BOAT REVIEW Whittley CW 1600 Cuddy

October 2016 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words by John Eichelsheim Photos by Leon Rose
MODEL Whittley CW 1600 Cuddy
DESIGNER Whittley Boats
BUILDER Whittley Boats
LOA 5.0M
BEAM 2.14M
ENGINE Yamaha 70hp four-stroke
Weight on Trailer 700 kg
Passenger Capacity 4 people
  • Compact and light
  • Easy to handle and tow
  • Versatile layout
  • Needs only modest power
  • Supplied on Kiwi-built trailer
  • Entry-level Whittley
  • Built in Australia
  • No cockpit liner
  • Optiona 70l tank eats into cockpit space
  • Good alternative to a small alloy boat

Australia’s Whittley Boats is best known for its cruisers – family-sized cabin boats with sterndrives. But the company also builds a range of outboard-powered craft, including the entry-level CW 1600, now available in New Zealand.

The five-metre CW 1600 (Clear Water) is one of the Whittley models Bensemann Boating Centre is marketing in New Zealand. It represents a sector that’s no longer well-represented locally: modestly-sized, affordable GRP cuddy cabin boats. Such craft were once the mainstay of power-boating in this country, but there are now few
locally-built competitors for the Whittley.
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The basic version is a simple, entry-level boat, but the factory offers a comprehensive range of equipment options. With an all-up towing weight of around 700kg, the CW 1600 is a manageable towing proposition for many family sedans and smaller SUVs.
Bensemann Boating Centre sells the CW 1600 on a New Zealand-built Voyager trailer rather than an Australian-made factory trailer to avoid any maintenance or parts supply issues. The Voyager is an unbraked, single-axle, multi-roller model in galvanised steel with LED lights and a manual winch.
The CW 1600 has no cockpit liner, making do with Flo-coat on the interior, and no anchor locker, but it does have a moulded live bait tank and a decent-sized optional 70-litre PVC fuel tank tucked under the outboard well at the transom.
This gives a decent range though it does impinge slightly on cockpit space. The battery box is located on the floor under the transom on the port side and the isolation switch is easy to access.
Standard fittings include a pair of stainless steel cleats aft, a stainless steel fairlead in the bows, stainless steel bow rails, four stainless steel rod holders, two stainless drink holders and a couple of towing hooks in the transom. A manually switched bilge pump along the keel at the transom is also standard equipment.
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The cuddy cabin’s moulded helm console is really only big enough for basic engine gauges and switches. If you want a fishfinder or VHF radio, you’ll have to bracket-mount them on the dashboard, or tuck the VHF around the corner in the cabin.
A split windscreen gives walk-through access to the bows via a large GRP forward hatch. Short v-berths provide somewhere for the kids to take a nap and storage in wrap-around side and bow shelves.
Foam filling between the hull and cabin liner provides positive buoyancy and a bit of sound insulation forwards. The anchor and warp is probably best stored in a bin or box on the bow shelf.
The cuddy cabin has a nice spacious feel, thanks to the open bulkhead, side windows and bright marine vinyl upholstery. Vinyl is also used for the cockpit side panels, corner seats and swivelling pedestal seats. The rear seats are removable, along with the optional marine carpet in the cockpit.
Swivelling seats lack fore and aft adjustment but are comfortable enough. A lightweight aluminium tube and canvas bimini provides a bit of weather protection with optional clears and side windows available for winter boating.
A rocket launcher is not an option, leaving the four through-coaming rod holders and a pair of old school glass-encapsulated plywood rod racks each side of the cockpit for fishing rod stowage. The cockpit side shelves can also accommodate long items.
The cockpit offers plenty of fishing space, especially with the corner seats removed. The live bait tank can be plumbed as an option, and the optional bait board will remove the temptation to cut bait on the live bait tank’s PVC lid. The boarding ladder and bolt-on swim steps are factory options as well. Customers can opt for one
platform or two and elect which side they want the ladder.
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Cockpit gunwale heights provide enough security and freeboard for the conditions such a modest-sized boat is likely to operate in and fishers will appreciate its generous toe-room. Stability at rest is pretty good, too, though again, this is not a big boat so it heels over somewhat when you line up two big blokes up along one side of the cockpit.
The Whittley CW1600 is rated for outboards up to 90hp and a maximum weight of 175kg. The review boat was fitted with a Yamaha 70hp four-stroke. This engine offers a good compromise between performance and economy, but if it’s more speed you are after the 90hp might be the better bet. According to the GPS on my
iPhone, we managed 31.3 knots at 6,000rpm with the 70hp Yamaha.
Two-up, the Whittley CW1600 performs smartly and handles nicely. Cable steering is standard on this model and the boat answers the helm precisely. Steering effort is minimal and there’s good communication from the wheel. While hydraulic steering is an option, for the extra cost it’s hardly worthwhile on a boat of this size.
The ride is pretty decent. We had a reasonable amount of wind chop to contend with on the upper Waitemata Harbour and some big pressure waves as well, but the CW 1600 took it all in stride. A combination of moulded hull strakes and wide, turned down chines result in a dry boat.
This is a handy little all-rounder that drives well. Big enough for a family of four, it also has a useful work area in the cockpit for fishing with a little bit of sit-down comfort and shelter in the cuddy if the kids want to get out of the weather. The optional 70-litre PVC fuel tank offers a useful capacity advantage over a pair tote tanks and is translucent enough to easily monitor the fuel level.
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Supplied on a good quality New Zealand-built trailer, the Whittley CW 1600 appears to offer good value, easily holding its own in a fairly narrow field of similar-sized GRP trailer boats. It stacks up nicely as a first boat or an alternative to a similar-sized aluminium boat, with arguably better lines and a smoother, quieter ride.
Base packages start at a very attractive $39,500, but as always the price quickly climbs if you dip too deeply into the options bin.
As reviewed the Whittley CW 1600 retails for $41,995.


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