BOAT REVIEW White Pointer 970 Pro Sportsman Overdraft

July 2024 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words by John Eichelsheim. Photography & video by Roger Mills.
OUR RATING
4.5 STARS
Performance
Economy
Handling
Value
Build Quality
Specification
MODEL DETAILS
MODEL White Pointer 970 Pro Sportsman
DESIGNER White Pointer Boats
BUILDER White Pointer Boats
PRICE AS TESTED $700,000
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 9.7M
BEAM 2.9M
DRAFT 0.7M
DISPLACEMENT 5000kg
ENGINE 1 x Volvo Penta D6-440A Volvo Penta DPI sterndrive
FUEL CAPACITY 700L
WATER CAPACITY 150L
Passenger Capacity 6 people
DEADRISE 18 degrees
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Exceptional build quality, heavy-duty scantlings
  • Predictable handling, soft ride. effortless progress in a seaway
  • Fishing cockpit
OBSERVATIONS
  • Economical cruising across a wide range of speeds
  • Good looking vessel
  • Low centre of gravity equals excellent stability
  • Humphree trim system is lightning fast

The 970 Pro Sportsman is White Pointer Boat’s premium blue water sportfishing model. With 40 boats of this design built to date, the latest – Overdraft, launched October last year – is expertly crafted for serious angling and superb offshore performance.


Based in newly built facility in Gisborne, White Pointer Boats, with Rex Briant at the helm, has been custom-building high-quality aluminium trailer boats for 32 years, constantly expanding, developing and improving the range. With more than 600 boats between 6.2m and 10.5m delivered so far, White Pointer has earned the respect of discerning customers in New Zealand and Australia, attracting a loyal and ever growing following for its high-quality, rugged and totally dependable aluminium trailer boats. Many customers are on their third or fourth White Pointer boat.

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Although trailerable, Overdraft lives in the Coromandel seaside town of Whangamata, where she occupies a berth in the town’s marina partway up the river estuary. With 140 hours already on the engine, she’s often out enjoying the adjacent waters or chasing gamefish further offshore.
We met up with White Pointer’s Rex and Angus Briant and Tauranga Volvo Penta agent Coastline Marine’s Ben Quin early on a fine winter’s morning in Whangamata.
Essentially a large day boat, Overdraft is nonetheless well capable of overnight expeditions and longer. With generous v-berths in the forward cabin, plus an extra pipe/sling berth, and the ability to sleep another in the wheelhouse by converting the dinette to a single berth – the solid timber table can be raised and lowered electrically – she can sleep four.
There’s a toilet between the v-berths forward, hidden under the infill squabs, a small 12V fridge under the dinette seating and a large fridge-freezer in the cockpit against the bulkhead, as well as a compact galley. Diesel heating, including windscreen demisting – required on our early morning departure – and diesel cooking (a Wallas cooktop and oven/grill) ensure safer, simpler single fuel operation (no LPG).


We departed Whitianga as the sun was coming up with six adults on board and a full load of fuel and water (700 litres and 150 litres respectively). The crew spread itself around the vessel, some sitting inside and others occupying the padded seat against the cockpit bulkhead, sheltered under the hardtop overhang and canvas awning. At no point during the day did the boat feel crowded.
Once safely over the shallow estuary bar, Rex opened the throttle and pointed Overdraft into the swells rolling into the bay. This 970 is fitted with a single 440hp Volvo Penta D6-440-A diesel engine and Volvo’s new DPI sterndrive, but Rex reckons the 970 goes well with any of the D6 engines in the Volvo Penta range, from 330hp to 440hp.


The engine installation is superb – the engine box fits snugly to maximise cockpit space, but by hinging aft still provides excellent access to all the service points. White Pointer has installed hundreds of Volvo Penta diesel engines over the years.
Of course, as with most sterndrives the engine box takes up cockpit real estate, but White Pointer has turned what could have been wasted space into a practical workstation by bolting a large bait/rigging/fish processing table, a fish bin and an aft-facing seat to the engine box cover. The seat is perfect for sitting and watching the lures while trolling.
The U-Dek lined cockpit is spacious with high gunwales and wide coamings. Sump pumps in the corners take care of water on deck and deep gutters around the engine box drain into the bilge keeping water out of the engine compartment. The bait table and ice box drain into the bilge via concealed hoses.


The 970’s engine box doesn’t extend all the way to the stern, which allows unobstructed access right across the transom, although there is a slightly raised tunnel on the floor to accommodate the new DPI sterndrive, which is taller than older units.
This tunnel can be removed for a flat floor, but it allows shorter crew to reach the water more easily and also maximises road clearance under the propellers when on the trailer. The 970 is designed for a lower centre of gravity, so the floor is lower than White Pointer’s larger 10m weekender expedition versions.
This 970 Pro Sportsman is fully fitted out for game fishing, as well as inshore and offshore sport fishing. An additional bait board sits atop the live bait tank in the transom and the vessel has rod holders to burn, a useful rocket launcher, outboard hand washers either side, cup/sinker holders set into the gunwales and elsewhere, carbon game poles, and XOS tuna tubes in the rear corners. Premium stainless-steel rod holders (four each side) are by Exploding Fish, adjustable for trolling angle; there are four heavy-current 12V electric reel outlets, two of them hidden inside the cockpit’s covered side pockets, a second tier of side shelves contoured to accept dive bottles, and premium folding stainless cleats all round.

A second helm station above the sink and rubbish bin on the starboard side is useful when dealing with large fish or backing into a berth. A small, solid aluminium custom wheel takes care of the electric steering while a bow thruster helps with berthing.
The clever transom door doubles as boarding steps with an extendable ladder – great for diving and big enough to drag a marlin through. The door opens outwards (downwards, actually), so there is no danger of it opening accidentally when the boat is backing up. Anglers battling big fish will appreciate the way the sterndrive is tucked away under the transom, where it’s less likely to catch fishing lines.


The Pro Sportsman’s stern is stylishly curved, which may or may not contribute to how well the boat backs up, but it certainly adds to the 970’s good looks, as does the coved and painted double-rail aluminium bow rail (with bow ladder).
After a brief detour to jig a pinnacle, we made our way to Slipper Island, where we tried a bit of soft bait fishing in the wash before anchoring up to cook and eat a hearty breakfast courtesy of the Wallas. The bacon butties were superb.

The galley workd well, catering for the six of us, and I like the solid timber bench and cabinets, which nicely complement the dinette table. Plenty of drawers, too. The dinette seats four – the front seat has a reversible backrest, so it’s also good when travelling. No shortage of grab rails on this boat either, ensuring there’s always something to hold onto underway, and timber surfaces have rounded edges – appreciated in rough conditions.
With 12-15 knots of wind from the southeast, sea conditions were a bit sloppy for our review with a wind chop overlaying a metre and a half of swell. Things were comfortable enough on the way out though, with the seas on the aft starboard quarter. The big White Pointer shouldered the waves aside, tracking straight and furnishing us with a plush, quiet ride. We set the Volvo Penta DPI integrated autopilot (electric steering) at 20 knots and let the five-tonne boat do its thing, helped along by the lightning-fast Humphree trim system, also set to automatic.

The vessel’s performance report shows a real sweet spot between 20 and 25 knots where the fuel burn is identical at just 1.5 litres per nautical mile; it’s still under 2.0lph at 30 knots. Maximum engine torque is at 2500 rpm, which is why the boat conquers a seaway so effortlessly at 20-21 knots; at 22 knots engine load is just 50%.
The helm station features a supportive Captain’s chair, re-upholstered inhouse in black leather, and an expansive dashboard with room for any number of electronic displays. Overdraft has a single 16-inch Furuno MFD, plus the usual array of switches, gauges and the Volvo engine digital display, which still leaves plenty of empty space. The VHF and digital stereo head unit are housed overhead.
There’s good support from the seat and footrest when driving sitting down, and from the fold down bolster when driving standing up. Vision ahead through the three-pane toughened glass windscreen (two washer-wipers) and through the sliding side windows is excellent, while a pair of clear glass overhead hatches afford light and extra ventilation. A single pane, pillarless screen is under development.


A huge electric cavity window and bi-fold cabin doors open the wheelhouse to the cockpit. The canopy means they can be left open most of the time but closing them makes for a quieter journey where normal conversation inside the wheelhouse is easy.
Fed and watered and with the bulk of the photography taken care of, we began the return journey, stopping along the way to try our luck live-baiting for kingfish around bait schools we encountered. We used Volvo Penta’s low speed trolling mode to creep around them at one or two knots, a very cool function of the DPI drive.
The seas were pretty much on the nose for the return journey, but Overdraft shrugged them off, and with Rex at the helm pushing us along a bit, we made good speed through a confused sea.

The ride remained remarkably comfortable, even when we launched off some of the bigger waves – I kept waiting for the boat to slap or thump but was disappointed every time. And while there was enough spray to keep the windscreen wipers busy, inside the wheelhouse everyone was relaxed, comfortable and warm.
There is no doubt the 970 is a very capable sea boat. A large, stable vessel offering exceptional performance, a smooth ride and predictable handling, it inspires confidence and feels as solid as a rock.

Anybody stepping aboard Overdraft would be impressed by the flawless welding, smooth coving and high-quality fairing and paint. But it’s not until you experience the 970 in its natural element that it’s true character emerges – it will tackle any sort of coastal and offshore exploration you throw at it with ease, and any sort of recreation.
An admirable expression of aluminium boat building excellence.

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