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September 21, 2007

Conquering Hero

The Boston Whaler 235 Conquest has room for the family and the performance to fish hard.


The 235 Conquest has a dry ride and moves well with a single outboard.

The 235 Conquest from Boston Whaler complements its solid performance and angling features with a practical cabin and plenty of creature comforts. I learned all about the fishing capabilities of this boat during a recent outing off Florida's Northeast coast.

The remnants of a nor'easter were still evident as Boston Whaler's Dean Kuti and I ran through Ponce Inlet and made our way south toward Cape Canaveral. Stacked rollers and turbid water made the prospect of finding cobia slim, but we gave it a try nonetheless. Even with the swells, the ride of the 235 was reassuring. As Kuti ran off the beach, I kept a lookout from the cockpit. The standard stainless-steel toe rails and optional bolster pads allowed me to scan the water and cast comfortably without having to worry about keeping my balance in the rolling waves.

SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 24' 9"
Beam 8' 6"
Draft 1' 3"
Dry weight 3,500 lbs.
Deadrise 20 ┬┐ree;
Fuel 122 gals.
Water 12 gals.
Base price $65,803
w/ 225-hp Mercury OptiMax outboard

The roomy cockpit includes two 100-quart insulated boxes in the deck that can be used as fishboxes or storage compartments. Two more insulated cooler compartments are just aft of the helm pedestal seats and come with cushioned lids to double as observer seats when trolling. Rod racks are standard under the gunwales, along with molded downrigger-weight cradles. Stainless-steel rod holders in the transom and gunwales are also standard. The stainless-steel hawse pipes feature integrated cup holders that keep a beverage from spilling when the adjacent rod goes off. The transom bench seat folds down and out of the way when the action turns on.

The helm on the 235 Conquest is practical and ergonomic. Comfortable twin pedestal seats adjust for stand-up operation and have side storage bins. The angled helm dash allows for easy scanning of gauges and electronics. The mounting area can hold two 8.4-inch displays and a VHF radio. Whaler offers a pair of packages featuring Northstar and Navman electronics as options on this model. Teleflex hydraulic tilt steering and electric trim tabs are also standard.

Our test boat was powered with the optional single Mercury 225-horsepower Verado four-stroke outboard -more than enough horses for a boat of this size. With two of us and 52 gallons of fuel aboard, the boat ran 40.7 miles per hour at 5,800 rpm. Slowing to a cruising pace of 4,500 rpm, my GPS read 30.8 miles per hour while the engine burned 12.1 gallons of gas per hour. At that rate, the Conquest has a 243.6-nautical-mile range with a ten-percent fuel safety reserve. We didn't have to shout at cruising speed, due to the quiet operation of the outboard.

The 235 has the Accutrack hull design, which features an aggressive bow entry that gradually flattens aft to 20 degrees at the transom. Like every Whaler I've been on, this boat is solidly built and has a dry ride. It responds well and is quick to plane. The 235 is unsinkable thanks to its foam-filled Unibond construction, and the hull is covered by a transferable ten-year limited warranty. Standard power is a single 225-horsepower Mercury OptiMax outboard, while another option is the 250-horsepower Verado.

The bow on the 235 Conquest has aggressive non-skid and a wide walkaround that provide sure footing. The deck around the standard bow pulpit is sculpted for more foot room, plus there's a cushioned bow seat just aft of the anchor locker to sit while sorting out dock lines or fenders. The tall, welded stainless-steel bow rail adds to the security.

The 235 is available with an angling option that includes pump-outs for the fishboxes, a raw-water wash down, cockpit coaming bolsters and an additional pair of gunwale rod holders. Other options include a fresh-water shower, more stowaway cockpit seating, a low-profile windlass with rode and anchor, and the fiberglass hard top with electronics box, dome light, cockpit flood lights and a three-rod rocket launcher.

The cabin on the 235 houses a comfortable vee-berth with a removable filler cushion. An overhead foredeck hatch and side portholes keep the space bright and airy. The standard head with deck pump-out is located under the berth. Folding rod racks secure tackle.

When the float plan calls for a weekend excursion or someone needs a respite from the sun, the 235 Conquest is a mid-sized, trailerable boat that's as suitable for fishing with friends as it is for family trips. Boston Whaler; (800) 942-5379; www.bostonwhaler.com


The cockpit hawsepipe hardware features integrated cup holders.