Review: Whittley SL22 Sea Legend

By: John Willis & Tim Van Duyl, Photography by: Ellen Dewar & Nathan Duff


We water test and rate the Whittley SL22 Sea Legend, a contender in the fibreglass fishing boats category at the 2017 Australia’s Greatest Boats awards.

Whittley SL 22 Sea Legend
Australias best boats 2017 logo

The Whittley SL22 Sea Legend isn’t exactly new but boy does it incorporate some exciting new technology. This Sea Legend is Whittley’s most popular model, gaining the trust of seafarers and cruisers alike. This is a very comfortable boat, with the low-down centre of gravity of a Volvo V6 Duoprop stern drive adding tremendously to the soft riding hull with its 23-degree deadrise and very fine entry. It has amazing speed, thrifty economy and a fishable layout all combined with a terrific level of comfort.

The Whittley Boats tradition of innovation and quality needs no introduction. The range has been refined over many years, with some of the sharpest and most aesthetically pleasing boat packages ever produced combining with class-leading trim and comfort to attract the whole family. Steve Starling said: "Whittley is renowned for its family-friendly boats and the Whittley SL22 a serious fist of being a proper fishing platform as well."

Volvo Penta 280-C V6 sterndrive

This 6.5m Whittley Sea Legend package is perfect for travelling boaties – it doesn’t require a monolithic towing vehicle and is just as well suited to a romantic getaway for two as for an extended family sweetwater sojourn or heading off with the boys for a dedicated blood ’n’ guts offshore rampage. The hull design and efficient power and weight combination work extremely well to produce a fast and gutsy unit with incredible propeller bite and engine torque but with a most surefooted ride in the slop combined with excellent stability at rest. "A family lifestyle boat that takes fishing seriously," said Jo Starling.

The Whittley boat design team has created a terrific combination of internal features to match the classy exterior. It has a large and comfortable thickly upholstered cabin with a moulded liner and full trim, including padded side pockets that beckon you in to relax and maybe spend a night or two.

The helm is a real surprise, especially teamed with the 16in MFD with C-Zone integration, Whittley Pulse system and even keyless start. Editor Tim said: "C-Zone integration is the way of the future," and John Ford added: "The Whittley Pulse and battery management system are excellent."

Deck layout on Whittley SL 22 Sea Legend

This entire boat is managed from the big screen that not only displays premium colour sonar, GPS/plotter and engine diagnostics but is the hub for all of the boat’s instrumentation such as lights, wipers, alarms and even the integrated sound system.

Cockpit space has been expertly organised. We loved the moulded back-to-back fibreglass seat modules that cater for a crowd or allow a pair of fishos to comfortably keep watch on the rods, moored or trolling. They also supply huge storage space – this package doubles as a family sports machine and overnighter so there’ll be plenty of gear to stow.

Whittley has gone to huge lengths to design an engine enclosure for the V6 Volvo inboard that doesn’t restrict the deck or fishing space. The result is a full walk-up transom without an outboard limiting fishing room off the back of the boat. Yet the enclosures still look stylish and provide tremendous access for servicing. John commented: "Whittley offers credible fishing options in the Whittley SL22 Sea Legend, plus a crossover cruise-fish-ski boat. The lack of cowling at the stern makes it easier to fight fish."

There was certainly no argument about the suitability and thrilling performance from the Volvo Penta 240C V6 and responsive Duoprop stern drive. The engine has enormous bottom-end grunt and transfers immediate thrust through the dual-propeller drive. Tim said: "Direct injection and variable valve timing makes the engine responsive and feel effortless at speed and under acceleration."

It not only rockets through the rev range up to a wide-open throttle speed of 37.8kt at 5500rpm but more importantly produces exceptional speed and economy in the deep end of the ‘sensible’ rev range, producing 26kt at 4000rpm and only drinking 34L/h. That is great economy for the size, power and performance of this smart all-rounder. The grip offered by the Duoprop is exceptional, allowing the hull to lean into turns and stopping almost all ventilation.

Cockpit on Whittley SL 22

The list of features, standard equipment and accessories is endless but there’re a few items that really deserve a mention such as the rubberised flooring throughout that looks great and is comfortable in hot or cold conditions, has great non-slip performance even wet, is sound absorbing, virtually maintenance free and includes a nifty fish ruler etched into the design.

Our judges said: "Handles like a go-kart" – "Looks great!" and "Very attractive and well-appointed. " but Jo went on a rant: "Wow! A stylish and spunky machine. Quiet, responsive and manoeuvrable. Startlingly fast and turns on a dime. Very well appointed for its goal of getting the whole family on the water together, and exhilarating handling in virtual silence! The family will squeal with glee."

The Whittley Sea Legend 22’s stylish lines, combined with a ride to please, punchy power, ultimate comfort, state-of-the-art electronics and overall panache guarantee it will continue as a top-selling package for this iconic Aussie boatbuilder.

 

 

Whittley SL 22 Sea Legend specs

Whittley SL 22 Sea Legend price: $115,000

Price as tested

 

OPTIONS FITTED

280hp engine upgrade, Whittley Pulse control hub, fridge and more

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Fibreglass

TYPE Monohull

LENGTH 6.59m

BEAM 2.26m

WEIGHT 1949kg (BMT)

FUEL 210L

ENGINE Volvo V6 280 G

Whittley SL 22 Sea Legend at rest

 

Whittley SL 22 Sea Legend rating: 83.7/100

 

Kev

Tim

John

Starlo

Jo

Fishing Suitability

9

8

8

9

9

Innovation

8.5

9

9

9

8

Design and Layout

8

9

8

8.5

9

Quality of Finish

8

9

8

9

10

Handling/Ride

8

8

8

8

9

Stability at Rest

7.5

9

8

8

8

Ergonomics

7.5

8

7

8.5

8

Standard Equipment

8.5

9

9

9.5

9

Value for Money

7

7

8

7.5

9

Wow Factor

8

8

8

8.5

9

 

More on Australia's Greatest Boats 2017

Aluminium fishing boat

Aluminium fishing boats 2017

 

Best fibreglass fishing boats

Fibreglass fishing boats 2017

 

 

 


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