THE UNSINKABLE LEGEND
B O S T O N
W H A L E R
B O A T S
volume 9 issue 1
M A G A Z I N E
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A LEGEND AND A LEADER
CELEBRATING A PROUD LEGACY OF INNOVATION For 60 years, Boston Whaler has designed and manuFactured peerless boats that are not only unsinkable, but also unsurpassed in comfort, performance and ease of use. That’s because behind every Whaler is a talented, passionate team, dedicated to delivering the best quality boats on the water. With a proud lineup that spans from 11 to 42 feet, today’s Boston Whaler demonstrates the spirit of leadership that has always defined the company — and the belief that every boating experience can be legendary. WWW.BOSTONWHALER.COM
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whaler president’s letter
A Keeping the legend growing.
President, Boston Whaler
Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Customer Service
Manager of Content Development & Marketing Events
Marketing & Sales Event Coordinator
Digital Marketing Specialist
We all have our own definitions of “adventure.” To some, it might mean exploring a place you’ve never been before, somewhere off the beaten path and shrouded in mystery. Or, it could mean revisiting a spot you frequent but with a fresh outlook, eyes and mind open to finding new magic in the details.
Amy Wideman Senior Editor
Editor at Large
Jennifer Chesak Editor at Large
Point being, adventure doesn’t have to be exotic to be special. At Boston Whaler, we like to think of each excursion as an adventure in the making; it’s why we design boats to empower any on-water urge that may strike, whether you’re craving a longdistance journey or a short trip to the middle of the lake. In that spirit, we’re proud to introduce the Realm series, a new family of boats that defines “Expedition Grade.” (To see what I mean, turn to page 38.) In this issue, you’ll find many examples of the adventurous spirit. On page 28, for example, meet the Barters, a family whose Whaler outings span multiple states and generations. On page 44, catch up At Boston Whaler, with our favorite fisherman Henry Waszczuk, who’s got we like to think of tips for finding and fighting the spirited redfish. Have a story you’d like to share? We invite you to each excursion as tell us about it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using an adventure in the hashtag #whalerlife, or drop us a note at www. the making… bostonwhaler.com/contact-us/. After all, it’s in the retelling that an adventure becomes a legend.
President — Boston Whaler
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 © 2018 Boston Whaler.
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MEET AXIOM PRO ™
Axiom Pro is made for captains that want it all. Available with RealVision™ 3D, a powerful 1kW CHIRP sonar, and HybridTouch™ control, Axiom Pro is the new standard for allin-one navigation display. And with a quad core processor, super bright IPS display technology, and the smart LightHouse™ 3 OS, Axiom Pro delivers a fast and intuitive navigation experience.
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volume 9 issue 1
20 Smooth Sailing
Five-time Whaler owners Bob and Lee Perkins apply ingenuity and experience to design their own seamless days on the water. Plus, must-see destinations in San Antonio.
A Flora-Bama Family
The Barters crisscross the FloridaAlabama border to enjoy uninterrupted time on their 370 Outrage and 240 Dauntless Pro. They also offer up Emerald Coast restaurant recommendations.
38 To the Horizon and Back
The new Boston Whaler Realm defines “Expedition Grade” quality and performance, fueling adventures both near and far, far away. Plus, read about Seakeeper and Whaler Watch technology.
To the Horizon and Back
departments 14 04 Navigate Tips for finding the right life jacket, taking better photos, getting your kids into fishing, choosing a rockin' boating playlist and more.
D.I.Y. A Tennessee boater launches a new chapter by restoring a 1960 Whaler Sport, gaining a new platform from which to cheer for the UT Vols.
Travel For cruising, fishing, dining or sightseeing, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the great Northeast, especially with these stops on your itinerary.
Adventure A daring boater navigates 500 miles of Yukon wilderness aboard his Super Sport with just a handdrawn chart and a trusty depth-sounder to guide him.
Shallow-Water Redfish, the Whaler Way
Sliding into Sarasota Bay’s shallowest spots on a 270 Dauntless, professional angler Henry Waszczuk strikes gold— make that red—and explains how he conquers the skinniest water.
On The Cover: From sunrise to sunset and long after, the 380 Realm empowers memorable boating moments.
Photo by Richard Steinberger
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NAVIGATE Hooks, news, gear and info to Help make tHe most of your boating lifestyle
get out tHere Cast a line, CatCh a smile
When it comes to spending quality time with family and friends, there’s no place like the water. Schedules, to-do lists, phones and apps take a backseat to things like sunshine, bird calls and cannonballs. A few minutes spent commanding the waves from the helm or sprawled out in the bow can dissolve knots of tension and counteract hours of screen time. And that doesn’t just apply to grown-ups and their workaday worries; the littlest boaters benefit enormously from a dose of the outdoors.
Get ’em Hooked early. Turn to page 12 for tips on turning a first fishing trip into a favorite memory.
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N AV I G AT E PEACE OF MIND A Sea Tow® membership is a direct connection to professional, experienced Captains, giving you peace of mind every time you leave the dock. Sea Tow’s expert on-water assistance is available nationwide, 24/7, with services including fuel drops, jump starts, towing and prop disentanglements. Sea Tow members can enjoy savings on fuel, at restaurants, and with more than 1,700 national and local partners like Avis and Budget rental cars. Every new Boston Whaler comes with a free 95-day Sea Tow membership, and by purchasing an additional one-year membership, you get 15 months of benefits on every boat you own, rent or charter.
To find ouT more, visiT seaTow.com and use discounT code Bwf, or call 800-4-seaTow.
CAPTAIN’S ESSENTIAL APP
SEE MORE AT SEA The Raymarine® Axiom and Axiom Pro multifunction displays have earned raves from boaters far and wide, primarily for their fast and fluid LightHouse 3 operating system, along with their powerful CHIRP DownVision, CHIRP SideVision, RealVision 3D and 1kW CHIRP sonar capabilities. And now, if your Whaler features one of Raymarine’s eS or gS Series multifunction displays, you can unlock these high-performance tools as well. Simply download the LightHouse 3 update from Raymarine.com to any microSD memory card, insert it into your display, and you’ll be running the latest technology faster than you can say “underwater vision.”
If you keep your smartphone handy while on your Whaler, you’ll want to download FishWeather, an app designed to provide the most accurate, real-time weather conditions to boaters and anglers worldwide. FishWeather uses crowdsourcing, in combination with data from 50,000 weather stations, to generate in-depth, up-to-date maps of wind, weather, sea surface temperatures and more. Take your fishing to the next level with the LIVE WIND feature, which provides an intuitive flow map of real-time wind ffishweaTher w TTher is availa wea availaBle Ble for patterns. fish
download from The T app sTore sT or GooGle pla pplaY. Y Y.
visiT raYmarine.com To learn more.
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N AV I G AT E PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS
GettinG the perfect shot at sea can be challenGinG. but keep an eye out for these three thinGs and you may just capture that once-in-a-lifetime photoGraph.
LIGHTING Good lighting can drastically change a photo. Finding the time of day when the light is just right can help improve exposure and sharpness. Overcast skies, for example, provide scattered light and a muted background, which allows bright colors to pop exceptionally well. Shoot portraits and photos on or of your boat when skies are overcast. Similarly, the first hours of sunrise and sunset— also known as the Golden Hour—create angled light that is bronzed and flattering. Avoid the harsh midday sun, which tends to create overexposed, washed-out images.
CHOICE COVERAGE The experts at Boater’s Choice can take the confusion out of selecting the right insurance for your Boston Whaler. With direct access to a variety of A-rated carriers, Boater’s Choice’s knowledgeable marine underwriters can suggest the best price and coverage options for you and your boating lifestyle. Get a personalized, no-obligation quote by visiting boaterschoiceinsurance.com.
TIMING When shooting waves or landscapes in low light, try slowing your shutter speed down to 5, 10 or even 30 seconds. This allows the camera to take in more light and to flatten out the waves that are moving faster than your shutter. The result? A beautiful seascape of smooth water and saturated colors. Just be sure you have a stable surface to minimize blur.
COMPOSITION Take the time to think about where things are in the frame of your photograph. If there’s a horizon in sight, make sure it’s level. If you’re photographing people or objects, think about the rule of thirds, which places the focus in one-third of the frame while leaving the other two-thirds as background. The only wrong way to compose a photograph is to not think about composition at all, so mix it up until you find your perfect shot.
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Mia, nice meeting you last night. About our date...would you like to join me on my boat tomorrow?
12 sec ago
It has a Seakeeper, right? 4 sec ago
ONCE YOU FEEL IT, YOUâ€™LL NEVER BOAT WITHOUT IT. LEARN MORE AT SEAKEEPER.COM
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N AV I G AT E
CANVAS YOU CAN TRUST Great Lakes Boat Top leads the industry in marine canvas replacements, with more than 22,000 original canvas patterns to choose from. Whether your Whaler needs a new bimini top, cockpit cover or enclosure, Great Lakes guarantees a perfect fit, long-lasting performance and the highest quality material. To shop for canvas for your specific Whaler make and model,
When you stay in a hotel or eat at a restaurant, you want to know what you’re in for. Are the rooms comfortable? What’s the most popular item on the menu? Snag-A-Slip gives you the same level of detail about marinas—from the Pacific Northwest to the Caribbean—and lets you rent slips online, with no booking fees ever! Verified reviews from real boaters provide helpful insight, so you can feel confident in your Whaler’s resting place on your next adventure. Create an account to be eligible for rewards and get one free night for every 12 nights stayed at a marina!
GeT sTarTed Today: visiT snaGaslip.com or download The app from The app sTore or GooGle play.
REFINANCE THE RIGHT WAY Considering refinancing your Whaler to lower your monthly payments? Trusted partner Essex Credit can help guide you through the process. With competitive fixed rates, extended loan term options and quick turnaround, Essex Credit is here to help. Don’t let your refinancing questions go unanswered;
visiT essexcrediT.com/Bw To GeT sTarTed.
Refinance plan subject to consumer loan requirements and credit approval. Certain fees, closing costs and restrictions may apply.
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Every journey has a soundtrack. Let's make yours sound amazing.
ÂŠ 2017 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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N AV I G AT E PAINT TO PERFECTION
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PFD
When it comes to caring for your Whaler, let the paint professionals at AzkoNobel’s Interlux help. Makers of the industry-leading Micron Technology range of antifouling paints, Interlux provides helpful advice on choosing the right products for your boat, with a vast support section to guide you through all kinds of jobs. Looking for paint application techniques? Wondering how to spot osmosis?
Safety on the water is a must, and a good life jacket or PFD (personal flotation device) can be the single most important safety factor during water activities. In fact, the U.S. Coast Guard requires you to carry enough PFDs for each person onboard your Whaler. Finding the right size and type makes wearing them much more comfortable.
Head to interlux.com for all tHe answers.
…make sure yours can tighten to a snug enough fit that it won’t rise above your head.
Be sure to try on life jackets before buying; what may be marked as “Large” in one brand adcould be “Medium” for another. Most are ad justable, so make sure yours can tighten to a snug enough fit that it won’t rise above your head. Further, the specific fit can vary significantly by activity, but whether you’re planning on fishing, watersports or casual cruising—or bringing your pup along!—there’s a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD to match.
MARINE LAYER Summer temperatures have us peeling off layers and packing away winter coats. Still, evenings on the boat can be chilly, especially if you’ve taken a dip. Cozy up under a fleece Whaler blanket and banish goosebumps for good. You’ll find blankets, sweatshirts, hats and much more at Whaler’s online apparel store.
Visit wHalerapparel.com to sHop tHe collection.
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Tailored to the specific needs of anglers, the Stohlquist Fisherman Personal Floatation Device features a dual-mounted front tool pouch and inside accessory pockets to hold all your fishing accessories, while the padded neoprene shoulders keep you comfortable and safe.
The One Capella 2.0 by Ronix is as close as you might come to a tailor-fitted wakeboard vest. Its cylindrical construction moves with your body through jumps and turns. Much like your Whaler, it’s proof that you can get style, performance and safety in one package
Even the best human swimmers should wear a life jacket while boating, and the same goes for your canine companion. The Ruffwear K9 Float Coat comes highly recommended by veterinarians, and comes in a wide range of sizes to offer comfort, durability and safety for nearly all breeds of dog.
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Hit the high seas with a low-rate boat loan
Fixed APR* as low as
4.74% 5.64% $50,000 +
$25,000 – $49,999
Rates accurate as of 7/2/18. See website for current rates and terms.
When the sea beckons, answer the call with an affordable marine loan from Essex Credit. Whether refinancing an existing loan or financing a new or used boat for live-aboard, full- or part-time charter, or pleasure use, our dedicated consultants can help you with your dream vessel. And with our simple online application, securing a loan couldn’t be easier. So visit our website or call 866-377-3948 today to take advantage of the open water, and our low, fixed APR.
Apply online at EssexCredit.com/bw
* Estimated APR (Annual Percentage Rate) based on 5 year loan term; individual rate may vary based on loan amount, loan term, vehicle use, model year and type of boat. Subject to consumer loan program requirements and credit approval. Rates and terms may vary with market conditions and are subject to change without notice. Certain fees, closing costs, and restrictions may apply. APR applied to the loan is the APR in effect on the date the application is received and is valid until 30 days after loan approval. APRs may vary with loan term. Boat must be 1998 model year or newer; for boat model year 1998 to 2007, add .25% to above rate. Maximum loan term based on loan amount. Maximum loan amount is calculated using an advance percentage determined by FICO score and multiplied by NADA base wholesale value with adds; if not listed in NADA, then multiplied by 80% of BUC low retail value. Other rates with different loan terms are available. See our website for rates and terms for financing live-aboards and loan amounts below $25,000. Example of a recreational use boat loan: A $65,000 loan for 5 years with an APR of 4.74% has 60 monthly payments of $1,218.90 each. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
© 2018 Bank of the West. Doing business in South Dakota as Bank of the West California.
NMLS ID 19116
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N AV I G AT E SUMMER PLAYLIST Chances are, your Whaler is rocking a set of JL Audio marine speakers—which means you’re rocking out to the highest-quality sound on the water. JL’s environmental longevity standards far exceed typical industry standards, ensuring that your music sounds good today, tomorrow and long into the future. Need a little inspiration? Here’s a playlist of boat-friendly classics:
FUEL THE FUN Get the most out of your Whaler this summer with the protective properties of ValvTect’s X-Tended Protection + Gasoline Treatment (XP+). This multi-functional, premium-grade gasoline treatment keeps gasoline in prime condition all season long and beyond, thanks to refinery chemicals specially formulated to improve gasoline performance in marine engines. Whether your gasoline contains ethanol (E10) or not (E0), is used every day or occasionally, or is in storage for a year or longer, XP+ ensures your engine is ready to start. XP+ contains ValvTect’s stabilizer, combined with proprietary corrosion inhibitor to stop any corrosion possibilities, 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.
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■ “Walk, Don’t Run” – The Ventures
■ “If I Had a Boat” – Lyle Lovett
■ “Drive” – Alan Jackson
■ “Water” – Brad Paisley
■ “Knee Deep” – Zac Brown Band featuring Jimmy Buffett
■ “Southern Cross” – Crosby, Stills & Nash
■ “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” – Otis Redding
HOOKED ON FISHING For many of us, a lifelong love of fishing was born when Mom or Dad showed us how to bait a hook before we could even tie our shoes. Fishing can be a real bonding opportunity and a ton of fun for all ages, as long as you take a few things into consideration for the youngest anglers:
Location: If fishing from shore, find an easily accessible area so your child doesn’t tire out before the fun even begins. Fishing onboard your Whaler is a great way to limit exhaustion and a perfect place to take frequent breaks. Tackle: There are a variety of simple, short rods designed specifically for pint-sized piscators. This cuts down on frustration and can help kids feel connected to the sport. Timing: Be prepared to stay only as long as your youngest child is interested. Kids’ ability levels and attention spans vary quite a lot by age; consider taking each child individually for his or her first few lessons. Education: It pays to check out books or online resources for young anglers. (Takemefishing.org is a good place to start.) Spend some time sharing these with your children, teach them to recognize fish in your area, and explain the concept of “catch and release.” With a little TLC, your child may soon be as hooked as you are!
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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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(Top) Before he and his family set to work, Brennan Parrishâ€™s 1960 Sport was definitely showing its age. But after a lot of sanding, priming, painting and polishing, he and his wife, Ann (above and right), now have a vessel thatâ€™s as good as new.
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Better With Age A Tennessee boater launches a new chapter by restoring a 1960 Whaler Sport Story by Tre Travers Photos Courtesy of Brennan Parrish
Last June, Tennessee law student Brennan Parrish embarked on a major D.I.Y. project: restoring a 1960 13-foot Whaler Sport to its original glory. With some grit, determination, and ample help from his wife, nephew and father, he successfully brought the boat back to peak condition. “It all started when my wife, Ann, saw an older 17foot Montauk out on the water and was captivated by the blue interior,” Brennan explains. “I’d been looking for a smaller boat we could run around in. Something that still had enough space to bring our stuff along.” “In researching, I realized Whalers have something of a cult following,” he continues. “Partly for the unsinkability, but also the whole Whaler community—it’s just a different dynamic, nothing like you get with jon boats or cruisers. People are dedicated to the true, authentic experience. That’s really what got me hooked.” Brennan and Ann located the 13-footer down in Mississippi (roughly a five-hour drive from their home in Knoxville), and were pleased to learn it still had all its original wood and no damage to the fiberglass—making it a prime candidate for restoration. “I picked it up, headed straight for the shop and started sanding away!” Brennan says with a laugh. He soon discovered the Whaler had been covered in five layers of house paint by the previous owner, so it took quite a bit of elbow grease to sand through to the Whaler logo. Of course, sanding was just one aspect of the project. After a thorough assessment, they pulled out the interior structures, removed the engine, and flipped the boat for a better view of the hull. “Luckily it wasn’t waterlogged, but that’s still a lot of boat to flip,” Brennan recalls. “It took my cousin, my dad, and two friends to get it turned over.” They tackled the bottom first, applying layers of primer and paint, then flipped it back over to do some minor filler work and restore the interior’s eye-catching
blue color. “My dad is fantastic with a brush and a roller, which was a big plus,” he laughs. “We’d take turns, putting on a layer of primer or topcoat, doing coats of varnish while other stuff was drying. Ann was a great sport too.” Applying a new rub rail posed the biggest challenge. “We wanted to use a beefier one, a more rigid material like the kind that are common on today’s Whalers, rather than what they were using back in the ’60s,” Brennan explains. “That stuff doesn’t like to cooperate! My wife and I had kind of a… well, an exciting time installing that.” Finally, they polished the boat’s original brass components to a mirror finish, and varnished the mahogany seat to a brilliant shine. The finishing touch? They inscribed the seat with “Vessels of Freedom,” a phrase from Ann’s favorite Kenny Chesney song, “Boats.” Since completing the project, the couple has put many miles on their engine, boating all around the upper Tennessee River. Neyland Stadium is just a mile away from their slip, so there was never any question they’d join the Vol Navy, a fleet of UT fans who boat to every home football game and cheer from the water. The Parrishes have also trailered their Sport across the South, boating in the Florida Keys and South Carolina, among other spots. They have a map hanging in their home office with pins for each destination visited. “Honestly, restoring the boat is one of the best memories,” Brennan says. “To have something like that we can look back on—and now to have something we can actually use!” In fact, the project was so worth the effort, they’re taking on another one: Brennan recently picked up a 1960s-era Squall (one of Whaler’s entries into the sailboat market). “It was one of my only other bucket-list restorations,” he says. “I hate to use the word ‘adorable,’ but the Squalls really are.” “I’m never too busy to talk about Whalers,” he adds with a grin. “Finding one, restoring it, taking it out—it’s kind of the American Dream.”
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(Clockwise from top) The iconic Portland Head Light at dawn; a view of Bar Harbor, bursting with summer flowers; a tiny island in Sebago Lake; a freshly caught lobster; one of many charming restaurants in the Old Port District.
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The Maine Event
For fishing, cruising, dining or sightseeing, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the great Northeast Story by Colleen Tolan Photos by Doug Lemke, Romiana Lee, Sean Pavone and Steve Widoff
Visit Maine once and it becomes clear why this northeasternmost U.S. state is often the setting for romantic novels and Stephen King thrillers. Rocky shorelines, candy-striped lighthouses and an abundance of moose make Maine a living postcard—and the perfect destination for your next escape. Hike through Acadia National Park with a stop at historic Bar Harbor, hop from lobster shack to brewery in Portland, and be sure to carve out some time on the water at Sebago Lake. Pack your fishing poles, cameras and a hearty appetite as you venture through one of New England’s oldest and most iconic vacation spots. Explore Bar Harbor Once the most coveted destination getaway for America’s most powerful families—including the Rockefellers, the Fords and the Vanderbilts—Bar Harbor is now best known for its well-preserved beaches and hiking trails. Venture through the Cadillac Mountains in Acadia National Park or enjoy a 27-mile drive along oceanside cliffs on Park Loop Road. Stroll down West Street to see some of the remaining homes from Millionaire’s Row and make a pit stop in the Abbe Museum to learn all about Bar Harbor’s rich history. Or launch your Whaler from Frenchman Bay and enjoy the coastline views from out at sea. Whether you’re hitting the beaches, boating or cruising through by car, Bar Harbor is sure to provide beautiful scenery you won’t soon forget. Dine in Portland For a true Maine experience, spend a couple of nights in the state’s largest city, Portland. Known as a cultural
and culinary hub, Portland offers old-city charm with a lively arts district and endless seaside eats. Trade the standard pub crawl for a Lunchtime Lobster Crawl in Portland’s Old Port, where you can learn about the local food scene and the state’s iconic crustacean. While in the area, be sure to make a stop at Portland Head Light, Maine’s oldest operating lighthouse—and its most photographed. Bend your ears on an overcast day and you may just catch the faint foghorn of the lighthouse, the same horn that has been sounding for more than 100 years. From Portland Head Light, follow the jagged cliffside to Fort Williams Park, where kites fly high in the summer and pieces of the original fort’s edifice still remain. Pack a picnic and enjoy a slow afternoon among the spring flowers. Finish your time in Portland with a climb up the steps of the only remaining historic maritime signal station in the U.S., the Portland Observatory. Be sure to time your trip to the observatory at sunset for especially stunning views of Casco Bay. Cruise Sebago Lake After you’ve absorbed enough Maine culture and cuisine, escape to Sebago Lake. Found about an hour northwest of Portland, Sebago is Maine’s deepest lake, with areas more than 300-feet deep. A favorite of locals, Sebago is also easily accessible and sparkling clean. The lake’s crystal-clear waters are chock-full of trout, smallmouth bass and salmon, making it the perfect place to fish. For a little exhilaration, try wakeboarding through Sebago’s wooded bays. At the end of the afternoon, dock your Whaler at the marina and enjoy an evening under the stars at one of the 250 campsites around the park.
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Scenic destinations along Gordonâ€™s route down the Yukon River included (clockwise from top) Glacier Bay, Haines, Lake Laberge and Carmacks.
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Yukon River Run
A daring boater navigates 500 miles of northern Canadian wilderness aboard his Super Sport Story and Photos by Gordon Stephens
Back in 1972, I watched a movie in my 4th grade class about a group of guys who built and floated a raft down the Yukon River. I was captivated by their story and vowed to make a similar journey at some point in my life. Many years later, after almost a full year of planning, I towed my Boston Whaler Super Sport from my hometown of Youngstown, New York, 3,500 miles to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. I averaged 700 miles per day on the road, which worked out to 15 hours of driving per day. My objective was to transit the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City, which is a 500-mile run. On Saturday, June 17, I departed from Whitehorse with 600 pounds of gear and a good friend of mine from Colorado. During my research before attempting this trip, I was not able to find any information on anyone who had done this by powerboat, as everyone seemed to do it by canoe or kayak. I figured that since paddle wheelers had done it over a hundred years ago, I could do it too—especially in an unsinkable boat! Another factor adding to the difficulty was that there are no official navigation charts for the area. Our only navigation reference material was a hand-drawn chart and our depth sounder. The first two days were uneventful and the weather was perfect. While crossing the only open water of Lake Laberge, the lake was smooth as glass and presented many great photo opportunities. Mind you, the Yukon is grizzly territory, and since we were camping in tents I took just about every precaution possible, from bear spray and firearms to a portable electric fence!
It was on day three when I let my friend take the helm (after spending a great deal of time providing instructions) that we ran aground on a shoal in the middle of the river. We were close to 50 miles from the closest highway and literally in the middle of nowhere. Considering our limited options, I determined that our only way out was to dig a channel in the riverbed to continue downstream—a daunting task, given the current of the Yukon, which averages 5 mph, and the water’s very cold temperature, due to its being glacier and snow melt. After about three hours of digging the riverbed by hand, were we able to free the boat and continue our passage. If we hadn’t been successful, I would have had to activate the EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon). I did have visions of being airlifted out and was very sad at the thought of having to leave everything behind. Maybe that gave me additional energy to keep digging that channel! The rest of the trip was quite uneventful in comparison. In all, we spent nine days on the water. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After our Yukon River run, I trailered the boat to Skagway, Alaska, and spent a week fishing on Glacier Bay. Skagway has to be the most beautiful area in the world for boating: 10,000-foot snowcapped mountains that meet directly with the sea are a sight to behold. Boston Whalers are a bit of a rarity in Alaska, as most boaters tend to use aluminum craft. I bought the Whaler for the sole purpose of this trip and had 100 percent confidence that I would make it home in one piece. It never let me down. Had I been in an aluminum boat and grounded where I did, the boat would likely still be there!
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S m oo th Saili ng Five-time Whaler owners Bob and Lee Perkins apply ingenuity and experience to design their own seamless days on the water â˜… Story by Amy Wideman | Photos by Mike Calabro Medina Lake Photo Courtesy of Travis Meredith
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â˜… The sTory of how Texans
BoB and Lee Perkins meT is aLmosT Too PerfecT. Twenty years ago, Lee was working at Sears as a retail manager in appliances, while Bob was a service manager in the technical department. Their paths would cross from time to time, and it wasnâ€™t long before the spark grew into a flame. After several run-ins at work, Bob took the plunge and asked Lee if she would like to go water-skiing with him. To his delight, she happily accepted the invitation.
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Or, as Lee likes to tell it, “They used to have the slogan ‘Sears has everything!’ Turns out they were right, Sears had everything—even a husband!” Since that first water-skiing date, the couple’s mutual love of the water has only grown stronger. Over the years, they have owned many boats and put many nautical miles on their engines. Now that Bob is retired, they have more time to spend together on their local reservoir, Medina Lake. The emerald-green, crescent-shaped body of water shrinks and swells depending on rainfall levels; recent surges have pushed it, thankfully, toward full capacity.
Largemouth bass and hybrid stripers abound, to the point that some days Bob and Lee catch and release more than 40 fish in a morning. As the water returned, so did the supply of fish, thanks to restocking efforts by the government. The Perkinses appreciate a healthy lake for many reasons, fish being chief among them. Largemouth bass and hybrid stripers abound, to the point that some days Bob and Lee catch and release more than 40 fish in a morning. The early birds are more than happy to wake up before dawn to cast their lines and enjoy the lake before the crowds roll in. “On weekends, we make sure to be off the water before beer-thirty,” Bob says with a chuckle. Located about an hour away from San Antonio, Medina Lake is a short 9-mile drive from the Perkinses’ house. That’s where they keep their latest boat, a new 230 Outrage, in a custom garage that Bob designed and built. It’s just one of many signs pointing to his deep and abiding ingenuity. Another prime example: He engineered a ladder to run from his trailer to the bow of his boat, so they never have to step foot in the water at the boat launch.
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“It’s so peaceful and pleasant,” Lee says of mornings on Medina Lake. “We normally go nice and early. It’s just heaven.”
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“We’ve never had a Whaler that we weren’t thoroughly in love with. We’re always sad to get rid of them, but of course we love the new one.” (Top) The custom ladder Bob engineered to make launches and retrievals easier, helping them avoid the dreaded boat-launch couple’s quarrel.
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“Thanks to my time at Sears, I’ve worked on everything from an egg incubator to a VCR, so if there’s something that needs a solution, I’ll make it,” Bob says. He also mounted a special tool rack to the rear of the Outrage to keep a knife and a set of pliers handy. (It’s so seamlessly integrated that if you didn’t know better, you’d assume it was a factory-installed feature.) But to hear them rave about it, there’s not much Bob and Lee would change about their boat. The 230 marks the Perkinses’ fourth Outrage, and their fifth Whaler; with each iteration, they’ve grown more smitten with the brand. “We’ve never had a Whaler that we weren’t thoroughly in love with,” Lee says. “We’re always sad to get rid of them, but of course we love the new one.” “Every time we get a new boat, my wife says this will be our last one,” Bob says. “But this time it might actually be true.” “The Outrage has some niceties I really like,” he continues. “The pull-down seat in the back, the portable head in the console.… They pushed the gunnels out to make a lot of space; you can fit 9 or 10 people in the boat very comfortably. It handles really well, rides really smooth. And those Mercury® Verado engines—we’ve had four of them now, and they’re so quiet and powerful. Great fuel efficiency.” Lee notes how impressed she is with the boat’s versatility: “You can take it offshore, but you can still put it in 3 feet of water if you want to fish inland. It’s just so multifaceted.”
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SAVORING SAN ANTONIO Less than an hour’s drive from Medina Lake, bustling San Antonio—the second most populous city in Texas—holds endless charm. With its well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture, burgeoning food scene, vibrant culture and ample natural beauty, it’s worth a visit with or without your Whaler.
Tower of the Americas
The Outrage’s performance characteristics come in handy when the Perkinses venture out into the Gulf of Mexico, sometimes more than 20 miles, in search of bigger fish and bigger thrills. “Between the boat riding well and Bob’s longtime ability to drive an ocean, it’s phenomenal,” Lee says. “I remember the first time in our 16-footer, cresting a big wave, my feet would come off the floor and I would squeal! I just love it.” Bob adds, “It’s not fun to fish in waves that tall, but it’s sure fun to ride in them.” When conditions cooperate, they enjoy tracking down kingfish and shark out on the Gulf. They have plans to go red snapper fishing further down the coast toward Port Mansfield. And when they get the chance, they’re overjoyed to bring their family along. “We have grandkids who live in North Central Texas and who go fishing with us about once a year,” Lee says. “To me that’s a big honor, when your grandkids want to hang out with you!” The Perkinses have been customers of Sail & Ski in San Antonio since 1990, as they worked their way from a ski boat to a 16-foot Boston Whaler Dauntless, followed by a 19-foot Outrage, a 21-foot Outrage, a 24-footer, and finally the 230. They are quick to sing the dealership’s praises. “Sail & Ski is always right on top of things. They do great work,” Bob says. He doesn’t leave them with much to take care of, though; the Outrage, like all of the Perkinses’ boats before it, gets bathed and washed religiously. “If he can’t go out on the boat because it’s raining, he’ll go out and give it a little kiss,” Lee jokes before noting, “Bob is a fanatical perfectionist. These Whalers are just his dream because they don’t give him any trouble at all.” Bob nods in agreement. “I’ve been boating for more than 50 years, so I know what boats can do and should do. That Whaler is tough to beat.”
At 750 feet high, the Tower of the Americas offers spectacular views of the city. Take in the scenery from the Observation Deck, enjoy a side of panorama with your steak while dining in the revolving Chart House Restaurant, or zoom across the state via the Skies Over Texas 4-D Theater Ride.
San Antonio River Walk Curving along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story below the city’s streets and safely away from traffic, the River Walk is lined with bars, shops, restaurants and historic missions. It’s hands-down one of the best places to absorb the sights, sounds and flavors of San Antonio.
The Alamo This 300-year-old former Spanish mission, site of the famous 1836 Battle of the Alamo, is Texas’s most visited historic landmark. Entrance is free and open to the public every day except Christmas, and daily programming includes several family-friendly activities and demonstrations.
The McNay Art Museum Founded in 1954, McNay was the first modern art museum in Texas. Today the collection consists of more than 20,000 objects and includes work by such artists as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Georgia O’Keeffe. Be sure to stroll the museum grounds, which stretch for 23 acres and are landscaped with fountains, lawns and a Japanese-inspired garden. Photo Credits:
San Antonio Skyline, Sean Pavone. Tower of the Americas, Amadeus M. River Walk, f11 Studios. The Alamo, Richard A. McMillin. The McNay Art Museum, Eblis Studio.
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A FlorA-BAmA FAmily The Barters crisscross the Florida-Alabama border to enjoy uninterrupted time on their Boston Whalers
AAron BArter hAs Been A WhAler FAn since he WAs in diApers. noW thAt he And his WiFe, meghAn, hAve kids oF their oWn, they’ve continued the trAdition oF WhAler oWnership And A liFe enjoyed on the WAter. “the BrAnd speAks For itselF,” AAron sAys. “WhAlers Are unsinkABle, they’re sAFe, And iF i’m tAking my FAmily out on A BoAt, it’d Better WithstAnd the test oF time.” S t o r y b y Je n n i fe r C h e s a k P h o t o s by R o b e r t G l o ve r
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A A STORIED WHALER HISTORY
The Barters live in Pensacola, Florida, and mostly boat around Orange Beach, Alabama, where they have a condo. Aaron’s love for Whaler started much farther north, however. His affinity for the brand stems from his childhood growing up in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where his father worked as a lobsterman. His grandparents also operated a popular clambake on nearby Cabbage Island. “I was 2 months old and I was on my grandmother’s Boston Whaler,” Aaron recalls. “She had probably four or five of the original Whalers.” Aaron’s grandparents, Donald and Ruth Leavitt, owned Cabbage Island, which they bought in the late 1940s. For more than 20 summers, Ruth ran authentic Downeast clambakes there twice a day. She cooked the Maine lobster and clams in seaweed and baked the whole affair covered in rocks. Aaron says the staff used one of the family’s Whalers to gather seaweed from the island’s shoreline. The rest of the Whaler fleet ferried staff from the mainland to the island and back. To transport tourists to the event, Donald used passenger boats named Linekin I, Linekin II and Linekin III. Guests dined on the seafood along with corn on the cob, potatoes, onions, and Ruth’s famous New England Fish Chowder and equally lauded blueberry cake. She graciously passed both recipes on to the island’s new owners after the Leavitt family sold it in the ’80s, and gave them her blessing to relaunch the clambake tradition after a several-year hiatus.
(At right) Meghan Barter cozies up on the forward lounge seat of the family’s 370 Outrage with sons Jack and Will as their dad, Aaron, mans the helm. (Inset) Linekin II, a passenger boat that Aaron’s grandparents used to shuttle customers to their island clambakes, circa the late 1940s.
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A JOURNEY TO THE EMERALD COAST After settling in the Florida panhandle, where miles of sparkling Gulf waters awaited their exploration, Aaron’s nostalgia for his childhood kicked in. The Barters wanted a vessel for enjoying quality family time with their sons Will (13) and Jack (11). “When we were deciding to buy a boat, Whaler was all he wanted to look at,” Meghan says of her husband. The Barters had found their way to Florida after meeting in Virginia, where they worked in the same university athletic department. Meghan’s parents had retired in the Pensacola area, prompting Meghan to seek a job there. She landed a position as the associate director of athletics for the University of West Florida, and the couple’s South Coast tenure began. Meanwhile, Aaron switched fields, earning his master’s degree in healthcare administration. He now owns an anesthesia management company. Taking after their athletic parents—Meghan played college volleyball and Aaron basketball—the Barter boys stay active in sports. Will plays baseball, basketball and football, and Jack opts for ice hockey along with basketball and football. Weekdays are a busy blur of work and shuttling the kids from one sporting practice to the next, so the Barters use the condo and their Whalers as a way to get everyone in one place, reconnect and decompress. During the school year, they’ll take off on a Friday evening and stay in Orange Beach until Monday morning. The drive back to Pensacola is short enough that they can spend Sunday night relaxing and then haul the kids straight to school when they wake up. “When you’re at home, you feel like you’ve got to clean and do laundry,” Meghan says. “But the condo is far enough away that it just allows us to have family time.”
During their weekends in Orange Beach, Alabama, the Barters find that their work, school and sports commitments are quickly replaced by one to-do: Get on the water, stat.
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THE BARTERS’ WHALER FLEET THROUGH THE YEARS The Barters currently own a 2016 370
All joking aside, Aaron and Meghan say they
Outrage and a 2018 240 Dauntless Pro.
like walking out of the dealership knowing
They’ve landed on these models after several
they’ve received a good deal. Plus, they feel
Whaler purchases from MarineMax in
like they can’t go wrong when buying a
Pensacola, with the help of Kit Bodree. “He’s
Whaler. “Everything with Whaler is first-
more than just a salesman,” Aaron says.
class,” Aaron says. “The fit and finish is far
“He’s a friend. Just having that camaraderie.
superior to what you get on any other boat.
When you go into MarineMax, you actually
You get so much more for your money.”
Adding to the value are the vessels’ engines.
The family started off with a 2012 280
The 370 Outrage runs on triple 300s,
Outrage and then added a 170 Dauntless
and the 240 Dauntless Pro has a 350—all
to the mix. They eventually traded the
Mercury FourStroke Verados®. “They’re
170 Dauntless for a 240 Dauntless in 2014.
dependable and so quiet,” Aaron says.
Meanwhile, they traded in their 280 Outrage
He tells the story of picking up the
to buy their current 370 Outrage. “Then
Outrage at MarineMax one day after
when the Dauntless Pro came out,” Aaron
it required some routine maintenance.
says, “I had to have the new one; I’m not
He headed down to the dock where the
going to lie. And it’s easy that Kit has my
service folks had it ready for him. “I tried
credit card number and can just add on
to turn the engines on, and they were
any boat he wants,” he adds with a laugh.
already on,” he says. “I couldn’t hear them!”
“Everything with Whaler is first-class. The fit and finish is far superior to what you get on any other boat. You get so much more for your money.”
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Sidled up next to their Outrage, the Barters’ new 240 Dauntless Pro makes an equally beach-friendly vessel, and gives the family extra options for adventuring and restaurant-hopping with friends. The boat’s Pro Angler’s Tower offers easy access and full helm control for unbeatable visibility.
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HANGING OUT ONBOARD The Barters use the 370 Outrage for a mix of fun and relaxation. The Emerald Coast has a smattering of islands to explore. They’ll head to one for the day and use the built-in grill onboard for lunch or dinner. The boys like to jump off the back of the boat and swim or toss a ball on the beach. “If the kids are wanting to be lazy,” Aaron says, “they can go down underneath and stay in the air conditioning.” The family is also trying their hand at fishing when they have the time. Early summer is red snapper season, so they’re gearing up for that. “It’s nice that the boat is multifunctional, and you’ve also got the safety of a Whaler,” Aaron adds. The Barters like using the 370 Outrage as a basecamp for other activities. They’ll load the boys’ kayaks onboard and let them head out down an area called Old River. “They get to be free, but yet we’re following behind them,” Meghan says. In addition to quality family time, Meghan appreciates the boat for its ability to hold her crew of sorority sisters and their families when they all gather for a week in the summer at the Orange Beach condo. They enjoy taking the boat out to watch the U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform. The Outrage, called Captains Daughter, is named after Meghan since she’s the daughter of a retired naval captain, but it also signifies how much Aaron treasures the boat. “I don’t have a daughter. I have two sons,” he says, “so this is my daughter.” They use their 240 Dauntless Pro, which they unofficially call The ’Bama Boat, as more of a water taxi and to get into tight spaces. “It’s kind of a shuttle-around boat,” Aaron says. “It’s easy to get in and out of if we’re going to a restaurant or whatnot.” The Barters have several favorite onwater eateries they frequent, and they like to make dining out part of their weekend adventures (see sidebar). Ultimately, no matter what they’re doing or which boat they’re on, the Barters like both Whalers for securing time with their boys as they enter their teenage years and grow increasingly busy with sports and developing their independence. “Nowadays there’s so much you don’t get to do as a family because stuff gets in the way and we’re always running around,” Aaron says. “Boating just brings our family together.”
RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS The Barters offer their top picks for waterfront dining along the Emerald Coast.
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Flora-bama Yacht Club Pensacola, Florida
Pirates Cove Josephine, Alabama
Fisher’s Dockside Orange Beach, Alabama
Tacky Jacks Orange Beach, Alabama
“We like it for listening to live music. They have a specialty drink called a ‘solar energy.’ It tastes just like a creamsicle.” –Aaron
“It’s kind of a fun dive. You can bring your dog there, and they have the best bushwackers and hamburgers.” –Meghan
“Sometimes the boys ask to go twice a day. They like the boudin balls and the Alabama chicken.” —Meghan
“We go there by boat for breakfast. The pancakes are bigger than the plate.” –Aaron
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The new Boston Whaler Realm defines “Expedition Grade” quality and performance
Story by Amy Wideman | Photos by Richard Steinberger
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It’s one thIng to have long-dIstance ambItIons. For outdoor enthusIasts, wanderlust strIkes oFten, and oFten hard. but It’s another thIng entIrely to have achIeved those ambItIons, savored them, shared them as storIes around the campFIre or on a Facebook wall… and then use them as Fuel For even greater adventures.
The new Boston Whaler Realm series was made for ambitious boaters, the ones who seek to live out thrilling new stories, as well as those whose thirst for excitement is more easily sated. The name itself conjures up a sense of empowerment: A whole new Realm. A world of possibility. Adventurers welcome. Timed for release with Whaler’s 60th Anniversary, the 350 Realm made its debut in late 2017 and was quickly lauded for its approach to exploration, earning a coveted 2018 Innovation Award from the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Boston Whaler Director of Large Boat Sales Wil Rogers noted at the time of the win, “The 350 Realm provides an ideal mix of capability and comfort to empower and share the joy of discovery. As we celebrate our 60th year, the Realm is a great reflection of our heritage and values.” Not long after, the 350 was joined by the new 380 Realm, a larger version dedicated to being “Expedition Grade”: ready for anything, poised to take you near or far—even very far—safely and in style. “The 380 Realm is designed to make any on-water goal possible,” Rogers says. “It expands the definition of ‘all-day boat’ into something that encompasses cruising, fishing, entertaining, overnighting, long-distance travel and more.” “This is what Boston Whaler’s six-decade legacy is all about: constantly challenging ourselves to push the limits and provide new ways for boaters to experience the water,” notes Whaler President Nick Stickler. “We’re proud to expand our lineup with such a highly capable, beautifully designed addition to the Realm series.” With its spacious center console layout, modern cabin and impressive performance attributes, the 380 Realm, like the 350 before it, arrives ready for action. Purposeful features make this an ideal entertaining platform. A spacious open bow includes three-across lounge seating, armrests and cup holders galore, premium JL Audio® speakers, and opposing forward seating that facilitates conversation around an optional teak table (which also happens to raise and lower electronically to form a sun lounge).
The Realm series offers Whaler Watch, a cutting-edge telematics system that works behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly and keep you in the loop, even when you’re WHALERWATCH far from the boat. Whaler Watch incorporates Mercury’s Theft Deterrent System (TDS), providing improved c o n n e c t e d, i n t e l l i g e n t b o a t i n g security by restricting engine performance in the absence of a designated key fob. Beyond security, Whaler Watch is the first in the industry to include remote monitoring capabilities for the air conditioning, lighting, freezer plates and gyro controls, as well as generator shutdown alerts. Whaler Watch also lets you control and monitor the entire digital network of vessel systems remotely through the included iPad®.
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connected, intelligent boating
connected, intelligent boating
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In the cockpit, two full rows of plush, convertible seating provide great versatility, with backrests that slide seamlessly to face forward or backward, breezy air conditioning, and footrests for every seat. Overhead, an expansive moon roof in the hardtop is a state-of-the-art option. An extendable SureShade® sunshade stretches aft to lend welcome shade, while the robust prep station makes it easy to keep your crew well-fed. That crew will be well-hydrated, too, thanks to the massive under-seat cooler with optional refrigeration system that keeps days’ worth of beverages ice-cold. Another one of the 380 Realm’s feats of engineering is a full windshield featuring a brilliantly designed, aft-swinging access door. This expanse of glass, supported so that it’s easy to open and shut, provides protection from the elements while maintaining your connection with nature—not to mention walk-through bow access. Throughout, the Realm prioritizes comfort, whether you’re planning a dinner cruise with friends or a multi-day excursion with the whole family. Below deck, a well-designed cabin features a fully enclosed head with shower, a galley, an entertainment center, and a convertible V-berth for overnight stays. Which means that if the itch to explore hasn’t been scratched by sundown, you don’t have to head home just yet. COMFORT If fishing is on the agenda, TO THE choose from an array of options CORE to elevate your game, including radial outriggers, hardtop aft ladder rod holders, a 45-gallon insulated livewell and more. In terms of performance, the Realm marries cutting-edge Among the Realm’s most design with sophisticated techtech popular options is the available nology aimed at elevating your Seakeeper system. Seakeeper’s mastery of the water. Operinnovative gyro-stabilization ation is easy, thanks to the technology virtually eliminates intuitive Mercury® SmartCraft boat roll—along with a host VesselView display, which of excuses to stay ashore, like connects seamlessly to a varimotion sickness and the fatigue ety of available Raymarine® that can set in during rough navigation packages. Availconditions. able Joystick Piloting ensures worry-free docking, while the The first truly practical, and optional Seakeeper® gyro-staonly modern, anti-roll gyro, bilization system virtually the Seakeeper apparatus is eliminates boat roll (see sidebar). lightweight and uses only And with the Realm’s modest electrical power, and no outside appendages. In fact, highly efficient 300-hp MerWhaler’s skilled crew of naval cury Verado® engines (triples architects performed extensive on the 350; quads on the 380) and testing to ensure the system is huge fuel capacity, paired with structurally sound. You won’t Boston Whaler’s precision-engieven know it’s there—until you neered variable running surface activate it and experience the hull, you get powerful, efficient difference it makes. Check out performance; tons of range; and the videos and product demos a soft, safe, dry ride—all the way on seakeeper.com. to the horizon and back.
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(Clockwise from left) An inlaid accent on the Realmâ€™s optional teak table; convertible cockpit seating and the second-row under-seat cooler with upright bottle rack, featured on the 380; anchored off for a leisurely afternoon; at rest on the cabinâ€™s convertible V-berth.
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S H AL L OW WATER
redfish T H E WHALER WAY
Sliding into Sarasota Bay’s shallowest spots on a 270 Dauntless, famed angler Henry Waszczuk strikes gold—make that red S to r y & P h o to s C o u r te s y o f F i n s M e d i a G r o u p
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Sarasota Bay, an estuary off the west coast of Florida, offers great fishing opportunities year-round, especially if you’re up for skinny water. And by skinny, we’re talking less than two feet.
Heading into the tight spots on the hunt for fish, I knew having the right boat would be key. I had always enjoyed the flagship of Boston Whaler’s Dauntless family, the 270 Dauntless, but wasn’t sure whether it could go shallow enough to unlock Sarasota Bay’s best fishing locations. Still, I was determined to make it work. Upfront, I opted out of the portside swim platform to cut down on extra weight, but there was still the matter of the engines. This center console model is available with twins, but after considering the options in terms of performance, overall boat weight and fishability, I decided to test out this beautifully designed fishing machine with a
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single 350-hp Mercury Verado®. Another tip: I kept my fuel load down to 40 gallons because the boat is very fuel efficient and that’s all we need for a day. I also installed a Porta-Bracket hydraulic lift kit on the engine, which aids in overall performance and, more importantly, makes the shallow-water entry so easy. And while there aren’t many boats nearing 30 feet in length that you can mount a trolling motor onto the front of, that’s precisely what I did with a 36-volt MotorGuide®, along with three more batteries. To my pleasant surprise, I was able to float the Dauntless into 12 inches of water. Yes, you heard that right, 12 inches.
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So, Sarasota Bay, here we came—camera crew and all—in search of redfish. The north side of the bay starts in Manatee County and continues to south Sarasota County, stretching between barrier islands, or keys, that separate the body of water from the Gulf of Mexico and the mainland. These waters house many snook, trout and the aforementioned reds, thanks to the bay’s miles and miles of grass flats. Large populations of baitfish, shrimp and crab make the area perfect feeding grounds for these feisty fish. Redfish don’t care too much about structure, water depth or clarity, but what they do care about is food. Stay with the baitfish and you’re more likely to find them. Redfish weren’t always so soughtafter—many considered them trash fish—but over the years, they’ve become a favorite target of inshore anglers. In fact, an entire tournament industry has sprung up around catching them. Without a doubt, this one-of-a-kind species is tough, powerful and a beautiful fish to fight on light tackle.
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One look at a redfish and you know it’s built for brute strength. As our trip got underway, we broke out of a channel, dropped the trolling motor down and slowly maneuvered toward a small island and into what we thought was a school of redfish, because we’d seen the water rippling with jumping mullet. (Redfish often migrate with mullet, so that can be a clue to finding them.) The most important element here is to not spook the redfish school, so a stealth approach is key to having success. With light tackle equipment, we could cast pretty far, so we set up quietly and deployed our Power Pole anchoring system. As suspected, there were redfish mixed in with the mullet—we could see them clearly with our polarized sunglasses. The adrenaline started to flow. Now it was time to have some fun. Our go-to lures were the Live Target mullet for me, and my fishing buddy was using a Live Target sardine twitch bait. Within three casts, I hooked up and the fight was on. Right away we noticed that this was a much bigger redfish school than we had originally imagined, so I didn’t want to spook them too much. I reeled harder, using the rod to pull the fish away from the school. That’s another great tip to remember, because when you hook a redfish, she’ll want to fight within her group, so try to get her out as best you can. Of course, in most cases that’s easier said than done. One look at a redfish and you know it’s built for brute strength. Before too long, I had her beside the Whaler—and what a beauty. Broad, blunt head trailing a long, V-shaped wake; gold tail flashing that distinctive black spot. We must have caught eight reds from this school before we had to move on, but man oh man, what a blast. No question, Sarasota Bay is a beautiful place to spend the day on the water. If you’re ever nearby, give this location a shot. And whether you like to fish inshore or offshore, or just want a boat you can enjoy time on with the family, as far as I’m concerned, the 270 Dauntless is the perfect boat for the job.
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Finding Reds There’s an old saying, “Fish are where you find them.” This certainly bears true for redfish, but fortunately they are creatures of habit, so it’s possible to make an educated guess about where they’ll be. Typically, reds migrate in and out of coastal inlets in the colder months. The bottom line here is that season and tide are the two major factors in locating redfish. If you do find them, make a note—literally—of the tide stage, weather pattern and specific location so that you can return on a similar day and find one of the most exciting gamefish on the flats.
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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 August 31, 2018, Boston Whaler owners get 20% off any replacement canvas orders by using promo code: BW818. 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.
Offer available to retail customers only. Not valid in conjunction with other promotional offers. Expires August 31, 2018.
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