My older brother still has one of the original 15-foot Boston Whalers; it’s still unsinkable and indestructible. But back in the day, that “gull-wing” hull design could rattle your kidneys when crossing an open bay in a nasty chop. Whaler has come such a long way from the “good old days.” Its newest issue, the 220 Outrage, may be the smoothest and driest ride the company has ever produced in an open boat.
The 220 offers a choice of engines, including the 225 hp Mercury Verado that we tested, 250 and 300 hp Verados as well as twin 115 hp outboards. Our 225 lifted us to a top end of 45.8 mph, using 23.8 gph, and a cruise of 26.5 mph at 4,000 rpm while burning 8.6 gph, which calculates out to a respectable 3.07 mpg. It’s not a Prius, but certainly gets better economy than many boats out there.
The 300 raises the top speed to 54.2 mph at almost 30 gph, and a cruise of 29.3 mph at 4,000 rpm provided the most efficient fuel flow of 2.62 mpg. Remember, however, the 300 requires at least 91 octane fuel.
I found it interesting that the twin 115s tally virtually identical performance figures – from stopped to top end – as the 225, and every engine package performed similarly up to 2,500 rpm.
Returning the boat to its trailer in a crosscurrent proved a piece of cake, as the 220 didn’t fly sideways too quickly and responded to idle-speed wheel corrections instantly. I also thank Whaler for wisely including the Lenco trim tabs as standard fare instead of optional as in previous models.
Whaler offers an optional “fishing package” that includes cockpit coaming pads, a raw-water washdown, macerator pumps in the fish boxes and additional transom-mounted rod holders. Interestingly, the 20-gallon livewell with knife and pliers holder, cockpit toe rails and downrigger-ball holders come standard. Go figure.
One feature I really like is the under-gunwale stern cleats with large hawseholes in the cap rail. You’ll never fear snagging a fishing line on a transom-mounted cleat; plus, each hawsehole has an integral polished stainless-steel drink holder.
Speaking of gunwales, Whaler made the cap-rail inserts and under-gunwale rod storage spaces longer, so you can now actually store two real-world rods under each rail. Overall, Whaler provides plenty of rod storage, especially if you opt for the T-top that adds another five rod holders (and optional outriggers) to complement the vertical rod holders on each side of the console.
Design and Construction
The designers at Boston Whaler made some dramatic (for Whaler) changes in the hull of the 220 compared with its antecedents. Look for narrowed chines and a deeper deadrise for a softer ride in a head sea. They’ve added considerably more flare to the bow to make the ride drier too.
Another truly unique feature finds molded-in notches in the console corners that allow the T-top legs to be virtually flush with the console sides. This couldn’t have been an easy feat, considering that the console also had to look equally good to those who don’t want a hardtop!
Side benefits of this new design include much-improved aesthetics on the support piping, which also improved aerodynamics. Additionally, because the design has greater inherent strength, the support structure needn’t be as beefy as in previous models, meaning the boat lost some weight.
Like other small Whalers, the 220 boasts a top-hatch anchor locker abutting a stainless-steel anchor roller. Thankfully, the hatch sports a notch through which the rode can pass, but Whaler still doesn’t line the rode locker with anything to keep the anchor from marring the gelcoat. I’d install some rubber sheeting, myself!
I’ve also not seen a leaning post with adjustable height before – a very logical feature. And the U.S. Coast Guard appreciates another improvement: Whaler now uses a bungee cord and Velcro closure system on the overhead life-jacket storage net, meaning you’ll never be thwarted by a stuck, corroded zipper in an emergency.
As you can tell, Whaler’s engineers haven’t been napping. I really liked the new stern seat design they created that eliminates support legs and uses polished stainless-steel hardware for an exceptionally handsome installation.
Whaler understands the importance of offshore safety, so you’ll find a telescoping swim ladder integrated into the swim platform too.
The helm console can fit two 8-inch electronics displays on either side of the engine gauges. An MP3-player input hides inside the catchall tray at knee level, complete with a handy 12-volt DC outlet. Toe space beneath the helm footrest represents a greatly appreciated addition on a boat this size.
And, of course, like all Boston Whalers, the 220 is unsinkable. The deck and hull molds lock together; then, in a process Whaler calls UniBond construction, the spaces all get injected with foam under pressure, making every Whaler a one-piece boat for all intents and purposes. It’s heartening to see an icon so willing to embrace change! Good job, Whaler.
LOA……22 ft. 5 in.
BEAM……8 ft. 6 in.
HULL DRAFT……1 ft. 3 in.
WEIGHT……3,100 lb. (dry, w/o power)
MAX HP……300 hp OB
MSRP……$82,109 (w/ 225 Verado)
_Boston Whaler / Edgewater, Florida / 800-WHALER-9 / _www.whaler.com