Another thoughtful touch, long overdue, is the option of flip-down trolling seats amidships. Nestled into the interior deck coaming, these seats are perfectly positioned to watch baits while taking advantage of the shade provided by the hardtop. When they're not needed, they stow conveniently out of the way. The secondary tackle center on the port side of the transom holds lure bags and leader spools. Large, insulated fish boxes in the cockpit sole will keep the day's catch chilled. For banner days, the bow compartment is also insulated and drains overboard. Two downrigger ball cradles are integrated with the stainless-steel toe rails above the cockpit deck.
For a midsize center console, the 250 looks and rides like a much bigger boat. It sports a 9-foot beam, and the ring deck design, matched with the new integrated hardtop, really gives you a ton of room in which to work. Scrambling to the bow on a hot fish would not be a problem. The interior freeboard is 26 inches, and like all Whalers, the 250 is injected with foam for an unsinkable and solid ride.
Whalers have never been known for speed, but that too changes with the new 250. Starting with a sharp entry forward, the hull transitions aft to finish with 22 degrees of deadrise at the transom. Two full-length strakes per side, combined with more aggressive chines, give a soft and mist-free ride. Although the bay was slick calm during our test, we found enough wakes to simulate real-time chop. Despite my best efforts, we stayed bone dry. The hull bites and holds well in hard turns. Shimmies and shudders were nonexistent.
Running a pair of 200-horsepower Verados, we were able to spin up to nearly 49 miles per hour. Easing the throttles off to 4,500 rpm produced an easy cruise of 33.2 miles per hour. At that speed we were using an economical 17.4 gallons of gas per hour. With a standard 175-gallon tank, that's a lot of water to cover in the course of a day. A single 250-horsepower Verado four-stroke is the normal configuration for the 250. Canyon runners and island-hoppers can opt for twins up to 200 hp apiece.
Performance aside, the 250's look is also tastefully modernized. Two-tone upholstery complements the optional hull colors nicely. Other noteworthy add-ons include shore power, a split bow rail, filler bow table and head pump-out.
Bottom line - this is not your dad's Whaler. It's even better than the classics. But don't take my word for it. Check one out yourself and see if you don't agree.
Boston Whaler 250
DRAFT......1'6" (boat only)
WEIGHT......5,050 lbs. dry
w/ Mercury 250 hp Verado four-stroke
Boston Whaler ? 386.428.0057 ? www.whaler.com