The Captain puts prehistoric prejudices aside to check out the high-tech wonder that is the Whittley Pulse digital wizardry.

The Whittley SL22 is one of The Captain’s favourite boats. They’re a bit of an offshore sleeper with 23 degrees at the bum, fine entry point and inboard V6. He’s got fond memories of chasing striped marlin off Sydney in an SL22 – but that’s another story…

Horsepower hogs can rejoice because the Whittley R&D blokes in charge of cubes have just made their case for a pay rise, beefing the SL22 out to 280HP. Meanwhile, their tech department, not to be outdone, has pulled together the latest digital gadgetry from Fusion, Garmin, Volvo and C-Zone.


Now, too much tech talk has been known to put The Captain’s crew in a coma – we’re more at home with a wooden hand reel – nonetheless, we listened up and put the new kit through its paces. Everything is operated by one ‘eKey’, which takes a while to get your head around. Like, where do you leave it? Is it waterproof? [Answer: yes.] However, once you’re used to it, it’s pretty cool – say goodbye to lugging round bundles of keys.


Volvo claims it offers car-like integration, which is not so encouraging for The Captain because he rolls in an old Land Rover! The eKey runs the battery management system – you won’t find any circuit breakers in this baby. The system features battery protection and automatic start aid, which borrows energy from the auxiliary battery to ensure there is always power to start the engine. Back in the driveway or at the marina, just plug it into mains and you’ve got yourself a new man cave.


The system is connected to a Garmin or Volvo Penta glass cockpit display, which provides a clear visual on everything. It’s clean and minimalist with no gauges, and the stereo and VHF are stored in the cabin. It is also connected to FUSION-Link, which talks to a concealed unit and can be operated via Bluetooth or by a smartphone app called Garmin Helm. The cool thing about Garmin Helm is that you can operate all functions of the boat through it – and even run a second screen at the shelf. Yep, you can be down the back working the bait board, or even in the dunny, and have a visual of the what’s under the boat.


So, would The Captain want it on his boat? On the one hand, you’re putting a lot of trust in sophisticated technology in a saltwater environment. On the other, we’re already embracing this type of keyless technology everywhere, in our homes and cars. When you take the time to familiarise yourself with the features, it’s very neat.


The Captain still prefers a bilge switch, trim gauges, fuel gauge and a separate wiper button – he grumbles that he’d rather not shuffle through menus when traveling offshore in 2.5m seas – but acknowledges he is a bit of a dinosaur. However, closer to home, we reckon it’s damn near the perfect digital family fishing station.


Whittley Marine Group

+ 61 3 8339 1800.