REVIEW: TRIUMPH 195CC

By: BERNARD CLANCY


Good looking and tough, the 195CC from Triumph Boats is an all polymer fishing craft set to break the mould

Triumph Boats brand themselves with typical American bravado as the world’s toughest boats. And heee haaa! These plastic fantastics may just have something there. Yep, they’re fishing boats made from plastic…
Well, Triumph calls it Roplene, an automotive grade polymer.  The boats are made in one piece from an injection molding process so they’re formed as a single seamless unit, gunwales, sideliners, stringers, the lot. They’re centre consoles so they have no deck.
Now we’re not talking about little 12-footers here. The range goes all the way up to 21ft, or six-plus metres in our money.
So what you see on the outside is what you get all the way through. As the brochure says "no gelcoat or paint to spider crack, scratch or wear through, no laminates to separate, no adhesives to fail, no wood to rot".
The building process begins with a steel mold into which the polymer is injected then "baked" in a computer controlled oven. Following cooling, high density foam is injected into every cavity in the hull and sides. The job is finished by a CNC router to form decks, hatches and other parts to fine tolerances. Add a 5cm stainless steel cross member reinforcing bar to the top of the stringers, screw down a 150mm non-skid polypropylene deck and there ya’go.

FANTASTIC PLASTIC
The company claims Roplene has five times the impact resistance of fibreglass, it floats and is virtually unsinkable whereas glass sinks. Roplene never needs waxing, polishing or gelcoat touch-ups (there’s no gelcoat), is impervious to saltwater, sunlight and humidity.
Sounds Mickey Mouse though doesn’t it! So, is plastic the new thing in boat building? Will it take over from fibreglass as the preferred boat-building material as glass itself took over from wood? Triumph is yet another brand of the mega boating corporation Genmar and they’ve invested many millions into the R&D on these craft so it’ll be interesting to watch.
The first question most people ask about plastic boats relates to stiffness. Do the boats flex in a bit of a sea? Well yes they do, but not discernably, and certainly not alarmingly. In fact the company makes a virtue of this saying flexibility adds to a smooth ride whereas a stiff boat will slap and bang. Yep, hard to argue with that. It says that when a Triumph hits a wave or a dock the polymer absorbs energy for a soft, quiet ride.
Our test day on Corio Bay, Geelong was very calm, unfortunately, so we can’t vouch for performance when the going gets tough but, nevertheless we managed to create a few wakes here and there and pushed the 195CC through them as hard as we could. It was a nice ride, the boat doing what the brochure says and absorbing the shock. And it pushed through rather than flipping over the top which was impressive.
As I said earlier there is no discernible twisting or undue flex. The boat just stayed "solid" throughout our testing manoeuvres. On tight turns it slid sideways without any hint of grabbing and broaching. At speed (wide open throttle was 78kmh at 6200rpm on the 150hp Suzuki four stroke) there was considerable prop torque coming through the hydraulic steering but no hull lean. Perhaps the steering needed adjusting. It was difficult to judge motor trim angle because the boat wasn’t fitted with one. Importer Brett Swan of Going Boating in Geelong has ordered trim gauges with all future imports.  

FITOUT
The design and fitout of this fishing boat is good too. The huge bowsprit will carry an anchor tied off on a cleat behind and the rope from that snakes down into a bin under the front U-berth or platform. The low profile bowrail is large gauge and solid.
The U-shaped seating in the bow is wide and covers a non-skid casting platform under the seat cushions with a floor hatch between. Further hatches are beneath the platforms. Fold-up cup holders are there too - they are usually in abundance on all American boats. It’s a compromise arrangement that would probably work very well.
The centre console is a fully molded unit which hinges backwards to reveal twin batteries on the floor and storage space above them on a lift-out plastic shelf. This can be locked in place if you wish or simply clipped down. A waterproof, zipped, and clear plastic map holder is attached to the back of the panel. The top section of the instrument panel is a lockable boxed compartment with a green-tinged clear plastic screen for electronics. It’s a pity the boat’s name is etched large in the screen because it hinders vision through it.
The compass is centrally mounted high on the console beneath the very thick wrap-around screen. A couple of shallow recesses would be handy for odds and ends.
The steering position is left of centre behind a smallish three-spoke stainless steel knobbed helm (some people like those knobs which can be great if you’ve got a very lively rod in one hand and you’re trying to steer with the other). Instrumentation is in front with more recessed bins behind the wheel. Rocker switches and a 12v plug are right of helm and easily accessible. The throttle is mounted to the right. The navigator has a small stainless steel grab rail mounted in front on the console.
The white vinyl seats are strong buckets, with padded arm rests, that move fore and aft and swivel through 360 degrees making it very easy and comfortable for the passenger to watch lures. They are mounted on a large livebait tank with a green tinted clear plastic lid. It’s a very nice set-up and great use of floorspace.
Battery switches are above the moulded footrest alongside a three-drawer tackle box and hidden washdown hose. Very neat. Ohh and I almost forgot to mention the cupholders.
The T-top is made from a very heavy alloy and is as solid as a rock. It’s an excellent height, has a four-pot rocket launcher on its trailing edge, grab rail, two lights, one central over the helm and the other on the trailing edge for the cockpit. A unique feature of the T-top is a zipped storage bag which clips above the helm and has been designed to carry safety gear.
Gunnels are below average height, just above my knees, and there are no toeholds under the moulded coamings either so safety is an issue here, particularly if you’re playing with big strong fish on the end of a gaff.  Even the thought scares me. Gunnels have a light no-skid moulded surface and feature four stainless rod-holders.
The foam-filled coamings are fully enclosed so there are no side pockets. More cup-holders? Of course. The floor is a non-skid Roplene sheet in three pieces screwed to the sub-frame. I felt it could have been cut and fitted more accurately or better presented. A large hatch in the floor behind the livebait tank has a 35-inch rule etched into the lid which is screwed down but contains a large round inspection hatch for the bilge. Twin self-draining stainless steel plugs complete the floor treatment.
There are two large cleats on the stern and another two either side of the bow, four additional rod holders either side of the small engine well which has a piano-hinged flap that drops when the motor is raised. More cup holders? Of course!
Boarding platforms are moulded into the hull with the starboard one carrying a telescopic stainless steel ladder.

READY TO ROLL
The boat comes on an American drive-on Ezyloader trailer featuring carpet covered boards but no rollers. 
In summary the boat is certainly worth a second glance. The Triumph is a good looking boat but its "coat" is certainly not as bright as a well finished glass boat. The test boat, admittedly a well-used demo craft, already had some scuffing and what looked like ingrained dirty marks, particularly around areas which had clearly seen the touch of a router. However the boat is filled with lots of practical goodies and ideas and handled very well indeed. Cruising was comfortable at 4000rpm and stability at rest quite good.
PS: As far as I could see there were no cup holders on the trailer.

WHAT WE LIKED
New technology
Strong alloy T-top
Centre console and seating set-up
Livebait tank

NOT SO MUCH
No trim gauge
Low gunnels, no toeholds
Dull finish
Bow nav light

 

Specifications: TRIUMPH 195CC

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested: $64,990
Options fitted: ….T-Top with rocket launcher, spreader light, dome light, dual batteries, PFD storage bag, raw water wash down, swim platform, bow cushions, safety pack, registrations
Priced from: $59,500

GENERAL
Material:  Roplene
Length overall:  6.09m
Beam:   2.49m
Deadrise:   16 degrees
Weight (BMT): 1520 kg

CAPACITIES
Fuel:   227lt
Rec/max hp:  175hp
Passengers:  8

ENGINE
Make/model:  150hp Suzuki four-stroke
Rated HP:  150 hp
Weight:  211kg
Gearbox ratio: 2.50:1
Propeller:  Suzuki Stainless steel 3 x15¼ x 19R

SUPPLIED BY
Going Boating Victoria,
141 Fyans St, South Geelong,
Vic, 3220.
Ph (03) 52 242085
Website: www.goingboating.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #217

 


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