BOAT TEST: WHITE POINTER 730 SPORTS HARD TOP

By: JOHN WILLIS, Photography by: ELLEN DEWAR


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John "Bear" Willis gets to grips with one tough Kiwi that's hell-bent on domination: the White Pointer 730 Sports Hard Top.

BOAT TEST: WHITE POINTER 730 SPORTS HARD TOP
The White Pointer 730 Sports Hard Top is available in Australia. The Kiwis sure know how fish.

The white pointer shark is the undisputed master of the world's oceans. Its incredible strength and fearsome reputation evoke fear in the bravest of seafarers. And, in fact, these deadly efficient hunters share several similarities with the plate-alloy boats of the same name (except replace "seafarers" with "fish"). White Pointer boats also combine monumental strength with a majestic disposition, yet - like the shark - they have no need for pomp and ceremony. They also display aquatic grace, and then in an instant can switch to a countenance of pure aggression. Both are also apex predators in their respective fields.

The White Pointer 730 Sports Hard Top is a formidable competitor in the hotly-contested pond that is aluminium offshore boats. She hails from New Zealand, a seagoing nation as well as a land of innovation.

Last year's Australia's Greatest Boats shootout saw the 730's predecessor win plenty of respect. The first White Pointer to hit Australia, it needed a little tailoring to suit our local fishing styles. The company took the criticism on the chin and responded by producing this 730SHT. All we needed were some suitably rough conditions for a test…

THROUGH THE WASHER

The heads at the mouth of Victoria's Port Phillip Bay, known as The Rip, will always turn it on for a boat test, consistently providing a wide range of challenging conditions. Just imagine the looks on the faces of local surfers at "Quarantines", a left-hand break just inside the heads, when a tonne-and-a-half of White Pointer dropped in on their wave, her big Yamaha 225 four-stroke thrusting her down its face. Surprised is an understatement!

She sits proudly on the water with a high bow that never looks like digging in. She's very manoeuvrable for a big girl, and agile enough to duck and weave between swells on a critical bar crossing. Her soft ride will really impress when the going gets rough. We took her out the heads and into Bass Strait, where the wind lifted to 15kts (27.8kmh) with some nasty current lines dragging across the direction of the swell. The 730SHT was confident and stable throughout.

Back inside, we opened her up to a wide open throttle (WOT) of a brisk 40kts (72kmh) at 5900rpm. The big Yammie four-stroke was using a miserly 82lt/h at full revs - damned good for a boat of this size. Calm her enthusiasm down to a more sensible 25.9kts (48kmh) at 4000rpm and the fuel consumption more than halves to a very comfortable 34.5lt/h. At this realistic offshore speed and with a large 300lt fuel tank, you can travel a long way.

I've been searching for the right words to describe the whole White Pointer package. "Bountiful" seems fitting, and maybe even "voluptuous". There is certainly plenty of depth and capacity in her full-bodied design. She feels safe and comfortable at the helm, giving the skipper the confidence to have a bit of a play in more extreme offshore conditions. There's plenty of freeboard, nice wide coamings and a huge deck area. Indeed, due to its solid construction and the unique curvature of the 6mm aluminium plate, I couldn't get any "boing" out of the big 7m hull, no matter how hard I tried.

SAFE AND SECURE

The Sports Hard Top configuration is a beauty. From the comfort of the enclosure to the fingertip controls, it kept us dry, warm and in total control. There's plenty of room for all the usual modern knick-knacks on the big, flat dash, in this case including a flush-mounted 12in Garmin 5012 GPS / sounder / plotter, mated to a 1kW transducer. The helm seats and dashboard are upholstered in black, marine-grade vinyl and the rest of the cabin enclosure is lined with grey frontrunner. There's still plenty of room on the dash for the Yamaha multi-function instruments, switch panel, key start and anchor winch switchgear. The large safety-glass windscreen and sliding side windows afford excellent vision and the wipers have a separate activation switch, so you're not fumbling around a switch panel when that unexpected green one dumps over the top of you in the rough. It's the little items like this that prove White Pointers are built by experienced seamen, rather than just an aluminium welding factory.

This particular White Pointer is a little more comfortable than the last one we tested. The seating is much better, with a pair of rear-facing cushions on the back of the large, alloy seat boxes. This is just the place to while away the hours waiting for the snapper bite, or to eagerly watch the troll pattern in anticipation of the explosion off the outriggers. There are handholds everywhere as well as a good, strong bowrail.

There's a tonne of storage both in the cabin and in the cockpit. Inside the cabin, a dual row of sidepockets lends additional strength to the overall construction. The full cabin lining and thickly-upholstered vee-berth cushions will make for a comfortable overnight stay or nanna nap. There's a nicely constructed and lockable sliding door and underfloor storage, while the happy owner of this craft, Robbie, had opted for a full pump-out marine toilet.

When I asked him why a White Pointer was his dream machine, he didn't hesitate in answering. "It's the ride - I drove it and it blew me away!" he said. We agree, it's certainly one of the best-riding plate-aluminium boats on the market. White Pointer's Rex Briant tells us the superior ride is down to two main things: the overall hull design, and the exceptional strength afforded by the 6mm pre-stressed, compound-curved bottom plates. White Pointer's products simply shouldn't be compared to other boats purely on price. "We're not expensive, we're bloody good value for money - if you understand the differences," says Rex.

ALL THE GEAR

Whilst it doesn't have a flooding keel popularised by some of its competitors, it doesn't need it. It has the right amount of weight on the water and if you want more you can always fill the huge under-floor killtanks for extra ballast. The keel line extends all the way to the back of the pod so it can be truly branded a 7m boat, instead of a 6.5m craft with a pod and a bowsprit. All this combines with the power to lift her up and onto the plane effortlessly, for immediate response in any critical situation. There's very little bow rise, giving the driver great vision and excellent control throughout the rev range. At the same time, the passengers have plenty of handholds for added security and safety.

The deck space is simply enormous. Four large fishos or a host of divers with plenty of gear can have a big day offshore without getting in each other's way. There's a large livebait / killtank under the transom door and the twin batteries and switchgear are securely locked in enclosed hatches raised high above the floor. A large fish thrashing around will do no damage on the uncluttered deck. There's also a big cutting board, strong rodholders and secure bollards. You can fish short strokers off the transom unimpeded by the twin boarding platforms. Divers will love the access and the entire layout is uncluttered and user friendly.

THE WRAP

The only commonly distributed plate-alloy boat on the market that could be directly compared is the AMF 720 Pro Sport. That's because AMF and White Pointer are the only brands that produce hulls made from 6mm plate as standard, whereas other plate-alloy boatbuilders will make hulls with 5mm or even 4mm bottom-plates as standard. This puts  White Pointer's and AMF's products in a class of their own.

Without embellishment I would own and operate a boat like the White Pointer with pride. It's simple, extremely strong, comfortable, practical and sure-footed, and there's very little in it that I'd do differently. Its layout fits my boating lifestyle and the horsepower is a good match for the package. The White Pointer 730 Sports Hard Top is one of a very small handful of boats that would satisfy me for the rest of my boating days - simple as that! 

On the plane...
* Handling and ride better than many fibreglass boats
* Big workspace
* Great overall layout
* Enclosed hardtop
* Fisho / diver friendly
* Great trailer

Dragging the chain...
* It isn't cheap, but it's worth the extra

 

SPECIFICATIONS: White Pointer 730 Sports Hardtop

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested: $139,595
Options fitted: Customised boat with $23,146 in optional gear
Priced from: $116,449

GENERAL
Type: Deep-vee offshore hardtop
Material: Plate-aluminium (6mm hull and transom; 4mm sides; 3mm superstructure)
Length (LOA): 7.4m
Beam: 2.45m
Weight (BMT): 2300kg
Deadrise: 18°

CAPACITIES
People: 7
Rec. HP: 200
Max. HP: 225
Fuel: 200lt

ENGINE
Make/model: Yamaha F225F
Type: 24-valve, DOHC with VCT direct-action, 60° V6 four-stroke
Weight: 253kg
Displacement: 4169cc
Gear ratio: 1.75:1
Propeller: 15¼ x 17 four-blade

MANUFACTURED BY
White Pointer Boats
189 Stanley Road
Gisborne, New Zealand
Tel: +64 6 868 6519
Web: www.whitepointerboats.co.nz

SUPPLIED BY
Geelong Boating Centre
88 Barwon Heads Road
Belmont, Vic, 3216
Tel: (03) 5241 6966
Web: www.geelongboats.com.au

Source: TrailerBoat magazine #284, July 2012

Find White Pointer boats for sale.

 


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