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The Clipper Heritage 36 is an entry-level, displacement passagemaker packed with the lot. As JOHN ZAMMIT discovers, all you have to do is turn the key and go

Clipper Heritage 36

Not far from where I live there's a hamburger shop. I don't mean one of those ho hum, run-of-the-mill fast-food franchises. I'm talking about a classic burger joint with a well-earned reputation for cooking up the meanest mother-of-all with the lot.

What's that got to do with the new Clipper Heritage 36? This boat reminded me of a great hamburger with the lot. You see, this little beauty comes loaded with so much good gear as standard that you can pick up the keys and cruise into the sunset. A meal in one.

Of course, Clipper Motor Yachts aren't new to Australia - the brand has been around since the '70s - but if you think you know Clipper from years past then forget it. While the heritage (no pun intended) and the styling may be similar, the Clippers built today feature hitherto higher-quality fitouts and long lists of standard inclusions.

The company and the moulds are Australian-owned, with the boats made under licence in China using local and their own expat boatbuilders to oversee the quality controls. This was evident in the Heritage 36. As you can see from the pics hereabouts, its finish is impressive.

The Heritage 36 is the entry-level Clipper in a range of displacement and semi-displacement cruisers from 36 to 60 feet. She's a single cabin, classic go-slow cruiser, traditionally styled with a teak interior, featuring covered walkaround decks, twin helm stations and all the latest good gear.

Included in the price is a fully equipped galley, a comprehensive electronics package, entertainment system and, get this, even a bowthruster. A complete turnkey package with the works.

Standard power comes from a single Cummins 230hp diesel engine and, with this donk, she cruises comfortably at between 8kts and 9kts for a range of around 450nm. Equipped with all the comforts of home, I can see the attraction of this kind of boat as a passagemaker on big rivers, bays, inshore and coastal legs.

As my own boating style evolves (and with the kids off our hands) I can see a time when my partner and I will look seriously at this type of ready-to-go passagemaker. I'm thinking something we can take along the coast from Melbourne to Queensland, perhaps stopping off to explore places like the Gippsland Lakes, Pittwater, the Myall Lakes and so on.

At first glance the most striking thing about the Clipper is the colour. Officially known as antique white, it's more like cream to my eye and warm and inviting. The dark teak capping on the bulwarks makes for a nice contrast and gives the boat a dignified look.

Step aboard into the spacious cockpit, which is fully protected from the weather by the overhanging flybridge, and there's an immediate sense of security that a walkaround deck provides - great for young children and pets. A sliding door leads into the spacious saloon with an aft galley to port and a dinette that seats four, while to starboard is a comfortable lounge aft of the lower helm.

The single-level living space with its warm teak fitout is one of the Heritage 36's attractions and means you can cruise along sedately, enjoying the journey as well as the destination, if not cooking at galley. Amenities include twin electric cooktop, convection microwave, sink with mixer tap, under-bench fridge/freezer, and loads of bench space.

With this fitout, the chef can prepare meals on the hop during chats with the skipper at the nearby helm or at rest when the family is drooling indoors.

The helm has a built-in seat with footrest facing a traditional dash that, on our test boat, accommodated a Raymarine C70 screen, with integrated GPS-chartplotter, fishfinder, autopilot, radar and separate chain counter. There's an array of analogue gauges and a Cummins SmartCraft digital engine-monitoring screen. The bowthruster is standard and the test boat had the optional sternthruster as well.

I must admit I didn't find the bench-style helm seat all that comfortable. I would prefer an adjustable seat here, similar to those fitted to larger Clippers, particularly if I was taking this boat on a long passage. The test Heritage 36 was an owner's boat specified with cable controls, although electronic controls are part of the standard specification.

Vision forward is good through the three-panel windscreen with wipers and the skipper will appreciate the sliding door next to the helm that leads to the sidedeck. It will assist with berthing or anchoring, especially when shorthanded.

The covered sidedecks provide good access all round the boat, and with high bulwarks they're easy and safe to traverse, even when underway. On the foredeck, the raised coach house or cabin top is a nice place to sit and relax, while meandering along watching for the odd whale or dolphin.

The anchor winch is a Muir HR1200 series and the 45lb plough anchor comes standard with 100m of anchor chain. That's a sensible amount if you're passagemaking and intending to anchor in unfamiliar waters. There's also a raw water deckwash.

The engineroom, accessed via a hatch in the saloon sole, is vast. The 230hp Cummins QSB5.9 engine is located centrally and has so much room around it that routine maintenance -checking the oil, changing the aftercooler anodes, etc. - is easy and straightforward.

The 7kVa Onan generator, located aft of the engine, is also readily accessible. The twin fuel tanks either side aft and twin water tanks forward all have sight glasses. You'll also find Racor fuel filters for the engine and generator, two air-conditioners, water-cooled and silenced exhaust, dripless shaft seal and a hot-water service. Everything is so nicely laid out and tidy like it should be.

Accommodation is comfortable, with a large cabin in the bow featuring a queen-size island bed, good stowage and hanging space, while a large hatch overhead and opening portholes either side for natural light and crossflow ventilation. The dinette converts for sleeping as does the settee in the saloon, which means that accommodating friends or family overnight doesn't pose a problem.

The bathroom is an interesting setup with a toilet and basin to port and a shower room to starboard. There is flexibility in this arrangement in that one could be using the toilet while someone else is having a shower. Both spaces are nicely fitted out, with mirrored ceilings that add to the sense of space.

A moulded staircase from the cockpit leads to the roomy flybridge where all electronics are duplicated in the dash in front of a single helm chair. The standard bimini gives protection from the elements and the test Heritage 36 had optional clears fitted. There's an L-shaped lounge for guests and the owner of this boat had opted for an optional drawer-style fridge. Nice touch.

Behind the bimini is an open deck, perfect for sitting and catching a few rays or watching the world go by. Beyond that, fully aft, is the ideal spot for the tender and davit - out of the way but easily accessible when you need it. In all, the flybridge adds plenty to the lifestyle on this Clipper and it's akin to a patio area. I like it.

In short, the Clipper Heritage 36 is a well-appointed boat, nicely finished, and eminently suitable for what she's designed to be. Whoever was responsible for spec'ing her knows a thing or two about turnkey boating. Everything you need is included. As I said, it's a meal in one and priced to go.


Underway, the Clipper Heritage 36 handled well and gave no surprises. On calm water, at 1650rpm, she recorded 7.6kts using 11lt/h of fuel. At 1800rpm, fuel usage rose to 15lt/h for 8kts and, at 2000rpm, which is about where these engines sounded just right, consumption was 22lt/h for 8.6kts.

Noise levels were acceptable at 2000rpm, too. That's important because cruising at this clip, while having a casual conversation and enjoying the journey, is what this type of boating is all about. The engine maxes out at 2600rpm and at that rate the fuel burn jumps to around 42lt/h but you only gain an extra 2kts or so in speed.

PRICE AS TESTED                                                                                                                                    $529,895

OPTIONS FITTED                                                                                                                                         Dinghy with cover, cradle and davit, sternthruster, flybridge stainless steel drawer-style fridge, timber-top table and stainless steel cupholders in flybridge, fitting standard TV in chart locker, additional GPOs in cockpit, flybridge clears, main deck windscreen cover, and flybridge console and helm chair cover

$495,000 w/ single 230hp Cummins QSB engine, electronic controls, generator, air-conditioning, electronics package, chain counter, bowthruster, and bimini

TYPE: Displacement monohull
BEAM: 4.04m
DRAFT: 1.1m 
WEIGHT: Approx 10 tonnes

BERTHS: 2 + 2 (or 3 kids)
FUEL: 1200lt
WATER: 600lt  

MAKE/MODEL: Cummins QSB5.9 
TYPE: Electronic six-cylinder turbo-diesel
RATED HP: 230  
WEIGHT: 612kg (dry)
GEARBOX (MAKE/RATIO): ZF 63A / 1.96:1  

Clipper Motor Yachts,
Unit 6/17 Rivergate Place,
Rivergate Marina,
Murrarie, Qld, 4172
Phone: (07) 3890 5000; 0419 788 000

If you're ready for a turnkey passagemaker, without the hassle of trying to work out what and what not to include, just order the Clipper Heritage 36. Even the standard model comes loaded with the lot. With a tender on the side, it's a real boat to go.


Find Clipper Heritage boats for sale.


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