FF 2100 SD Boatsales.com.au
A versatile package for the cruising angler
Whittley has combined the comfort of a cruiser with the utility of a fishing boat to produce a neat crossover weekender
Whittley has broken away from its normal Cruiser-range convention with the release of the Fish Finder 2100. The Fish Finder, or FF2100 as it’s known, is a fishing/cruising hybrid that we first saw at the Melbourne Boat Show. We were fortunate to get the first drive of the FF2100 on a lovely day on Port Phillip Bay.
- Not what you’d expect from Whittley
Traditionally Whittley has had a reputation for comfortably fitted-out trailerable cruisers that folks could haul from one idyllic cruising ground to another and basically use as a caravan on the water.
Sure, Whittley offers fishing-friendly boats like the Sea Legend range and the Clearwater entry-level boats, but the FF2100 is something different. This boat is born out of the Whittley Cruiser range and according to Whittley offers a "comfortable alternative to cold tinnies and sparse fibreglass fishing boats. Something that could handle serious slop, provide shelter when the weather turned and had enough clever storage to hide all the gear fisher folk accumulate".
So what we end up with is a comfortable cruiser powered by a Volvo Penta V6 200hp sterndrive with a Volvo Duoprop drive that you can camp on for a weekend but that also has enough fishing extras to keep the keen dangler happy.
PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
- Furnished for fish or frolic
The Whittley FF2100 is based on the successful Whittley 2080 cruiser which retails for $XX,XXX.
Add to that package such fishing extras as integrated tackle storage under the co-pilot’s seat, rear casting/swim platform, plumbed freshwater system, convertible camper back with rocket launcher and clever cockpit canopy that flips up and forward for easy casting, a Raymarine Dragonfly6 combo unit, electric anchor winch with anchor and full chain, clip-out carpet, hidden Porta Potti head, and more.
Combine all this with the convenience of a comfortable double berth, sink under the helm seat, room for a small stove under the co-pilot’s seat, extra 12V outlets, room for a fridge under the port-side rear seat, fully-equipped helm station with instrumentation, power steering, 27meg radio, Fusion Stereo system, clip-out carpet throughout, and you have a very comfortable weekend cruiser that you can fish out of even if the going gets a bit rough.
The final price for the FF2100 with all the fish-friendly extras and a Mackay dual-axle trailer is a reasonable $XX,XXX.
LAYOUT AND ACCOMMODATION
- Good cockpit and a cosy cabin
Step onto the big casting/swim platform and it’s easy to feel the buoyancy that the FF2100 has in the rear. Even with the Volvo engine and sterdrive out the back, you could happily use this big area to fish without getting your feet wet.
Removing the squab from one of the cockpit seats creates a step for ingress and exit, and the first feeling you get from entering the cockpit is one of comfort and opulence, not necessarily of a fishing boat…
But whip out the cockpit carpet, fold back the nifty canopy, grab a couple of rods from the side pockets and stick them in the rocket launcher, fire up the Dragonfly, grab some tackle from the trays in the locker and you’re on the way to the fishing grounds – comfortably.
The helm seats are great, offering plenty of padding and lateral support, the controls fall to hand nicely and there is a full array of analogue gauges to keep you informed of what’s going on in the engine bay.
Nearby is a Fusion Stereo system, GME 27meg radio, Volvo trim tabs, a touch pad for lights, wipers, bilge pump etc and extra rocker switches for ancillary electrics. There is also really good access to fuses so you don’t have to go hunting if the lights go out.
The view from the helm is good with a small windscreen forward swept by a single wiper.
The cabin is roomy and fully lined with an infill to make a large double bed. The Porta Potti is under the cabin seat on the starboard side and it can be optioned up as a pump-out or even electric item.
There is storage along the sides of the cabin and more storage under the bunks.
Our test boat had a canvas zip-up curtain to separate the cabin from the cockpit.
There’s no real walk-around decks but there is a big forward hatch should you need to go forward. This shouldn’t be too often as the electric anchor winch is operated from the helm.
HULL AND CONSTRUCTION
- Solid construction and easily-driven hull
Construction of the hull utilises a fibreglass stringer structure which is one big moulding filled with foam. The engine bay is also created in one moulding including the engine mounts, thereby making fitment easy and accurate.
The hull itself is a proven design, about eight years old by our reckon, with reverse chines and a moderate deadrise of around 19 degrees. It all comes together nicely and provides a strong-feeling boat that feels heavier than it really is (a bit over 1000kg dry in standard configuration with inboard).
ON THE WATER
- A solid rig with bite!
Our day on Port Phillip was one out of the box; a day that you don’t often get in Melbourne – flat.
While perfectly flat water is a great for family cruising, it isn’t the best to test the heavy-weather characteristics of a boat. That said, we did to give the FF2100 a pretty good workout.
While the 2100 isn’t over-powered, it is quite capable of doing some pretty good speeds. Wide open throttle is 4600rpm and we saw just under 40 knots on the analogue gauge at that speed, we were chewing through around 59 litres/hour.
However, we found a more subdued cruise at around 3200rpm showing 22 knots where fuel consumption was a more reasonable 25 litres/hour. The boat has a 100 litre tank, so 90 per cent of that will give you a safe cruising range of about 80nm. In other words, this is more your bay snapper, squid and flattie catcher and family cruiser than offshore weapon.
At a fast cruise with the motor spinning freely at 4000rpm we were powering across the Bay at 31 knots using in the region of 38 litres/hour. Or you could lope along at a leisurely 2700rpm still on the plane at 17 or 18 knots sipping just under 20 litres/hour.
With the Duoprop, the boat will hang on to the plane at low speeds depending on the conditions and return over 100 miles from the 100-litre tank.
In the handling department the FF2100 is great. The combination of the hull design and the Duoprop means that the boat really grips the water in tight turns. It also tracks straight and the standard power steering gives plenty of assistance but doesn’t feel overly light as some systems are prone to do.
Over the little bumps that we did find on the day, the Whittley felt solid as its construction suggests. The boat weighs in at around 1400kg on the water with fuel and water so it is a pretty solid rig and can obviously punch through adverse conditions.
- A versatile package for the cruising angler
While the Whittley FF2100 probably won’t be seen at too many serious fishing tournaments around the country, it is a great package for a fish-friendly family or a weekending couple who want to catch their evening meal.
Dad and the kids? Grand-dad and the grand kids? That’s where we could see the FF2100 firing.
It’s a comfortable, safe and reasonably economical package both to buy and to run. At around 1600kg on a trailer it can be towed by a large sedan or medium-sized SUV and it shouldn’t be too hard to launch and retrieve.
With a couple of options, you can stay out for a night or two at your favourite bay or lake, then tow the Whittley home or put it in the stacker until next time the weather is favourable and the fish are on the bite.
>> Big enough for weekends, small enough to tow
>> Proven manufacturer with solid backup
>> Great handling from hull and Duo Prop combo
>> Will hold its value
Overall rating: 4.56/5.0
Packaging and practicality: 4.7/5.0
On the water Performance: 4.7/5.0
Value for money: 4.6/5.0
Price: $XX,XXX Including dual-axle Mackay trailer, registration and safety gear
Hull length: 5.3m
Dry weight: Approx. 1200kg (test boat)
Towing weight: 1750kg (approx. dry)
Deadrise: 19 degrees
Maximum power: 200hp
Engine as tested: Volvo Penta 200hp V6 with DuoProp
Fuel: 100 litres
Freshwater: 43 litres
Maximum Persons: Six
Whittley Marine Group
99 Freight Drive
Somerton Victoria 3062
- Geoff Middleton
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