By Freddy Foote

by Holly Dukeson

Gone Walkabout

With well over 600 boats now on the water in their 30-years of custom alloy boat building, White Pointer has always been at the forefront of the market. Freddy Foote headed to Tauranga to check out this custom 870, hull #2 from their Walkaround range.

If you want a hardcore fishing boat, fully custom to suit your requirements, then White Pointer should always be in the forefront of your mind. Started by Rex Briant, Rex has been building market leading custom alloy boats for 30-years, in-fact, slightly longer than that, but more on that later. When boat owner Andrew Thompson met with Rex Briant and Tony Bourke at White Pointer Boats to start discussing the build of his 870 Walkaround, the overwhelming design parameters were that it had to be practical. The boat didn’t need all of the ‘frills’, but just had to be functional, easy to maintain, and most of all be practical to use. Having had a number of other alloy boats over the years, this is Andrew’s first White Pointer. “I’d always been impressed with the build quality, and functionality of the White Pointers. But the most important thing for me was the practicality of the boat. It had to be practical,” commented Andrew during our excursion out to Mayor Island off the Tauranga Coast. This is the second 870 Walkaround to come out of the White Pointer factory in Gisborne, the first hull, launched a year ago, was powered by a Volvo Penta D4/320hp with a DPI leg.

Wide Load 

One thing you need to understand immediately about the 870 WA, is that it’s big, real big. It is based on White Pointers 8.40m – 8.70m platform with a wide 2.75m beam. Yep, you’re going to need those little yellow flags to tow this rig down the road. 

With a tow weight of around 4500KG, Andrew placed an order for a Chevrolet Silverado 2500 before taking delivery of the boat, one of the only vehicles on the market capable of towing this beast around the country. And tow it around the country he has. Exploring the coastal waters of the Far North, West Coast of the central North Island and the Coromandel. 

Where things get interesting, that within this sizeable hull, White Pointer has simply dropped in the standard cabin from their 700 model. The roofline remaining much the same as the 700, albeit extended. 

This makes the 870 a true walkaround, the deeply recessed bulwarks allow safe passage around the wheelhouse to the open bow area. Navigating forward and around the boat, there is plenty of room, the bulwarks are wide enough that you can actually turn around and walk back the other way, and handrails on the wheelhouse provide that extra feeling of security.

Navigate your way to the foredeck area and there is ample space to cast some lures or baits, or if you have found yourself up there having hooked a large fish from the cockpit. Aft of each bulwark is a grill and sump, so any water that does run down the side deck is expelled overboard before reaching the cockpit. 

Back in the cockpit aft, there is a full width boarding platform with a safety cage all around. This adds great security when fishing in a rough sea and gives you room to fish in each corner should you wish, or for a crew member to assist with bringing aboard a large fish. There are two drop down ladders that form part of the railing on either side, with twin live bait tanks built into the walkthrough in port and starboard corners. 

In the centre of the transom is a large custom bait station. However, bear in mind this is just one option, the bait station can be custom designed to suit your fishing needs. 

Running below each wide cockpit coaming are long rod storage trays, with optional hinged covers that hide away the clutter, plus rod racks, a knee operated hand wash and rod /gaff holders. 

Under the Boat-Deck covered cockpit sole is an extralarge kill tank with a lift-out bin. A smaller secondary hatch means you don’t have to open the entire floor panel to drop your fish in.

A fresh water system with pull out hose is mounted in the starboard side of the cockpit, which in turn is fed by a large 85L water tank. 

When you are in the cockpit, what was quite evident were the high cockpit sides – 750mm deck to gunwale, giving a very secure and safe feeling. Stability at rest was also exceptional. 

Roomy Wheelhouse 

Despite being a Walkaround model, the wheelhouse area was still surprisingly roomy. The wheelhouse features ample seating for the skipper and passengers, a fridge/ freezer under the bench seat on the port side, further storage under the opposing seating area to starboard. Forward there is a comfortable captain’s chair at the helm, and another one opposite for a passenger. Large sliding side windows either side provide plenty of extra ventilation and airflow. It was a hot February day on our test, and while trolling lures, we all remained relatively cool. 

Depending on your preference, the driving position is multi-purpose. Seated, bolstered or standing, you have great visibility, with sliding side windows letting in fresh air ventilation. 

A 16” Furuno MFD is flanked by the Zipwake interceptor controls, Above is a VHF and Fusion sound system with 10” subwoofer. The lockable cuddy cabin comes with a 2m v-berth and infill to make one large berth. There is storage under the squabs and a head under the forward bunk

Twin Outboard Power 

The power options for the 870 WA are essentially wide open. The recommended outboard is between 300hp and 500hp, this one powered by twin 250hp Suzuki’s as per the owners request. With the twin 250hp Suzuki’s, the 870 WA ‘Downtime’ was no slouch, achieving a top speed of 47 knots. At a sedate cruise of 23 knots at 3200rpm, the boat was using 43LPH across both motors. Combine that with the 500L fuel tank, and that gives the boat a cruising range of 230 Nautical Miles. 

During our test day we trolled some lures around Mayor Island off the Bay of Plenty Coast, without success in hooking up, however a glance at the Suzuki instruments saw that at 7.5knots at 1800rpm, we were using 22LPH. Test day conditions were fairly calm, in fact you could have water-skied all the way to the Mercury Islands. However, conditions did worsen later in the day with a late afternoon breeze picking up and developing a very slight chop. However, nothing too severe that it was going to impact the comfort of those onboard. 

Aboard the 870, the boat feels incredibly strong and solid. Like all White Pointers, the hull shape is a key factor in the brand. Briant has continued his traditional method of shaping the hull skin over a predetermined interlocking frame and girder type structure. Combined with a welding sequence he can produce a rounded compound curve hull shape that squeezes the water out rather than slapping over the top. “This process can only be achieved on a heavy steel jig as the force and technique to shape up to 8mm plate is so immense. This process is a more traditional method and not followed by the well-known production builders. There are other boats out there that behave like a ‘cork’ on the water. A White Pointer is and always will be a solid blue water performer.” “This sets us clearly apart.”

Overall, I loved the 870 WA. Being a walkaround, I felt you didn’t lose any internal volume in the wheelhouse, you still had a sizeable cockpit, but you also gained more ‘fish fighting’ real estate forward. 

30-Years of Alloy Building 

White Pointer is currently celebrating 30-years of alloy boat building, well almost. The company will be releasing a new ‘30-Year Anniversary’ 745 Sport Cruiser model, to be released for the first time at the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show, May 16-19. However, it’s not quite a 30-year model. 

“The boat was intended to be released two years ago, but we’ve been so busy building other customer boats, we had to put it on the back burner, so you could say it’s actually our ’32-Year Anniversary’ model,” quipped Rex. “After over 30 years of custom alloy boat building, and over 600 boats having left our Gisborne factory, we are excited to do something a little bit special.” “We’re so excited for this new model, especially the guys in the factory who are making this boat their own. It’s not often we get to start with a clean sheet of paper, but after 30-years, we want to make this boat something really special. We’re excited to unveil it in Auckland in May.” 

I think that summarises owning a WhitePointer. 30+ years of passion for boat building, and craftsmanship. White Pointer is a boat brand that people aspire to own. I have friends who have bought them over the years and it always comes with an essence of pride and excitement to own one. What’s more, a second generation of Briant has recently joined the family business, with Rex’s son Angus now working day to day in the factory and set to lead the business into the coming decades. You can check out the 870 Walkaround ‘Downtime’ at the upcoming NZ Boat Show in May, along with the ’32-year 745 Anniversary’ model.


  • Make & Model: White Pointer 870 WA
  • Price as tested: $474,983
  • Type: Walkaround
  • Construction: Aluminium
  • LOA: 8.7m
  • Beam: 2.75m
  • Deadrise: 18- degree
  • Trailerable weight: 4500kg
  • Test Power: 2 x Suzuki 250 Four-stroke
  • Power options: Outboard/Sterndrive
  • HP Range: 300hp-500hp
  • Fuel Capacity: 500L
  • Trailer: Tandem Axle
  • Manufacturer: White Pointer




KnotsL/hL/NMRange  (NM)

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