Boat Review Date: March 2010
Author: Mike Brown
In Chivers Marine’s new Shark range of aluminium boats, the 6.6m or 220 models rejoice in the name of White Pointer. The review boat is a walk around version that was specially built for a customer who specified more additional fixtures and fittings than you would find on any three run of the mill trailer boats.
The 220 is already a pretty special boat. Its 22 degree deadrise, exceptionally steep for an aluminium boat, is made possible by a self flooding and draining keel that ballasts the boat down when at rest. The structure too is out of the ordinary. It uses fore and aft framing like an oil tanker, and for the same reason: strength. These frames are full depth from the self-draining deck to the bottom, meaning they give the boat phenomenal stiffness. There are also transverse frames, so any flexing of the bottom would need sophisticated instruments to measure it. Certainly, in the blustery conditions of the review day we got almost no reverberations from the hull.
Walk arounds are fashionable boats at the moment, and when a hull has the 2.5m beam of the 220 it is easy to se why. The cabin has plenty of room for its genuine sleeping-length bunks and the chemical toilet, and there is a large foot well left over. It even has two doors – a sliding aluminium lock up and a zipped fabric one. At each side of the cabin are decks that allow easy walking or fishing; this is not the kind of walk around that requires you to climb up to the height of the foredeck and edge forwards. The rails assisting you forward are the kind you want to see: extra large diameter and massively strong.
The driving area works well. There is excellent side protection, and the Bimini has very well fitted clears that kept us dry. The seats are both on slides, on locker boxes that are just part of a thorough storage set-up. The driver has an impressive kit of goodies in front of him: controls for windlass, spotlight, self-cancelling trim tabs, autopilot, and a top class Lowrance HDS10 plotter-sounder. The offsider gets to play with the Fusion stereo and the VHF radio. The seats have a good relationship with the controls, and standing is just as convenient.
The autopilot is just one of the items the buyer ordered to suit the future he had planned for his 220. He is a serious fisherman, fishing outside the 200m contour and travelling north for lengthy trips. He got extra range by fitting a 360L tank instead of the standard 250, and he also set the boat up for use as a caravan on the big trips: full storm covers coupled to the extended sun shade convert the carpeted cockpit into an extra bedroom. Another custom cover completely covers the boat’s paintwork, protecting it from stone chips.
Partly because of the caravan function, a pair of jumbo-sized batteries has replaced the standard twins, but big capacity is welcome at any time.
The fishing function is well catered for, as it is on all the Shark series. There are ten rod sockets, including a batch on the rear edge of the Bimini extension. On most boats you see these on the Bimini proper, meaning you need to undo zips or make big stretches to reach them. There are two catch tanks below gas strut lifted lids in the deck, big 140L jobs and long enough for those northern mackerel. And of course there is a bait board.
On standard 220s deck space gets precedence over sitting, but this one caters for a bunch of fishermen. Each side of the cockpit is a folding double seat. There is even a seventh seat on board at the front edge of the cabin top. And there is no shortage of drink holders servicing these seats, proper Australian ones that can take stubbie holders.
There are plenty of home comforts on offer, but they would be less appealing in a boat that got uncomfortable in choppy conditions. This one held up well, letting us use a lot more speed than most six or seven-metre aluminium boats. We briefly gave our 225 Evinrude ETEC its head and saw 40-plus knots; 35 would be on offer with 150hp.
With all its extras and the big motor this 220 would clearly not be cheap, but prices start at AUD $89,000 - more than competitive for a boat of this toughness and adaptability.
Price from AUD $89,000
Hull length 6.6m
Fuel capacity 360L
Motor fitted 225hp Evinrude ETEC