VIDEO: Whittley XS Sports Boats

By: TIM VAN DUYL, Photography by: GRAEME NEANDER, Video by: ANNA PASTUKHOVA

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Whittley makes great seagoing boats – some of the best. So what happens when it extends into the sports market? Multipurpose boats without peer

VIDEO: Whittley XS Sports Boats
The range is made up of the XS20 (Red) and XS24 (Blue)

Stagnation is a real danger in business but not one Whittley Marine looks like suffering. Successful in cruisers, bluewater fishing boats and small runabouts, and with experience building the ski/wake-boat brand SPY, the team has now branched out into its own sports boats with a twist.

Taking an already proven pair of hulls, in mid-2016 the company launched two new models – the XS20 and XS24. Based off the successful CR2080 and CR2380, both hulls suited to inboard engines, the company has crossed into a new realm of sleepover sports boats, perfect for families and enthusiasts alike.

FUN FACTOR

Whittley XS24 Towing Rad

There is nothing more enjoyable than spending time with family, especially when it involves mid-summer watersports. Both models are aimed squarely at the opportunity to overnight and relax while also having the ability to tow a wakeboarder, ski or biscuit. They will suit families young and old who want more from their boats, people who want to be able to spend a relaxing evening on board after a hectic day’s play.

The XS24 in particular has a dream ride thanks to the bluewater pedigree of the base CR2380 hull, and both carve water with ease thanks to the deep-digging Volvo Duoprop legs.

INNOVATION

Whittley XS24 Berth

When was the last time you saw a near 2m berth on a sports boat? How about a cooker? I thought so. These new hulls extend the already successful base package of the Cruiser hulls they come from and add good looks, high-quality Fluidcore towers, massive sound systems and more durable touch points suitable for their intended use. The vinyl surfaces and heavy-duty carpets will stand the test of time with clambering youth while, in the larger XS24, the standard galley offers the chance to heat drinks and dinner or keep a swarm of cold ones on hand for the longer days.

DESIGN & LAYOUT

Whittley XS24 Layout Lounge

The smaller of the two, the XS20 makes do without the XS24’s excellent galley but retains the sink and freshwater holding, plus a cassette toilet as standard. Both have large berths clad in vinyl with fold-up in-fills. The larger XS24 features a raised cockpit, allowing the engine cover to be better integrated into the massive rear L-lounge, plus a step-down galley with plenty of headroom. Both feature seats moulded into their upper decks and massive rear platforms handy for off loading and preparing for action.

QUALITY OF FINISH

Whittley builds with passion through a closeknit and dedicated team. I had the pleasure of a full factory tour recently and noted many staff have been there almost their full careers. This translates into attention to detail, pride of workmanship and an ability to appreciate the other steps of the boatbuilding process, all reflected in a quality build.

PERFORMANCE

Whittley XS24 Side On Running

The XS24 was the pick of the two for straight-line performance, no doubt thanks to the upgrade to the powerful 280hp Volvo Penta V6. The XS20 featured its standard engine, the 200hp Volvo Penta V6 which is more than enough power for the hull.

The engines share the same 4300cc block and masses of cutting-edge technology, including variable cam timing and direct injection. The outcome is engines that are environmentally friendly that have more punch than you expect which, when coupled with contra-rotating Duoprops, launch the hulls effortlessly onto the plane – great for wakeboarders and waterskiers.

Although we weren’t testing for economy outright, past testing of the range has shown near outboard economy of almost 1nm per litre at a constant cruise in the Cruiser variants. At wide-open throttle and trimmed out we saw mid-40kt speeds on the flat Lake Eildon water in the XS24, with early 40s in the XS20.

HANDLING & RIDE

The ride in both the models is faultless for their intended purpose. Both could turn on a dime and both were easily manoeuvred thanks to the masses of grip afforded by the Duoprop system. While neither has the full-on wake or surf-making abilities of stalwarts such as Malibu or Master Craft (the Whittley’s lack wedges and ballast after all) both could throw up a good beginner wake and even enough for a small wave to surf. We had a few ring-in riders show us what the hulls could do and both boats did well, with everyone happy with the rope height, wake and adjustability of speed through the cable-controlled throttles, and having no issue getting out of the water.

Whittley XS20 Towing

STABILITY AT REST

The deeper V of the hulls takes away some stability but the low-slung weight of the V6s adds some back. They’re not as stable as you’d get with a dedicated ballast-filled sports boat but they are surprisingly good for what started out as bluewater hulls.

ERGONOMICS

Room around the helm in the XS20 is tight and a lack of adjustability due to the moulded seat bases is a let-down. Windscreen height is oriented to offshore use, which leads to relying on your spotter more as you scan the horizon for obstacles.

Movement through to the V-berths is good and access to the boarding platforms great, with the designated pathways through the seating clear. The rear platforms are at a good height for preparation and water access, while in the XS24 the step-down galley offers masses of headroom under the tower and bimini. While the 24 features room for a 12in screen, the XS20 dash is small and lacks room for separate sounders.

Whittley XS24 Dash

STANDARD EQUIPMENT

Whittley boats come with everything you need, but the XS range takes it further. Standard features include cassette toilets, fresh water, graphics, fully lined berths and of course the outstanding Fluidcore towers.

They also have the excellent Volvo engines and Duoprop systems, plus boarding platforms with first-rate non-slip padding, while the 24 features the full galley as standard. Options are limited to a few upgrades and electronics including TV monitors and LED light bars that come in handy for launching or retrieving in the dark. The XS24 had been optioned with the new Whittley Pulse system that allows fully integrated control of almost all switching on board, even remote engine starting. I like this system as it means all data from the engine, lights and bilge switches – and even control of the epic FUSION sound system – are right in front of the driver and easy to see at a glance.

VALUE FOR MONEY

It’s hard to put a value on unique products like the XS models but comparing them to dedicated watersports boats, they’re bargains. Take some value out for a lack of true watersports features like ballast and wedges but add some back for the galley (XS24), true overnight ability and flexibility of use, and they come out as great value for money.

THE WRAP

Whittley has found a gap in the market and carved a position by being the first mover. The hulls ride exceptionally well and with the purposeful use of hardwearing materials and the addition of the Fluidcore towers to an already strong set of standard features, these new boats could be stars in the summer months and beyond. 

 

WHITTLEY XS20

Whittley XS20 On Trailer

PRICED FROM A$79,990

OPTIONS FITTED

Dual batteries, Finscan digital switching, Garmin 5in GPS/combo, upgraded FUSION stereo, TV with additional speakers, front flyscreen, LED light bar

PRICE AS TESTED

A$89,990

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Fibreglass

TYPE Crossover

LENGTH 7.1m

BEAM 2.2m

WEIGHT 1720kg (approx. BMT)

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 6

FUEL 100L

WATER 43L

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Volvo 200G

TYPE Direct injection petrol V6

RATED HP 200

DISPLACEMENT 4300cc

WEIGHT 404kg (inc DPS drive)

GEAR RATIO 1.85

PROPELLER FH3 Duoprop

 

WHITTLEY XS24

Whittley XS24 On Trailer

PRICED FROM  A$119,990

OPTIONS FITTED

280hp engine upgrade, dual batteries, hot water, Garmin 10in MFD and camera, TV and additional speakers, upgraded FUSION sound system, fly screen, LED light bar, electric winch, Finscan digital switching, electric toilet upgrade, trim tabs, rear bed, carbon fibre-look cabin door

PRICE AS TESTED

A$156,990

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Fibreglass

TYPE Crossover

LENGTH 7.8m

BEAM 2.44m

WEIGHT 2600kg (approx. BMT)

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 7

FUEL 205L

WATER 100L

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Volvo

TYPE Direct injection petrol V6

RATED HP 280

DISPLACEMENT 4300cc

WEIGHT 404kg (inc DPS drive)

GEAR RATIO 1.85

PROPELLER FH4 Duoprop

 

SUPPLIED BY

WHITTLEY MARINE

99 Freight Drive

Melbourne, Victoria

PHONE +61 3 8339 1800

WEB www.whittleymarinegroup.com.au

Whittley XS20 Berth Whittley XS20 Berth features vinyl as standard Whittley XS20 Berth
Whittley XS20 Board Rack Whittley XS20 Powder coated tower and board rack Whittley XS20 Board Rack
Whittley XS20 Boarding Platform Whittley XS20 Boarding Platform Whittley XS20 Boarding Platform
Whittley XS20 Dash Whittley XS20 Dash Whittley XS20 Dash
Whittley XS20 Layout Lounge Whittley XS20 Layout Whittley XS20 Layout Lounge
Whittley XS20 on Trailer Whittley XS20 on Trailer Whittley XS20 on Trailer
Whittley XS20 rear on driving Whittley XS20 Whittley XS20 rear on driving
Whittley XS20 Rear on Whittley XS20 Whittley XS20 Rear on
Whittley XS20 Stereo on Boarding Platform Whittley XS20 Stereo on Boarding Platform Whittley XS20 Stereo on Boarding Platform
Whittley XS20 Tower and rack File: Whittley XS20 Tower and rack Whittley XS20 Tower and rack
Whittley XS20 Towing Whittley XS20 Towing Whittley XS20 Towing
Whittley XS20 Volvo Penta 200 G V6 Whittley XS20 Volvo Penta 200-G V6 Whittley XS20 Volvo Penta 200 G V6
Whittley XS24 Berth Whittley XS24 Berth Whittley XS24 Berth
Whittley XS24 Boarding Platform Whittley XS24 Boarding Platform Whittley XS24 Boarding Platform
Whittley XS24 Dash Whittley XS24 Dash Whittley XS24 Dash
Whittley XS24 Driving Rear on Whittley XS24 Whittley XS24 Driving Rear on
Whittley XS24 Galley Whittley XS24 Galley Whittley XS24 Galley
Whittley XS24 Layout Lounge Whittley XS24 Layout Whittley XS24 Layout Lounge
Whittley XS24 L R Whittley XS24 Whittley XS24 L R
Whittley XS24 on trailer Whittley XS24 on Trailer Whittley XS24 on trailer
Whittley XS24 Running head on Whittley XS24 Whittley XS24 Running head on
Whittley XS24 Side on running Whittley XS24 Whittley XS24 Side on running
Whittley XS24 Tower board rack Whittley XS24 Tower and Board Rack Whittley XS24 Tower board rack
Whittley XS24 Tower Whittley XS24 Tower Whittley XS24 Tower
Whittley XS24 Towing rad Whittley XS24 Whittley XS24 Towing rad
Whittley XS24 Turning R L Whittley XS24 Whittley XS24 Turning R L
Whittley XS24 Volvo Penta 240 G V6 Whittley XS24 Volvo Penta 240-G V6 Whittley XS24 Volvo Penta 240 G V6
Whittley XS BOTH Duo Prop Volvo Penta Duo Props on both boats Whittley XS BOTH Duo Prop
Whittley XS Pair Side-by-side they may not much different, but they are Whittley XS Pair

 


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