It’s a bold move launching a new brand into the market, but even more so when that involves building not just one but three models. The Whitehaven 6000 Coupe is the second of a trio of new boats built by Whitehaven Motor Yachts and the first of their none flybridge series. Barry Thompson checks out the latest arrival.
Last year I had the privilege of flying to Taiwan and reviewing Whitehaven’s Flybridge 6000, their inaugural model and commented then how impressed I was at the company’s first offering. Mind you I sort of expected nothing less, knowing the man behind the project and his long standing reputation and experience in the boating industry. Whitehaven Motor Yachts is headed by the affable Keith Hanson, who has a passion for his new brand that reflects in every aspect of his boats as well as his personal commitment to making the brand as perfect as possible.
“The point of difference between Whitehaven and our competitors is that we offer a lot more in the standard package for a better price, with a finish, style and presentation that is second to none”, says Keith.
However, value for money and quality of build are just part of the package. These are coupled with an outstanding performance, which gives the Whitehaven 6000 an edge over its competition.
Built in Taiwan at the Kaohsiung based yard of New Ocean Yachts, the Whitehaven 6000 Coupe is based on the same hull as the 6000 Flybridge, but without the enclosed bridge.
“The reaction to the Coupe at the Expo was superb and in fact better than I was expecting, because the volume and the elevation of the boat is such that it satisfies people who are maybe dedicated to flybridge only, but can now see the 6000 Coupe as more than just a compromise between the two styles.
“We offer a robust bluewater coupe that provides everything a flybridge does and more”, says Keith.
Ryan Hanson, who manages the boat building projects in Taiwan for Whitehaven Motor Yachts, explained that they now have three models based on the 19.6m hull platform, the Flybridge, the Coupe and the soon to be launched Sunbridge.
“We will be following this with a 20.11m Bluewater 6600, which features an extended cockpit and mezzanine, plus there are plans for a smaller 16.5m Flybridge and Coupe 5500, which will bring the range to six models”, added Ryan. More are already in the design stages. Released at the recent Gold Coast Expo, the Whitehaven 6000 Coupe was unquestionably one of the star attractions on the marina and attracted considerable interest. While Keith admits they didn’t sign any deals at the show, he was confident that orders for both the new Coupe and the Flybridge would follow.
Like the Flybridge, the mezzanine of the Coupe is all about entertaining and has been set up the same with an aft seat with a teak table. Moulded units with Corian surfaces conceal a bbq fitted to the starboard side and a drawer type fridge/freezer opposite. There is also an aft helm station complete with Yacht Controller joystick, a drop down 32” TV that comes out of the roof and the whole area is illuminated by a Hella floodlight.
Access to the boarding platform is either side of the central seating, where there is a separate door to the engine room and boot for the tender garage. This is big enough for a 3.2m AB RIB and Honda 20hp outboard, which is easily launched on a roller system. There is an option of a hi/low platform if preferred and then the dinghy garage can be converted into a massive storage space. A very cool option ($AU18300) in the cockpit is the Sureshade electrically operated rear awning extension, which extends the overhead shade by over 2m. Made from a durable Sunbrella material, this stayless awning retracts back into the moulded roof and is hidden from sight when not in use.
What you experience when entering the interior sets the tone and with the Coupe you will not be disappointed. It has that wow factor, with a modern contemporary interior, in sync with the beach house mood the designers wanted to achieve. The light Oak timbers, offset with the darker sole and light coloured fabrics provide a friendly and fun atmosphere, which make this a pleasant place to be. If Oak is too light for you, then there are plenty of other options for interior timbers, such as Walnut or Teak as well as some very interesting blends.
The same easy transition between exterior and interior spaces which was so evident on the flybridge has been carried through in the Coupe. Access to the boarding platform is either side of the central seating, where there is a separate door to the engine room and boot for the tender garage. This is big enough for a 3.2m AB RIB and Honda 20hp outboard, which is easily launched on a roller system. There is an option of a hi/low platform if preferred and then the dinghy garage can be converted into a massive storage space. The most obvious difference between the Coupe and the Flybridge is the Coupe has a forward sliding sunroof and two rear skylights. When the sunroof is open, it certainly creates a gander feeling of space. There’s also no staircase and the forward lounge space now includes a helm. With the ability to customise the interior layout, you can do just about anything you like. With the staircase eliminated from the Coupe, this has allowed a better utilisation of space, such as bigger galley.
While the Flybridge had one full-width lounge area forward, the Coupe still offers much the same space but has split the settee layout into two areas, one opposite the galley, the other opposing the helm.
The galley layout includes a Corian surfaced plating island with storage drawers below, a household size fridge/freezer/icemaker combo, deep pull out storage, white Franke sink units and F&P curved range hood.
Add to that a four burner hob, microwave oven and dish drawer and you have everything you need. This is a boat that you are unquestionably going to spend a lot of time aboard entertaining, hence the 42” pop-up TV and Bose stereo system. I liked the fact the TV can be swivelled and positioned so it can be viewed just about from anywhere. It’s one step up to the forward saloon, complete with a U shape settee and fixed dining table to port and the helm opposite, with twin Besenzoni helm seats. The dash is a mix of stitched leather, fabric and carbon fibre inlays that encompass all the electronics and navigational equipment.
The electronics and equipment packages are owner’s choice, with the Coupe fitted with a pair of Raymarine E 120 Hybrid touch screens surrounded by all the necessary instrumentation, controls and navigational displays. Standard in the stock boat package is a Yacht Controller complete with remote, plus fore and aft Vetus thrusters, and Twin Disc Quick Shift gearboxes. Again, being a semi-custom boat just how you style and equip the dash layout is up to you.
I have to say I loved the Yacht Controller, which makes manoeuvering the big Whitehaven an effortless task. With a simple movement of the hand, the Yacht Controller Joystick JCS allows simultaneous operation of the engines and of the bow and stern thrusters, enabling you to manoeuver and move the boat in any direction securely, precisely, and simply, with total ease.
Full Beam Master
If there is one area that has not changed it is the accommodation spaces forward, with an identical three cabin, two bathroom design in all three 6000 models. Customisation will allow you to change all that, such as opting for the two cabin layout, with the third being converted to a utility room for additional storage.
The master stateroom exemplifies the versatile use of available space, with a king size island berth, flush mount 40” TV, extra large cedar-lined wardrobe, lounge and full-length bureau with lift-up case and mirror. There is extra storage in bedside drawer units, under the bed and hanging lockers. Large signature side windows with open ports while providing natural light and ventilation, also give a panoramic view.
The port stateroom comes standard with two extra large single high/low bunks, but with the option of a third drop-down berth should you need more space for young children. There’s a generous size hanging locker, opening port and like all the cabins have individualised air con.
Forward, the guest VIP has a queen size centre berth which thanks to the fullness of the bow means the berth doesn’t have to be raised to maintain its full width at the head. Storage is provided under the berth and in various hanging lockers and shelves throughout the cabin. Twin opening ports and an overhead hatch offer plenty of light.
The two bathrooms, the forward one being shared by the guest cabins, feature a similar Italian tiled décor and arrangement, which reflects the continuity and understated elegance of the design. Shower stalls with frameless glass doors and teak floors, rain showers, Corian vanity surfaces and raised porcelain bowls feature in both the private master and VIP en-suites.
When talking to Keith about the performance he is quick to point out that the 6000 has been deliberately badged as a coupe and not a sport yacht, as the intention was never for a 30 knot plus boat. With this in mind, a pair of MTU60/825hp gives the 6000 Coupe a very respectable 27.5-knot speed. If you do want to crack the magic 30 knots, then a pair of 1000hp – 1200hp engines will easily achieve that and more.
Interestingly, the first 6000 Sunbridge has been powered with a pair of Cat C18 ACERTS/1150hp, as Keith regards this as more of a ‘sports’ model.
The underwater sections of the 6000 feature a deep forefoot, wide planning strikes and a warped chine. It’s a very ‘slippery’ boat that glides onto the plane with little bow attitude and reaches maximum rpm very quickly. The 5.33m beam makes it wider on the waterline than any of its competitors and with the extra wide chines retains a very level attitude when turning, even at high speed. The hull design and styling of the Whitehaven 6000 is a collaboration of ideas by Keith and son Ryan, in association with New Ocean Yachts resident naval architect, Jason Kao
Man with Experience
Experience counts and Keith has that in abundance. His ability to understand what the market wants and just how to present a boat, be it flybridge, coupe or sunbridge style has come from years of hard graft in buying and selling boats. His hands on experience includes navigating around Australia, driving boats to New Guinea and racing offshore powerboats boats all over the world.
While the Whitehaven range is still somewhat conventional, rather than a paradigm shift away from the norm, they are different enough to be something special and a strong alternative to existing brands.
Small in numbers now, but I predict that in a few years, the Whitehaven will be one of the better-known brands on the local market.