Issue: September 2005
Boston Whaler’s 255 Conquest is the perfect boat for people living waterside. Those in the happy position of having a vacancy for a 25-30 footer on a pontoon are going to find plenty of appeal in this boat. Especially people keen on off shore fishing with a bit of day cruising thrown in.
Some may see the 255 Conquest’s 2.66m beam as unfortunate. It means it isn’t (readily) trailable in Australia.
On the one hand, partly because it is so beamy, the 255 Conquest gives an impression of being a larger boat than its 26′ 11′ (LOA inc. bowsprit).
It handles and steers like a smaller boat. But it rides and deals with the sea as if it were bigger. I’ve tested boats 3m longer than a Boston Whaler 255 Conquest that banged and bounced badly over choppy water more than this boat does.
The Boston Whaler’s formidable (foam filled) structural integrity and a sophisticated hull shape (Boston Whaler call it (Accutrack) featuring a distinctive curving chine and fine bow, means that the new 255 Conquest is amazingly quiet over the water.
Inside, the 255 Conquest is set-up as a day boat. A dinette easily seats two couples ‘ or a couple plus kids. What the 255 Conquest doesn’t have though is a galley.
At night, the dinette converts to a generous berth for two. There are two toilet options, a portable type with deck pump out, or a Vacuflush ‘loo with holding tank and dockside pump-out. The cabin doors are bi-fold with a big cutaway into the bulkhead to allow for entry without bumping your head; and they can be securely locked. There’s a small sink against the cabin bulkhead, rod racks along the sides, insect screened portholes and hatch.
There is no hot shower, but there’s the option of a (cold) cockpit shower (pressurised freshwater is standard).
This is an enlarged version of the classic Aussie half cab. But it offers levels of comfort and safety off shore that our trailable half or cuddy cabs can’t match.
With the fibreglass hardtop and full clears fitted to our test boat, there was adequate shelter for the helm and passenger. There’s a pair of buckets for helm and one passenger, and behind them a smaller pair of buckets facing aft. A tackle box is set into the side of the cabin beside each.
It’s comfortable either sitting or standing at the big, stainless steel wheel. Our test boat was fitted with a 250hp Mercury Verado supercharged four-stroke outboard. It came with power-assisted steering and Mercury’s industry leading SmartCraft instrumentation, along with digital throttle and shift controls. These contributed to the 255 Conquest being more like a 6 or 6.5m ‘classic Aussie half cab’ to drive.
Being outboard powered, landing on beaches and negotiating the shallows is hassle free. Debate outboard power all you like ‘ but it has clear advantages in shallow water situations.
In the aft bulkhead the 255 Conquest has a transom door on the starboard side for access to the fold away boarding/ swimming ladder. There’s an economy size live well in the port corner.
The cockpit’s self-draining deck has huge (drained overboard) fish boxes below decks. Upholstered bolsters along the cockpit sides allow good leg support.
Plus, there’s a two-person rear-folding lounge that stows away into the aft bulkhead when folded up.
Non-slip moulded into the deck and walkways around the cabin works well. Other safety features include a bow high rail and hand holds on the hardtop.
Holders for eight rods are arranged around the cockpit. Then there’s four rod racks along the cockpit sides, another four across the back of the hard top and the four racked inside the cabin. Enough for even hardcore anglers! There’s also a raw water wash down for the cockpit for easy cleaning while fishing.
The effortless digital throttle and shift controls, plus Teleflex steering, made for ease of handling with the 250 Mercury Verado fitted. It really did make this boat seem like a smaller one to operate.
At trolling speeds the motor was quiet. At speed, noise levels rose, but were unobtrusive. Sterndrive or even shaft drive options have long been popular in boats this size, but I’m left in no doubt that Verado outboards will seriously challenge these views.
Due to windy conditions on the day, we couldn’t determine an accurate top speed (there was more than three knots difference between our up and down wind figures). But a ‘seat of the pants’ evaluation of the 250 Verado concluded it was nicely matched to the 255 Conquest hull.
Twin motor options people using the 255 Conquest in remote areas might consider include twin 115hp Mercury four-strokes, or twin 135, 150, or 200hp Optimax two-strokes, (presumably the latest Verado 135, 150 and 175s will be options when they become available).
Whalers are designed, built and tested to stand up to almost anything. Heavy equipment, kids, even chainsaws ‘Whaler cut one in half to prove it would still float. They’re rock-solid, stable, dependable and virtually trouble-free. They require minimal maintenance, are agile, responsive, dry riding and unsinkable. The concept is simple. But the technology and craftsmanship behind it are a bit more sophisticated.
Marine architects, ergonomic engineers and designers use the most advanced computer-aided design system in the marine industry to create a three-dimensional image of an ideal boat. A five-axis digital router turns that electronic image into an absolutely precise pattern, which is perfectly symmetrical from side to side (something ordinary, hand-carved patterns can never attain).
Prototypes are built and tested. And tested again. Then Whaler’s exclusive, unsinkable Unibond process begins.
The Boston Whaler 255 Conquest was powered by a 250hp Mercury Verado supercharged four-stroke outboard. Twin motor options are available.
In strong winds and two adults onboard the Boston Whaler 255 Conquest/Mercury Verado 250hp recorded the following performance figures.
Speed to RPM: 1.9 knots @ 500 rpm, 10.4 knots @ 3000 rpm, 21.0 knots @ 4500 rpm, 26.5 knots @ 5250 rpm, 29.7 knots @ 5380 rpm.
WEIGHT: 2222kg (hull only)
DRAFT: (legs up) 0.60m, (legs down) 0.92m
MAX HP: 450hp
Power Ratings –
Max 450 hp
+ Superb ride
– Trailable width
Words and Photos by Warren Steptoe