by Dom Wiseman

It is not often that you step aboard something that blends the old with the new so seamlessly, yet, the Whitehaven Harbour Classic 40 beautifully moulds yesteryear performance car styling with the traditional look of a Maine Lobster Trawler.

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The Whitehaven Harbour Classic is a first time platform for the relatively new company and it’s destined to be a standout at the upcoming Sydney Boat Show held from August 1st to the 5th. It will surely take pride of place on the marina and will no doubt get a few looks given the striking Peacock hull colour.

The Whitehaven Company was established by Keith Hanson to fill what he believed was a niche in the market for high-end boats that would reflect their owners’ visions. The boats are built in Taiwan with Keith’s son, Ryan overseeing the team of boat builders. More recently, Bruce Scott, a previous owner, has bought into the company. Each bring a unique flair to what is a very unique boat brand.

It is hard not to fall in love with the idea of extra-long weekends, with just yourself and someone special on-board. After all, there is some sense of escape and romanticism one gets just by looking at the boat itself. It is stunningly styled, yet modern, and perfect for two.

This is a classic day boat with a twist. It is supremely comfortable in with an old school feel with the centrepiece being the aft deck or cockpit with plenty of room and seating for eight. The design cleverly allows multiple roof options overhead, giving owners the option to choose from a solid roof that extends over the entire cockpit, a shorter version if you’re a sun-lover or a short version with a retractable sunroof to cover all bases.

Whitehaven Harbour Classic 40

The hull lines are classically Lobster Trawler, yet modernised with a little nip and tuck here and there to give it possibly even more timeless appeal than the original design already had. The roofline is also blended perfectly with the rest of the hull. New Zealander, Bill Upfold is the genius behind the hull while closer to home, Misha Merzliakov poured his heart and soul into the modernising of this classic. It’s hard not to be caught up in his excitement as he guides us through the design process. Everything has a purpose and is designed to maximise comfort with style the overriding concern. The boat flows with individual design elements anchoring one part to the next.

Merzliakov is based in Brisbane and has traditionally designed large motor yachts both here and overseas. You can see the enthusiasm in the design and listening to him, it sounds like he has borrowed design elements from all over the place. There is a chance that such an approach could deliver a Jekyll and Hyde result, but like a mad scientist, he has mixed the elements together with a fine touch.

There is a stunning single cabin that further conveys the romantic escape that this boat embodies. It sits at the bow combines just the right amount of timber and panel embroidery to give it that upmarket Bentley feel. For a boat like this I would like a door on my main berth, yet without it, there is so much more open space and feel to the cabin. And with two the focus, who needs doors.

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The entry to the cabin is located adjacent to the helm. A set of timber stairs with upturned edges guides you down to the galley to the port side and head to starboard. Behind the stairs, running under the helm area is a double bed, again with panel stitching bringing the rooms together.

Natural light abounds and a wide entrance ensures that while you are downstairs, you can still enjoy open sight to the helm. The galley will keep you satisfied for days, so while this may seem like a day boat, leisurely escapes on the water are still well within reach.

Underpinning the boat in standard guise will be a single Volvo D6 480hp shaft drive with ZF gearbox. The first boat built has received an engine upgrade in the form of a Cummins Q6.7 550hp engine. It is quiet and unassuming and the performance perfectly suits the leisurely nature of the Harbour Classic 40 and will see you cruising from bay to bay in comfort. It is no slouch though. A mid 20 knot capability will allow you to zip from place to place quickly should you need it. I doubt anyone will. It is all about leisurely and romantic cruising.

To counter the single screw, the boat comes with joystick control offering the tight control required when berthing or pulling into a marina. Just leaving the Darling Harbour marina showed just how useful it was executing a 90 degree turn with precision.

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Each of these boats will be very much personalised vessels. Yet the highlight. I believe, on each will be the aft cockpit. It is warm and inviting with space and an openness that seems obvious but is lacking on some other boats in this style. It is simply perfect for our waterways, be that Sydney Harbour, The Broadwater, Gippsland Lakes or Swan River.

Entertainers will delight over the Whitehaven Harbour Classic 40, but this kind of style comes with a price tag around the one million dollar mark, so prepare yourself.