A brand earns customer confidence only after years of building top quality products that last and perform as well or better than advertised. And when it comes to longevity, quality and performance, Boston Whaler’s pedigree remains irrefutable. This standard of excellence is evident everywhere in the new 420 Outrage.
Everything about the 420 is inviting, evidenced by two access doors located aft — one on the port side for boarding or boating large fish, the other on the transom, to starboard, to allow access for swimmers with the removable ladder. Next to catch my eye was the center console, with two rows of seating and air-conditioning vents serving both. The front row consists of three bolster-style seats with fold-down armrests. The center seat actuates electronically; the others rotate to face the rear. The second row, a leaning post that converts to a three-person bench, houses three tackle drawers, a 40-gallon pressurized aquarium-style livewell, and a bait-rigging station with sink that can be replaced with an optional summer kitchen with fridge and electric grill.
The helm boasts a center layout, with a dashboard wide enough for three 15-inch multifunction displays, a panel of illuminated switches, stereo controls and Mercury SmartCraft Vessel View display, which networks with navigation electronics. Right of the steering wheel, Mercury DTS dual binnacle and Joystick Piloting control the outboards.
A hardtop holds a lockable electronics box. Ladders built into the frame keep walkways unobstructed while providing access to the optional flybridge and a second control station. An optional canopy deploys rearward, the length of the cockpit, for instant shade at the touch of a button.
Down below, an air-conditioned cabin hosts a double berth that converts into a settee, a galley with sink, fridge, microwave oven and plenty of counter space, in addition to an enclosed head compartment.
A cooler and a storage compartment large enough for dive tanks, both with cushions on the lids, offer seating in front of the console. At the bow, twin outboard storage boxes double as bench seats that, along with an electrically raised table offered as an option, make an ideal spot to enjoy lunch or drinks.
Rod storage on the 420 Outrage is extensive: a total of 20 flush-mounted holders along the gunwales and transom, six vertical tubes on the hardtop frame, and under-gunwale lockers on both sides to safeguard eight more outfits. Fish boxes are also impressive: six in-deck, insulated compartments provide 260 gallons of space to keep your catch chilled. The two largest are rigged to pump out, but they can also be refrigerated. A sizable lazarette in front of the transom allows comfortable access to pumps, fuel lines and electronic connections. A second, smaller livewell with clear lid rests on the port transom corner.
After going over a wealth of features and options too abundant to list in full, we took the Whaler out of Wiggins Pass to see how it performed in the open Gulf. With quad Mercury Verado 350s in back, the Outrage jumped on plane in eight seconds flat, remaining close to level in the process and never hindering visibility from the helm.
Rows of crab-trap buoys provided the perfect setting for a slalom test. I pushed the quads up to 5,000 rpm, then turned left and right to miss every float. Despite its wide 13-foot beam, the 420 responded promptly and smoothly to every maneuver, carving every turn without much loss of speed or excessive leaning or spray.
A trawler plowing a large wake offered the next hurdle. The Whaler easily jumped the wake with no pounding or rattling to speak of. At 4,200 rpm, ideal for cruising, the 42-footer moved along at 33 mph into the wind, a respectable speed for her magnitude, burning 49.2 gph.
Though the test boat was rigged with the optional Verado 350s, Mercury performance tests with quad Verado 300s indicate the 420 Outrage does 38.1 mph and burns 65.6 gph at 5,000 rpm, and it hits 50 mph wide open burning just under 120 gph.
Finally, since offshore anglers spend time either kite-fishing, free-lining baits or jigging over bottom structure, I cut the motors to see how the Whaler would drift. With the outboards down, it remained broadside without the bow getting ahead of the transom, which speeds up the drift and limits the number of lines the crew can fish effectively.
In the new 420 Outrage, the renowned boatbuilder has another winner. Along with its sporty looks and performance, the functionality, roominess, and the wide array of features and options make this Boston Whaler equally well-suited for extended fishing outings and island hopping with the family.