Big Things, Small Package
If you really want to save some money on fuel, consider the single-outboard center console from about 16 to 23 feet. Small powerboats have always run relatively efficiently, but they’re even more economical today with the use of lighter building materials and more advanced propulsion packages.
The 170 Dauntless powered with a 90-horsepower Mercury four-stroke zips along at about 23 knots with a fuel economy rating of 5.8 nautical miles to the gallon. Even at full blast, the mileage is darn good—3.9 nmpg.
The 170 Dauntless joins three other larger boats in this line—the 180, 200, and 230. “The goal for the 170 Dauntless was to complement that family with an entry-level boat that runs well on a 90-horsepower outboard,” says Lenn Scholz, Whaler vice president of development and engineering.
The hull is the same as Whaler’s side-console 17 Supersport—a water-sports platform that excels with a 90-horsepower outboard. The inner liner and features of the 170 Dauntless are completely different from those of the Supersport, however. At wide-open throttle, the Dauntless reaches 37 knots. The Dauntless has a quick first step, too. It can reach 26 knots from idle in 12 seconds.
The boat comes with no-feedback steering, a stainless steel steering wheel, bow rail and lifting rings, and a stainless steel prop. Aft seating, reversible helm seating, a console with room for flush-mounted electronics, and a standard cooler seat with a backrest round out the standard amenities. You can add optional cushions to create a bow sun lounge and the foredeck can be flipped up to create a backrest.
Stowage spaces include an anchor locker with overboard drain, a lockable console compartment, and spaces beneath the aft seats.
A noteworthy safety feature on the 170 Dauntless—and the new 210 Montauk—is the design of the swim platform and ladder. Whaler mounts the ladder at a 45-degree angle to port so the swimmer can use the apparatus farther away from the propeller, Scholz says. Optional equipment includes a ski-tow pylon and a 54-quart slide-out carry-on cooler below the helm seat. Anglers can opt to convert the helm-seat stowage space into a large raw-water livewell. To fully rig the 170 for hardcore fishing, anglers can also add a trolling motor panel, aft rod racks, and a bow pedestal seat.
Scholz describes the Dauntless fleet as “a more feature-rich center console that people like to use for day boating. The 170 has a lot of comfort features and it’s a good watersports boat,” he says. “It’s got a lot of options to allow boaters to configure the boat for how they want to use it for any particular day—cruising, fishing, watersports.”
: 1,680 lb. (dry)
: 35 gal.
: 1/90-hp Mercury outboard
: 1/100-hp Mercury outboard
7-inch Raymarine E7D electronics/navigation package preloaded with ready-to-navigate Navionics charts, Raymarine Ray49 VHF, forward grab rails, removable bow light, cockpit table, bow cushion, Clarion AM/FM digital stereo with waterproof speakers (2) and MP3/USB input, transom rod holders (additional to 4 standard transom rod holders).
Speeds were determined by GPS. Fuel consumption based on total usage by the engines. Range based on 90% of total fuel capacity.