The 2017 Boston Whaler 320 Vantage is the largest dual console model Whaler builds—and after spending a day on one, we think it might be their best dual console, too.
This article originally appeared on boats.com. Reprinted by permission.
We loved the 230 Vantage for its multipurpose versatility, but after spending a day on the 2017 Boston Whaler 320 Vantage, we have to admit that size matters. Even though the 320 Vantage is a dual console boat in every sense of the genre, its sheer size means that the boat’s potential uses skyrocket. No mere runabout, it has the beef to blast through heavy seas. It has the accouterments and sleeping accommodations for weekending. And it has the sheer size you need to throw a multi-family shindig on the water. This video boat review will give you a good look at the 320 Vantage, inside and out.
CHOICES, CHOICES, CHOICES
How you option the 320 Vantage will play a big role in just how well it serves some of its multipurpose missions. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available. If you plan on weekending, for example, you’ll probably want to make sure you get the generator, air conditioning, and water heater. Those more interested in watersports may want to consider adding the onboard air compressor system to inflate their water-toys, and perhaps the bow beach boarding ladder. Anglers will opt for the raw water washdown, extra rodholders, and maybe the deluxe prep center with a 40 gallon livewell (a “Fishing Package” is also available, which includes five rocket launchers, the washdown, three rod holders, and stainless-steel toe rails). And boaters who aim to do some serious entertaining should consider adding the bow and cockpit Sunshades, an electric grill, the 22” flat-screen TV, the cockpit refrigerator, and one or more of the available bow and aft cockpit tables.
A few things boaters of all stripes will appreciate include the underwater lights, bow thruster, and the premium audio package. In fact, there are so many different ways to outfit this boat—no surprise, considering how many niches it inhabits—that you can do some very serious customization with the Vantage 320. Added bonus: Whaler has a nifty Build You Boat function on its web site, which lets you choose everything from hull color to power-plants and includes MSRP pricing for all the different tweaks and changes, as you create your unique 320 Vantage.
TAKE A BOW
One area of the boat we didn’t spend too much time on in the video was the bow cockpit. It’s worth visiting this spot for a moment, though, because again the 320 Vantage has an advantage over boats that could be labeled as bowriders. The port side of the bow seating is notched, so there’s legroom for several people to sit around the forward cockpit table. It also allows for three or four people to sit while facing each other. In most bowrider bow cockpits they’d be knocking knees, instead of relaxing comfortably.
Another nice thing about that bow cockpit design: since the fronts of the consoles create backrests and the inside of the bow is bolstered all around, you can sit comfortably facing both fore and aft, as well as while facing the center. Add in the low-profile bow grabrails, and riding up here at cruising speeds is no problem.
Still, our favorite spot to kick back on the Boston Whaler 320 Vantage is on that gigantic aft convertible lounger. How many other boats allow you to merge the passenger’s seat, dinette, and aft bench into one huge relaxation-station? None that we know of. And on top of that, one thing we didn’t demo in the video is the ability to swivel the helm seat and the passenger’s seat to face the center, for lunching on the hook or kibitzing at the marina.
Hey, wait a sec—no boat is perfect. So, what are the down-sides to the 320 Vantage? We can call out pricing, which is pretty much always near the upper end of the scale for Whalers simply because of how they build their boats. As we said in the video, the unsinkable Unibond construction system is going to be exceedingly difficult to beat, but you have to expect to pay top dollar for it. Aside from that the main drawback is simply the nature of the dual console design; to get such extensive versatility you do have to give a bit on specific design features that might otherwise allow the boat to lead the class in one niche or another. The 360-degree fishability of a center console is the natural example, but you could also look to the overnighting abilities of a full cabin boat like the 315 Conquest.
The bottom line? If you want a do-everything boat with enough room for multiple families as well as the equipment needed to fulfill multiple missions, the 320 Vantage is a top contender.
Other Choices: Shoppers might also look at the Pursuit 320 DC, and the Grady-White Freedom 335.
For more information, visit Boston Whaler.
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