Boat Review Date: December 2009
Author: Mike Brown
A hull length of 5.3m and a beam of 2.2m is not much to accommodate the trappings of a cruiser, but Whittley’s smallest cruiser, the 2080, makes a good fist of it. Using the full length of the boat for the job is the key, and the 2080 does just that.
The cabin reaches forward almost to the stem, and a full canopy with camper-back covers makes a second cabin of the cockpit. For non-cruising occasions, and that’s most of the time, the cockpit can have varying amounts of stripping down. Side curtains can be rolled up, clears removed, the rear section of canopy removed, or the entire canopy furled. You can go even further for fishing and unclip and remove the carpet.
The cabin is not a lock-up, and that is probably a good thing. The three-quarter bulkhead lets the cabin become closer to the secondary cabin of the cockpit, and makes the already useful-sized space feel bigger. It is fully lined, and has bunks of generous length. It converts into a double of course, but instead of requiring wrestling with boards you simply hinge up a pair of upholstered infill panels. Under the after end of the starboard bunk, the one with most use of the bulkhead, is a chemical toilet.
Like all the Whittleys I have sampled, the 2080 has a pair of seats both comfortable and well tuned to the boat’s ride characteristics. They sit on locker boxes that have additional subtleties. The navigator’s seat-back swings to one side and the cushion folds back to reveal a one-burner stove and a preparation surface, and the skipper’s covers a sink. It shares a 43L fresh water tank with the transom shower. To round off the galley arrangements, an exky also tucks under the seat.
You might choose to add a barbecue, either a purpose-made marine model or a simple picnic barbecue to take onto the beach. Otherwise the simple standard arrangements will fit most people’s bills.
A simple option the review boat had added was a transom table. In repose it is stowed vertically mid-transom; for action it hinges up. The quarter seats are conveniently either side of it, and these have a lot more comfort and peripheral padding than most. They are removable of course for fishing days.
The other seats face a curved armour glass windscreen mounted in a massive frame. Its height is ideal, the seated eye line passing through it at mid height, the standing well over the top. Either position is comfortable, with foot and handholds and room to move.
Fuses or their equivalent are necessary for more and more items of equipment we carry, and almost nobody has a complete set of spare fuses. Whittley has done the sensible thing and eradicated fuses in favour of circuit breakers. Except for the motor: an owner would need to ensure he carried spares of these – perhaps taped inside the cowl.
The navigator is spoiled for choice in the stowage department. Facing him are not only an oddment tray with combined fiddle-grab rail, but also a more bulk stowage option in an elasticised net. Whittley take stowage in general seriously, converting every otherwise unused space into lockers, caves and pockets.
In fishing mode the 2080 also works well. The moderate deadrise by fibreglass standards of 19deg, coupled with the moderate beam gave a boat able to handle the available two at the rail with barely a twitch. And they were pampered there with padded coamings, and grab rails the length of the cockpit.
The sensations underway were good too. The power unit was a 115 Suzuki four-stroke fitted with hydraulic steering and the excellent option of twin batteries. 115 I was told was the most popular power option; usually only buyers with skiing in mind or other power-hungry pursuits opt for the maximum 150hp.
I could see why. The 2080 was quick, getting on for explosive off the mark, and climbed to the high 30s of knots in jig time. That is probably not the kind of use the manufacturers visualised, but everyone gets lead-handed from time to time. The sea conditions gave us no chance to assess ride quality, but we were left with the impression of a boat that felt bigger and heavier than it was: just what you want from a cruising boat.
Price as reviewed AUD $69,800
Length overall 6.13m
Hull length 5.3m
Fuel capacity 100L
Fresh water 43L
Dry trailing weight 1523kg
Maximum power 150hp
Motor fitted 115 Suzuki four-stroke