Issue: December 2003
Even their greatest fans have to admit there are certain negative aspects to centre console boats, because centre consoles are generally pretty much useless for anything but fishing. Centre console boats are also invariably ugly. Being soaked by wind blown spray is just a normal part of owning one of these boats. And there’s absolutely no privacy onboard a centre console, if you have to change, or answer a call of nature, you’d better be prepared to do it in full view of all and sundry. But surprisingly, none of these negatives apply to Boston Whaler’s 240 Outrage.
In fact, it has comfortable seating for four to six people (at least) who can cruise about confident that if looks could kill the 240 Outrage would leave the average Aussie centre console dead in the water. Then, during the several hours the Modern Boating team spent onboard for this test ‘ including a strategic retreat from a Southport Seaway that was in no mood to be played with ‘ not one drop of spray landed on our sunnies. And, yes girls, it has a toilet and quite a respectably sized and completely private one at that. Our friends across the water just love big centre consoles and yet even in the States, this boat stands out from of the crowd.
Being a Boston Whaler means certain things we only need touch on because they’re common knowledge. Such as Boston Whaler’s claim that their hulls are unsinkable. There’s little argument against the substance of this claim following the various stunts the company has indulged in over the years to demonstrate the inherent safety of what they call ‘Unibond’ construction. No matter what they call it, Boston Whaler’s foam-cored inner and outer skinned hull offers outstanding, perhaps unprecedented, levels of strength and safety. In real terms, this inherent safety underwrites whatever else any Boston Whaler might offer.
From this solid foundation the Boston Whaler 240 Outrage continues to confuse commonly preconceived notions about what exactly is a centre console’s place in the boating world. At this stage we should point out that most of the Modern Boating team have the fishing disease and due to its influence we too struggle to contemplate a centre console not destined to spend a significant portion of its time on the water bristling with fishing rods. But we can report that the Boston Whaler 240 Outrage is the kind of boat that just begs to be out over the horizon somewhere with all her rod holders loaded with a full complement of rods and reels.
At least nine stand-up game fishing outfits can be carried without them needing to be poked into any of the seven rod holders mounted around the boat’s periphery. That’s five in the rod rack incorporated into the aft end of the T-top and another four stowed in horizontal rod/gaff racks along each side. But that’s for travelling, what about when you go fishing’ Offshore fishing normally entails a lot of trolling, so the three-rod rack across the aft bulkhead allows great versatility in the lure pattern you can run out back.
Then, when it comes to the happy event of an ensuing hook-up, there are only a few small gaps in 360 degrees of leg support against padded bolsters around the boat’s entire periphery. Stainless steel toe rails along each side of the aft end only add to this. As you’d expect with an outboard powered boat, it is a fair reach over the motor cowls, when fighting a fish with the short rods presently in vogue. Boston Whaler have completely side stepped the usual criticism of boats like this one with a moulded inner liner. Yes, there is a ‘toes in under’ overhang to brace against, because the 240 Outrage’s sides have carefully placed bolsters and special moulded inserts set into each side.
Trolling for fish is good, but we also like lure casting and occasionally even get the fly rod out. To accommodate this style of fishing, in the 240 Outrage’s bows there’s a raised casting area that’s ideal for the casting lures and flies. And although stepping up onto the casting deck means the padded bolster is now at shin-height, the bowrail is there to grab hold of if an unexpected movement of the boat underfoot catches you out.
Like the rest of this Boston Whaler’s deck area, the raised bow area has a moulded anti-slip surface. In combination, this means that the 240 Outrage’s entire deck area can be fished from easily. Then, after you have caught that feed of fish, it can be kept in perfect condition for the trip home in either of the enormous fish boxes along each side underneath the cockpit floor, or on ice in a triangular shaped (insulated) icebox in the bow. Anyone for a spot of live-bait fishing?
There’s an 82lt live-bait well set into the transom and another 100lt live-bait well is an option if a lean seat is chosen over the pedestal-mounted bucket seats in the test boat. Either of these choices is well shaded by the console-mounted bimini top, which we noted had outrigger mounts in its frame. I can hear some readers thinking why buy a centre console and then compromise the ability to use all 360 degrees of its periphery’
It’s a good question and we often ask it when we see centre consoles with outriggers mounted on the side decks where they’ll inevitably get in the way at the most inopportune moment. But not in this case, the outriggers are mounted on the T-top. The 240 Outrage’s deck are self-draining, a saltwater wash down system comes as standard and there’s even 90lt of freshwater dispensed through a shower set into the transom to flush the salt off your ‘Tiagra’ reels. Deck hardware looks like it was designed for a big boat rather than a trailerboat, with 8′ stainless steel cleats mounted strategically for marina berthing.
The pair in the aft corners were fed through hawse pipes to keep the topsides clean of protrusions. We didn’t find much we didn’t like with the Boston Whaler 240, except perhaps that the bowrail and anchor well aren’t arranged to carry a reef pick. The anchor hatch precludes stowage of these infernal, yet essential items, and the bowrail continues around the bow instead of being divided above the fairlead. Besides from the big deep bucket seats behind the console, a neat twoseater lounge hinges down from the transom wall when required.
There’s another seat set on the front of the console giving this boat comfortable seating for at least six adults. As for the ‘loo’, it hides inside the 240 Outrage’s massive centre console. Getting into the toilet does require a bit of a clamber, but once in, the amount of space is certainly adequate if not perhaps ample. The test boat had a portable type toilet; one with a holding tank is an option. A transom door gives access to what could easily be a swim platform complete with boarding ladder if the mood took you. The freshwater shower mounted nearby could of course be used to wash people (as well as fishing gear.) Another option fitted to our test boat was a stereo system, although one option we didn’t have, relevant to non-fishing boating, was a cushion to convert the raised bow deck into a sun lounge.
Having 300hp on tap meant the big Boston Whaler handled and drove like a much smaller boat, lifting effortlessly onto the plane and turning extremely well indeed for a boat its size. Running at speed on a day when 20-25 knots winds were hammered away at us, the ride was notably soft, dry and quiet. In the conditions it was actually enjoyable. The test 240 Outrage ran an optional twin rig with a pair of 150hp Mercury OptiMax outboards swinging 19′ Vengeance props, which propelled us up to an impressive top speed of just over 44 knots.
Twin motors are a sensible option on a boat like this, because it’s more than capable of fishing out over the horizon. We also noted that at 5-6 knots, the 240 Outrage’s wake was ideal to set a pattern of lures in and the prop wash was quite clean, which is good when billfishing. All in all the Boston Whaler 240 Outrage is one hell of a centre console. It’s virtually unsinkable, has more than enough cockpit space to allow the owners to tackle sportfishing with ease and she has a toilet, keeping her also firmly in the family day boat market.
Her finish is first class and there are no protrusions around the cockpit to catch unwary skin or fishing lines on. So how much will it cost you to park one of these top centre consoles in your driveway’ Around $139,000. Whatever your boating bag is the Boston Whaler 240 Outrage will fit the bill.
Words and Photos by Warren Steptoe