BOAT TEST: TMA 27R

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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Better known as walkaround fishing platforms, the TMA 27R capitalises purely on the family-dayboat entertainment qualities of the centre console configuration.

BOAT TEST: TMA 27R
The TMA 27R centre console from Gold Coast boatbuilder Tailored Marine merges dayboat comfort with centre console fishability.

Recently, a fellow boat-testing colleague Brendon Rule and I headed off down to what seems to be the latest gangsters' paradise in the news, the glamorous Gold Coast, to test the newest TMA range of boats. This included the spectacular 25F Walkaround (see the previous issue of Trade-a-Boat), and the stylish 27R Centre Console. Now these hulls do originate from the States and were originally part of the SeaVee brand of boats that are still extremely popular over there, but are manufactured locally on the Gold Coast, so not classified as imports.

John Zack from Tailored Marine Accessories (TMA) on the Gold Coast decided to import the moulds for these two models after researching what the Australian market was missing. Hence, a decent 25ft gamefishing walkaround, and a serious-sized 28ft luxury centre console with a high-horsepower inboard motor configuration.

Now before putting the boats through their paces I did notice they looked fairly narrow and deep for their size, and after studying the hull design on paper I found them to have a very generous 25° deadrise combined with a 2.32m beam.

This was going to be an interesting test and to be honest my initial assumption was definitely a comfortable ride, but possibly very tender underway and at rest. Well I'm pleased to say my assumptions were far from on-the-money. As you would have read last month the walkaround excelled on the performance and handling side, and in fact I'm prepared to say that it's one of the finer-riding Australian boats in its class.

Next up was the supersized TMA 27R Centre Console. It looked as good on the water, with its luxurious full bow and stern loungers, along with a fancy console setup and mega inboard power. It just radiated summer fun and on-water entertainment and what's more it's trailerable, with a 2.32m beam and weight of less than three tonnes.

Something else that was interesting was that apart from being trailerable, these boats are specifically designed to fit into containers, making shipping easier and more cost-effective over long distances, as well as making them exportable.



SENSATIONAL PERFORMER

As standard I would normally cut straight into what a boat has to offer as far as layout and accessories are concerned, but in this instance I'm going straight for the kill on performance, considering my previous concerns about the 27R possibly being a bit tender on the water.

After acquainting myself with the ride on the Walkaround, which had already exceeded my expectations, I had a fair idea what to expect from the TMA Centre Console. What I had previously learnt was that the boat likes to be driven hard. Whatever you think you can throw at it, it can handle.

To begin with the 27R Centre Console was somewhat different to the Walkaround. Firstly, it was a few feet longer and secondly it had a whopping Volvo Penta 5.7GXiE-300 DPS V8 sterndrive under the hood. Just as on the Walkaround, I had predicted a decent offshore ride due the deadrise but wasn't too sure on handling and stability from the relatively narrow beam.

At the helm of the 27R you have a colossal-sized console to drive from. When familiarising myself with the controls the first thing I noticed was it had a left-hand control box. For those used to an opposite control setup you might find it a bit odd initially, but it only takes a few minutes and it's as normal as a right-handed. Driving standing or seated was comfortable, however, during the latter I did struggle to see over the console, thanks to my average height. I pointed out the problem and TMA did say that customising seat-height to suit the client was no issue.

From there on it was knock the hammer down and hold on tight as the TMA 27R has gutsy holeshot and gets up to a top-end speed of 38kts fairly fast. I ran the boat in every direction to the wind and chop, mainly at high speed, and found the performance to be what I can only explain as having an ideal balance between ride, dryness, comfort and stability.

My original perception of the Centre Console possibly having tender stability was way off and underway the hull maintains a level attitude, even without trim tabs. At rest the outer chines seemed to work well as stabilisers and again the 27R maintained good stability even when shuffling weight around. I was surprised and impressed.

As previously mentioned the harder you drive these boats the better, and especially when tucking them into tight turns as I did. I found that at lower speeds the hull does bank inwards fairly hard but if you throttle into it then the 27R levels out nicely.

It's difficult and quite unheard of to find the perfect balance in a boat, although in this case they aren't far off with these hulls.

For example, we ran the full-speed trials offshore in a moderate to choppy sea, something rarely done on boat tests. With high-speed ride characteristics and a 416lt fuel capacity, long-distance offshore trips in most conditions should not be an issue. On average the ideal cruise speed proved to be around 3500rpm producing a speed of 26kts and economy of 47lt/h.



FAMILY ENTERTAINER

Somewhat designed around the family and entertainer the 27R's layout is noticeably classy, with its fully moulded top deck, colour-coded vinyl coverings, drop-down centre console with toilet and basin for the ladies, and spacious bow and stern loungers.

At the transom there is generous boarding access due to the inboard motor configuration. Getting aboard is done via a large swimplatform and along either side of the central engine box, which also serves as a reversible seat/lounger. Below each walkway on the sides are sealed hatches that house the batteries and deckwash.

Moving forward the dual console seat has storage space below and again is reversible. This is a great idea, it turns the cockpit section into more of a social area. I would add an extra table-base to the deck in between the seats to match the bow's setup.

The console is oversized, with a solidly built T-top protecting both the skipper and passenger from the elements when seated. The dash layout has ample space for sizeable electronics of choice.

In the bow the wraparound lounge seating is perfect for entertaining or just relaxing and has plenty of space to load gear under the seats. As far as anchoring is concerned the R27 did not have a windlass fitted, but there is more than enough space available up front to include a sizeable one.

Overall the layout is spacious, finished off nicely (apart from a few small touches) and works well as a family-cum-entertaining unit. The TMA 27R Centre Console lacks passenger grabrails, but not a major issue as these will be in place on future models.

No boat off the rack is perfect and especially not the first one ever built, so I think TMA has done a nice job of producing something quite different in a centre console. Like any boat, you can always add to it. As previously mentioned these boats can be customised to suit, so if this layout doesn't do it for you, don't worry as TMA will have a solution.



THE WRAP

In regard to centre consoles the TMA 27R is quite a serious piece of machinery at 28ft long. As tested it definitely suits those looking to entertain on the water and being trailerable it doesn't restrict you from from the region adjacent to your mooring. For the serious fisherman out there these boats can be completely customised for angling. With a few standard fishing inclusions added this would be an ultimate offshore angling machine. If I had the choice I would probably opt for an outboard or even a twin setup if that was the boat's primary purpose.

Once again, when it comes to ride and handling these boats are good and would easily handle long runs offshore to marlin and tuna grounds in most conditions. With pricing starting at around $132,300 it's not bad considering how much boat you are getting. It's definitely going to be very interesting to see the boats that follow as most of the small issues found would have been ironed out.



[HIGHS]

› Good balance between ride, handling and stability

› Offshore handling characteristics above average

› Drop-down into centre console, with toilet and basin for the ladies

› Ability to tow on roads legally

› Moulded top-deck finishes

› Customising options to suit the buyer



[LOWS]

› Restricted vision over screen (can be customised to suit)

› Open stern to transom not ideal for kids (can be customised to suit)

› Be awesome to test one fully rigged for offshore gamefishing

› Better finished carpeting that clips-in on top of a nonslip deck would be nice (but being considered on future models)



[TRADE-A-BOAT SAYS… ]

…when it comes to ride and handling these boats are good and would easily handle long runs offshore to marlin and tuna grounds in most conditions. With pricing starting at around $132,300 it's not bad considering how much boat you are getting.





Specifications: TMA 27R Centre Console



PRICE AS TESTED

$141,890



OPTIONS FITTED

Volvo Penta engine and sterndrive, Humminbird fishfinder-GPS, Dunbier trailer, and six-speaker stereo with DVD



PRICED FROM

$132,300 w/ 300hp Volvo Penta engine and Dunbier aluminium trailer



SEA TRIALS

Single 300hp Volvo Penta V8



RPM SPEED FUEL BURN

1300 3.4kts 8.6lt/h

2000 8.8kts 22lt/h

2500 (plane) 14kts 31lt/h

3000 20kts 38lt/h

3500 26kts 47lt/h

4000 31kts 63lt/h

4600 (WOT) 38kts 81lt/h

* Sea-trial data supplied by the author.



GENERAL

MATERIAL Fibreglass

TYPE Planing monohull

LENGTH 8.65m

BEAM 2.32m

WEIGHT Approx 2000kg (dry)

DEADRISE 25°



CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (DAY) Currently 6

REC. HP 300

REC. MAX HP Currently 300

FUEL 416lt

WATER 120lt



ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL 1 x Volvo Penta 5.7GXiE DPS

TYPE V8 petrol sterndrive

RATED HP 300

WEIGHT 485kg

DISPLACEMENT 5700cc

GEAR RATIO 1.95:1

PROPELLER Stainless steel counter-rotating F5 duoprop



SUPPLIED BY

Tailored Marine Accessories,

18 Kingston Drive,

Helensvale, QLD, 4212

Phone: (07) 5502 7255; 0408 422 242

Email: johnzac@onthenet.com.au; info@tailoredmarine.com.au

Website: www.tailoredmarine.com.au

Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #434, December 2012.

Find Tailored Marine boats for sale.

 


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