By: John Willis

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The Whittley Marine Group’s CW1750 is a fully revamped version of the Savage Tasman mould — but with plenty of new thinking and many new highlights, says John Willis.



Melbourne's Whittley Marine Group currently produces a number of trailerboat brands - the beautiful Whittley Cruisers, the innovative bluewater-oriented Sea Legends, the exciting Spy ski and wakeboard boats, and the value-packed Clearwater range. The Whittley family is using the old Aussie trait of working head down and bum up, redefining the company in the wake of the traumatic financial downturn.

One standout in the new range is the Clearwater 1750 which had its beginnings as the Savage Tasman.

The Whittley Marine Group purchased the intellectual property and moulds from Savage, and these successful boats now sell under the Clearwater brand.

The 1750 looks terrific both on and off the water, has a versatile layout, plenty of standard equipment, a practical walkthrough windscreen, a nicely moulded bowsprit and hatch for easy anchoring and boarding, comfortable seating, a well laid out helm and some really innovative and attractive mouldings and features.

Yep, there is plenty to like. However, the Clearwater boat package that we tested was built to a customer's personal requirements with a Mercury 90hp OptiMax engine. The owner is only concerned with light loads on lakes and rivers and the combination works well for that application. Budget was a major consideration so the boat was fitted with minimal horsepower to give a functional, purpose-built craft with reduced purchase and running costs. It had enough power for a couple of passengers with a small load, but not enough for, say, four or five passengers with watersports in mind. It's a little noisy at higher speeds too, and I noticed just a touch of fume with the engine working hard. I would recommend fitting a 115hp, or preferably the maximum engine size of 125hp if heavier family loads and watersports are expected.

Engine height and propeller selection seemed good, as did the entire dealer engine fitup. There was some minor torque-walk throughout the mid-range, but that's easily controlled with trim. The package jumped up reasonably well with a full 90lt tank and only two of us onboard, but when we added two fine teenage ladies the acceleration was disappointing. Granted, I am a big bloke. However, I don't consider this a huge load for any family-oriented boat. The hull weighs in at 665kg, with an overall length of 5.2m including the bowsprit. It has an 18° deadrise at the stern, with powerful strakes and chines to give plenty of lift with matching horsepower.

Reducing the pitch of the propeller was not an option on the 90hp OptiMax as the unit was already running close to maximum operational revolutions of 5750rpm. It performed reasonably well at higher revs, and returned a wide open throttle speed of 33kts (61.1kmh) at 5700rpm with an 18in stainless steel Vengeance propeller. This is a versatile family boat that will turn heads but it needs a bigger engine if watersports and large family loads are on your agenda.




The Clearwater's rounded mouldings, swept back transom, attractive cuddy and sharp chines create a visually appealing package while its deep ebony two-toned sidepanels and stylish decals only enhance that appeal - as mentioned, this boat will turn heads.

One of its features is the large deck space that makes this pocket rocket feel like a much larger boat. The layout is so compact that the short cuddy-style cabin accommodates reasonable sized bunks, and the innovative cutouts in the new forward bulkheads allow your legs to be stretched out past the bunk. These same cutouts create welcome footrests for the driver and passenger while underway.

Another item that enhances the large work area is the moulded sidepockets. They're recessed into the sidewalls, creating a great space for rod, gaff and boat hook holders, and they also combine well with the full-length sidepockets with toeholds. Rounded transom corners are filled with ice/baitboxes that double up as livebait tanks, while a drop-down flap on the front of the enginewell creates a flat work area that still allows the engine to tilt fully. The work area on the test model was completed with a removable aftermarket baitboard and stainless steel rodholders.

All the fittings and upholstery are of quite a high standard and looked great. Our test boat had a Lowrance combination sounder/GPS/plotter, marine radio, Fusion sound system, key start with flush-mounted engine controls, six-gang switch panel, tacho, speedo, hour meter and fuel gauge. But somewhere along the line, someone forgot the trim gauge!

While the full walkthrough limits dashboard space, the design team has done really well to provide attractive and functional operator and passenger positions. In fact, the passenger console is excellent. It has a glovebox, flush-mounted tackle locker and a convenient pocket that's really handy for phones, sunscreen and all those knick knacks without them rattling all over the place. The Perspex windscreen has a strong stainless steel frame and the 25mm, two-piece stainless bowrail is standard equipment.

The fully adjustable deluxe pedestal seats work fine and are very comfortable. The cockpit area is trimmed with marine carpet glued to each side of a fibreglass moulded centre-strip. There is a quite a large underfloor killtank in the cockpit floor and plenty of access to the battery and bilge plumbing. The twin-transom platforms and telescopic boarding ladder, along with a bimini cover, complete a very functional fitout on a terrific 5.2m family package. A rocket launcher comes standard, while front and side clears and a tonneau cover are available as factory options.




On the water, this smart little craft behaves quite well and its deceiving 2.11m beam offers quite good stability. We had flat conditions to play in on the day, and you could have waterskied through the notorious Lakes Entrance bar, so I can't really comment on its roughwater performance. We did, however, stir it up quite a bit by running across rather large and confused wakes from bigger craft. In these conditions the hull seemed quite dry and soft riding. There were a few rattles and bangs from the big hatch but they're easily remedied, and Whittley assured me that this has already been attended to with a little extra rubber trim. The hull is fully foam-filled for maximum safety and integral strength, and it produces low noise levels.

The 1750's package weight with a single-axle drive-on trailer with brakes, spare wheel, a full tank of fuel and some gear weighs in at just under 1400kg so it's easily towed by most family cars.



On the plane...

Modern design with great looks

Compact yet spacious layout

Appealing to all age groups

Walkthrough bow access

Good anchoring layout

Innovative workmanship


Good storage for layout

Great fun



Dragging the chain...

Engine didn't perform when loaded

Slight rattle in big front hatch

No trim gauge




11.4kts (21.1kmh) @ 3200rpm (good travelling speed in the rough)

20kts (37.0kmh) @ 4000rpm (up and running)

24.5kts (45.3kmh) @ 4600rpm (feels good and looses minor torque-walk)

28kts (51.8kmh) @ 5000rpm (comfortable travelling - still susceptible to trim)

31kts (57.4kmh) @ 5500rpm (trimmed up and boogying)

33kts (61.1kmh) @ 5700rpm (wide open throttle)






Specifications: Whittley Clearwater CW1750




Price as tested: Approx. $39,999

Options fitted: 27 meg radio and aerial, plumbed bait tank, depthsounder/GPS, front and side clears, hydraulic steering, radio/CD player with aerial and two speakers, Lowrance Elite-5 DSI fishfinder/chartplotter, saltwater safety equipment, 12 months registration, rear baitboard, Mercury 90hp OptiMax

Priced from: $37,999




Type: Deep-vee monohull

Material: GRP

Length (overall): 5.2m

Beam: 2.11m

Approx. weight (BMT package): 1250kg

Approx. towing weight: 1350kg

Deadrise: 18°




Fuel: 90lt

Rec. max. HP: 125




Make/model: Mercury OptiMax 90hp

Type: Direct fuel-injected, electronic-multiport, oil-injected, three-cylinder, two-stroke

Rated HP: 90

Displacement: 1526cc

Weight: 170kg

Gearbox ratio: 2.33:1

Propeller: Mercury Vengeance 18in stainless




Whittley Marine Group

99 Freight Drive

Somerton, Vic, 3062

Tel: (03) 8339 1800





Originally published in TrailerBoat 266.

Find Whittley Clearwater boats for sale.


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