Boston Whaler caused quite a sensation in the early part of its distinguished 60-year history. Not only were its boats unsinkable, but they also looked different. The cathedral hull, the squared bow and low freeboard, the open layout, even the blue interiors of the original models made them easily recognizable.
In 1970, the burgeoning company introduced another boat that stood out from the crowd: the 21 Outrage. Its look was radical. The rub rail dropped from high on the bow down to the waterline, giving the impression of the gunwales draping over the side of the boat, and six perpendicular “ribs” were molded into the topsides. Boston Whaler designer William Mills Jr. reportedly gave the Outrage its name when he first saw it.
With its mahogany helm console and bench seat in the center of the boat, the 21 Outrage helped popularize the emerging center-console layout. Options were few; two bow rails of differing heights were offered, along with a folding canvas weather screen for the bow. Early power options included an 85-hp Fisher-Pierce Bearcat outboard.
The boating public responded to the Outrage look — and the boat’s versatility. More than 700 of the 21-footers were delivered in the first two years of its production run, from April 1970 through mid-1972. Anglers liked the stability, speed and easy handling; day boaters liked the layout and the fact that they could explore shallow creeks and, with the outboard up, run right up onto the beach.
The 1973 Outrage 21 was almost the same boat, but gone were the molded-in ribs. Today, in the Boston Whaler online forums, boaters exchange information and stories of the “rib-side” Outrage, and those original boats remain much sought after.
Meanwhile, the Outrage name lives on in current Boston Whaler models from 19 to 42 feet.
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue.