Barry 2019-04-05

The Whitehaven Harbour Classic 40 has been described as both revolutionary and retro with the elegance and ease of a bygone era. Barry Thompson went to Sydney to experience this 40ft dayboat.

When describing the Harbour Classic 40, Whitehaven refers to it as ….. a thoroughly modern take on a traditional design that encompasses sophisticated luxury while embodying a sense of freedom, fun and flirtation. I reckon that pretty well sums the boat up to perfection.

Over the past few decades I have reviewed more boats than I can remember and yet there are only a few that have made a lasting impression. One of those was the Bill Upfold designed Espresso 40 built in 2004 by Oscar Yachts for owner Dave Tuke. Interestingly, while only six were ever made, I said at the time that the boat was timeless and despite the ongoing trends in boat design, the Espresso 40 would forever be a thoroughbred.

Now, after 15 years hibernation, the moulds are back in business and thanks to Whitehaven Motor Yachts, the Espresso 40 has been reborn as the Harbour Classic 40.

So what's different? When I first got to go aboard the Harbour Classic 40, it is evident that the new owners had put their stamp on the layout and while it loosely imitates the original, it's entirely different. Not only visually, but so is the fit and finish and equipment list, with Whitehaven going all out to make their new charge the ultimate luxury dayboat. I use the word day boat advisedly as while it is undoubtedly a perfect and practical day cruiser, it is also very much an overnighter and more.


The hull and foredeck area, designed by Bill Upfold remains relatively the same but the while the Harbour Classic 40 has a new deckhouse, it still reflects the classic lines, but with a more modern and retro look. While the Espresso 40 had a completely open plan layout with no rear bulkhead, Whitehaven wanted to be able to have the option of separating the cabin and saloon. However, it was also important that with the door and windows open, there was a natural flow through between the internal and external areas.

The cockpit is optioned with a short or long roof extension, with no aft support stays to break the smooth lines. The cockpit is all about relaxing and has been designed accordingly with ample seating with a large L shape settee with high/low table to port.


Merzliakov's refers to the saloon styling as rustic in nature, with lime-washed walnut and antelope hide-derived diamond quilted vinyl panelling with Ostrich inspired fabric used on the ceiling.

Stepping inside one glaring thing I noticed was no galley aft, something that you expect to see on virtually all locally built boats. However, being the style of boat that it is, the galley is forward, and the saloon is maximised with seating. After all, this is an entertaining boat so you might as well make the best use of the space.

There is a large U shape dinette/lounger covered with diamond quilted leather befitting the quality image of the Harbour Classic 40.  With the high/low option, you can transform this space into another double berth for those that couldn't make it home after a hard night enjoying your company..


The atrium forward exposes the galley and accommodation areas to natural light and with no doors to separate the two cabins, it is very open living. There is one forward cabin with a twin-island berth and one aft, under the saloon sole with another considerable king size double. Both share the one extra-large head and shower area, which includes a full walk-in shower, separated from the rest of the bathroom and there is plenty of space to get changed. The galley has a household freezer/fridge, Corian surfaces, two burner electric hob and microwave. There are also plenty of storage spaces available.

The Harbour Classic 40 offers twin or single engine power. Boat #1 has been fitted with the optional 550hp Cummins and during our trials, we saw 26 knots on the GPS. What I found quite interesting is the way the new boat handled, despite being considerably heavier than the Espresso 40. It still felt quite nimble and was very responsive to the helm. I have to give credit also to the Seakeeper 3 Gyro both underway and at rest. The Harbour Classic 40 is the first single engine shaft drive boat in Australia to be fitted with  the Twin Disc Express Joystick System (EJS), which showed its abilities in docking into the tight berth at Darling Harbour.

If you are looking for a superbly built, highly speced and engineered boat and don't have the space to keep something too big, then the Harbour Classic 40 might well suit you. It is the definitive entertainer's getaway, destined to become a modern classic.

Look for a full review in the May-June 2019 edition of Pacific PowerBoat. Release date April 25.


© 2020 All Right Reserved By Boatmags.
Website Designed & Developed By Stealth Media Ltd.