Whittley SL25HT with 200hp Volvo Penta inboard

Plenty of power from the V6 block is readily translated to the water through the six blades of the counter-rotating propeller, and the result is super mid-range torque and a fun boat to drive.

Most recently I test drove a Whittley SL25HT, so named because it’s in the Sea Legend range (SL) with a hard top (HT). While I was throwing it into turns and checking out the hole shot, I had to remind myself that it was a 25ft boat.

Whittleys are built in Melbourne, and we have tested plenty of them over the years, from their diminutive CW1650 through to the trailerable 28ft cruisers. This rig sits at the upper end of the Whittley range, but in the middle of the SL sizes.

“There’s a 20 and 22SL under it, and a 26 and 28SL above it,” said Whittley Marine Director of Sales and Marketing Alan Whittley, “but this 25 is a very popular rig for both anglers and families.

“Also, it’s the deepest-vee 25 footer in its class. The low centre of gravity from the sterndrive offsets the high weight of the glass hard top, and gives this hull a great ride when the water is rough.”

Not that we could assess that on the test day at Queenscliff; it was the kind of glassed-out day where every hull rides as smooth as a hovercraft.

What we could test, though, was performance. This rig jumps out of the hole and onto the plane, but what about the most economical speed?

As it happened, 3500rpm delivered 35km/h at 25L per hour, equating to 1.4km/L. Handy indeed for a 25 footer. Put the hammers down and you’ll reach 64km/h at 6450rpm, but your efficiency will plummet, yielding 900m per litre of fuel burned.

The hard top itself is very handy, with twin layered glass with magnificent visibility to nearly every quarter. The air flow is good for more humid climates, with sliding side windows and a sliding, lockable cabin door in the bulkhead to help secure your gear while you’re docked or travelling.

The routed U-Deck inside is virtually mandatory nowadays for a boat of this class, and Whittley does it well. The rig can’t escape its cruiser heritage either, with a sink and sliding fridge cleverly inbuilt.

The transom duckboard adds family flexibility to the unit, with easy access for kids or other swimmers on either side. “And there are no problems fishing out wide in the morning and then in the estuary later on in this boat,” Whittley said. “That’s what it’s designed to do.”

Indeed, if you’re looking for a versatile boat that’s half fishing and half cruiser, the SL25HT is well worth adding to the list. This model is priced from the mid-$130,000s, and the test boat with all of its options checked out at a tad under $160,000.

For more information visit www.donmorton.com.au, phone 8347 0011 or like Don Morton Marine on Facebook for the latest news in South Australia.
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