterfish, composed of seven very long dorsal fin spines. (Right) Leaping schools of porpoises are a familiar sight in the region's Pacific waters.
I grabbed the rod and immediately had it in Anglers trolling in the blue waters of the Here he came again, my rod belt, and it seemed as though, for the moregion are often treated to pleasant viewing slow and easy this ment, the circle hook had done its trick. Wow, this surprises: humpback and pilot whales blowing fish is big, I thought. I knew it was, as I have had many geysers high in the air, sea turtles sunning on the time toward the fish on stand-up gear, but when this fish sounded, surface, manta rays free-jumping, large schools of surface… until it felt as though he were diving to the bottom of spinner porpoises, and even pods of killer whales the reef. But no, here he came again, slow and easy migrating south along the coast. I felt his massive this time toward the surface… until I felt his masMy personal weakness, however, lies inshore. head shakes, where sive head shakes, where the rod tip would literally Imagine what a sight it must have been, milmove a foot. (And we’re talking stout rods.) lions upon millions of years ago, when volcanoes the rod tip would This fish took some time, and of course I never blasted out of the ocean floor and created what is literally move a want to lose the first fish of the day—nor any fish, now known as Central America. for that matter! After about 20 minutes, we could Fortunately for anglers, this aforementioned foot. (And we’re make out the distinctive color as an exquisitely phenomenon also created the underwater maze of talking stout rods.) bared rooster came to the surface, dorsal fins spread formations that attract so many gamefish to feed like a rake. during their migratory routes. The entire westJust when I thought he was ready to be lined, ern shore of Costa Rica is made up of spectacular off he sounded again. Yes indeed, these roosters are tough on light works of nature, home to untold varieties of fish. tackle. Now, the fight this fish gave was awesome to say the least, but The fish move up and down the coast, so naturally certain times of with a few more cranks, our second mate grabbed the leader, reached year make for excellent fishing, whereas other months will be slow. over and hauled in an incredible 75-pound-plus rooster. We took some The main fishing season is considered to run from April through quick pictures before releasing him back into the beautiful blue. December, and if you want rooster, giant snapper or mahi-mahi, the Deep-sea fishing stirs the imagination unlike any other sport. Sizspring months are best. However, in the months of January and Febzling reels, bent rods and big fish… it’s a feast for the senses. ruary, the waters off Nicoya produce some of the best marlin fishing Eager to experience Costa Rica for yourself? Situated on the counto be found anywhere in the world. Most of the fishing is out of Playa try’s Gold Coast, about 45 minutes from Liberia International Airport, Carrillo, to escape the strong Papagayo winds that often blow that time Playa Flamingo is a world-class fishing destination. If you can’t make of year. When it’s cold in the north, like where I come from, this is not the trip on a Whaler, Billfish Safaris has the boats to make your trip a bad destination to warm up. a memorable one. Known for logging many world-record catches, the Regardless of when you visit, it’s easy to appreciate the tectonic company offers various fishing packages with numerous charters availforces that shaped the country so many eons ago—and to find yourself able that know how to get you into fish. dreaming of future Costa Rican adventures.
vol. 10, issue 1
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