You need a new boat more than world peace — but not at the cost of war breaking out on the domestic front. Never fear the Captain is here…
So you want a new 20ft (6m) fishing rig, but the missus says no. There are only two options:
a. Divorce, or
b. Say it’s really all for her and the kiddies.
Once your gleaming ’glass ship is in the driveway, you’ll need to follow through with your promise — you do remember mentioning stuff like “family-friendly cruising”, don’t you? Don’t fear, though, The Captain is here with some genuinely good-value boating missions that don’t involve bill whacking or beer sucking.
1. WHALE WATCHING
Japanese tourists come from thousands of miles away just to spot a humpback whale. Be like them, but do it in your own boat and get up close and personal with these amazing giants of the sea. Leave the harpoon at home, though, and take a camera, because you could probably knock off one of the kids’ homework assignments on the same day.
Captain’s tip: Keep an eye out for whale-watching boats (they know where the whales are, unsurprisingly), watch the weather, take a camera and follow the rules.
2. RIDE THE TUBE
The Rig: whittley sl22
You don’t need a $200k Malibu Wakesetter and tungstentipped ballistic wakeboard to feel the thrills of tow sports. A blow-up tube or doughnut will give the kids the thrill of a lifetime. Once comfortable on the inflatables, step up gradually to kneeboards, then skis — and before you know it the kids will be contesting the Moomba Masters.
Captain’s tip: Resist the urge to slingshot the kids into another dimension at 30 knots or it’ll all end in tears. And sort out the towrope and bridle before heading out, just in case there’s only a couple of metres left after the missus cut it down for a new
The Rig: whittley ff2100
Camper trailers are cool, but let’s be honest: boats are way cooler. It’s about time us boaties reclaimed the highways by packing our rigs all the way up to the gunwales with tents, rods, bikes, eskies and boogie boards before heading down a coastal road to the campgrounds and caravan parks. Move over grey nomads, salty gonads are coming your way.
Captain’s tip: Get the bearings done well before you leave and buy as many ratchet straps from Bunnings as you can carry to strap it all down. Use foam mats to protect the precious gel coat and upholstery from bike pedals and camp stove stands.
4.BREAKFAST BY THE BAY
The Rig: whittley CW1950
Kick the weekend off by nosing your floating family wagon into the nearest beach front cafe or wharf. Your missus will never be more proud of you as she watches the kids swim and make sandcastles while you hoe down a giant stack of pancakes with maple syrup. For extra points, pack your own picnic with the missus’ favourite cheese.
Captain’s tip: Pack the boat the night before and get out early to avoid the weekend rush and inevitable blue with the missus. And have a Bligh-like navigation plan so you don’t run aground or beach the boat at low tide, earning douchebag-Dad status.
5. FIREWORKS ON THE WATER
Fireworks and boat sleepovers are a perfect recipe for putting a smile on the kids’ dials. New Year’s Eve is the perfect time, but there’s also Australia Day and major sporting events that have fireworks, often near the water.
Captain’s tip: Have a plan for when the sun goes down. Warm blankets, torches, sparklers and bedding are a must — as is the missus’ favourite champagne. Don’t expect her to take the helm and mount the trailer at 2am, either. That could be a deal breaker.
6. SCAVENGER HUNTS
The shoreline is a classroom of cool stuff to discover. The kids will spend hours hunting for shells and jelly blubbers, but try upping the ante by doing a scavenger hunt for other interesting stuff like calamari quills, sea anemones, treasure, crabs, wooden legs, flintlock pistols or maybe a tailored message in a bottle from Dad.
Captain’s tip: Pack sturdy footwear and a catch bag, and make sure they stay clear of critters with blue rings. Old WW11 ordnance should be handed straight to Dad for his poolroom collection.
7. GOING IN DEEP WITH RUBBER
It’s no secret: some of the best fishos The Captain knows started out diving and spearfishing. So give the little tackers a solid head start and get them in the water now. With a bit of guidance, they’ll be collecting a seafood banquet of scallops, mussels, abalone and maybe even crayfish.
Captain’s tip: Start shallow and buy good diving gear that fits.
8. FISHING FOR GOOD TIMES
The Rig: whittley FF2100 We all started on bream, whiting or snapper, unless you’re Paul Worsterling’s son and started on a bluefin trevally from the Cook Islands landed on a Sage flyrod. Either way, give your kids a rod and reel, a couple of tips and let ’em go for it.
Captain’s tip: Try fishing for something fun and achievable with constant action so they don’t get bored. A good place to start is fishing for live bait, drifting for squid or flathead, or soaking baits for bream and whiting. Have a bed handy as well as snacks, especially for early starts.
9. HARBOUR SIGHTSEEING
The Rig: Whittley SL25
Not everyone is a fan of Sydney, but everyone has to admit a cruise of the harbourside mansions shits on sitting on the couch and watching another inane episode of The Block. Although not quite as spectacular, Docklands in Melbourne or the Swan River in Fremantle will also give you another interesting angle of the city you haven’t seen before.
Captain’s tip: The missus may want to get off and do some shopping and the kids will want to let off steam, so have a few mooring options lined up before hitting the harbour.
10.DIRTY WEEKEND AWAY
The Rig : whittley FF2100
Book the babysitter and slink away for a few nights alone with the missus. Your itinerary should include deserted islands, bonfires, breakfast in bed (or swag) and chocolate-coated strawberries.
Captain’s tip: Make sure her calendar is free, pack her favourite pillow and make sure there’s reception for her to brag to her mates and Mum on Facebook.
BUDGET-BUSTING WHITTLEY 20-FOOTER FOR UNDER $60K
Whittley has just released the new Clearwater (CW) 1950, a budget-busting sports-fishing boat that doesn’t skimp on the comfy stuff. It’s based on the legendary John Savage Mako hull design so it can handle the rough stuff, but it’s still light enough to be towed by a large family sedan or smaller SUV.
The CW 1950 features a walk-through rear transom door, moulded fishing/boarding platforms and generous beam for stability. Anchoring is easy with the convenient walk-through configuration allowing access to the separate anchor locker and anchoring system. The roomy cabin has a comfortable vee berth for dirty weekends or kiddie sleepovers, with standard plush bunk cushions and side pocket storage either side. There are two standard eskies that are easily stored under stainless-steel U-bars below the driver and passenger sports seats. These also make up the larger rear lounge.
The CW 1950 features one of the largest fishing cockpits in its class, thanks to the unique folding outboard door in the engine well. There are also handy toe rails to slide feet under for comfort — and storage aplenty with custom side pockets for fishing gear and toys galore. Easily powered by outboards from 115HP, the CW 1950 is an efficient sports-fishing platform that slices through chop and delivers solid stability when drifting or at anchor. The Whittley R&D team have enhanced the styling with a slick new dash that can accommodate a massive 16” screen and flat transom. They’ve also given the hull more aggressive chines and moulded boarding platforms. The boat, four-stroke Yamaha 115HP motor and Mackay dual-axle trailer package is priced from $57,990, excluding freight and pre-delivery charges