-- 180 Dauntless-- 200 Dauntless-- 230 Dauntless
In truth, they still use the same Unibond construction that has made them famous and unsinkable -- split one in two and both halves float -- and both halves still are Whalers. The key to the Dauntless series is, frankly, the fact that the craft are beginning to float over to the cigarette side. Yes, they stil retain the iconoclastic center steering position, but, the Dauntless series cruisers have some obvious changes, aside from live bait wells.
The 180, for example includes a separate seat in front of the steering position, ala a bowrider, but, by the same token, it retains the front anchor/stowage locker platform. The middle seat is a reversable skippers seat and is reversible so you can chat with the folks who have turned the casting platform/rear bench back into a bhech seat and there's an ever-so-slight transom to which you can attach ski hardware and you have a skier.
If you look closely at the 180 Dauntless, you'll find there are 8 fishing rod holders, all quite subtely placed. The meaning of this addition is patently clear, the Dauntless is primarily a fisherman's boat and that water skiing takes a backseat. The rod holders are located just forward of the steering position.
If you look closely, you'll also notice that the traditionally vertical acrylic windscreen has not retained its look. Instead, it has become rounded and curves to its top, curving away to the other side. It is also set further forward than former windshields.
Nicely equipped, this 18-footer is very stable, having an 8.1-inch beam and even with at its maximum weight capacity of 2,000 pounds -- 8 people plus gear will do that -- she draws less than a foot of water. Again, it's a feat that Whalers are famed for.
Maximum power is provided by a 150-horsepower Mercury outboard (also a Brunswick subsidiary) while the minimum power to move it is 135-horsepwer, which is more than enough for most boaters. This swift-loooking craft planes easily and has a 53-gallon fuel tank.
Whether it's a day of fishing, cruising or water sports, the Whaler 200 Dauntless, powered by a 200-horsepower Verado Mercury outboard, linked to a 75-gallon take shows where Whaler is headed with its new lineup.
Like all Whalers, the 200 is build using Unibond and an "Accutrack" hull so that you can plane and use it as a high-end skiboat. If, though, you are into fishing, you can fish anywhere from the bow to the transom as the third seat is convertible from a bench seat to a fishing platform. Meantime, the bow still combines the unique stowage that Whaler has been famous for, except, instead of using it as an anchor/stowage locker, the front end has become a livebait well and storage locker and when the top is in place, you can fish from there, as well.
An eight-passenger motorboat, the 200 is 20.6-feet long and is stable on an 8.5-foot beam and since her draft is only 12 inches, you can tell this combination is stable. By the way, if you are using this as a personal watercraft or high-speed skiboat, you can have the skipper stand up in front of the control console, while one of the passengers turns around and talks with the three passengers in the converted rear seat. There's seating for three up front, as well as stowage all around.
A unique feature of this -- and all Whalers -- is the thoughtful placement of the cupholders and the added space that's left for add-on electronics for the skipper. There's also a chemical head in front of the skipper's console that provides complete privacy and the console builds in a compass. The electronics fit around the compass.
Minimum power is from a 150-horsepower Mercury, while the maximum transom powerplant is the 200-horsepower Verado, both are fed by a 66.5-gallon, built-in fuel tank.
The 23-foot 230 Dauntless really shows Whaler's committment to the cigarette side of the market as the smooth lines, combined with some of the trademark Whaler features -- the center console, special front-end storage (live bait/anchor anot not just stowage anchor) -- as the lines sweep from the bow to the transom in what can best be described as almost an organic whole.
The 230 Dauntless, an award-winner, combines many features that only years of development show are necessary. For example, instead of just having a high-powered engine transom at the rear, there's also a trolling flat built-in so that you can spend the day trolling for bass with an ultra-quiet electric motor. Then, when you're finished with that, you just drop the 250-horsepower Mercury outboard back into the water and the nine-passenger 230 is ready to become a skiboat thanks to its built-in high ski/wakeboard transom. That transom also doubles as a rod holder as the rear seat, like the 220, reverses from a bench seat to a casting platform and then back into a three-person seat.
The center seat where the captain's console with is sleek acrylic windscreen and semi-rigid top are located also reverses so that the three center passengers and converse when you are docked or at anchor having a meal or listening to some of the new electronics that are available for this model.
The front area has its own convertible seat/casting area/live bait storage well/stowage. When it is converted as a rear-facing bench seat the front passengers can get in on the conversation.
Altogether this is a surprising motorboat from a venerable name in the business. It is also one of the boats that the military likes to have in its arsenal because not onlly does she draw only 12 inches of water, meaning she can get into areas that surprise lots of people, she also mounts a 250-horsepower engine that planes at over 80 mph, meaning that she can even chase "go-fast" boats and stand a great chance of winning the race, just beause of here relatively light power-to-weight ratio. By the way, if you can't affort the 250, can be equipped with a recommended 225-horsepower Mercury outboard. Both engines are linked to a 79-gallon fuel tank.
The 230 Dauntless is a favorite of many people and Whaler certainly deserves the prizes they won with her.