10.95 m w/ pulpit
|Max Headroom||N/A||Bridge Clearance||
7.00 m (max)
|Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.|
|Std. Power||2 x 300-hp Mercury Verado 4-stroke CXL L6 DTS|
|Tested Power||3 x 300-hp Mercury Verado with Joystick|
3 x 250-hp Mercury Verado 4-stroke L6 DTS
3 x 300-hp Mercury Verado 4-stroke L6 DTS
Mission of the Boston Whaler 345 Conquest
Like most boats that Boston Whaler is introducing these days the 345 Conquest has been carefully designed to cruise, fish, or both. By creating a semi-enclosed hardtop pilothouse she becomes a four-season vessel, and her cabin below is a cozy place for a couple to hang out, or for a relaxed bunch of angler buddies to yak about the catch after fine day of fishing.
She’s also appealing to the person looking to downsize from the expense and maintenance of a big battlewagon. This boat can go out in most of the same conditions at a fraction of the cost, and operating expense.
She is also designed for the boater who is ready to move up from an open boat, one who is looking for some creature comforts, overnight capability, and a foredeck. This boater might be an avid angler, or a casual one who likes to do some cruising with the family.
The new 345 Conquest has improvements both large and small over previous models. It is available with downward sloping side windows with isinglass above, seen here, or full-height side glass.
• Convertible Cabin V-Seating. By far this is the most unique feature on the 345 Conquest. At the push of a button, the dinette table lowers, the two seats pivot together and a berth is formed, complete with steps leading up to either side.
• Portside Helm Deck Dinette. This makes a convenient place for quick bites while still being able to keep an eye on the lines. It’s also a nice spot to bring out the paper charts and go over the waypoint numbers from previous trips. Plus the aft seatback is reversible to convert to aft facing and remaining in the cockpit.
• Upper Galley Area. A cockpit grill and an optional freezer drawer conveniently located right near the helm deck sink make it easy to cook up a quick meal on the fly.
• Multi-tasking Cockpit. While some may think of this as a dedicated fishing machine, the simple fact is that it’s also a capable cruising boat and that means she’s going to be entertaining guests in the cockpit. All of the fishing amenities can be closed off, and optional bench seats to the stern and starboard side can be deployed to make a convenient gathering area.
• Level Flotation if Swamped. All Boston Whalers, no matter how large, float level when swamped. This is a claim that only a couple of other boats this size can make.
It is a pleasure to review a new boat that has been in so many ways designed and outfitted right -- as standard! We can hardly think of anything to quibble about with this boat. Her option list is quite creative, but only real boating connoisseurs will need to visit there.
First, Who is This Boat For? The answer is she is built for adventuresome anglers who like to take off for the fishing grounds in pretty much whatever kind of weather is forecast. This is not a fair-weather-only boat. She is also for anglers who want to cover some distance, fish, overnight, then return to home port a day or so later without having to worry about a front moving in.
The helm console has a gray gel coat color to greatly reduce glare on the windscreen. Note the de-fogging vents to either side of the compass and the heat and air conditioning vents to the right bulwarks. The outboard joystick control is forward of the DTS controls.
To the port side of the helm deck is booth style seating that clearly serves to get the crowd out of the confines of the cabin for meals while enjoying the view. The optional table can be used for lunch or as a nav table for the companion and it can also be relocated to the cockpit deck.
A filler cushion slides into place and is held fast with notches underneath. And just like that… a chaise lounge is created. Notice the heat and air conditioning vents flanked by drink holders, and an MP3 jack is forward. This also makes a great spot for the off-watch to grab a few hours while on overnight runs.
With the seatback moved forward this spot becomes a great place to sit while trolling baits. The footrest pulls out from the console below.
Cruise Ready. The 345 Conquest is also designed for cruising with the family. We'd gladly take her on long weekends out to remote island destinations or cruises to nowhere. While no boat is safe in more severe storms, the pop-up weather that we boaters have all encountered is a non-issue for this cruise-friendly vessel.
Entertaining? The folks at Boston Whaler have seen it all and they know many people buy boats for some of the simplest work and often "over-buy" simply because they either like the look of the boat, or are enamored with the vessel's potential. So, yes, the 345 Conquest can also be used for harbor cruising with several couples along to enjoy cocktails, grill burgers or fish on the boat's standard grill.
Thinking Out Of The Box. Here is where the "unusual" option comes into play: Big fishboat cockpits often don't lend themselves well to entertaining because while any man would happily sit on the cockpit gunwales, most women don't like to. Boston Whaler has thought of that, and makes optional fold-out bench seats for both the port and starboard bulwarks so three couples can comfortably sit. Fold the companion seat back forward, and the lucky owners can join in the conversation.
Beneath the port seat is a smokeless electric grill. Condiment storage is just to the left. To the lower left corner of the white lid there’s a small black micro switch so that when the lid is closed, power to the grill is cut off. We’d still like to see a gas strut to hold this in the open position though. With the lid closed, it serves as a cutting board. Notice the courtesy light at the step to the right.
Tool and tackle storage is in the cabinets below.
A top-loading insulated storage compartment is behind the sink. Below is a pull-out drawer for every boater’s best friend, the 5-gallon bucket. This position can be swapped out for a cockpit freezer.
Major Features --
●Hardtop with Integrated Windshield. In the standard model there are no downward sloping glass side windows leaving the top area open and breezy, which is how a lot of people in Florida and the tropics prefer it. Of course it can also be fitted with removable isinglass. The hardtop provides UV and rain protection, and gives the owner a place to mount the standard side and back curtains. Above, there is plenty of room for all kinds of antennas. Full side windows and even a glass bulkhead aft with a door are optional.
●Wet Bar. The starboard wet bar comes standard with a refrigerator that faces inward towards the entrance to the helm area. When the freezer option is selected, the standard location of the refrigerator becomes the freezer and refrigerator is moved to the cockpit area.
●Air Conditioning is Standard. There is a 12,000 BTU unit for the cabin below and an 18,000 BTU unit for the helm-deck/pilothouse. Both are reverse cycle so our friends up north can have a four-season boat. A/C requires shore power or a generator, so a 7.5 kW LOW CO gas generator is included as standard.
The transom height is 30" (.76 m), the cockpit depth is 28" (.71 m), and the deadrise of the bottom is 20-degrees at the transom. The standard 40-gal. (151 L) livewell can be seen in the port quarter. The fold-away seat in the stern is standard, as are the port and starboard rod holders in the bulwarks. These can be replaced with optional fold-out seats for those who want to entertain. Fishboxes are in the cockpit sole and refrigerators or freezers are optional. Triple Mercury 250-hp outboards are standard.
●3 Outboards + Bow Thruster. The 345 Conquest weighs 14,200 lbs. (6,441 kgs.) dry, without engines. Add the standard triple Mercury 250-hp Verados, fill up all of the tanks, add gear, food, drinks, and six adults and we're looking at a boat that weighs over 20,000 lbs. (9,090 kgs.). Boston Whaler states that the minimum horsepower for this boat is 750, and her maximum rating is 1,050-hp. Since the previous version of the 345 was powered standard with twin 300-hp engines, we would trust the builder's judgment on this score.
The standard 4 kW bow thruster makes docking this boat a piece of cake. A control upgrade to the outboard joystick is available.
●Well-Equipped Galley. The 345’s galley is small but it has a refrigerator/freezer, a microwave, and sink. What else is needed?
We are partial to boats that have U-shaped or V-shaped seating in the bow with a table. The reason is that we have spent many a night at anchor sitting at a table like this with friends, a bottle of Burgundy, some grilled fish with lemon juice and good conversation.
Automatic Table/Queen Bed. At the push of a button the V-seating and table morphs into a "queen size" bed and it’s an exceedingly clever solution and a great use of space. The table automatically lowers and the twin seats “scissor” together to form the island berth, complete with stairs to both sides.
Want Two Singles? If two singles are preferred, then simply take the finger off the button once the table is lowered, and before the two side seats come together. The real beauty of this design is not only in its ingenuity, but in the fact that no filler cushions are needed and therefore no need to find room to store those fillers.
The Mid "Cabin." There is a mid "cabin" that is a crawl-in design but the overhead is really too low to use it as a sitting room. For sleeping it’s fine. Its cushions make into another sleeping space with a privacy curtain.
A bench seat is to starboard that opens out into a berth large enough for a single adult, or two kids. The wet head has a curtain to keep the sink and the VacuFlush toilet dry.
●Optional Joystick Control. With multiple outboards, maneuvering around the dock with an adverse current running can be challenging, particularly for those not used to it. By equipping the boat with a joystick specifically calibrated for the 345 and the number of engines employed, all of the complex mental maneuvering calculations are done by the on-board joystick system.
Behind the helm is a two-tier wet bar with sink and refrigerator.
Taken together this helm deck space has loads of functionality.
●Optional Upper Helm. Boston Whaler has a tower station available with a full set of controls and electronics including a small RayNav display and the Merc VesselView. Joystick-controlled boats will also have a second joystick in the tower as well. Having this tower not only lets the fish slicks be seen from a long way off, but it raises the height of eye from the 8’ (2.4 m) level of the lower helm, to 14’ (4.27 m), and that means the visible horizon goes from 3.5 miles (5.6 km) to 4.6 miles (7.4 km) out.
The upper helm has full functionality including for navigation. A small Raymarine display is to the left and a VesselView 4 is to the right. Built in footrests are below the helm station.
●Feature Rich. There are really too many standard items on the 345 to mention -- often things that are usually optional on many boats in class. But just to suggest what is going on here -- 10" cleats, 4 spring line cleats, cockpit coaming bolsters, a hot and cold water shower in the cockpit, cockpit wet bar with refrigerator/freezer and sink, trim tabs, 3 pantograph windshield wipers with washers, dockside TV inlet with antenna, windlass, raw water washdown, isolation transformer, etc., etc.
●Floats Level If Swamped. The folks at Boston Whaler hardly mention this little detail anymore, thinking that this horse has been beaten to death over the decades. Indeed, at times in this brand's long career it was the only thing really going for it. Times have changed. As we said, we think virtually everything has been done right on this vessel.
From a seaworthy standpoint the most important thing about the 345 Conquest is the fact that she is a well-found express design which will easily shed green water. Indeed, even her side decks include molded channels to direct water directly over the side instead of into the cockpit.
Even though she has substantial deck drains, any green water shipped over the bow is quickly directed back over the side, rather than into the cockpit.
A Tight Ship. Between this, her large, dual 2” (5 cm) deck drains to either side of the self-bailing cockpit, double-clamped hoses and ball valves all keeping her hull tight, frankly, little more is needed. But the 345 has more -- between her hull, inner liner and deck there is enough foam flotation to keep her level if she is somehow swamped. Call it extra piece of mind. We hope the company never abandons this dead horse.
Hardwood decks are standard in the cabin below, as is the electrically-actuated table.
Here we see the table in the down position. Now the bench seats can move inward and the backrests will automatically fall into place becoming part of the mattress...
...and create a "queen" bed. This is the first time we have seen this innovation on a boat in this class and it even includes stairs to both sides of the berth.
The galley is small but large enough for the limited task at hand. The head door is to the left, hanging locker to the right.
Instead of cabinets and cubbies, owners can specify rod holders. Note the standard TV at right and the cabinet below for the ship's main electrical panel.
Open up the bench seat at night for an adult single or a bed big enough for two small children.
Looking aft in the cabin. Note entrance to the mid cabin to the left of the steps.
There is crouching headroom into the mid cabin. Here we see it made up with a filler cushion.
The mid cabin with filler cushion removed makes into a sitting venue for small children. The clearance from the top of the seating cushion to the overhead is 28" (70.6 cm), from the deck to the overhead is 40" (100.9 cm). However, the space is wide and long enough to sleep two friendly adults.
The wet head has a shower curtain, VacuFlush toilet, an opening portlight, and an exhaust ventilation fan. Just out of this shot are flip-down hanging hooks that make a great place to hang wet foul weather gear to dry out.
The Boston Whaler 345 Conquest has a LOA of 35’11” (10.9 m), a beam of 11’8” (3.6 m) and a draft of 22” (56 cm). With an empty weight, including the optional tower, of 14,620 lbs. (6,632 kg) half fuel, two people and test power, we had an estimated test weight of just over 19,000 lbs. (8,618kg).
With a triple set of 300-hp Mercury Verado’s turning 17p Revolution 4 propellers, we reached our top speed of 43.5 kts at 6000 rpm. At that speed we were burning fuel at a rate of 81.7 gph giving us a range of 192 naut. miles.
Best cruise came in at 4500 rpm and 28.1 kts. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 39.6 gph which the 345 could keep up for just over 9 hours and 256 nautical miles while still holding back a 10% reserve.
We reached planing speed in 4.4 seconds, accelerated to 20 mph in 7.1 seconds, 30 came and went in 11.1 seconds, and we continued accelerating through 40 mph in 16.1 seconds.
Her optional upper helm will be welcome by aggressive anglers looking for any advantage possible in finding prey.
Simply put, the 345 Conquest is a joy to operate. She clearly has the pedigree of an offshore capable boat and it shows in her solid handling characteristics. She throws water well off to the sides and far enough back to present a dry ride. She has a natural bow high cruise attitude and adding trim just boosts the speed, it does not change the attitude.
She has a narrow entry and cuts cleanly through large waves rather than pounding over them. Operations from the tower are comfortable, but it’s clearly made for standing rather than sitting while driving. In the sitting position the helm it just out of reach so clearly the long hauls will be spent at the lower helm, likely on auto-pilot.
The folks at Boston Whaler tell us that the new model 345 Conquest has been designed with lots of customer input. Further, they say that she is built and equipped for veteran boaters, those who know what they want and need to go offshore safely.
When comparing express fishboats, remember that the 345 Conquest is fully equipped. Don't compare her on price with other boats in class that need to be loaded up with options to get the job done. All of the needed equipment has to be paid for one way or the other.
|Washdown: Fresh Water|
|Washdown: Raw Water|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc|
|Boats More Than 30 Feet|
= Standard = Optional
|Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.|
|Years||10-year limited structural|