BOAT TEST: TOURNAMENT 2100 WALK AROUND
Kevin Smith confirms the versatility — and desirability — of walkaround designs.
TEST: TOURNAMENT 2100 WALK AROUND
Last year I had the opportunity to help out at the BRP conference on Moreton Island, north of Brisbane. My job was to run demos on a number of different craft, two of which happened to be new Tournament boats in a 1900 cabin version and a 1900 centre-console. Five full days skippering between the two in varying conditions gave me probably the best familiarisation one could get with any boat, especially since running demos meant smashing them around as hard as possible.
I was quite blown away at the handling capabilities of the Tournaments, and all I could think about was how good it would be to have one of these in a walkaround, perhaps around the 6m mark.
Why a walkaround? Well, in my opinion walkarounds are just so versatile, especially when it comes to having your family onboard. I've had a number of boats through the years (probably more centre-consoles than anything) which have been fantastic for angling but not so suitable for the family. On a walkaround you have the combination of a centre-console and a cabinboat, and when the going gets tough on the water your family can relax in the confines of the cabin without you needing to stress.
Tournament Pleasure Boats was started three years ago when the company purchased the original small boat range of Mustang hulls, produced in 1974. These moulds were then modified through separate R&D programs to improve a product that had great potential in the Australian market.
The end result consisted of a great range of boats that included bowriders, centre-consoles, cabins, and the new 2100 Walk Around seen here. Tournament's objective was to create a walkaround-style boat that was simple enough to tow with a standard 4WD or equivalent, but which had a decent-sized cabin that didn't restrict access to the bow within the walkaround. It also needed strength, solid performance, a classy look, and loads of bells and whistles - all at an affordable price.
NO NEED FOR PLASTIC SURGERY
Firstly, at 21ft, and with a weight below 2000kg, the 2100 Walk Around is towable with a standard 4WD or equivalent. The hull sports a combination of sharp and soft modern lines, with a touch of colour that automatically makes it a head turner. From the outside it's simply a beautiful looking boat. It's one of those packages that's cosmetically attractive, with toned lines, a busty upper midships, and of course a smooth and well-trimmed cabin.
Internal cosmetics incorporate some of the latest fashions in boating and of course the main attraction was the walkaround itself. Often there's compromise within the confines of the cabin and console area on a craft of this size, since there's a walkaround section beside the cabin. Here though, there's generous built-in space within the cabin and console, while a reasonable walkthrough is maintained on either side to the bow.
The entrance into the cabin is through a concertina-style door that clips up against the port cabin-side, with a small hinged flap that opens upwards. The door system works alright but could do with finetuning to match the rest of the craft.
Within the cabin section you can set up a full bed with enough room to fully stretch out down the centre with the door closed. If necessary, you can open the top hatch for ventilation. Another option is to take out the centre section, which converts into a mini-lounge area. Again, there's a comfortable amount of height and space. Beneath the seating there's space for permanently stowing heaps of gear and I reckon you could even rig up the cabin with a mini TV or DVD player for the kids.
The skipper's domain is protected by a full wraparound screen that is covered by an extendable bimini top with full clears. On the dash there is plenty of mounting space for electronics.
There are bucket-style adjustable seats, and dual-removable Esky coolers that also serve as extra seats or fish-hatches. The seating within the cockpit is mounted to both the side and floor, which I think is a much better choice in terms of sturdiness to conventional pedestal seats.
Around the cockpit is the walkaround section to the bow. It's not the widest I've seen, but it'll get you to the bow safely if you watch your step. A small step-up is on either side and a full-length stainless bowrail adds a touch of protection when you're walking around the cabin in the bow. Up front, the bowrail splits, leading into the bowsprit, with a good-sized anchor-hatch in place and a bollard and roller system to round it off.
The deck is fully carpeted to the cabin, although the carpet is clipped in rather than set permanently in place. That can actually be an advantage because you can remove the carpet if you reckon you're going to make a mess with fish blood.
The gunwales are padded around the storage-pockets and along the sides. This is a good idea because you can lean right into the gunwales when you're fighting fish.
Right in the stern is the collapsible three-quarter lounge and beneath that is the access-point to the batteries, oil tank and filter, all hidden behind a vinyl clip-in cover. On top is the moulded false transom with built-in livewell, a large baitboard with drainage, and a half-sized transom door for easier boarding access. On the outside, the boarding platform stretches across the full beam and has the standard fold-down ladder near the neatly mounted 175 E-TEC.
STALLION OR MULE?
With an Evinrude E-TEC 175hp on its backside the 2100 reacted like a stallion on steroids. Although rated to a minimum of 130hp, the 175 is probably the ideal match, with plenty of balls throughout the rev range.
Out of the hole and through the top end, the performance in calmer water was exceptional, enough to crank a skier out of the water and top out at 42kts (77kmh) at 6000rpm.
Offshore on the first day we were dealt a decent 25 knotter, which is not the kind of weather to get you offshore. Nonetheless, we were out there, and I'd have to say the 2100 was most comfortable at 15kts heading directly into the chop and wind, and that was with the family onboard. Running side-on with the swell and chop, I could crank it up closer to 20kts which is more than enough for rough conditions on any boat.
The second day dealt a royal flush with perfect ocean conditions. The only difference was in the speeds achieved, and obviously they were higher on average. Cruising topped out at 30kts in all directions to the small swell. Whether running at high, medium or low speeds, the 2100 definitely stood up to the test. The only niggle for me was a bit of a sticky control-box that made it difficult to accelerate smoothly. Nothing I could do rectified the problem either.
Besides being a versatile craft in many ways, the 2100 Walk Around is an ideal offshore vessel. It's a walkaround, has a spacious stern area, good stability, and runs economically at low revs on the E-TEC, which is a plus for a long day's trolling. Since it's a walkaround, this also opens up the bow section to fishing when drifting, or on anchor, and it also keeps the stern from becoming cramped. There are rocket launchers on the bimini, a built-in livewell, flush-mounted rodholders, and the oversized baitboard to satisfy serious fishermen. You still have protection up front as well - so what more could you ask for to fish in style?
When it comes to family boating it's always a tricky one, especially if you're an avid offshore angler. Generally your preferences will differ from the family's, because a family boat and that perfect fishing boat are invariably different things. Walkarounds are, in my opinion, one of the most versatile boats around and the Tournament 2100 Walk Around is no exception.
SPECS: Tournament 2100 Walk Around
Price as tested: $79,580
Options fitted: 175hp engine, slab sides, rocket launchers, bimini and clears, extension, two Esky coolers, fibreglass baitboard, cabin door, cabin lining,
clip-in carpet, Garmin VHF, Garmin 750s, concealed sidemount, dual-batteries
Priced from: $57,990
Length: 6.25m (6.5m LOA)
Weight: Approx. 1000kg (dry)
Min HP: 130
Max HP: 200HP
Max motor weight: 239kg (under review)
Fuel: 210lt (250lt optional)
Model: Evinrude E-TEC 175 EDPXis
Type: Direct-injection loop-charged V6
Gear ratio: 1.85:1
Starting system: IDI fast-rise inductive ignition
SUPPLIED & MANUFACTURED BY
Tournament Pleasure Boats
2/13 Octal Street
Yatala, Qld, 4207
Ph: (07) 3807 6999
Originalyl published in TrailerBoat 258.
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