What do you get when you cross a fishing boat with a luxurious cruising boat and then add some extra horsepower? The answer is Chris Odgers’ Whittley package that we took for a spin recently out of the Patterson River on Port Phillip Bay.
The ‘CR’ prefix to the model name is short for ‘Cruising,’ a genre of boats that Whittley Marine Group has been successfully building for over 50 years. But as a keen angler, Chris wanted the boat to be fishable as well, so it was interesting to see how he achieved this.
One of the big decisions for Chris was making the jump from an outboard powered boat to an inboard.
“I hadn’t owned an inboard engine before, but since I’ve owned it, I’ve never looked back,” Chris said.
His main concern was not being able to see the angle at which the leg was tilted. All outboard owners know that you only need to look back to judge this with an outboard.
“Once you learn the gauges, though, it becomes easy and I can now go anywhere that I could with the outboard,” he continued.
Performance wise, one can’t help but giggle at the pickup that the Generation 5, 200hp Volvo Penta delivers through its single-leg DuoProp system. It’s seriously like someone dropped a V8 into a fishing boat. It sounds mean, it runs hard and it jumps onto the plane with the speed of a startled mullet when you plant the throttle.
It’s everything a grown man needs to enjoy the driving experience.
Comfort-wise, this boat puts my house to shame. With a large, well-appointed cabin, concealed kitchen areas and sinks in addition to a generous carpet lining on any surface that would take glue, The inboard motor cover is cleverly used as the base for a workbench that’d be equally at home with morning tea or tying a paternoster rig.
The main fishing area is compartmentalised onto the massive duckboard that covers the DuoProp leg. Providing both security (against falling in) and a convenient place to rest a baited line, the duckboard work station is the place where you can rig baits and cook the BBQ – keeping all the messy business separated from the clean and comfortable interior.
Is this the ultimate fishing boat? It’s not. Is it a cruising boat that the family will love? You bet. If the pendulum must swing towards family friendliness rather than spartan fishability, then you’ll need to check out the 2180.
Finally, you may think that a well-appointed boat like this would cost six figures. You’d be way off the mark if you did. CR2180 packages start at around $75,000. As tested, Chris’ boat would cost around $90,000 – that includes the stainless steel BBQ and the flat screen TV!
Make sure you visit www.whittleymarinegroup.com.au for more information or call your nearest dealer. You can also like Whittley Marine Group on Facebook to keep up with what Whittley and their owners are up to.