Melbourne’s Peter Smith is living the Australian dream. He lives in Melbourne, is retired after running a successful business and now spends his time travelling around Australia with wife Caroline in his customised Whittley, treating his boat as others would a caravan – providing a home away from home on some of the most beautiful and remote parts of the country.
The first-time Whittley owner recently took us out for a spin in his customised Whittley SL22, powered by the inboard Volvo Penta petrol V6 that delivers 240HP through the counter-rotating duo-prop.
Coming from a free camping background, this is a unique craft that balances comfort, towability and fishing space with the ability to make multi-day trips to far corners of Australia.
It was important for the Smiths to have a seating arrangement that included a couple of guests. Instead of having a couple in the helm seats and a couple in the fold-down seats adjacent to the inboard cover.
The Whittley fit the bill perfectly with a neat seat moulding that incorporates the forward facing helm seats and also a rear facing seat in each. These allow four people to be sitting and facing each other. Add a small table and the ingredients are all there for a great social afternoon with friends.
The bonus is that there’s a pile of storage under these seats, too.
Customising the standard storm covers, the Smiths have added flyscreen panels that allow air flow through the cabin for overnight and evening trips.
Ample storage is even more important in boats that are used for more than day-trips. It keeps gear out of the tow vehicle and adds to the level of comfort on the water.
With their free camping background, a big cooking area wasn’t a priority for the Smiths, and I got the feeling that the SL22 was just the right balance between comfort and frugality.
Everywhere you look in this boat, there’s storage – from under the floor with a massive sub-deck cavity that’s suitable from anything from your catch to excess gear, right through to the under seat and under bunk options.
If you fill this boat’s storage to overflowing, you’re taking too much!
Opting for the 240HP Volvo Penta (instead of the standard 200HP model), Pete displayed an attitude that should be ingrained in most men in this country by now.
“In the past, I’ve sometimes regretted not buying the maximum power motor option available,” he said. “So the 240 option was a pretty easy choice for me. Hole shot is amazing with the counter rotating DuoProp system and there’s a sweet spot that the motor sits on at around 2500 RPM.”
“It’s a dream to steer and manoeuvre and although this is my first Volvo, it definitely won’t be my last,” Peter said.
Towing the rig with a Ford Ranger, the 22-foot Whittley fit within the capabilities of their current vehicle.
“As I looked in the 24 and 26 foot boats, it became obvious that we’d need to replace our tow vehicle, so that was another factor in selecting this sized Sea Legend,” Pete said.
With a circa-2000kg dry weight on the trailer, even loaded, it fits well within the Ranger’s 2500kg towing capacity.
“And that’s important with the tens of thousands of kilometres that this boat will do around Australia,” Pete concluded.
Although prices for the Whittley SL22 packages start from $86,999, this package ended up at $99,990 driving out the door.
“I was very happy with the price this boat ended up at – it compared favourably to everything I looked at – both domestically and internationally. But I like the fact that the sale remained local. The finish in this Whittley is comparable to anything I’ve ever seen,” Pete concluded.
For more information on Whittley Boats, visit www.whittleymarinegroup.com.au.
|Max hp (outboard)||225hp|
|Max hp (sterndrive)||280hp|
|Dry weight on trailer||1950kg|
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