Boat Review Date: December 2016
Author: Mike Brown
The Whittley SL22SD is biased towards fishing, but can fairly make claim to be a genuine all rounder. The internal finish, quality of furnishings and choice of materials should appeal to any family member. Divers not only have a ladder, boarding platform and fresh water shower but also something not especially common in boats of this size: secure stowage for big and heavy items like scuba sets.
The cuddy is more shelter than sleeping space, although children would be comfortable enough cocooned in the luxury of high grade cabin lining. Possibly the compartment’s most important function is to contain the toilet – the vital fitting for family days. The big advantage of the cuddy’s brevity is allowing a high percentage of the Whittley’s length to be devoted to the cockpit.
This is surprisingly large, especially in a boat powered by a sterndrive. However the motor box takes up very little of the boat’s length, hardly more than an outboard’s splash well. And, in splash well style, removable quarter seats are fitted either side of it.
The four main seats are back to backs, each pair mounted on a storage box capable of housing vast amounts of gear. They are sheltered by a Bimini and a full set of clears that took barely a drop of water despite the boisterous weather of the review day. A good feature of the clears is the zip out panels to suit standing drivers, who also get the benefit of a grab rail the full width of the windscreen. Sitting drivers are given a windscreen wiper.
The anchor well is neatly integrated into the bow area. Strictly, there is no foredeck in the sense of something you could stand on. In the current sensible style the otherwise wasted space is donated to the cuddy. The anchor itself is a delta shaped spade type that can be rigged to topple if anchoring in foul bottom.
Fishing is well catered for. The Targa has half a dozen rocket launchers, the coaming carrying four more flush rod holders, and horizontal rod racks within the bulwarks. The motor box serves the subsidiary task of bearing the bait board; there is a plumbed and lit live bait well, and under deck a large catch tank. This being a fibreglass boat, an ice slurry within it has a longer life than it would in aluminium.
The review day delivered an exceptionally fresh sea breeze that gave the hull a real test. It is a hull apparently designed for those conditions with good proportions and a sharp 23 degree deadrise. We were merciless with the Whittley, using far more throttle than the sea state suggested.
We had plenty of power on tap from the 200hp Volvo, and surplus power is useful in a seaway. With the combination of motor trim and trim tabs we could fine tune our attitude to a nicety. Power steering removed all trace of effort. It was a delightful ride. Certainly there were lumps in it and the bow went up and down, but impacts were subdued, shudders were completely absent. It was not a tiring experience; exhilarating is probably the right word.
The standard fit out is remarkably complete. The lighting includes not only cabin lights but also lights in the cockpit and the side rod pockets. As well as an automatic bilge pump a second pump is dashboard operated. Storm covers can serve the everyday function of keeping leaves and dust out of the boat. For those who like such things there is a stereo system with USB interface, Bluetooth and impressive speakers.
Price as reviewed AUD $97,000
Hull length 6.59m
Fuel capacity 210L
Fresh water 20L
Trailing weight 1,950kg
Motor fitted 200hp Volvo 4.3L sterndrive