BOAT TEST: WHITTLEY CR2600
The Whittley CR2600 is more than just a floating caravan on wheels — it’s a five star motel! There’s no age limit to this boat, says John “The Bear” Willis, because great design is timeless.
TEST: WHITTLEY CR2600
I've been a little critical of some Whittley cruisers in the past, since I often found them poky. However, the CR2600 is about large sea decks, open cockpits, big comfortable lounges, innovative convertible berths, a spacious bathroom, useable galley space, and plenty of headroom for us big fellas.
This boat's attractive, Euro-style cabin is a masterpiece. CAD-CAM modelling of the package has delivered maximum use of space while experience has supported the layout with efficient bow design and an effortless anchor winch. I loved the fold-out bow ladder that came in handy when pulled in to a sandy beach, while the sliding sunroof is a welcome addition since a full cabin-boat can become a sauna without good ventilation.
The sunroof also allows unhindered vision for navigating in low light conditions, simply by standing up. The rooftop has a convertible "pack rack" for storing fishing gear, ski tubes or even a Whittley inflatable tender, and there's a sliding rear awning for added protection on sunny days.
From bow to stern the CR2600 is smattered with inbuilt features. Our test model had everything from a Fusion flat screen television to a kitchen sink. The V-berth has plenty of room for indoor entertaining, perhaps with a scrumptious meal of freshly caught fish, washed down with a chilled Sav Blanc from the 12V fridge. There's a dinette that quickly converts to a large double berth, with the table top becoming the bunk infill.
The people at Whittley have really used their brains on this one. For example, the upholstered backrests are detachable and double up as mattress inserts. Good thinking, eh? Whittley also offers its customers a range of customised Manchester to match the designer interior.
The CR2600 has a washroom that's quite large for a pocket cruiser. It has a marine toilet, a small vanity and even a shaving cabinet. Lighting throughout the boat is excellent thanks to a Perspex skylight, side windows, and downlights for the evenings. The lockable, sliding cabin door is also one of the best on the market - thank God local designs allow ample headroom and big doorways for tall blokes.
It's quite a step up into the helm and passenger seats. However, once you're in position you feel like the King of the world. The large step is there to accommodate a 12V freezer, situated under the floor-panel on the driver's side, as well as a cool storage area with drop-in basket under the passenger. In addition, a portable Esky is inconspicuously housed under the passenger module.
I'd add an optional depthsounder/GPS/plotter unit to the ample dash space, but the Volvo gauges, thumping Fusion sound system with remote, key start, switch panel, Ritchie compass and digital function meter including depth are all standard. Trim tab controls are well-placed on the side-moulding near the flush-mounted engine controls, and of course a driver's drinkholder is close by. The fixed helm and passenger's seat are quite comfortable and the rear of the driver's console has the liquor cabinet/bar.
The swim platform is the ultimate staging point, offering safe and secure water access via the fold-out ladder. It's rather large, but it works with the boat very well. There's room for several people at a time, all safely retained by the stainless steel enclosure. There's even a place to park your bum on the upholstered top of the transom. This hides one of the wet-storage boxes, while another is in a boarding platform that's ideal for wetsuits, boat shoes and so on. The Volvo Duo Prop leg is also situated well-under the platform for added security when boarding.
On the plane...
Beautiful Euro-style design
Compact yet spacious layout
Premium accessories and fittings
First class workmanship
Dragging the chain...
A little noisy at high revs
Bazz can't afford one
Specifications: Whittley CR2600
Price as tested: Approx. $163,172
Options fitted: Battery management system and charger, third battery, BBQ, baitboard, cocktail cabinet, slideout sun awning, tinted Vyback clears, bow ladder, deck mats and marlin board carpets, spotlight, sunlounge, port side windscreen wiper, cabin fan, marine toilet and tank, VHF upgrade, cocktail cabinet, privacy screens, flyscreens, Esky to fridge freezer upgrade, full Whittley bedding package.
Priced from: $135,000
Type: Deep-vee monohull
Length (LOA): 8m
Weight (standard BMT package): 2700kg
Rec. max. HP: 300
Make/model: Volvo Penta 5.7 GiE
Rated HP: 300
Sterndrive: Volvo Penta DPS Duo Prop
Weight (engine and drive): 485kg
Gearbox ratio: 1.95:1
Propeller(s): Volvo Penta F3 (stainless steel props)
MANUFACTURED & SUPPLIED BY
Whittley Marine Group
99 Freight Drive
Somerton, Vic, 3062
Tel: (03) 8339 1800
Originally published in TrailerBoat 265.
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