REVIEW: WHITE POINTER 9.40 PRO SPORTSMAN

By: MATTHEW JONES, Photography by: MATTHEW JONES

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

For these Lord Howe Island locals, the search for the perfect fishing boat led to custom boat experts White Pointer Boats in Gisborne, NZ. Their 9.40m White Pointer Pro Sportsman impressed them so much, they drove it home across the Tasman.

Lord Howe Island lies some 600km off the East Coast of Australia. It’s remote, rugged and luxuries like marine service facilities are non-existent. Operating a successful charter business from such a location requires an extremely reliable, seaworthy and capable craft. Diesel is also expensive, so fuel economy is of the utmost importance.

Grant and Margaret Devine wanted a dayboat of around 30 feet long for their charter business. It had to be versatile and comfortable enough to keep the punters happy while taking in the sights around Lord Howe Island, but also capable of commercial fishing to supply the locals in between bookings.  The boat they desired didn’t exist, so they had their dreamboat built from scratch.

 

FINDING THE PERFECT BOAT

WHITE POINTER 9.40 PRO SPORTSMAN

Their search was whittled down to three custom boatbuilders – one in WA, one in Cairns, QLD, and White Pointer Boats all the way across The Ditch in Gisborne. The end result is Fin; a 9.4m highly customised Pro Sportsman model. In fact, this trans-Tasman triumph began right here: "One of our mates was sitting there reading about The Other Woman [previously tested White Pointer Pro Sportsman 840] and Fred in Trade-a-Boat magazine," said Grant. "He said, ‘What about a White Pointer?’ But I used to be an ab (abalone) diver, so I’m really superstitious about such things and would never have a boat called a White Pointer. I didn’t even want to know about it."

Eventually Grant had a read, liked what he saw and jumped on a plane.  "I came over to look at the factory and everything was spot on," he enthused. "I couldn’t see a rubbish weld anywhere on the White Pointer yard. They showed us half a dozen boats and they all looked good, so we ordered one without even going for a ride." 

 

CUSTOM BUILD

WHITE POINTER 9.40 PRO SPORTSMAN LAYOUT

Due to Lord Howe Island’s remote location a shaftdrive was a must for reliability, as was a trailer to pull the boat out of the water in cyclone season. Grant also wanted a large marlin door on the starboard side, which required the hull structure to be re-engineered. Then there was the fact that he wanted to drive Fin home some 830nm across the Tasman Sea from the Bay of Islands. 

To make his epic voyage possible, White Pointer custom-built a removable 1200lt deck-mounted fuel tank which also has its own trailer for refuelling on the island.

With so many features on the to-do list the White Pointer team’s knowledge was crucial in creating a functional, user-friendly boat that exceeded expectations: "We’d say ‘I wouldn’t mind this’ and then let them think about it for a little while – they’d often come up with a better idea than what we originally had in mind," recalled Grant.

 

CHARTER BOAT

WHITE POINTER 9.40 DINETTE

For sightseeing tours around Lord Howe Island and neighbouring Ball’s Pyramid the engine cover has been turned into a large cushy seat, with full walk-around access.

When it’s time to drop a line, half the squab removes allowing a large eight-shot rod stand with cup/tackle holders to assume its place. A custom-built 1.5m x 0.5m baitboard also mounts on either gunwale for filleting XOS kingfish. Handy items like the saltwater washdown and tackle trays are neatly housed beneath hatches in the gunwales.

To hunt down the monsters of the deep, Fin’s large dash is equipped with a Furuno FCV295NT dual-frequency sounder. A through-hull transducer sits in a customised mount (offering both 2kW 200Hz and 3kW 50Hz frequencies) and means Grant can target sea creatures down to 1000m and below. Raymarine’s multi-talented HybridTouch system allows an easy all-in-one display for radar, chartplotter, trip data and the shaft-seal camera.  It has a CHIRP transducer.

Grant often fishes alone, so the Raymarine autopilot will prove invaluable; as will the second bowthruster/throttle control station in the cockpit. Should Grant take an unexpected swim a Virtual Lifeline man overboard system will cut the engine, as given Grant’s office – the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.

 

HEATED HELM

WHITE POINTER 9.40 PRO SPORTSMAN HELM

Taking the helm instills feelings of being bulletproof and with the ultra-reliable Yanmar diesel (adapted from a Toyota LandCruiser) and the 8mm thick hull plate, it probably is. Fuel economy is staggering for such a large, heavily-built package, which is something Grant is very pleased about.  His personal helm seat is even heated.

With the wheelhouse well forward and a V-drive connecting the Yanmar to a shaftdrive in a tunnel; Fin possesses exceptional balance and seakeeping.  The only drawback is she requires a skilled helmsman around a marina berth – which is where the Lewmar bowthruster comes into play.

The trailer required almost as much customisation as the boat to accommodate the shaftdrive. White Pointer managing director Rex Briant proved it’s also a success by casually driving Fin on (with an audience and the camera rolling) until the snub-block catch-system locked into place.

 

THE VERDICT

WHITE POINTER 9.40 PRO SPORTSMAN COCKPIT

In the wild only the strong survive and the White Pointer 9.40 Pro Sportsman shows no signs of weakness. The Tasman Sea is no place to play for the unworthy and Fin has truly proved her pedigree by successfully completing the crossing in 69 hours.

 

WHITE POINTER 9.40 PRO SPORTSMAN PERFORMANCE

With 315hp Yanmar 6LPA-STP2 diesel shaftdrive engine and four adults.

RPM

SPEED (Kts)

FUEL BURN (LT/h)

ECONOMY (LT/nm)

800

4.2

0.8

0.19

1000

5.5

2.5

0.45

1500

7.5

5.5

0.73

2000

10.5

13.6

1.3

2500

14.6

21

1.44

3000

20.1

30.8

1.53

3500

25.3

42.4

1.68

3850

28

65.3

2.33

 

HIGHS

  • Built to survive the apocalypse
  • Wave-defying ride
  • Takes customisation to a whole new level
  • Shaftdrive on a trailer
  • Multi-talented
  • Successfully conquered the Tasman Sea

 

LOWS

  • Shaftdrive and rudder require a skilled helmsman around the dock (bowthruster fitted)
  • Like Crowded House and Pavlova, the Aussies have claimed her as theirs

 

WHITE POINTER 9.40 PRO SPORTSMAN SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

NZ$450,000

   

PRICED FROM

NZ$300,000

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL  Aluminium

TYPE  Monohull

LENGTH 9.4m; 9.8m overall with swimplatform

BEAM 2.9m

WEIGHT 4300kg   

DEADRISE 18-degree variable

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (day) 12 Surveyed

BERTHS  1 double

REC. HP  300 to 600

REC. MAX HP 600

FUEL 500lt underfloor with additional 1200lt custom-built portable tank                   

WATER 85lt

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Yanmar 6LPA-STP2 TYPE Diesel inboard

RATED HP 315

WEIGHT 408kg

DISPLACEMENT 4.164lt

DRIVE V-drive Shaft

GEAR RATIO 2.47

PROPELLER Chatfield Engineering 23"

 

SUPPLIED BY

White Pointer Boats, 186 Stanley Road, Gisborne, New Zealand

TEL (+64) 6 868 6519

EMAIL tony@whitepointerboats.co.nz

WEB whitepointerboats.co.nz

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #451, April / May 2014. Why not subscribe today?

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