Boat Review Date: March 2018
Author: Mike Brown
Whittley has two ranges of fibreglass boats: their renowned cruisers, and the Sea Legend sport fishers. They are quite distinct; cruisers emphasizing roominess in the hulls, and the Sea Legends with sharper lines for pressing on in weather less attractive to a cruising family. The 25 Sea Legend under review has the considerable deadrise of 23 degrees.
Conceived primarily for offshore fishing, the 25 has incorporated a lot of civilized features; at least a part of the family will also want the weekends at Garden Island or Rottnest. A couple of key features in that line are a chemical toilet in the cabin and a heated fresh water shower at the transom.
All Whittleys feature imaginative use of nooks, crannies and various spaces for storage. No opportunity below or behind anything is wasted. The cockpit table, for instance, stows in a tailored section of side pocket. The large flush deck hatch covers what might normally be called a catch tank. Ingeniously, this is never going to need cleaning. Instead its liner lifts out complete with catch. The bulk stowage, though, is under the bunks, as usual, and within the back to back cockpit seats. Lifting the seats reveals enough volume to swallow small mattresses.
The driving area has windscreens, full side glass and a well braced hardtop protecting it. A soft top and camping covers are laid on for the cockpit, converting it into an extra de facto cabin for overnighting either at anchor or at a roadside stop on the way north. The far more frequent uses of the cockpit, of course, would be for fishing or perhaps diving. For these it has the primary requirement of space.
There is more space, perhaps for fishing at anchor or reading a book, glass in hand, aft of the transom. The platform (replete with its secret compartments) has an inverted U of stainless tubing acting as the rear rail. To encourage fishing here it is crowned with rod holders.
Whittley cruisers are equipped with indoor galleys, but on small vessels most people prefer the easier cleaning and the open air associated with barbecues. Naturally this Whittley has one at the transom, and dedicated stowage for its off duty occasions. Those occasions are probably when the bait board is likely to take its place.
The 25 is a key-free boat (except for the cabin door). Everything at the helm station happens by electronic magic, even starting the motor. The focus of this trickery is the 16 inch (huge) Garmin screen. At the right moments it displays analogue engine gauges, charts, sea bed information and several other things I lost track of but, then, I am a slowly recovering Luddite.
All the more traditional things work well. The steering is light, as it usually is with contra rotating propellers; the throttle is also light as well as being perfectly located ergonomically. The switch gear is easy to memorise, one of its important customers being the anchor windlass. This is the drum kind, rolling up chain and anchor, that is quickly becoming universal on trailer boats.
The cabin is large enough to be a genuine sleeping place, with enough headroom for that task and that of toilet. Unlike most such places it does not rely on a fragile screen for privacy, but has a typical Whittley door. Curved to match the bulkhead it works within, it slides and catches with aircraft-like precision.
All the boat’s details are well taken care of. There are twin windscreen wipers, a plumbed live bait tank, a Fusion stereo, a TV-DVD and a sea water deck wash. Hardware is all of first quality.
The owner chose to upgrade from the standard 200hp Volvo Penta to the 240hp by the same manufacturer. This is an aluminium motor, fitted with closed circuit cooling – one of the most valuable add-ons a stern drive can have. It almost guarantees long motor life. And it goes – very quickly. This is a fine tool for getting you out to the FADs without wasting fishing time.
Price as reviewed AUD $165,621
Price from AUD $143,000
Length overall 7.70m
Fuel capacity 240L
Fresh water 20L
Motor fitted 240hp Volvo Penta stern drive