Whittley CR 2380 OB boat test

The Whittley CR 2380 has taken to outboard power like a duck to water and is packed with family-friendly features.

Mark Rothfield: Hi, I'm Mark Rothfield from Club Marine TV and today we are coming to you from Port Stephens in New South Wales, which happens to be my backyard. Now a typical boating day here involves an early morning fish, then you head to a sandy beach for a swim and as the sea breeze gets up, you end up in a quiet bay. Now, your boat needs to be a good all rounder to do all that and I think I've found it, the Whittley CR 2380 outboard. Let's go for a run.

What we have here is a really smart dashboard to start off with, black with this nice, gray gauge. It's got a Garmin screen, front and centre, multifunction at the moment. I've got it set up for engine information, which is fairly pertinent as you're starting to drive and you want to keep your eye on things like fuel usage and so on. It's got the switches really well placed, radio, everything's nice and close to hand, really good views straight out this windscreen. It's nice, swept back. It's got some black behind it so you're getting absolutely no glare on this beautiful sunny day. You can get it with a sterndrive. Outboards these days are so good. They've got great performance, really good fuel efficiency, they're light. You do lose a little bit of space on the boarding platform, but I think that's a reasonable compromise, you can get that thing right up as you come into a beach.

So 2,000 rpm using only 11 litres an hour. It's really nice sort of six, seven knots cruising speed, so if you're in a zone or whatever, this should be perfect. Let's get on the plane. These are the bits I look forward to. There we go, straight onto the plane, no bow lift whatsoever. That is really impressive. It's obviously well propped. 4,000 rpm, beautiful mid-range cruise speed using 30 litres an hour and we are doing almost 26 knots. Steering feels really nice and direct. The hull has 20 degrees deadrise, they call it variable deadrise so you get a nice fine entry and it gradually flattens as it goes aft to 20 degrees. I think that's about the sweet spot for runabouts these days. Anywhere between 19 and 21 is good. 20 seems to be about perfect for me.

Go into a little bit of a turn now. Very smooth conditions here. Yeah, that handles like it's on rails, beautiful. Whittleys have been renowned for their hulls for years. The company has a 70-year heritage and so it obviously knows a lot about hull shape. Nothing too fancy, but also nothing is wrong with a conventional hull these days. When you think about horsepower, 150 would be okay if you are doing anything like fishing and you've got some load on board. If you're looking at towing biscuits and having a bit of family skiing, I think that 200 is perfect. You want the boat to get out of the plane easily. You want it to perform mid-range really well.

That's about just under 5,000, we're not even full speed yet. We're doing 34 knots and the hull is just skipping across this light chop, you wouldn't know it. We're going to go flat out, here we go. That's everything she's got. Speed is now 37 knots. Fuel usage has jumped to 62 litres an hour. I am conscious it has a 210 litre fuel tank, so you can't be going at these speeds all day, but the hull can certainly handle it, but I guess they are conscious of towing weight. Petrol adds weight when you're towing, so you have to keep it within reasonable level.

On the sterndrive version, this is a full platform. Here you've got the outboard well, but it's actually surprising how little space this takes up. It's just like a little dish you can walk right across, no worries whatsoever. There's plenty of buoyancy. It actually helps lift the motor as well. You can option these boats with what they call a Vacationer pack and that includes features like these stainless rails. They make it nice and safe to be out here. Can also use it as a mounting bracket for things like this barbecue.

So just looking at it the way it's set up now you've got this nice lounge here. You can actually sit on top of this and face aft. Little touch here, you can slide that forward. There's your ice box, so straight into the drinks. Other things you notice, it's got some speakers out here so you can have your music. There's your deck shower, so straight on board you can have your shower. There's really nice access to the water, swim platforms to port, and then you can come aboard that way as well. This boat will be spending quite a bit of time at anchor and I think you'll really enjoy this space.

The 2380's beam is 2.44 meters and that means it is legally trailerable in Australia at all times so you can go anywhere you want at any time. Of course there is a penalty to pay. A lot of European and American boats come in are over width and they have slightly more cockpit space, but Whittley has really done a lot of thinking here to make sure they don't lose out. For starters, everything's pushed really well out to the side, so the [inaudible 00:05:52] are quite narrow. There are no walkways forward. You get to the bow through the front hatch.

They've done so many good ideas, I really don't know where to start, but let's go here where the boarding gate is, actually slides forward, drops down, and it creates this nice little stairwell into the cockpit. Stand arrangement here is a sort of L-shape of settee, really comfortably appointed. You actually notice just what high quality upholstery they've done. Now, you can put a table here, beautiful settee, you can just picture yourself sitting here eating prawns and cheese and having a few drinks. Another great idea, this little lounge can fold up and that creates another seat for you. So that comes up level and all this becomes a bed or a nice big seating area. The great thing with this boat, which has the targa, is that you can hang a full canopy off it. With ventilation and everything you'd be really comfortable sleeping out here. Close that front companionway and two couples have privacy. So again, on a boat of this size, that's really great thinking.

Now, the space where the sterndrive would normally go has created a whole new world of storage opportunities. This whole molding can slide forwards and you can see everything down in the boat. It's a great place for the hot water service to go. You could also throw some wet items down there. It's got a bilge pump and really great surfer setup. There's also storage inside the seat, so just for your water toys and so on, they can go in there, nice and dry and easy to access.

Again, really nice design here, just space utilization. Passenger seat can rotate round so they too can join the party and there's really good storage underneath and it's a nice, curved, molded unit. Now, these doors open. There's another esky just to back up your refrigerator.

The galley isn't huge, obviously, but it's really well placed in the boat. Gets protection behind the windscreen and anything, the fumes and everything, can go straight up, so it's really well ventilated as well. Comes really well equipped too for everything you're going to need for overnighting and weekending, including this nice little single sink here that's got water. This boat can have hot water when you're running the dual batteries and that option includes lithium’s if you want it. It's an Italian hot water service on this boat too, so really upmarket. The other thing, a nice little single burner electric. Now this runs off an inverter so, again, you need those dual batteries, but it's really functional and really nice to be able to cook when you're out here. And of course your cold food, every night, that stores straight underneath there within easy reach in its own little Engel fridge. So great little setup, all you're going to need on board.

Whittleys have been called caravans on water. I'm not sure that does this boat justice. When you look around at all the space, it's probably more like a five-star apartment really. Plenty of live aboard room for a boat this size. Things you notice, even though it's quite sleek outside, it's got plenty of headroom down here still, and that comes with this lovely sort of suede finish. This boat is really luxuriously appointed. Again, you notice just how big this bed is. You can sit comfortably down here, but at night it turns into a really big double bed, so perfect if you're having two or three nights on the water. This one's equipped with a Porta Potti. That's the standard, but you can have it with an electric flush toilet and a holding tank as well. Other features, looking round, you can option this with a TV.

Talked about a lot of the big features, there's lots of little things here too where the customer probably wouldn't see or think too much of, but having the battery switches right here so as soon as you get on board through the hatch, just reach down and you can turn the whole boat on.

An interesting thing about Whittley is that it has its own dealership model, which is pretty unique these days. That ensures that you get really great customer service. You talk to salesmen who really know their products and there's no competing brands, so it's a great way to deal with it. They've also got a really good website so you can jump online, go right through the process of building your own boat.

The 2380 as we see it today is really nicely specced as standard. It has some Vacationer features. Basic price is around 162,000. By the time you spec it up with targas and everything else, the upgraded motor, hot water, you're closer to that sort of mid 195 mark. That is really good value today for such a beautifully built Australian boat.

A lot of crossover runabouts try to be all things to all people and end up not doing anything particularly well, but not this boat. It's really cleverly designed. It's beautifully built and it is a genuine all-round family boat. It has the outboard power, it has this great cockpit, has really comfortable accommodation, and I reckon you're going to love it. I'm Mark Rothfield for Club Marine TV. See you next time.

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