Bos­ton Whaler 170 Mon­tauk

A REVERED CLAS­SIC RE­VAMPED BY POP­U­LAR DE­MAND.

Saltwater Sportsman - - Table Of Contents / Departments - BY ALEX SUESCUN

FFew 17-foot­ers have been as cov­eted as Bos­ton Whaler’s, first launched in 1976 as the clas­sic 17 Mon­tauk, a tough, no-non­sense cen­ter-con­sole that quickly gained ac­claim as a ver­sa­tile and un­sink­able boat and, thanks to timely up­dates and en­hance­ments, has re­tained its pop­u­lar­ity through the years.

In 2002, the orig­i­nal 17 got a ma­jor re­design and be­came the 170 Mon­tauk. Then, af­ter sub­se­quent mi­nor re­vi­sions over the years Whaler an­nounced an ar­ray of up­dates and up­grades to its her­alded sk­iff to co­in­cide with the com­pany’s 60th an­niver­sary. The move proved a slam dunk, as the boat made new fans and rekindled the fer­vor of long­time Mon­tauk admirers.

This lat­est ver­sion of the 170 in­cor­po­rates per­for­mance-based en­hance­ments, such as a re­con­fig­ured run­ning sur­face with 6 more inches of beam and a sharper en­try for a softer, drier ride and im­proved sta­bil­ity and han­dling, and com­bines a pur­pose­ful lay­out and mas­ter­ful use of space to com­fort­ably ac­com­mo­date a crew of four and house a list of fea­tures that ex­tends well be­yond those usu­ally en­coun­tered on a sk­iff this size.

Ad­di­tions in­clude an in­te­grated 25-gal­lon fuel tank, over­board-drain­ing for­ward fish box and a bow locker, four rod hold­ers on the tran­som, dual aft stor­age com­part­ments, fore and aft stain­less re­cessed grab rails, 12-volt ac­ces­sory out­let on the con­sole, par­ti­tioned stor­age and three cup hold­ers at the helm, four more cup hold­ers at the bow, ana­log in­stru­men­ta­tion on the dash, hy­draulic steer­ing, swim plat­form with grab rail and tele­scop­ing board­ing lad­der, and bow-and-stern lift­ing eyes. A gal­va­nized trailer with swing tongue and disc brakes are stan­dard equip­ment, af­ford­ing prospec­tive own­ers a wellap­pointed and cost-ef­fec­tive, turnkey al­ter­na­tive.

The op­tional fish­ing pack­age adds a com­pass atop the cen­ter con­sole, a re­mov­able 72-quart cooler — com­plete with cush­ion and back­rest — to serve as a for­ward con­sole seat, con­sole rod rack for four rods, and a pair of tackle trays pro­tected un­der a wa­ter­proof hatch to star­board. Other op­tions sure to in­ter­est an­glers in­clude a 12-gal­lon livewell with calm­ing blue in­te­rior in­side the re­versible pi­lot seat mod­ule, twin jump seats — with re­mov­able back­rests — on the cock­pit aft cor­ners, bow trolling mo­tor setup, and a re­mov­able for­ward pedestal seat.

Var­i­ous Ray­ma­rine elec­tron­ics pack­ages in­clude new Realvi­sion 3D tech­nol­ogy. And lovers of early Whalers who yearn for that vin­tage look ap­pre­ci­ate the op­tional teak accent pack­age, which in­cludes board­ing steps on the gun­wales and swim lad­der.

Still boast­ing the clean, clas­sic lines syn­ony­mous with Bos­ton Whaler, along with some ex­tra room and a wealth of re­fine­ments, the new 170 Mon­tauk suc­cess­fully blends the time­honored and mod­ern. When it comes to com­fort and per­for­mance, it eas­ily beats its pre­de­ces­sors. Per­haps one of the boat’s best at­tributes is its sim­plic­ity. It feels like all you need to do be­tween fish­ing trips is hose it off.

As ex­pected, the 17-footer proved quick, nim­ble and fun to drive. While the 1-foot­ers we en­coun­tered in Sara­sota Bay dur­ing our test didn’t ex­actly push the boat to its lim­its, the oc­ca­sional pass­ing boat’s wake en­abled us to con­firm the builder’s as­ser­tion about the soft ride.

With a Mer­cury 90 hp Fourstroke on the tran­som, the sk­iff jumped on plane with­out ex­ces­sive squat­ting, took 9.8 sec­onds to go from zero to 30 mph, and it quickly ac­cel­er­ated to 39.4 mph, our top speed at wide-open throt­tle. Mind you, the Mon­tauk has a max­i­mum power rat­ing of 115 hp, so there’s room for im­prove­ment if you feel the need for more speed. Nev­er­the­less, the 90 per­formed well and seemed an ad­e­quate match.

Us­ing a line of crab-trap buoys as a makeshift slalom course, the Whaler eas­ily and ef­fi­ciently zigged and zagged be­tween the Sty­ro­foam balls with no need for over­steer­ing or for touch­ing the con­trols to drop or bump up the rpm.

Tak­ing into ac­count Bos­ton Whaler’s qual­ity con­struc­tion and fit and fin­ish, the brand’s su­perb re­sale value, and the af­ford­able price of the com­plete pack­age, any­one look­ing for a ver­sa­tile, easy to own, run and trailer cen­ter-con­sole should take a se­ri­ous look at the new 170 Mon­tauk.

COM­PLETE PACK­AGE: The lay­out in­cludes essen­tial fish­ing fea­tures.

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