Boat Review Date: April 2015
Author: Mike Brown
The Whittley CR 2600 offers genuine week long on-board living for four in a package, with full load and trailer, that weighs in under 3.5 tonnes. This is a rarity. To fit that much accommodation into a boat with just 6.75 metres of hull length suggests something bulky and cluttered. Not so; ingenious design achieves it in a sleek and spacious hull.
The keys are a full length hardtop and a cockpit that changes character from day to night. By day, with all the clears removed and the sliding roof panel open, this is as airy a boat as you could ask for. For night, put up the clears, convert the seating to a double bed and the owner and spouse have a good sized bedroom.
What makes it work is the abundance of places to stow the conversion elements. Behind, under or alongside every part of the interior is a locker or niche, some tailor made for the overnight components. In total they can swallow astonishing quantities of stuff: mattresses and pillows disappear like magic.
The other two occupants are also treated well. A lockable sliding door gives privacy to the fully lined fore cabin where a pair of bunks can be infilled to make a generous sized double. An advantage of sleeping down here is the adjacent bathroom fitted with a chemical toilet. Ventilation is taken care of by a clear fore hatch.
The swim platform is far better used on the CR 2600 than on most sterndrive boats. It has to be there anyway for protection of the leg, and Whittley’s thinking was to exploit a space that would otherwise be unusable under way. They put rails around it, with rod sockets and a door at the boarding ladder. And, while they were at it, to get even more out of the platform they built a drainable locker into it. The result is a platform safe for fishing, operating the barbecue or simply sitting on in deck chairs under way or at anchor.
Barbecuing out the back will probably be the cooking method of choice most of the time, but early morning tea and toast are likely candidates for the galley. This model of the efficient use of space shares the fore cabin with the pair of bunks and the bathroom, doing so without any sensation of cramping. The cook’s equipment includes a single burner stove, a sink – with pressurised water supply – a fridge, lockers and a shelf with fiddle rail.
For eating occasions more formal than plates on laps out on the platform, the cockpit is equipped with a folding table. The built in lounges almost surround it, allowing the full complement to eat at the same time.
The motor is a V6 Volvo sterndrive putting out 200 horsepower – and a lot of torque, which made its presence felt enough on the first throttle movement to suggest this was a bigger horsepower motor. It was a good match with the hull giving sporting performance. The hull has a sharp 19 degree deadrise allowing use of that performance in less than ideal conditions.
The driving position, already elevated, can be elevated still more by the driver standing up and putting his head through the roof hatch. High positions are useful in shallow water, giving the vision better penetration to pick out the lumps. A useful extra service the driver’s seat gives is a specialised locker in its rear face. There are racks in here for glasses, and a drawer that could be used for ice.
The side decks are narrowish but made safe by excellent hand rails. They also effectively form a strong roof rack that could carry an inflatable, kayaks or surf boards. That is not the only piece of versatility the CR 2600 could offer. Fishermen travelling north usually have no option but to camp out. With the Whittley they would have a fishing boat by day and a caravan by night.
Price as reviewed AUD $140,000
Price from AUD $135,000
Hull length 6.75m
Length overall 8.05m
Dry trailing weight 2,960kg
Fuel capacity 200L
Fresh water 100L
Motor fitted 200hp Volvo sterndrive