This massive 16-person capacity tri-hull pontoon craft is certainly not your ‘standard’ fishing craft. However, with its huge comfort levels, immense stability, overall roominess, and power and performance to spare thanks to the 175 E-Tec astern, the Sweetwater WB 220 definitely has appeal for family boaters looking for a great fishing/cruising all-rounder to use in semi-sheltered waters. And even more so if they like to do some entertaining, as the big Sweetwater has a svelte looking, glass-topped wet bar with stainless steel sink and adjoining classy looking stools for those special times when it’s time to kick back and relax.
Now, with all the luxurious features aboard the Sweetwater you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a very special sort of boat. Which it most certainly is.
A quick overview of the big alloy pontoon style tri-hull reveals massive tubes designed to plane at low speed, provide stability and immense buoyancy. There’s a strongly constructed platform onto which the upper superstructure of high sides, flat carpeted floor and other on-board appointments all combine seamlessly. This craft is 7.37m long, 2.59m wide, and 1551kg in weight. The welding of the alloy pontoons, incidentally, is neat rather than invisible but certainly in keeping with the overall presentation of the craft as a top quality vessel that’s a pleasure to own.
White Water Marine of the Gold Coast supplied the test boat – the Premium edition Sweetwater 220 WB (for wide body). This model has all the bells and whistles. In fact, the term ‘Deluxe’ just might not do it justice! Overhead there are twin biminis, set up with built-to-last robust alloy frames, to ensure nobody on board is exposed to nasty summer sun. Paired massive lounges adorn the bow, and there’s another aft, opposite the skipper’s helm seat. All up, there’s certainly a lot of room to sit comfortably and enjoy the ride on the fabulous seating that’s an outstanding feature of the craft.
Up front, set between forward lounges, was a drink holder-equipped, portable ice chest. Handy for tucker, drinks and the catch of the day as well.
All the plush lounge cushions lift to provide storage space within well-sealed compartments below, so even with a full complement aboard there’d be enough storage room for clothing, PFDs, towels and lots and lots of fishing gear.
And there’s more!
Complimenting the under-seat storage are similarly well set-up areas beneath the mouldings for the wet bar and helm area. In all, the designers have put all the available space to excellent use.
One innovative feature I really liked was the pop-up changing cubicle room on the port side of the Sweetwater (amidships) opposite the side boarding gate. The fabric cubicle is designed to remain tucked way in the front of the aft lounge until required, and then hinges outwards and upwards to free stand on its own frame. I’m told it can also be set up with a toilet.
The skipper’s moulded module, incorporating the helm area, featured a tinted windscreen, large bezel instruments, Sony stereo sound system plus panels of rocker switches. A door to port within the moulding allowed access to the large storage space below, and I saw sufficient room for another ice box to tuck in there as well.
I found the skipper’s slide adjustable seat to be very comfortable, quite supportive and well bolstered. The craft was easily helmed thanks to hydraulic steering and the seamless power of the 175 E-Tec astern on an extension of the middle pontoon.
Test runs were within the Southport Broadwater in somewhat choppy conditions at times. They did nothing to faze the Sweetwater whatsoever. This is one big boat: solid as a rock and with very little imprint on the water at speed thanks to the well-designed pontoons with their solid keel strips. With two aboard, the massive tri hull eased onto the plane at a mere 16.5km/h (2000 rpm) and peaked at 73.3km/h at 6000rpm. Cruising at 48.4km/h at 4000rpm would seem very practical, as noise levels from the 175 E-Tec were low and there was plenty of power in reserve. Towing skiers would be very easy with this craft given the inherent power. Maximum engine ratings were to 250hp, and trust me – things would be really humming with that sort of power on tap.
My overall impression of the Sweetwater 220 WB is that it’s an all rounder for both boating fun and fishing. It would likely be confined to estuary or bay work in suitable conditions, which is in line with the genre. As a family fishing rig, this big lady would be simply brilliant; there’s all the comfort in the world, shade from the twin biminis and room to spare. The finish is top shelf, nothing is left to chance, and the fit and fit-out as good as it gets. Entry and exit is facilitated by locking gates fore and aft as well as one centrally to port.
Note that you might need to moor the Sweetwater. She can be trailered but there some restrictions because she’s pretty well oversized at 2.59m in width.
Priced at $86,900, it’s a lot of boat for the money. For more information check out White Water Marine’s website at www.whitewatermarine.com.au or give them a call on (07) 5532 4402.