White Pointer 263 hardtop review

By: John Willis, Photography by: Ellen Dewar


The White Pointer 263 Hardtop offers outstanding offshore performance. Quite simply, it's one of the best boats we've ever been on.

  

  • The twin 250hp Suzuki outboard motors on the White Pointer 263 Hardtop give it immense power and excellent manoeuvrability.

 

  • The selection of accessories on the White Pointer 263 is tremendous.

 

  • Deck area is huge and there’s deep freeboard. However, there wasn’t enough seating.

 

  • An extreme muscle boat, the White Pointer 263 Hardtop is a big and heavy boat to tow.

 

I don’t use the words ‘absolutely sensational’ to describe many boats but White Pointer Marine deserves every word after I drove the commercially-built White Pointer 263 Hardtop.

 

White Pointer 263 Hardtop

White Pointer 263 Hardtop

The White Pointer 263HT Storm Trooper that arrived at the Patterson River launching area on Port Phillip Bay was visibly vastly different to the more commercial-style, open White Pointer 263 we drove in Eden. The light-grey sides with white deck accentuated the beautiful crisp lines of the big deep-V hull with its shapely hardtop and solid fibreglass extended awning. This was a huge contrast to the big, mean open commercial dive boat; it makes sense as the two were produced for totally different purposes, yet both enjoy the underlying ability to tame wild seas in comfort and confidence.

This beautiful White Pointer 263 Hardtop was produced by Erick Hyland at his Bairnsdale factory but fitted out in Melbourne by sportsfishing enthusiasts. It features an exceptionally good layout with acres of fishing space, excellent protection from all elements, sensational performance, ballsy power and a host of premium accessories to get the juices flowing.

White Pointer 263 hardtop video

 

Hardtop design

White Pointer 263 Hardtop with twin 250hp Suzuki outboards

Hardtops have been all the rage for some time, and for good reason. The fuel efficiency provided by new outboards has allowed us to travel further for longer, prompting massive growth in the top end of the market.

With extended range comes the need for greater protection and security, not to mention safety and creature comforts. Gone are the horrid soakings when busting through oncoming swirl and swell with only thin vinyl and press-studs to keep the might of an icy ocean at bay. Hardtops provide a solid shell to keep you safe and dry and the White Pointer Hardtop’s great aerodynamics have equally efficient hydrodynamics to brush aside any water that’s dumped over the top.

White Pointer 263 HT on the water

It has the inherent strength to cop a hiding with its solid fibreglass construction and 6mm safety glass windscreens, and also provides a strong mount for aerials and communications equipment, radar antennae, long outriggers, handrails, spot and navigation lights and perhaps even a life raft or flotation equipment for serious offshore sojourns. The vertical face of the shell also provides an ideal position for the Reelax outrigger bases.

Best of all, I never even noticed the added weight up top in the boat’s overall performance, since the stability is enhanced by the sensible floor height and low centre of balance.

 

Layout and design

Interior of White Pointer 263 Hardtop

The hardtop has port and starboard wiper/washers, with sliding windows to the sides. The visibility is terrific but so too is the ventilation and I suffered none of the claustrophobic effect experienced in some enclosures. There’s also a fibreglass extended awning that protects from harsh sun and will stop wash spraying down passengers’ backs. Inside the hardtop, the deck area feels huge as there’s only one seat module for the driver’s side. But don’t worry – there are some very strong ‘Jesus bars’ for passengers to hang onto, and you may well need them when this rocketship takes off
for the horizon.

I was comfortable standing underway as the ride is exhilarating even in the calm conditions we unfortunately encountered on our test. I’ve argued many times with other fishos about limited seating. To my mind, an open cabin and cockpit without seating is all very well for getting there and back but when you’re waiting out the long trolling hours, comfy seating is worth its weight in gold. Maybe I’m just an old fart, eh!

The helm is well laid-out with plenty of room for large-screen electronics. This one had a pair of Simrad multi-function screens, one dash-mounted on the large horizontal face under the windscreen, the other flush in the dash, accompanied by twin binnacle controls. The twin Suzuki digital screens are easily visible, along with the Stress Free anchor winch control and Lenco trim tab actuators. Communications and entertainment systems are in the port-side entry to the cabin and there are 12-volt outlets to the far left of dash.

The helm is rounded out with a Ritchie Compass and an attractive stainless steel spoked steering wheel. Even though this is obviously a serious fishing machine, the internal roof had a padded liner with drop lighting and it also features a traditional V-berth. It’s deep, with plenty of headroom due to the volume in the bow. The owner of this boat opted for a full set of bunk cushions with infill, creating a large and functional protected cabin.

 

Fishing space

Fishing deck on White Pointer 263 Hardtop

Back in the enormous and deep cockpit, you’ll find long pockets either side plus a dive door to the starboard. The floor and internals are speckle-coated flowcoat that makes cleaning easy. While most fishos find this attractive, I prefer some sort of finish or matting as flowcoat can be very slippery when the floor’s wet with pelagic blood.

There’s a large underfloor kill tank, terrific access to the deep bilge, a pair of enclosed cabinets at the rear for the electrical and pumping requirements, and a large live-bait tank in the centre.

A prominent feature of this sport and gamefishing colossus is the terrific stainless steel fit-out by Kane McQuarrie of McQuarrie’s Fibreglass & Stainless Steel. This is a premium example of a custom fit-out, where the same boat may be fishing for snapper or whiting at anchor with a large array of rods in the water one day, and then converted to an offshore trolling set-up the next. There is a large fibreglass bait board with storage tray and towel holder centrally mounted at the rear, surrounded both across the transom and almost full length up either side with stainless strike-out wire rod holders. This gives you the ability to have up to nine rods out either side, set at an appropriate angle to allow the rod action to do the work hooking a fish. Not that you’d have 18 rods out at any one time but the array allows an excellent spread around the boat in calm conditions, or the ability to fish out one side in wind-against-tide or drifting conditions.

White Pointer Marine Boats decal logo

All of the stainless steel racks pop out easily from coaming-mounted rod holders to convert the boat back to its trolling set-up. There’s a long coaming rod rack to port mounted to the face of the side pocket and a removable leaning post with facility for four more rods centrally mounted in the deck. This also serves to give a secure point in the middle of the huge deck when moving about in an uncomfortable sea. Overhead is a stainless rocket launcher for up to 10 rods as well as a shotgun pole and holder.

 

 

White Pointer 263 Hardtop specs

PRICED FROM

$POA

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Hard top, livebait tank, Hinged and removable dive door, full custom sportsfishing and electronics fit-out

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL GRP

TYPE Deep-vee monohull fibreglass fishing boat

LENGTH 8m

BEAM 2.46m

WEIGHT BTM 3500kg

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 2 + 8 people

FUEL 520L

 

ENGINES

MAKE/MODEL 2 x Suzuki 250hp four-stroke outboard motor

TYPE Multi-point sequential electronic fuel injection, 55º V6, four-stroke, DOHC 24-valve, counter-rotating

RATED HP 2 x 250

DISPLACEMENT 4028cc

WEIGHT 279kg each

GEAR RATIO 2.08:1

PROPELLER 2 x 3 x 16 x 18.5 Suzuki stainless steel propellers

 

MANUFACTURED BY/SUPPLIED BY

White Pointer Boats

188 Princess Highway

Bairnsdale (Lucknow), Vic, 3875

Phone (03) 5152 3228

Web whitepointermarine.com.au

Email whitepointermarine@hotmail.com

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #478, on sale May 19, 2016. Why not subscribe today?

 


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