by Steve Lague

Chivers Marine is a long-established boat builder that has specialised in aluminium boats for the past 15 years. For the last decade they have expanded to eight models, and developed the Shark Series as it strives to narrow the gap in ride comfort between aluminium and fibreglass boats. And it has made some significant advances in this area. One of the key developments is the addition of a floodable keel which enables them to produce a boat that has excellent stability at rest while allowing a sharp entry into the water which in turn produces a smooth ride as it cuts through chop effectively. The deadrise on the White Pointer 710 SC we tested is a very sharp 22deg. While a floodable keel is not unique, Chivers do it well.
What is unique about the Shark Series is the structure of the plate aluminium hull. They use four full length girders as the basis for the structure and then create full depth frames to give it extra strength. The girders also enable them to place the fuel tank longitudinally keeping the weight in the middle of the boat. They fit kill tanks, which also improve the stability of the boat at rest, on either side of the tank. All the other compartments are foam filled improving buoyancy and sound deadening. Chivers has also spent a lot of development time in the reverse chines, testing various widths and angles that run the full length of the hull.
Chivers White Pointer 30
Chivers White Pointer 27On the White Pointer 710 the chines are 135mm at their widest point delivering lift, better tracking, especially in choppy conditions, and deflect spray down and away from the boat.

WHAT YOU GET
The White Pointer is 7.1m long and is primarily built as a fishing boat, though the sports cabin model we tested could also be used as a weekender. It is also available in a walk around configuration. It comes standard with a targa bar, with rod holders, a shade extension that covers about half the self-draining rear cockpit and a bimini. You can option this up to a hardtop but it will add about 250kg to the weight of the boat.
The gunwales are 200mm wide and a good height, making them very comfortable to sit on and easy to walk on when accessing the front of the boat. Two built-in rod holders on either side are also part of the standard kit as are adjoining sinker holders — an ingenious idea that stops the sinker from bouncing around while shifting between fishing spots. They also happen to be just the right size to house a stubby holder full of your favourite drink. Even the bait board, which is an option, has two rod holders, taking the total on the boat to 12 and two more sinker holders. The replaceable plastic bait board also lifts up exposing a washable shelf where you can store chopped up bait, knives and any other bits you need. It is certainly an option box I would be ticking. The other advantage of the wide gunwale is that they create room for two big full length storage lockers under them. They are just high enough off the deck to comfortably slide your feet under so you can get nice and close to the side when fishing, while the carpeted floor ensures you won’t lose your footing. There is more storage at the transom in a shelf above the two batteries. The transom also has a door on the starboard side opening onto a good size swim platform and ladder.
Chivers White Pointer 1
Chivers White Pointer 21The helm has two seats sitting on large storage boxes that are plenty big enough to hold all your lifejackets and any other bits you want to keep dry and safe and there are shelves on either side of the helm area to store mobile phones, keys and wallets. Both the driver and passenger seats, which are flip up bolster seats, are on a slide and swivel 360deg. From a driving point of view it means finding the right driving position, standing or sitting is very easy. By flipping the bolster seat up it creates a very comfortable back rest for when you are driving standing up.
In regards to electronics the test boat was only fitted with Evinrude engine gauges, which provide all the information you need about the engine, but there is plenty of room for a 12-inch multifunction display screen on the dash.
You step down into the cabin, which is surprisingly big with a roof height of 185cm which means most people can stand up in there, that has two bunk beds (an in-fill is available as an option) and a space for a toilet. There are two more storage shelves which will swallow a lot of gear but there is no storage under the bunks as they are at the same level as the deck floor so the space under them is sealed and filled with foam. There is also a hatch that provides alternative access to the anchor well at the front. The anchor well drain also acts as a vent for the self-flooding keel which means there is no visible drain hole in the front of the boat and no chance of getting rust stains on the paintwork. The White Pointer hull, which has 4mm sides and a 5mm thick bottom, is available in a range of colours.
Chivers White Pointer 5
Chivers White Pointer 17There were some features that I think are must-haves on a fishing boat like live bait tank and deck wash that were missing but both are available as options. So is a fresh water shower, with 80-litre tank, and a lockable door for the cabin.

POWER
The recommended power for this boat is a 200hp outboard but it is rated up to 250hp. The test boat was fitted with a new Gen 2 Evinrude 225hp E-Tec, an engine that is going to change the industry for ever. The Gen 2 motor is not only significantly more powerful and economical than its predecessor, which was already very good, but introduces new technology its competitors must follow to remain competitive (see separate Evinrude Gen2 E-Tech 225 story). On a day when there was a strong easterly breeze blowing, creating a small sharp chop, the 225 had the White Pointer skipping across Cockburn Sound at 80km/h (43knots). At this speed the Evinrude was doing 5500rpm and drinking 70-litres of fuel per hour, which is still pretty economical running for a boat of this size.
At 15km/h the engine was ticking over at 1850rpm and using 11.0L/hour; 22km/h was 2550rpm and 18.0L/hour, 33km/h (2600rpm; 19.8L/hour) and 40km/h (2800rpm; 21.1L/hour). Hole shot was also impressive with the 860kg hull up on the plane in a few short seconds.
Chivers White Pointer 25
Chivers White Pointer 7The fly-by-wire throttle ensures the engine is responsive to any slight input on the accelerator and there was no sign of any throttle slippage, which can often be an issue with the more conventional wire throttle control, once the boat was on the plane. Power steering, another in-built feature in the Gen 2 engine, was responsive and input could be adjusted between soft, medium and hard, to suit the owner’s preference while the dual axis rigging system means that all cables go through just one tube creating a cleaner look and more space in the transom.

ON THE WATER
Build an aluminium plate hull with a 22deg deadrise and you know it is going to slice through the water, no matter how rough. Getting the rest of the ride right is the challenge. The well designed and wide reverse chines ensure it does not lose any stability. They also create a cushion under the boat so you don’t experience that back-breaking thump that is often an unwanted trade-off in aluminium boats, when pushing into the swell. They also have the added advantage of pushing the spray away from the hull keeping the cockpit nice and dry, though the clears between the bimini and windscreen around the helm area will do this anyway.
Even when completing a series of tight turns while travelling at 55km/h (30knots) the White Pointer remained composed with the chines digging in and pushing the hull around nicely.
At rest the floodable keel comes into its own as 240 litres of water fills the bottom of the boat sitting it deeper in the water creating stability. With the two kill tanks also full of water nearly 500kg of weight is added to the boat lowering its centre of gravity and keeping it sitting nice and flat. Even with three people on board moving from side to side the boat stayed surprisingly still. The keel is designed so that within a few boat lengths after taking off it is empty. The kill tanks take just a little longer but with a minute or so the 500kg of additional weight has been shredded.
Chivers White Pointer 3ON THE TRAILER
The White Pointer comes on an in-house made Melride dual axle, multi-roller trailer. It uses an electric over hydraulic braking system which means you need to have an electronic controller fitted to the tow vehicle. Load bars at the back of the trailer make it a lot easier to centre the boat on the trailer and means for those confident enough, driving the boat onto the trailer is not a difficult exercise. For those who prefer to wind it up the trailer comes standard with a walkway which makes connecting the winch rope to the boat easy. There is also a three-speed winch. If you do prefer to wind the boat onto the trailer don’t be frightened to sink it a little deeper so it floats on more. The load bars will ensure the boat remains centred on the trailer.
The boat, motor and trailer weighs about 2000kg so you are going to need a four-wheel-drive with at tow rate of at least 2500kg to tow it comfortably.

OVERVIEW
The battle between aluminium versus fibreglass boats in this size bracket is one that is never likely to be won. There are compelling arguments on both sides. For me, the biggest factor in a bluewater fishing boat of this size is ride comfort — an area where fibreglass generally is king. The White Pointer is an aluminium plate boat that has narrowed that gap considerably. Several times during the test I expected to feel the thump and shudder that is common on all boats when punching into the swell — it never came.
Not only was the ride soft but noise was not an issue and the floodable keel meant that it sat nice and stable in the water, despite the 22deg deadrise up front. And it retains all the benefits of aluminium – lighter, stronger and easier to maintain.

Chivers White Pointer 10

POSITIVES

  • Ride comfort
  • Stability at rest
  • Roomy cockpit

NEGATIVES

  • Ladder looks big and clunky

NUMBERS THAT MATTER

Price: (from) $89,900 (as tested) $101,065
Construction: Plate Aluminium
Length Overall: 7.1m
Beam: 2.5m
Capacity: 8 people
Hull thickness: (side) 4mm (bottom) 5mm
Weight on trailer: 2000kgs (approx)
Engine: Evinrude Gen 2 E-Tec 225hp
Maximum HP: 250
Fuel Capacity: 260 litres