By: Bernard Clancy

Whittley has borrowed on an original them in creating the new CR2080 now with sterndrive, writes Bernard Clancy

Whittley’s CR2080 was the company’s first venture into Computer Aided Design (CAD) back around the turn of the century. It was then named the Voyager 550, was outboard powered and resurrected the old Voyager company name which had been dormant for quite a few years.
Whittley has gone on to much bigger things in the past seven years using state-of-the-art technology culminating in its massive Cruisemaster 2800 launched this year and as featured on TrailerBoat’s cover in the September 5 edition (issue 222). 
The Voyager borrowed the name of the Whittley family’s original boat designed by company founder Jim Whittley in 1970. That was a 5.6m GRP hardtop cabin boat which proved to be one of the most popular models ever produced by the company, especially by overnighters and weekenders.
That boat and the name were retired in 1983. The reborn 2000 model Voyager has been a tremendous success and now it’s available with sterndrive power, always a big favourite with cruising types, under the new moniker CR2080 to fit the company’s re-badging of all its boats to suit its now international market.
In reviewing this boat, I’m still quite astonished by how Whittley can squeeze so much into a 5.5m hull and still retain so much open space, especially in the cockpit. There doesn’t appear to be a cubic centimetre that doesn’t have a use, and a practical one.
The CAD design has allowed for everything to be moulded, and beautifully. The finish on the boat is outstanding. It really is a quantum leap from a company which already has a reputation for excellent design and finish.
The hull, built around fibreglass stringers and foam filled, features wide chines but only one strake either side. Underway in 20kts, the boat drove beautifully but leaned into the breeze and threw quite a bit of water. The clears were certainly handy.
The hull’s wide shoulders, of course, are essential to provide maximum interior space in the cabin and it seems to work well but that compromises performance a little. Nevertheless the ride was smooth and quite fun, really.
However, the 2080 is not just the 2000 model with a sterndrive in the blunt end. The deck is all-new and there are refinements aplenty. Full camper covers would make overnighting a real pleasure.
In fit-out, it’s the little things which make this boat outstanding. For example, behind the anchor carrying bowsprit there’s a strip of Teflon screwed into the deck along which the anchor chain runs to protect the fibreglass.
The bowpost is hidden beneath the domed forward rope locker hatch which
is huge. Access to the bow is through a large tinted acrylic covered hatch on adjustable rams. Twin twist locks keep the water out. The deck also features a split bowrail and forward quarter cleats.
The cabin, accessed by sloping ramp, not steps, is furnished in stylish bone tonings. The wide and spacious side storage pockets are covered in pleated and padded cloth, and bunks are comfortable, thick, and cloth covered - even the storage bunks under are poly carpet lined as are all interior surfaces.
Whittley fits its Porta Potti 335 in the cabin behind the driver's bulkhead and beneath the end of the starboard bunk. A zippered curtain fills the wide cabin doorway for privacy. There’s a TV, DVD player and multi-media system to drive everything as well as the more mundane interior light and fan.
The screen frame is an integral part of the deck moulding and features four glass inserts as well as those for the cabin. Even this framing is lined!

The driver's instrument panel looks like that of a luxury limo with Faria gauges inside a plastic wood panel. All instruments are fully electronic and show water temp, depth log, depth alarm, amps, fuel, speedo, RPM and trim gauges all before your eyes. There is even carpet on the curvaceous dash. A Navman 4380 is fitted left of the woodgrain helm which has very comfortable non-feedback steering.
To the right of the helm are a 27MHz radio and a CD player. A waterproof switch panel sits below them. The throttle is in a good position while there's also a teak footrest moulded into the lower bulkhead.
Without going into absolute detail, there are storage pockets and spaces everywhere, especially in front of the passenger, and one open with a net covering.

The passenger seat converts to a very usable galley when everything is opened up. For example, when the port seat is swung back, a single burner stove mounted on a cutting board flips over when you want to use it. The underside of the seat forms a table. Under the seat is a removable cooler.
Under the fairly upright driver's seat is a fully moulded sink and the seat base folds back to form a mini table. There are open storage boxes under each seat which are themselves attractively moulded. There is not as much teak in
this boat as in previous Whittleys due to the fact that everything's
been moulded but there are still bits in strategic places.
There's twin speakers for the stereo system, fold-out cup holders, lining, carpet and padding everywhere.
Rear quarter seats are removable and sit either side of the sterndrive box which has a lift-up teak table covered in padding for casual seating as well as two oversize stainless steel cup holders. Outboard, there’s a large boarding platform for swimmers.
There's a starboard freshwater shower ... oh look, there's heaps more and how Whittley has fitted it all into a 5.5m boat is beyond me.

The test boat was powered by a 3.0lt Mercruiser which punched out a WOT of 65kmh at 5200rpm and a comfortable cruising speed in lumpy conditions of 50kmh at 4000 rpm trimmed right out. Not quick, but in a cruiser, who cares? That’s certainly adequate for skiing.
The Whittley CR2080 is a benchmark boat, without a doubt, in a market Whittleys’ have made their own for many years but which is now facing an assault on many fronts from American imports. Boats like the CR2080 will continue to do well, as well as retaining resale value.

Ride quality
Excellent finish
Amazing use of limited space

Needs trim tabs
Throws spray
Seats a little upright


Specifications: Whittley CR2080

Price as tested: $65,375
Options fitted: 12V socket, dual battery, cabin divider, cockpit light, Navman 4380 Fish, oscillating fan, fly screens, front hatch blockout, hot water system, marlin board carpet, rear cockpit carpet, compass, rear shower, rear pocket lights, TV, multi media CD/DVD/MP3 to LCD TV
Priced from: $59,000

Material:  ............GRP
Type:  Monohull
Length (overall):..6.13m           
Beam:...  2.2m
Deadrise: 19º (at transom)
Rec/max HP: ... 150
Weight:.......872kg (hull)

Water: …43lt

Make/model:..Mercruiser 3.0L
Type:.. MPI Alpha, petrol
Rated HP: 135
Displacement :......3lt
Propeller:..............17in Black Max

Whittley Cruisers,
36 National Boulevard,
Campbellfield, Vic., 3061
Phone: (03) 9358 9600

Originally published in TrailerBoat #224


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