- The helm layout has a sporty but purposeful look and feel to it.
- A great deal of thought has gone into the layout to make it simple yet effective – and it works.
- With her nifty turn of speed, great seakeeping and stylish looks, I am sure we will start to see the White Shark in our waters again.
- …the boat rode with pleasing aplomb, and putting her hard into turns she felt securely planted on the water…
Simon Everett gets the first test of the new White Shark 206 since the marque was resurrected by its new owners.
White Shark is an iconic name – it is the biggest predatory shark that roams the oceans and the name commands respect. Using such a brand name could be fraught with danger if the product didn’t live up to the expectations of such an association. White Shark hails from the wild, rugged and often inhospitable coastline of the west coast of France, which faces straight into the Atlantic and is dotted with inlets, harbours and estuaries, much like the coast of Cornwall and Pembrokeshire. The rocky headlands and fierce tides throw up some inhospitable seas that require a strong, seaworthy boat, and White Sharks were designed and built to tame the waves for professional boaters. White Shark used to build boats for the Gendarme Maritime, Les Douanes and other professional bodies in additional to recreational users, especially offshore divers and fishermen. Now, 20 years after their founder launched the first one, they are back in production under new ownership and using modern lay-ups to make them lighter and stronger to begin a new era of these well-respected boats.
The concept of the White Shark range is that of a fast, capable boat with an open cockpit and all-round deck access in the popular centre console format. The 206cc is the starter in the range and is a very handy size for many recreational users at 20 feet. The beam is nearly 8 feet, providing a useful amount of deck area while remaining within the legal towing width limit. The hull design is fairly straightforward, using a curved forefoot, fine entry with an exaggerated flare, and a chine rail that emerges aft of the flare and gets progressively wider as it runs aft. There is just the one lower strake on the warped vee hull terminating in a transom deadrise of 19 degrees and incorporating a small degree of hook to give a level angle of attack on the plane.
The White Shark is set apart by her flared bow with huge freeboard to tackle the rolling surf often found at the entrances to the west-facing ports along France’s Atlantic coast. The beam is full well forward too, a classic design that harks back to the Italian super-runabouts of the 50s, 60s and 70s, with the maximum beam carried about one-third aft from the bow. This provides massive forward buoyancy to deal with approaching waves and lift the bow over the rollers at the harbour entrances. It is, of course, equally useful in dealing with short, steep seas such as those found in tide races or over a sandbar. This design approach helps to maximise the forward deck area and makes the boat very roomy. The entire forward cockpit can become a sunbathing area.
When pressed, the White Shark will top 42 knots with the F150, and given that she can take the F175 as the maximum engine size and weight for the transom we have here, a genuine 45 knots is available for those that want to see the world in a blur. It was interesting to see just how much extra fuel is used over the last 500rpm of the rev range – it virtually doubles! This is common with most engines – there is a huge hike in the fuel consumption for the last few hundred revs. Admittedly, you wouldn’t keep it flat out for long, and the gain in speed was 7 knots, or 20%, which I have to admit was great fun!
The lay-up of this boat didn’t seem as solid as I remember from the early boats. There was definitely a bit of reverberation from panel flex as we took the waves from a ferry, which was the only kind of sea we could find on the day. It sounded like deck flex, but I couldn’t pinpoint it and didn’t feel it through my feet. Even so, the boat rode with pleasing aplomb, and putting her hard into turns she felt securely planted on the water. Those chines did their work each side, gripping and providing lift at the same time to ensure she held her head up throughout the turn.
For those little creature comforts when you are out on the water, the lift-up console forward panel gives access to the optional chemical toilet, or provides a protected storage locker rather than shelter from the elements. If you need some kind of protective cover, a bimini is available to create a camping cover. It stows semi-rigged with the canvas folded around the frame and follows the contour of the aft seating when stowed, so it doesn’t intrude at all on everyday activities.
The helm layout has a sporty but purposeful look and feel to it. The stainless steel wheel, with its leather-covered rim, provides a focal point, and the White Shark logo embossed into the hub leaves you in no doubt as to which boat you are on. The dash layout is simple and unfussed, with the ubiquitous multifunction display in pride of place where it best serves its purpose. I like the relationship between the leaning post-cum-seat, wheel and throttle – it felt very natural either standing or perched, and the perspex-covered recess in the dash was ideal for my sunglasses, notebook, GPS and phone.
The leaning post is a diversion from the normal bench seat found on many centre console boats, and I have to say I like it. For calm-water cruising perched atop it was comfortable. The stainless steel, hardwood-topped footrests give you somewhere to stop your feet from dangling, and I found these just as useful when sat on the stern bench too. There is a stowage rack for a jacket or jumper welded between the seat stations. Standing at the helm, the leaning post aspect gives support at the back of your thighs, just where it is needed, and the handrail provisions are well placed. The seat lifts to reveal further stowage below the padded seat top.
The deep cockpit sides provide a safe enclosure, which family boaters will appreciate if going to sea with smaller children. The walkways are wide enough to move through comfortably and the handrails are well positioned, so there is always one at hand as you move about.
The transom gate acts as the back for the additional fold-out seat, which sits folded under the main stern seat until required. It lives flush with the top of the locker, sitting in a moulded recess under the cushion. It is a good idea that still makes it easy to use the aft access.
A great deal of thought has gone into the layout to make it simple yet effective – and it works. Given the two decades of pedigree and the commercial usage of these boats, the new owners have resurrected a great boat that will take on the pêche promenade market bow first. With her nifty turn of speed, great seakeeping and stylish looks, I am sure we will start to see the White Shark in our waters again.
- RPM Speed (knots) Fuel consumption (gals/hr)
- 700 3.2 0.5
- 1000 4.3 0.9
- 2000 6.8 2.1
- 2500 plane 9.3 3.5
- 3000 17.9 4.1
- 3500 24.1 5.2
- 4000 27.6 6.8
- 5000 35.4 7.8
- 5500 42.0 14.0
- LOA: 5.98m
- Beam: 2.40m
- Dry weight: 920kg
- Hull draught: 0.40m
- Fuel tank: 130 litres
- Power: 115hp – 175hp
- Max. persons: 7
- CE cat: C
As tested with Yamaha F150: £42,052.92
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