Boston Whaler 250 Outrage Boat Test

Boston Whaler 250 Outrage Boat Test

Boat Test Boston Whaler 250 OutrageHIGH-PERFORMANCE OFFSHORE ROCKET
Author and photography: Warren Steptoe

This boat test ran in ISSUE 92 of BlueWater magazine – JULY-AUGUST 2012

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

Specialised craft like 25-foot centre-console offshore sportfishers are a type of boat that American boat builders do remarkably well. Sadly, the Australian market for them is perceived as small so they’re not usually built here. In the US, however, their larger population and economies of scale have helped make this genre highly competitive. Thus, the few 25-foot centre consoles that are imported into Australia from the US tend to be the pick of the market – and particularly fine fishing boats.

They’re comfortable at sea, thanks to sophisticated, technically advanced hull-shapes, and are big enough to easily deal with all but the nastiest conditions at sea. They’re fast across the water, because that’s how the Americans like their boats. And these days they’re economical to operate, too, due to a combination of amazingly fuel-efficient modern outboard motors –and a tendency to go places so quickly they literally don’t have time to burn too much fuel!

There’s no doubt either that 25-foot centre consoles are every bit as suited to bluewater fishing here as they are anywhere in the world, although lots of experienced Aussies still choose boats with cabins.

This is in contrast to the fact that a cabin sacrifices a great deal of fishing space and cramps your ability to get to the bows quickly and safely. This quality saves the time necessary to turn the boat to an angle where lures and baits can be cast or drifted back to a fish impatient to move on to the next meal.

The other thing about American-built 25-foot centre consoles is that they’re gorgeous to look at with a cool factor off the scale, and when you add to this that driving one is as much fun as bluewater boating gets, they really do have a lot to offer.

This bluewater sportfisher has great looks and is exciting to drive thanks in part to oodles of power extracted from a pair of powerful Mercury Verado outboards and an interior that is nothing short of fantastic.

There’s also the can’t-be-overstated safety factor that goes to the heart of every Boston Whaler design. After testing their latest 250 Outrage, I’m convinced that this is one of the best 25-foot centre-console sportfishers ever to come out of the US.

Look Again

Because it’s a centre console I guess a lot of people who might really benefit from this boat will look straight past it, with their mental auto pilot focussed towards something with a cabin. Nonetheless, although open to the elements to a degree, the Boston Whaler 250 Outrage is far from being wet and uncomfortable. And given that it’s beautifully set-up for serious bluewater fishing, some clever engineering also ensures that it can function almost as well in the social role that few sportfishers escape being called upon to fulfil from time-to-time.

Yes, almost despite its attributes as a bluewater sportfisher, the 250 Outrage’s centre console actually contains the (reasonably) roomy bathroom and toilet essential for social outings. What us fish-heads see as a forward casting-deck converts to an upholstered sunbathing lounge, and a comfortable aft-lounge also appears out of the transom bulkhead whenever needed. In addition, a stylish hardtop (which is an option I suspect most people would find difficult to live without once experienced) shades a central seating-module more protected from the boat’s slipstream (and flying spray) than you’d expect from any centre console by virtue of a wrap-around windshield system.

Look closely at our photo spread and please note that the windscreen is completely clear of tell tale spray droplets. Our model-cum-driver (Andrew Bennet from Queensland Marine Centre on the Gold Coast) is wearing a jacket, but then BlueWater’s test did occur on a winter’s morning with enough chill breeze to build enough surface chop to demonstrate how good a job Boston Whaler’s deeply sculpted chines do of keeping spray outboard.

A Dream Ride

Photo shoot complete, I took my turn at the helm and found this boat an absolute delight to fling across the chop – in any direction – and to play among the swells rolling through. The hydraulic steering proved precise and accurate, handling the considerable torque-loading produced by twin supercharged 225hp Mercury Verado outboards as if the Boston Whaler with 450hp on its transom was a four-metre tinny with a tenth the power.

The only thing that surprised me during the fairly energetic handling, made such fun by the boat’s impeccable manners, was to note that the (optional) hardtop didn’t rattle, shake, wobble, or for that matter, move around at all, not even once! I’ve never before experienced a centre console with a hardtop that went along with whatever the boat did.

Back inside the Seaway, we recorded a top speed barely shy of 50 knots (the official figure is 48.9 knots with 19-inch-pitch Mercury Enertia propellers). Shoving the throttles forward at 30 knots, where most boats are running out of puff, shoved you backwards to show that the 250 Outrage had quite a bit more speed yet to come.

But this didn’t impress nearly as much as cruising between 18 and 30 knots at 3000-4000rpm, burning 50-80 litres of fuel per hour (the total for both Verados). That’s a lanky and fuel-efficient pair of legs for any bluewater fishing boat!

Offshore, where it felt more at home, 3500rpm hit a sweet-spot where the hull was loafing along at 25 knots across the chop while Mercury’s industry leading Smartcraft instrumentation showed the Verados were only burning a total of 55.5 litres per hour.

Mercury’s fly-by-wire DTS engine-controls are a huge step forward from the days when putting an outboard in gear and opening the throttle left you in the dark as to how much power you were applying. With entirely predictable throttle control you could lift the boat out of troughs and ease its bows over crests in confidence. Not that the ride needed any smoothing from the helm, 22 degrees of deadrise at the transom translates forward to bows fine enough to slice chop smoothly, yet full enough to resist burying into the back of swells when running downwind. Even when pushed past sensible limits, the 250 Outrage never put a foot wrong.

I haven’t enjoyed a boat test so much in ages, and can only describe my time off Main Beach in the Boston Whaler 250 Outrage as a fine demonstration of how advanced our American friends are with hull design and a type of boat, which, as I said at the start, American boat-builders do remarkably well.

Safety Option

Our test boat’s options raised the price from $140,000 for a basic 250 Outrage to nearly $211,000 for the boat we tested. Power options for Verado outboards include a single 300hp motor, twin 150s, twin 200s or, like our test boat, twin 225s. With due consideration of the added safety inherent in twin engines and the distances offshore a 662-litre fuel tank and Verado fuel-efficiency makes possible, it’s hard to imagine too many people opting for a single outboard.

Inside, although it does adapt for social boating, the 250 Outrage’s interior configuration is all business – fishing business. Behind the console the cockpit would do any bluewater sportfisher proud with a properly self-draining deck in easy-to-clean GRP with a moulded non-slip surface. There are twin fishboxes below decks with a tackle cupboard to port and a transom door to starboard with the aforementioned lounge between them in the aft bulkhead. The only negative aspect here is how far those big black outboard cowls keep the aft bulkhead from the water immediately behind the boat. However, this characteristic is shared with all outboard-powered bluewater sportfishers, and there are ways to adapt your fishing style to deal with it.

Behind the console the seating unit is quite a work of art. Twin armchair-style bucket seats can be folded in a variety of ways to become leaning bolsters, or to raise your eyeline when docking or fighting fish. At the aft end of the module there’s a bait-prep area above a 180-litre livewell beside a moulded sink with pressurised fresh water on tap, rod holders and more tackle stowage. The sink and a freshwater shower out on the transom boarding-deck are supplied from a 50-litre tank.

Little Luxuries

Inside the console a standard feature is a fold-down step that leads you to a portable toilet. Our test boat had an optional porcelain model with a holding tank and pump out. In the bathroom there’s also a dry stowage locker and (would you believe) a magazine rack! Those Yanks think of everything, eh!

In the bows, hatches set into the raised casting-deck access twin iceboxes with a separate stowage area below-decks, just forward of a small bench-seat on the front of the console. Options in the bow area include padded bolsters around the periphery, a set of cushions to make the casting deck into a sunbathing lounge, and a table.

Factory electronics packages are based around Raymarine’s 12-inch display C120W GPS/chartplotter/fishfinder with a 600W transducer and modular VHF radio, and their 14-inch-display C140W system with a 1000W transducer and VHF. Raymarine’s 4KW 24-inch, HD digital radar is another optional addition to the electronics package, as is their Smartpilot autopilot.

If you live in any one of the places where it’s entirely practical to nip offshore for a few hours fishing in a boat that can cover water like this one then the Boston Whaler 250 Outrage is an excitement machine that you really should consider very seriously. If you take a test drive you might not have a choice – you’ll probably fall in love with it as I did!

Highlights

  • Ride and handling offshore that show the world how it can be done!
  • Boston Whaler safety – with integral floatation sufficient to turn a swamped boat into an unsinkable life-raft.
  • Boston Whaler quality in design, construction and fittings.
  • Performs well for some types of social boating as well as being a very serious fishing vehicle.

Capacities

  • Maximum Rated Power: 450hp
  • Maximum Engine Weight: 635kg
  • People: 12
  • Fuel: 662 litres
  • Fresh water: 76 litres

General

  • Material: GRP laminates
  • Hull Type: centre-console monohull
  • LOA: 7.4 metres
  • Beam: 2.74 metres
  • Draft: 0.46 metres
  • Deadrise: 22 degrees (at transom)
  • Weight: 2291kg (hull only)

Engines

  • Make/model: Mercury Verado 225 CXL
  • Type: Supercharged 24 valve DOHC inline 6 cylinder 4-stroke
  • Rated hp: 225
  • Displacement: 2598cc
  • No. cylinders: 6
  • Weight: 288kg
  • Gearbox ratio: 1.85:1
  • Propellers: 19-inch pitch Mercury Enertia

SPECIFICATIONS: Boston Whaler 250 Outrage
Options fitted: Twin Mercury 225 CXL Verado outboards, 14-inch electronics/navigation package, anchor windlass, fold-down trolling seats, forward coaming bolster-set, deluxe leaning post, hardtop with radial outriggers, porcelain head w/pumpout, Premium Package shorepower and galvanic isolator system, stereo system, safety package. 

Boston Whaler 250 Outrage Boat Test

Boat Test Boston Whaler 250 Outrage HIGH-PERFORMANCE OFFSHORE ROCKET
Author and photography: Warren Steptoe
Supplied by: Queensland Marine Centre

This boat test ran in ISSUE 92 of BlueWater magazine – JULY-AUGUST 2012

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

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