BOAT TEST: WHITTLEY CLEARWATER CW2150

By: JOHN WILLIS, Photography by: KEVIN POULTER


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Ever the gentleman, John Willis has a date with Whittley’s Clearwater CW2150 to see if this buxom family fisher can make his heart flutter.

BOAT TEST: WHITTLEY CLEARWATER CW2150
The Whittley Clearwater CW2150 is the Whittley Marine Group’s more affordable alternative to the company’s famous cruisers.

Clearwater by Whittley is the family-fishing arm of the industry stalwart, Whittley Marine Group, encompassing fibreglass and alloy models in the extensive range. Conceived as a value-for-money alternative to the company's trademark cruisers, Clearwater by Whittley has a decidedly fishy feel based on tried and tested Aussie designs.



FAMILY GUNBOAT

Legend has it this hull was originally conceived as a high-speed intercepting craft for the Indonesian navy that originally needed to accommodate a machine gun on its bow. True to the story, the Clearwater 2150 has a cracking Yamaha 225hp four-stroke on its tail - tonnes of firepower for a rig this size - ensuring it went like a proverbial bullet.

This is not really what you would call a "traditional" Whittley hull: the 2150 traces its heritage back to the fibreglass hulls Whittley designed and built for Savage Boats. This example has a deep forefoot and exceptionally wide, hard chines carried from transom to bow, plus a wide planing plank at the stern.

She's big, beamy and voluptuous, with a spacious feel. Yet she rides well, despite a generous beam and full entry.



CABIN FEVER

On the inside, it's is larger than you'd expect from a boat with an opening walkthrough to the bow. In keeping with the Whittley influence, it retains 1800mm full-length bunks, which are great for shelter, or spending a night or three on extended fishing trips.

I'm a big fan of walkthrough decks - when they work - because they afford convenient access whether climbing in off a riverbank or mooring, or adjusting anchor rope length if you don't fit an electric winch in the aptly-sized locker.

The bow has a moulded spirit and is defined by a strong two-piece stainless steel bow rail. The generous vee berth hides a porta potti and is framed by twin side-storage pockets. Full bulkheads on both sides border the centre companionway and divide the love nest from the fishing deck. An optional roll-up canvas divider would ensure privacy.

The helm and passenger dashes are simple, but very well designed. The surface facing the driver is large enough for a 10in sounder / GPS combo, with the Yamaha instruments in full view above. A six gang switch panel and comfortable sports steering wheel with hydraulic steering are also standard.

The passenger dash has ample room for a two-way marine radio and entertainment system, while a pocket below ensures knick knacks are safely housed when underway. There is also a lockable glove box below, and driver and passenger have a stainless steel footrest.

Trimmed in-house, the Clearwater's fully-upholstered shell seats are wide, thickly padded and very comfortable. While pedestal seats were the norm here, future 2150s will sport moulded fibreglass seat boxes, which I personally believe give the seat more purchase while providing another storage option.

The Clearwater 2150 feels like a big boat inside. It has plenty of head room under the bimini, and fairly good vision through the safety-glass windscreen. The stainless steel rocket launcher looks the business, incorporating tasteful curves, and an etched Clearwater logo adds a touch of class. Standard front and side clears complete the picture of versatility.

However, it is the large expanse of workable deck space that separates this boat from many competitors. It is a big, wide, deep-sided space entirely suited to three big blokes fishing offshore, or a tribe of people on a cruise. There are toeholds under the full-length side pockets and moulded recesses with rod, gaff and boat hook storage.

The transom is simple yet functional, with a wide engine well that's rated to 225hp and will take a twin-rig installation as standard. There's a neat walk-up transom with a comfortable folding rear lounge and bait tank / ice boxes in the top coamings on each side. There is plenty of room on the port side for a berley bucket, and a stainless ladder on the starboard with a non-slip molded step into the boat. There is a tonne of room under the transom for a twin-battery configuration, as well as an oil bottle.

The deck drains to a pair of sumps before flowing to ping pong ball-style scuppers on the transom. Two bungs on the inside come in handy as safety measures during a heavy downpour.

The standard boat has traditional compartmentalised flotation, but fully-injected foam filling is available. The 2150 also features a fibreglass liner which is clean, neat and strong. The floor has clip-in marine carpet, with a 205L fuel tank and large killtank underneath.

This Clearwater is also trimmed with niceties, including stainless rod holders, non-skid decks, remote oil filler on the transom, SARCA bow fitting, recessed side rails and a step on the bow. The package offers fishing families a safe and comfortable platform to drown bait from.



OVER-RIDING CONSIDERATIONS

The chunky CW 2150 is a relatively smooth-riding hull with terrific lift, very little transition to plane, a quiet ride, and is very stable at rest. I didn't get the chance to get into any nasty swell or savage seas, but I did manufacture some distressed water by mixing some wakes and the hull seemed to handle it very nicely.

The big chines on the shoulders seem to hold her high at the bow and would undoubtedly keep her up and straight in a following sea. While she had a little tremble over the chop, it was less than expected for the design. She turns smoothly and confidently, and tracks true. Overall, the Clearwater demonstrated a great combination of ride and stability, and that is hard to achieve in any boat.

In a move that's becoming common among local manufacturers, Clearwater by Whittley is now factory fitting outboards - Yamahas - and marketing these as "Catalyst" packages. I'm a fan of factory pre-rigging and installation because it potentially negates many problems, including the manufacturer / dealer blame game if there's an issue.

If you select a Catalyst package, the factory guarantees the entire combo that comes standard on custom-specified Mackay trailers.



THE WRAP

I was very pleased with the 2150, and I'd love to get her offshore on a good day to really put her through her paces. I asked Genevieve Whittley, my passenger throughout the test, what she thought, and she summed it up in one word: "spacious".

Is this a gun boat? Yep, it's a good 'un.



YAMAHA 175HP TWO-STROKE VS YAMAHA 225HP FOUR-STROKE

During this test we took two identical 2150s for a run with the same load - and came back to a real surprise.

One boat was fitted with the old favourite, the Yamaha 175hp Saltwater Series engine. You know the type; the supposedly "old-tech" carburetted two-stroke. The second was fitted with the new Yamaha 225hp four-stroke, designed to really rock your socks off in an environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient manner. But, as we discovered, there really wasn't that much between them in terms of performance.

Given the 225hp four-stroke was around 3kts (5.5kmh) faster, the raw data suggests that there was similar fuel consumption at WOT. However, in the critical mid-range cruise speed, where engines tend to spend most of their lives, the smaller-capacity two-stroke guzzled 20 per cent more unleaded, and that gap widened even further at trolling speeds of around 1500 revs.

Given both engines were straight out of the box, you could expect an overall improvement in each, and I have a niggling suspicion the 4.2L four-stroke may not have been revving to its full potential.

Both engines were fitted with 17in propellers, but the Saltwater Series had a lightweight aluminium version, while the four-stroke had the stainless "performance" Saltwater prop.

The four-stroke is certainly quieter at low revs, but its big, deep, ballsy grunt at high revs makes the hairs stand up. The two-stroke gives out a higher pitched noise at high revs, but both were comfortable to live with. I do have to admit, though, there's something pleasing about the grunt of the larger-capacity engine. It's like having a big V8 under the bonnet and, considering there's a 1573cc difference between the two engines, so it should be.

I have no doubt the sheer capacity of the big four-stroke will shine through under higher load, holding the load with greater torque. Retained re-sale value will be greater with the four-stroke, and it will probably be easier to trade in the future.

But here's the thing: carburetted two-stroke engines are living on borrowed time and many high horsepower versions won't make it past the middle of next year. The four-stroke 225 Yammy may stretch your budget, but you'll be rewarded with a brilliant piece of technology with exhilarating performance and typical Japanese refinement.

However, if the budget just won't stretch, don't sweat it because Yamaha's two-stroke 175 V6 engines have stood the test of time and will still give you a sensational boating experience. Just get in quick before they're gone.




On the plane...

Spacious

  • Walkthrough screen
  • Visibility
  • Driver and passenger dash
  • Overall layout



Dragging the chain...

  • A little hard off the shoulders
  • Pedestal seats (a pet hate, but now replaced with moulded seat boxes)





SPECS: WHITTLEY CLEARWATER CW 2150

 

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $76,000 (approx.)

Options fitted: F 225 Yamaha lightweight outboard; fish finder / GPS combo; boarding ladder; rear floor carpet; rear deck wash kit; live bait tank; sav winch, rope and chain; rear travel cover; upgrade to VHF two-way radio; rear side-pocket lights; bait board and additional six-way rod holders;
2 x three-way rod holders; second battery; 12V outlet

Priced from: $59,999 with 150hp Yamaha 150D V6 two-stroke (Base Catalyst package)



GENERAL

Type: Deep-vee

Material: Fibreglass

Length: 6.5m

Beam: 2.48m

Weight: 1800kg (dry BMT)

Deadrise: 20°



CAPACITIES

People: 7

Rec. HP: 150

Max. Weight OB: 350kg

Max. HP: 225

Fuel: 205L

Water: No



ENGINE

Make/model: Yamaha F225F four-stroke

Type: 24-valve DOHC with VCT Direct Action 60° - V6

Weight: 253kg

Displacement: 4169cc

Gear ratio: 1.75:1

Propeller: Yamaha Saltwater 17in stainless



SUPPLIED AND MANUFACTURED BY

Whittley Marine Group

99 Freight Drive

Somerton, Vic 3062

Tel: (03) 8339 1800

Web: www.whittleymarine.com



Originally published in TrailerBoat #288, November 2012

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