The Boston Whaler Harpoon is a sailboat that was discontinued in the early 1980s, but it's found a new audience recently and although most are aging models, they're being scooped up by collectors who are happy to make any restorations needed to put them back in service. The unsinkable legend of Boston Whalers applies to these classics and we're seeing more of them showing up in sailing clubs. If you're joining the new awakening and discovering the inherent value of the Harpoon, we've prepared a guide to provide you with tips to help you find one, assess its condition, and get the best possible deal.
Facts about the Boston Whaler
Before you start negotiating for a classic Harpoon, it's good to have a solid knowledge base about the boat. It gives you a good idea of what models are out there, the years they were produced, and what to expect prior to showing up for a look. The staff at iBoats are helpful in supplying excellent information about every model that was made. Between 1978 and 1984, Boston Whaler produced three models including the 4.6, the 5.2, and the 6.2.
Boston Whaler Harpoon 4.6
The Harpoon 4.6 was launched in 1978. The sailboat featured a fiberglass hull with an overall length of 15 feet with a 67 inch beam. It was setup as a Sloop. The sail area is 129 square feet with a displacement of 410 pounds and a draft of 3 ft 4 inches. The only real change in its 9 years of production was an increase in the displacement specification from 410 pounds to 425 in 1979.
Boston Whaler Harpoon 5.2
The Harpoon 5.2 was produced from 1978 through 1984. Like the 4.6 model, the hull is made of fiberglass but it's a larger version with an overall length of 17 feet. The width/beam is 76 inches and the craft is rigged for sailing as a Sloop. The sail area is 160 square feet with a displacement of 565 pounds. The draft is 3 ft 8 inches There were no notable changes to the specifications through the production years.
Boston Whaler Harpoon 6.2
The 6.2 Harpoon model is the largest of the three sailboats made in this Boston Whaler family of boats. It measures 20.33 feet in length with a beam of 80 inches. The hull is made of fiberglass and it is set up to sail as a Sloop. The sail area is 210 square feet with a displacement for the 6.2 of 1,700 pounds, and a draft of 3 ft 6 inches. The Harpoon 6.2 was first launched in 1980, as one of the later models made, and the last model year of production was 1984. It made a shorter run that the 4.6 or 5.2.
Assessing the value of a Boston Whaler Harpoon
According to Sail Away, Boston Whaler kept the production of boats in the Harpoon line low. In the nine years of production there were only 1,500 of them made. They're emerging as a top choice for sailing club members who now recognize their uniqueness and inherent value. The features that are the most appreciated are the sink proof construction with urethane foam bubbles sandwiched between two skins of fiberglass. The other is the self-bailing system for water removal. They're highly valued as day sailing vessels. When we combine their new found popularity with sailing club members with their quality construction and status as classic boats, this serves to create a high demand for them, and to increase the current value. One member paid $3,500 for his Harpoon, and within just 3 years, the value had increased to $12,000.
Gauging the condition of a used Boston Whaler Harpoon
When you find a Harpoon for sale, they're all older, and the expected condition will depend on how the boat was cared for, maintained, and stored. The main things to look for when doing the walk-through is to start with the hull. Ideally, the boat will be at dry dock so you can get a good look at the hull. It should show no obvious signs of damage or cracking, and it should be painted. Although Boston Whaler hulls are made to be unsinkable, water damage is still possible. Large cracks with water damage can compromise the integrity. Smaller cracks in the gelcoat usually are not reason for concern. They're to be expected with a craft of this age.
Check out the mast to make sure that it's still in good condition. Also inspect the boat for water damage in the wood components, and any signs of rust or missing components in the rigging. It's also important to check the condition of the sail and to make sure that it's in good operational condition. It's not difficult to have the sail replaced, but if it's necessary, this could be an additional expense that you should consider before cutting a deal on a used Boston Whaler Harpoon.
How to assign value to a Boston Whaler Harpoon
This can be tricky and it's difficult to assign a set value to a classic collectible such as the Harpoon. We checked on a few of the forums such as Continuous Waves to get in on the discussions about the current value of Harpoons. We saw that some were going for around $2,000 to $2,600 with new riggings and sails, so you might be able to find a seller that is willing to part with their boat for around this price. Some of the more pristine boats that are restored to mint condition may fetch a price in the thousands, as we've seen. The selling price is largely going to be determined by the demand for the boat in the area that you're browsing. You can consult with the JD Power NADA guidelines to give you a ballpark figure, but when you're dealing in a collectibles market, much depends upon the current demand for the product.
It's always a good plan to ask the seller about the history of the boat. Find out if it has been involved in any accidents or if it has sustained any major damage. You can learn more about it from an original owner, but it's getting harder to find Harpoons that have had just one owner. Ask about any repairs or restorations that were made and if there are any known problems or repairs that currently need to be made. The owner an enlighten you about the history of the boat with facts that might not be apparent when you make a visual inspection. You an also refer to Nada to obtain a history of the boat with information on the specifications and to learn about any recorded accidents involving the particular example that you're inquiring about if you have the hull identification number.
How to find the hull identification number on a Boston Whaler Harpoon
According to Continuous Wave, there are three form that the hull identification number for a Boston Whaler boat can take. The first is one that is stenciled into the molded portion of of the hull in the gel coating, a molded-in number on the transom, or a metal tag that is fastened to the hull. By the time that the Harpoon models were issued, it became a Federal requirement to include the serial numbers for all boats, so you should be able to easily locate the hull identification/serial number. This is useful for looking up the boat history through the Nada site.
Where to find a Boston Whaler Harpoon sailboat?
The fact that there were just 1,500 Harpoon models made does create a bit of scarcity, but there are still plenty of them listed for sale by owner, or at dealerships. The best way to locate a Harpoon is to conduct an internet search. This will yield quite a few results, and it will give you a choice of options. We like Sailboatlistings.com because the site is filled with useful tips for buyers about how to avoid becoming the victim of a fraud. This is an advertisement site that requires sellers to register prior to posting, and we found about a dozen listings for Boston Whaler Harpoon models on the site. Most provided pictures with an overview of the boat, it's condition, the asking price, and contact information. It's a good place to start and the location of the boats are listed as well.
Smart Marine Guide is another site that is used by private sellers to list their Harpoon sailboats. We noticed that most of the listings include photos and a little more information about the care and maintenance of the boats. There were 9 listings posted at the time of our search. Most of them looked as though they had been well cared for. WAA2 is another great resource for finding Boston Whaler Harpoon sailboats listed for sale by owners. The listings include photos along with an overview of the boat, the asking price, and the location. We noticed that the lowest price listed out of the 15 posts was $1,800 and the highest, $10,000.
Tip: Comparisons to get the best deal
Before setting up an appointment to look at a Boston Whaler Harpoon, it's good to put a checklist together, to narrow down your search. The first is to determine which model will suit your needs, eg, the smaller 4.6, the medium 5.2 or the much larger 6.2. The next thing is to consider the location of the boat. How far are you willing to travel to inspect a boat? We don't recommend buying a classic boat until you've inspected its condition with your own eyes, and until you've had the opportunity to talk with the owner to ask about the history. Photos don't always reveal the true condition, plus you might be looking at an older picture. There may be a high cost involved with moving the boat from long distances, so it's something to think about. Inquiries about each boat you're seriously considering are helpful. Contact the owners and ask a few questions about the history and condition of the boat before you schedule an appointment to look at it. Sometimes, a phone call or email can provide you with a lot more information that what is shared on a listing.
The Boston Whaler Harpoon is a very special classic boat and it's one that in many cases, has increased in value with age. While you can still find some legitimately great deals on the model, it's good to know as much about the boat as possible in advance. Our tips are intended to help prepare you with the information that you need to perform an inspection and initial value assessment of this collectible classic boat, to get the best deal possible. The Harpoon is more popular in some areas than in others, so where you look can have a big impact on the asking price. Buying from a member of a sailing club where the Harpoon is currently in high demand is likely to mean you'll pay up to 5 times more for the craft than in some other areas, so it's worth your time to browse through a variety of listings and make comparisons of the boats. We wish you the best of success in your endeavors.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker