Whittley CR 2600 OB Boat Test

The Aussie-built, maxi-sized, fully trailable, outboard-powered, Whittley CR 2600 OB has everything a family needs, including fantastic performance.
Mark Rothfield: Hi, Mark Rothfield for Club Marine TV. And today I'm really looking forward to testing the Whittley CR 2600 Outboard. It is a maxi sized, fully trailable, outboard powered family boat that has lots to offer, including the fact that it was designed and built in Australia, for Australian conditions. So, grab your towel, and let's go.
Just to give you some context, the 2600 is the second biggest boat in the Whittley range. I think it would be slightly less intimidating to tow than the 2800, yet you still get all these great features as well. These days, we want it all when we're on a boat. You want a caravan that can take lots of people and comfortable accommodation. You want that lounging space, you want the ability to fish, you want to do a bit of water sports. Well, I reckon this boat can do most of those roles really, really well.
Starting with space utilization, this aft platform is fantastic. Yes, it's got the outboard on it, but I don't think I've ever seen a better integration of that. It really takes up minimal space. When you're backing up, whatever speed you're doing, it drains really well, it's perfect size, and it's really well fitted out too. You come out here, it's got a little rail here, this is part of a spec that's called a vacationer pack. Just makes that boat that little bit more cruising oriented, but you can still stand out here really safely. Put a couple of deck chairs out here, look aft, drink in hand, I can't think of a better place to be.
Very easy access from the boarding platform into this saloon cockpit area. This stairwell, really clever design, it's a step now, but it actually folds back and forms part of the coaming, so it sort of makes it a little bit more secure. Beautiful wraparound seating in here. The port side lounge, beautifully upholstered, finishes in a Shells lounge that actually faces the transom, so really comfortable. You've got another fold out lounge here that comes up and that makes a complete c-shape. Drop a table in here. It's your socializing area. Drop it down and it becomes a full bed at night. So it can sleep four people out here.
Currently, we're in Fame Cove. Now, this is my home waterway and I have been coming here since I was a kid. And every boat I've ever tested I've wondered how good would it be in Fame Cove. The answer is the CR 2600 is almost perfect. You've got this ability to cook on the back. You've got this great socializing space. You can have the music running. You've got everything you need for just a really nice relaxing afternoon here. And that will become night, and you'll have a beautiful time.
The storage theme continues as you move forward into the helm area. You've got this beautiful forward facing bucket seat for the passenger. They've used this space to make a nice little storage area. All your safety gear can go in there, really quick and easy to handle, which is what you want. Now underneath the driver's helm, which again, is quite elevated, they have an ice box, so your cold drinks, everything can go in there and it all drains. At the same time, you can have a fridge in here too if you want to have a little bit longer on the water. Looking at the helm now, it's got a nice wide helm seat. You could almost get two people up here. Certainly very comfortable for one, facing forward. I really like the fact you get such a beautiful clean display of gauges. Obviously front and center is this multifunction Garmin gauge. You've got your zip weight tab here just to show what's going on. Mercury engine instrumentation comes with Garmin. Everything you're going to need.
Transitioning into the cabin, over six feet headroom to start with, so full standing headroom. Really nice in a boat this size. And the other thing that's really nice is this galley. It's beautifully appointed, nicely molded, plenty of really good storage space, both up above and underneath. It's got an induction, single burner cooker, really nice stainless steel sink here as well. Now 12 volt fridge underneath. Again, that's a really nice thing to have on the boat, particularly on a hot day like this, and it can supplement the fridge that can be underneath the helm if you want it.
The starboard is a fully enclosed head compartment, so you get all that privacy. And it's really well fitted out too. There's plenty of space. You've got a toilet, you've got a sink, a shower rose, it's drainable, so you can have a shower on board. And again, you're in complete luxury. The door can open at any time. There's no bed in the way, so just feel free to step in. If you do want any more privacy, you can close this cabin as well with the sliding glass screen. Moving through again, nice comfortable sitting room. This whole bed converts into a huge double and you can lie here and look straight at the television. Really nice ventilation coming through the front hatch, and of course you get that flow through from the back as well. So quite comfortable.
2,600 has a base power of 200 horsepower mercury. 225 is an option. This boat has the big V8 250. It's got that nice sort of V8 sound to it. For a boat that was a stern drive for many years, it's been an outboard for the last two years. And it's attracted a younger market, people who have got a little bit more sports oriented. So, I think they're really going to appreciate this V8, particularly on a boat. Again, there's no substitute for power when you are carrying around a little bit of weight.
One thing Whittley has done is spent a lot of time working on the efficiency, the hull. This has a 19 degree dead rise at the transom. It is variable dead rise, so it starts off fine, but they've spent a lot of time on the reverse chimes. And the whole point of them is to get this boat up and out of the hole really easily. Again, that's where your efficiency come from, that ability to accelerate, to really jump up on the plane. Now let's give it some. You feel that V8 there and straight away we're planing. Unbelievable. That is so efficient. Yes, we're going downwind, yes, there's not much chop at the moment, but that was just effortless pulling about 4,000 RPM at the moment. Again, this has the Zipwake trim tab, so it's really set and forget. Boats like this aren't quite high out of the water. There's a bit of windage and they can tend to heel one way or other. We are riding perfectly level. So impressed by that ability to just accelerate.
Right now we're doing around about 26 knots. That seems a really comfortable long range cruise speed. Cross phase, when you're offshore, but I reckon we got a little bit more in reserve, so let's see how she goes to the next step. Now she starts to really pick up. Speed is now we're doing five and a half thousand reps. Fuel usage is jumped to 83 liters an hour. Speed's incredible, 35 knots. This is a cruising boat that thinks it's a sports boat. I think CR must stand for Cruise Eraser. Turning around into this chop now it's still skipping along beautifully.
That hull cuts through the chop really well at the bow. Nice chimes are throwing the spray well away. You can feel the Zipwakes just maintaining that balance for us as well. Again, I'm giving it probably more hertz than it should have. 5,000 revs, 27, 28 knots into a 15-20 knot breeze. And it's really comfortable. I love the fact I'm shielded by this windscreen. This boat's got the full cover, but you're getting air in through the windscreens by sight. Queenslanders would love it because you can open it all up. Melbourne people would probably want to keep it closed. So, you can have the best of both worlds with this type of boat.
It knows our conditions. We get choppy waters. You're always in shock when that sea breeze comes up. Whittley know that and they've built this boat to tackle our conditions. And you have to love that.
Drive Away price for the Whitley CR 2600 is around the $238,000 mark, give or take a few bucks. Priced with all the options you're looking at around about 282,000, which is really great value for a boat of this size. What I haven't mentioned yet is that the Whittley name has been around since 1953, so almost 70 years of boat building in Australia. It's also one of the very few brands to bear the family name on the side of the hull. And I think that counts for a lot when it comes to pride in manufacturing. You can order Whittleys through their own dealership network, so you are guaranteed a fantastic service. And you'll be talking to people who really know their product.
The other way is to jump online. They've got a fantastic website, when you can basically build your boat, get a price and deal direct with the factory and also your local dealer. The company won lots of awards back in the '90s, and that successful DNA and those family values are still very much present in this CR 2600. I'm Mark Rothfield for Club Marine TV. As I say to the fish, catch you next time.

Boat Test