When Boston Whaler’s R&D team set about designing two new models for its Dauntless bay boat series, which runs from 17 to 27 feet, the goal was to give owners an expanded repertoire. The new 220 and 250 models combine fishing functionality for calm inshore waters with the ability to target offshore species along the coast. These boats also serve as versatile platforms for family adventures and watersports fun.
The 220 Dauntless will eventually replace the 210 Dauntless and the 250 will replace the 240, but both boats are new designs from the hull up. Each new deep-V running bottom has 18 degrees of deadrise at the transom, while the older models have 16 degrees. Freeboard is also two inches higher on the new models. “The freeboard increases the ability for the owner to go in rougher water and to get out more often,” said John Barbier, design manager at Boston Whaler. He added that the bow of the 250 has more flare for a drier ride.
The 220 and 250 also feature new topside layouts that take their design cues from extensive interviews with current Whaler owners. “What we really like to do is go and visit them at their home on their boat and ask about their ideas and pain points,” Barbier said.
A major new feature on both models is a two-person sunlounge with automotive-style armrests forward of the console, a highly popular amenity that debuted on the 270 Dauntless. Families love the comfortable sunbed, and anglers are thrilled with the huge compartment located underneath it, which includes lockable stowage for 7-foot rods. Adding the sunlounge meant making the bow seating a little more compact on both new models. But even so, the 250 still has a lounge seat with flip-up backrests similar to the one on the 240 Dauntless.
The aft seating on both the 220 and 250 has been redesigned as well. Each boat has two individual seats that fold open. You can remove the seat cushions, store them underneath, and fold the seat backs down. On the 220, this creates dual stern casting decks, while on the 250, it makes a full-beam, flush-deck casting platform. The design goal was to eliminate any “elevation changes” between the seats and the deck, Barbier explained, giving you “surer footing when you are up there fishing.”
The 250 has a 35-gallon livewell located between the two aft seats. There was no space for one on the 220, but one of the leaning post options for that boat incorporates a 30-gallon livewell. In fact, one of the biggest advantages of both the 220 and 250 is the ability for owners to choose from multiple leaning-post options, including aluminum and deluxe fiberglass versions.
The standard helm seat for both models is a reversible pilot seat with a locking backrest and integrated cooler. Owners can order an optional T-Top or fiberglass hardtop for either boat. One feature I really liked on both boats was the SeaDek pad atop the dash that holds wallets, glasses and keys. “A lot of the theme of the research was where to put the odds and ends,” Barbier said.
Notably, both the 220 and 250 have similar center console units, both featuring storage within. Whaler designed a wider console door for these new models. “We heard a lot from customers about the size of their door,” Barbier admitted. The 220’s console holds a portable potty; there’s pump-out plumbing for the potty on the 250.
The 220 has five Mercury outboard options up to 250 hp. The 250 has eight options up to 400 hp. Our test boats were equipped with a 250-hp and 300-hp Mercury, respectively. On calm Sarasota Bay, both were peppy
performers with great hole shots and sporty handling, especially in tight turns.
Hardy hulls, smart new features and a full sheet of options make the 220 and 250 Dauntless part of a versatile new breed of “hybrid” bay boats that can provide hours of fun on the water whether you run on the bay or well beyond it.
250 Dauntless Specifications
Weight: 4,740 lbs.
Fuel: 90 gals.
Power: (1) 250-hp XL V8 Mercury
220 Dauntless Specifications
Weight: 4,135 lbs.
Fuel: 80 gals.
Power: (1) 200-hp XL V6 Mercury
This article was originally published in the April 2021 issue.