Boston Whaler 28 ConquestRock Hall, Maryland, United States1999$105,249
It has long been recommended that if you ever have the rare ill-fortune of being offshore in a boat that capsizes, your best chance of being rescued is if you stay with the boat. Of course, that isn't very practical advice if the boat sinks. Which leads me to believe that whoever coined this bit of advice probably owned a Boston Whaler because it's the only boat builder I know of that has earned a solid reputation for building truly "unsinkable" boats. Problem is, not all boats are built to Whaler standards and quite a few of them are now fish habitats as a result.Boston Whaler's reputation for building unsinkable boats was launched in a "Life" magazine article in 1961 that ran a series of photographs depicting founder Richard T. Fisher sitting in a boat as it was sawed in two and then casually driving away in only half a boat. That left an inedible image in the minds of safety conscious boaters. Fisher's unsinkable boat was the result of a revolutionary production process he pioneered and it's still employed by Boston Whaler today. The technique begins by simultaneously molding the hull and deck and then combining them before they cure to form a unitized closed-mold system. Liquid foam is then injected into the cavity between the hull and deck while they are still in their uncured state. As the foam expands and hardens, it literally fuses with the fiberglass to form a single, inseparable unit. There are no stringers to break free, no vibrations to be felt and no separation of the hull and deck. Because of the confined expansion space, the foam is very dense that provides superb flotation while at the same time increasing strength and rigidity.Boston Whaler is the only company I know of that publishes a "Swamped Capacity" rating that indicates the amount of weight it can hold after it has been filled with water. All Boston Whaler boats are built this way, including the 28 Conquest, which is the company's largest cabin boat. With an LOA of 30 feet 8 inches (28 feet 5 inches not counting the integrated bow pulpit) and a beam of 10 feet 4 inches, the 28 Conquest can hold 5800 pounds of weight after flooding it with water. That's pretty impressive when you consider that the U.S. Coast Guard doesn't even require foam flotation in boats over 20 feet.The 28 Conquest is an express cruiser that's well suited for long distance voyages. In addition to the peace of mind resulting from its unsinkable status, the boat comes with the added insurance of twin outboards (up to 600 combined-horsepower). A second outboard is especially comforting on long cruises; in the event one malfunctions you can still limp home on the other. Furthermore, the boat has a fuel capacity of 296 gallons for extra-long jaunts where ports are far apart.And when you come into port at day's end, the 28 Conquest has all the comforts you can ask for in a 28-foot boat, including a homey cabin atmosphere created by its teak and holly flooring. As you enter through the 21-inch locking, opaque acrylic door you notice a portside galley with a beautiful Corian countertop surrounding a single-burner butane stove and a stainless-stell sink with hot and cold pressurized water. An electric stove is available as a $143 option. Below is an electric refrigerator and above is a small microwave — standard. Adjacent to the galley is the ship's electric panel, a Clarion CD player that can be operated remotely from the helm, and a 35-by-24-by-16-foot cedar-lined hanging locker, which provides a welcome change from the smell of fiberglass.Opposite the galley is a 64-by-42-by-40-foot enclosed head that features a sink with countertop and storage cabinet and a removable faucet that can be attached to a wall bracket for showering. Other amenities include a vaccu-flush toilet with a holding tank and dockside pump-out, an opening port and a mirrored door that locks for privacy.Sleeping accommodations consist of a double berth forward that converts to a dinette and another double berth midships. There is no bulkhead separating the midberth from the rest of the cabin, which, on one hand gives it and the rest of the cabin a roomy feel, but on the other hand offers no privacy. And although you have plenty of ventilation available through four opening ports, an overhead hatch and a midberth window, the boat is equipped with a carbon monoxide detector for added safety.Above deck you have a large, deep cockpit (28-inch minimum depth) with plenty of room to move about. Seating consists of an adjustable bucket for the driver, a 53-inch companion's lounge seat, an aft-facing seat cushion (without backrest) behind the driver's seat, and a hideaway stern bench that folds up into the transom when not used. Side vents in the windshield allow those seated forward to regulate air flow to their particular comfort level.Although categorized as an express cruiser, the 28 Conquest caters strongly to anglers. For instance, it comes standard with a 30-gallon livewell (complete with raw-water wash-down and internal light); two in-sole fish boxes that are guttered, insulated and equipped with a pump-out; and built-in tackle drawers. Additionally, it has four gunwale-mount and three transom-mount rod holders, plus rod racks under the gunwales as well as in the cabin where they can be locked up when you're away from the boat. Anglers will also appreciate the boat's stainless-steel toe rails and cockpit coaming bolsters when it comes time to land big fish. Even the worst part of fishing, the clean-up, is relatively painless thanks to the a cockpit shower that allows you to hose down the self-bailing, non-skid interior.Performance-wise the 28 Conquest delivers a smooth, comfortable ride. It features Boston Whaler's Accutrack hull design which has a sharp forward V-bottom that slices through rough seas, with enough freeboard to keep passengers high and dry. As the running surface goes aft, the bottom transitions into a flatter surface to provide lift and enhance fuel efficiency. Strategically placed running strakes and a modified keel provide good tracking. In addition, the wide beam provides increased cockpit space and excellent stability.More…Enhanced14
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