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Old 09-27-2016, 12:45 AM   #1
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Boston Whaler 13 as Dinghy addition

A separate thread regarding best motor for the BW 13 was timely as we have been considering purchasing a little Whaler for running around the bay (San Diego). I have the ability to tie it up at the marina, and it would not be carried on our Mainship. There are some great websites out there with information and history - but I am curious for those of you that have actually owned 13 footers - what is your impression of the ride? Are the newer (Post 2000/2001) redesigned hulls better in reality? (Less pounding/dryer ride). I originally was considering picking up an older one and cleaning up/restoring/repowering if needed... but a few comments I've heard say the older hulls were very rough in a chop. Curious what some of your experiences have been. I don't want to go larger for a variety of reasons and want something other than our 3.5hp tiller steered 8.5' RIB as a water-taxi/play-boat.
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Old 09-27-2016, 01:59 AM   #2
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A separate thread regarding best motor for the BW 13 was timely as we have been considering purchasing a little Whaler for running around the bay (San Diego). I have the ability to tie it up at the marina, and it would not be carried on our Mainship. There are some great websites out there with information and history - but I am curious for those of you that have actually owned 13 footers - what is your impression of the ride? Are the newer (Post 2000/2001) redesigned hulls better in reality? (Less pounding/dryer ride). I originally was considering picking up an older one and cleaning up/restoring/repowering if needed... but a few comments I've heard say the older hulls were very rough in a chop. Curious what some of your experiences have been. I don't want to go larger for a variety of reasons and want something other than our 3.5hp tiller steered 8.5' RIB as a water-taxi/play-boat.
I can say, just having taken my Whaler 13 out on our lake today that in any kind of wavy seas our Zodiac Rib with its v shaped hull has a superior ride.

The Whaler has essentially a flat bottom. our Rib has a vee shaped hull. For us we are gaining interior room, by going to the Whaler. We are certainly not gaining rough water capability. For us it is a good trade off. That trade off may not be for everyone.
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:32 AM   #3
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Yes, there is a definite difference in vintages. If someone tells you a Whaler story without specifying a year and model, you're not learning much of any value. I have a 2005 130 Sport with a 2 stroke 40hp Mercury, and it exhibits different ride and towing characteristics than those described by people who have models from the 1980's. I have been on some earlier boats from the 60's and 70's and they seem lighter than mine with a flatter hull form.

There is a lot of mythology and hearsay about these boats; that's mostly a result of being produced and popular for going on 50 years now. We have used ours extensively year around for 9 years now, including several years as the tender on our Hatteras which we cruised full time up and down the eastern seaboard. I often thought of the Hatteras as being the delivery vehicle for the Whaler, not unlike the 747 they used to transport the space shuttle on.

When we moved back on land, we kept the Whaler and still use it year around on the oft-choppy waters of Core and Bogue Sounds here in eastern NC.

The boats are popular for a reason, and retain their value to a higher degree than others for a reason too.
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Old 09-27-2016, 12:23 PM   #4
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That is consistent with what I am finding online. I haven't compared weights yet, but the newer hull form has more of a V entry at the bow. It seems to be the ideal bay boat for our intended use. Most appear to have Mercury 40 hp 4-strokes, and are being advertised in the 9K-10K neighborhood.
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Old 09-27-2016, 02:32 PM   #5
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We kept getting pestered by a friend to try a Whaler. So, we did one day. The bay we crossed to get there was fairly rough at 3-4' and short intervals. We went there in our Rib. Then we went out on the Whaler for a demo ride. Convinced us as to the superiority of the ride of the Rib. The salesman wanted to argue more so we took him out in our Rib. End of argument.

Some of the larger, fancier Whaler's are nice. They're sturdy and they ride ok. However, compared to other center consoled on the market today they're so sadly lacking in performance. I know there are many Whaler lovers who would have nothing else, but I still see them as an outstanding boat in the 80's and 90's perhaps. Not today.

As an aside, one other issue with new Whaler's and that is you're tied to the package with Mercury and Whaler maximum horsepower numbers are shockingly low. Whaler dealers aren't about to install more than the plate says though. I know some take it elsewhere or do it themselves but then you assume a liability.
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Old 09-27-2016, 03:46 PM   #6
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I've never liked Whalers because they are heavy. They are of course designed by Bert Bertram and many or most feel they are seaworthy.

I had a friend in Alaska that lived in Petersburg and had a house in Tenakee Springs also. That's a long run up Chatham Strait and she did it many times w her 13' Boston Whaler w a 25 Yamaha 2 stroke. She carried extra fuel and stopped for more at Angoon. She ran w the stern drain plug open because of the heavy spray/slop.

For me any 13' OB boat that can repeatedly run the length of Chatham Strait piloted by a girl has got to be seaworthy.
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Old 09-27-2016, 04:31 PM   #7
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We have a 2014 13' SS whaler. We gave up on inflatable boats because of constant issues with tube air leaks. Although the ride of a rib is way better than a whaler, the big benefit is that the maintenance is way smaller while gaining a lot more space for the same LOA, not to mention that the brand new whaler cost half of any new Rib of the same size.
As far as ride, yes we gave up on a smoother ride. But the realistic reality is that a tender is only for tending from our big boat and not going into rough seas.
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Old 09-27-2016, 04:43 PM   #8
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I'm looking at a 2013 w/40hp Merc. Not so much as a tender, but more as a river runner...

Good deal at $9500 w/ trailer asking?

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Old 09-27-2016, 05:21 PM   #9
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We have a 1981 13' Sport with a 40hp Evinrude 2-stroke and a 2010 130SS SuperSport with a 40hp 4-stroke Merc.


There definitely is a difference in the ride. We've had the 2010 in a 2' chop and, while it does bounce on the chop it doesn't bang like the older one.


I gotta believe it's the hull shape and the heavier weight of the 2010 that makes it ride much better. It's also a lot drier than the older one.


Both are fun, neither will have leaky tubes, and both draw a lot of comments when we're docked somewhere.



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Old 09-27-2016, 06:17 PM   #10
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We're on our 2nd 13' Whaler, and wouldn't think about going back to a RIB.

The 2015 we currently have does have a superior ride to the 1967 classic we sold- weight is a huge factor. The '67 with a 4 stroke Nissan short shaft weighted around 600 lbs, while the 2015 with a 40hp Mercury long shaft is closer to 900 lbs. The 2015 has higher gunnels, which makes the wife happy.

2 weeks ago, we took it from Seattle to Port Townsend for the Wooden Boar Festival- about 70 miles round trip- with no problems or worry.
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Old 09-28-2016, 10:09 AM   #11
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I agree. The new style 13 whaler is much better ride than the older style. I've also taken our whaler on long rides of 50+ miles. Yes it's a lot of fun and has a feeling of safety with the higher sides. But there is a difference in rides between a rib and a whaler. But the trade off is a net plus.
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Old 09-28-2016, 10:10 AM   #12
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Yes. It's a good deal. It's the same boat as a new one.
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Old 09-28-2016, 10:13 AM   #13
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Oh and while on the subject of the new whaler, although the 40hp merc 4 stroke is a good engine and adequate for this boat, I would prefer it had just a bit more HP. Perhaps 50 or 60 HP would be perfect.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:04 AM   #14
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Oh and while on the subject of the new whaler, although the 40hp merc 4 stroke is a good engine and adequate for this boat, I would prefer it had just a bit more HP. Perhaps 50 or 60 HP would be perfect.
What on earth for?

You want to go 50 instead of 40? That is if you can ever get the bow down.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:10 AM   #15
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I think a Whaler is a great river runner, and have used it for that purpose may times.. Merrimac River, Westport River, Connecticut River, Hudson River, Neuse River, and all through the SC and GA ICW and branch creeks and rivers, New River, Shark River and many more. Great exploration vehicle. We thought of switching it our for a RIB when we first got it, but as someone has mentioned here, found the interior room and utility for the size to be very handy for our live aboard, moored or anchored lifestyle. Like so many things, ultimately a personal choice revolving how and where it will be used.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:15 AM   #16
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Oh and while on the subject of the new whaler, although the 40hp merc 4 stroke is a good engine and adequate for this boat, I would prefer it had just a bit more HP. Perhaps 50 or 60 HP would be perfect.
Most Whaler owners feel the same, those using them not as dinghies. However, they're not plated for more and dealers aren't going to install more.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:16 AM   #17
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What on earth for?

You want to go 50 instead of 40? That is if you can ever get the bow down.
So the boat will plane decently. Not for top end.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:17 AM   #18
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Correct. It would be nice though.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:24 AM   #19
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Our club's junior sailing program has a fleet of various whalers and RIBs to serve as coach boats. The coaches (aged 17 -25 and not really concerned about a good ride per se) unanimously prefer the RIBs.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:27 AM   #20
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I think a Whaler is a great river runner, and have used it for that purpose may times.. Merrimac River, Westport River, Connecticut River, Hudson River, Neuse River, and all through the SC and GA ICW and branch creeks and rivers, New River, Shark River and many more. Great exploration vehicle. We thought of switching it our for a RIB when we first got it, but as someone has mentioned here, found the interior room and utility for the size to be very handy for our live aboard, moored or anchored lifestyle. Like so many things, ultimately a personal choice revolving how and where it will be used.
The interior room is the biggest single disadvantage of a rib. We run our ribs many days 100 or more miles in total. We don't use them simply to get to and from shore, but to go explore the area. All the type things you're mentioning. Wider body ribs help some, but there really aren't that many of them. I would say when one is just carrying passengers the rib has excellent capacity. However, if one is trying to pack it full of provisions or fishing equipment, at attempting to use it for fishing, then it's got less utility. There are definitely tradeoffs and I think you and I recognize them realistically and then choosing opposite is based on use and personal choice.

One other thing I want to mention is that not all Ribs are created equal and to lump them all might be a mistake. Similarly, there are other hard body boats than Whaler which have different characteristics.
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