BOAT TEST: TROPHY 2103 CENTRE CONSOLE

By: David Lockwood


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A superbly designed and constructed hull and a seriously fishy layout will appeal to Australian anglers, writes David Lockwood in his scoop story on Trophy's new 21ft centre console.

BOAT TEST: TROPHY 2103 CENTRE CONSOLE
Trophy 2103 Centre Console

God works in mysterious ways. There I was with the mother of all stomach bugs, dressed in four layers of clothing, with my hood pulled over my head, standing in the bleakness and pouring rain waiting for my test boats to arrive. Only the hurry-up of a pressing deadline could do this to an otherwise sane man, I thought, wiping the water from my face.

Then the boats arrived. Two sportsfishers from Trophy with the sexiest light-green Sea Mist hulls sporting hardtops, sitting on professional-looking alloy frames, with big black Mercury outboards gurgling on their transoms. My spirits were immediately lifted.

What followed was a heavenly trailerboating moment. The thick black clouds parted and the sun beamed down and highlighted our boats as though they were in the showroom, while out to sea that inky black storm provided a dramatic backdrop that made the spanking new 21ft centre console and 25ft centre cabin camera boat positively jump out of the ocean on this scoop test.

We pulled into a protected headland to swap the cameraman from boat to boat, and what should happen next? Another blessed moment! Sprats suddenly started showering from an onslaught, I presume (since it was still very much winter in Sydney) of big Aussie salmon nipping at their tails. Where's the rod? In the garage, I pondered, bowing my head.

 



REFLECTIONS



It is now two just hours since I bade those Trophys farewell. The heavens have closed back over, the rain is falling again, and going boating is the farthest thing from any sensible person's mind. Such is the power of divine intervention, I suppose.

But Trophy itself has been the recent subject of some intervention of another kind. Or perhaps a better way of putting it is some clever marketing and product relaunching.

In recent years, Trophy has dropped Bayliner - which owns the company - from its title to become a standalone entity. Moreover, the folks at Trophy redesigned and relaunched the range of purpose-built sportsfishers to include six walkaround or centre-cabin models, one hardtop cold-climate salmon boat and four centre consoles.

I thought centre consoles were an altogether new line for Trophy, but it's more a case of the importers better understanding the fishing-boat market. In previous years it has imported the centre cabin models.

The way the Aussie dollar is, it's decided to bring in some well-priced centre consoles at last.

The arrival of the centre consoles is also partly due to a couple of employees - Allan Madden, ex-Botany Bay GFC, and Dave Smith from Port Hacking GFC. Put a couple of top fishos on your staff and things pretty much take care of themselves.

You know they will have thumbed through the brochures many times, agonising over the options list before ordering a fully-cocked fishing craft.

 



GUTSY 21-FOOTER



The subject of this test, the Trophy 2103 Centre Console, was indeed a serious bit of trailerable bluewater weaponry. It is the most seriously fishy and smart-looking Trophy I have laid eyes upon.

And on the bouncy water between Sydney Heads, it proved itself to be beautifully seaworthy and smooth riding.

The 21-footer felt more like a 25-footer - such was the lackadaisical manner in which it strutted across the waves. Trophy attributes the ride to a combination of computer-aided design, a rigorous on-water testing program and a Trophy Hull System comprising an apparently overbuilt, one-piece fibreglass-and-foam stringer system bonded to the hull and deck. In turn, this creates a unitised or monocoque structure, and nothing moves around.

The boat is backed by a 10-year limited hull warranty. To this you can add deck fittings that are through-bolted to backing plates, PVC conduits for carrying wiring looms, colour-coded wiring harnesses, and excellent ergonomics about the decks that came about by creating full-sized mock-up boat models and moving about them, imagining how things might be.

The 21-footer also had a so-called Drainage Response System that was in fact a complete water-management approach extending from a self-draining cockpit to fishboxes that drain overboard; an impressive livebait setup; cambered decks to keep your feet dry; and a big engine well. Even the drinkholders had drain holes.

I noted a terrific grade of non-skid decking stretched all over this boat - including around the gunwales and bow, where one might step off at the ramp or wharf. The aft boarding platform was big enough to host a gaff-man if you had to close out a fight from a drifting boat.

The cockpit was also traced with padded coamings. Sensibly, these were attached to tracks so you can order replacements when they've served their purpose at the end of a long season.

Leaning outboard with the photographer, the 2103 felt surefooted and stable. The boat's beam is a useful 2.59m (8ft 6in). The hull has a sharp entry but a wonderful amount of flare up front. This accounted for its dry ride in the stormy seas and building crosswinds.

The boat also has a lot of internal volume, and more space and fishing features than I imagined in a 21-footer.

 

 

DESIGNS ON FISHING



The boat was ordered with a factory-fitted Pro Pack that included a portable cooler with an upholstered cushion on top, which was to be strapped into position behind the helm leaning post/seat.

There were electric Lenco trim tabs, a 75lt freshwater system with transom sink and handheld shower, raw-water washdown and two built-in tackleboxes behind the leaning post.

The boat is built to US Coast Guard and National Marine Manufacturers Association build-quality certification. The options included Sea Mist light-green graphics, pre-wiring for Mercury SmartCraft gauges - which provide information on things like fuel consumption - and a T-top with electronics box. The portable head with pump-out comes standard.

An optional cushion package, which included the aforesaid padded coamings and seat coverings, also extended to the bow. When not in fishing mode, the rather excellent casting platform up front can be used as a casual seating area. And, should nature call, ladies will welcome that head. It's secreted away inside the centre console in a surprisingly accommodating space with headroom and dry storage.

Also at the pointy end is a reasonable anchor locker and recessed cleats, a light-gauge bowsprit and two very handy stainless-steel grabrails tracing the inside of the gunwales. Under the casting platform is a built-in insulated 90lt fishbox with overboard drain. It was big enough to at least bring dinner back home on ice.

The boat's moulded liner leaves plenty of room to pass either side of the centre console, so this is a fish-all-over boat. I noted four through-bolted rodholders in the gunwales along with, get this: six drinkholders. You can have a veritable party while wetting a line. Drinks are on, err, the gunwales.

Under the gunwales are three rod or gaff racks per side, with their own dedicated tubes that continue up inside the boat. Rod storage came by way of a rocket launcher with four aluminium holders on the back of the T-top and another four holders on the back of the leaning post.

That T-top is, as mentioned, a wonderful bit or aluminium welding work. It included green canvas to complement the hull, a zip-out storage panel for carrying lifejackets or wet-weather gear, plenty of handholds, and a rear cockpit floodlight. The aluminium radio box had plenty of room for stowing communications gear and sunnies, sunscreen, mobile phones and so on.

 

 

CLEVER CONSOLE



Aside from harbouring a head, the centre console is a simple but effective control station with room for flush-mounting electronics.

Admittedly, the boat didn't have any clears and, in the rain, it was cold and wet. But once the clouds parted the boat came into its own.

The console itself had hydraulic steering and a stainless-steel wheel. There were three multifunction analogue engine gauges. Fresh from the Sydney Boat Show, the demo boat hadn't had these wired to the Mercury 200hp OptiMax outboard on the tail.

(Actually, there isn't a way to connect SmartCraft wiring to the analogue gauges provided by Trophy. The dealer will have to change the analogue gauges into SmartCraft-compatible ones if the customer wants it. I would add the SmartCraft gauges as well to reveal fuel consumption and engine functions digitally.)

I found the leaning post/helm seat worked in either mode. When used as a leaning post you could lock your feet into the moulded footrest in the console. One could travel offshore very comfortably with four anglers - two abreast of the helmsman and one in the cream of the spots, behind the helm seat. The thick alloy framework provides plenty of places to grab hold.

Aside from housing two tackleboxes, the leaning post also conceals some extra dry storage and electrical components. Hinge the base of the seat forward and you'll find two plastic lift-out tubs for toting gear, the battery-isolator switch and fuses. The batteries hide underfloor here, out of the ends of the boat, where it is best to carry weight.

 

 

FISHING COCKPIT



But for all this, the bit that impressed me most was the fishing centre along the transom. Three starboard lids suggested there was something hiding below.

Facing the transom, from starboard to port, there was a sink with handheld freshwater shower and water filler. This will be handy for keeping hands and tackle clean.

But mid-transom was one of the most magnificent livebait tanks you will find anywhere on a 21-footer. The oval tank has a capacity of 113lt, rounded corners so your bait can swim around, a nightlight, and overflow and drain.

Then came the transom door leading to the large boarding platform. In the port corner was a storage locker with lift-out tub revealing access to the oil bottle. There was a hatch to the bilge back in the engine well.

Incidentally, all the seacocks below the waterline were bronze. The boat had 500gph and 1000grpm bilge pumps and, when you stuck your head back under the transom or screw the hatch in the engine well to check on the bilge, there seemed to be the stuff of a serious saltwater boat inside. Good engineering, in other words.

The boat still needed outriggers, electronics and a bait-cutting table at the transom so you don't slice the starboard lids over the bait tank and sink. Otherwise, it was kitted out for serious sportsfishing in a way few local boats are these days.

 



HEAVEN SENT



The importers were still reeling from the Sydney Boat Show, where the dedicated Trophy stand attracted a lot of attention.

So the engine gauges weren't working. No worries. I won't work through all the speeds, but instead pass a more subjective analysis of the ride.

Later, due I think to the SmartCraft not being wired in, the engine went into limp-home mode. Thankfully I had already driven the boat offshore for a sufficiently lengthy time to pass my personal judgement.

At cruise speed of about 18-22kt (34-42kmh), the boat ran beautifully into the metre-high sea and 1.5m swell. The trick was to keep its fine forward sections knifing through the water. Back aft, the 20° of deep-vee deadrise did its thing. Engine trim and, if needed, trim tabs were used to keep the bow down.

The hull also felt solid but quiet as we cruised east at a sensible fishing clip. Range will be long thanks to the 300lt-plus fuel tank. Top speed is reputedly around 42kt or 80kmh.

The boat's huge flared sections up front shed the spray despite using a touch of in-trim. So I can report this sexy centre console is not wet. No, the cause for my yellow spray jacket and beanie was the morning downpour. But not even that kept me off this seriously good sportsfishing boat.

 

 

HIGHS


Seriously fishy layout and equipment
Cool styling
Sweet hull and saltwater engineering
Great centre console
Loads of room
Excellent value

 

 

LOWS


Engine gauges weren't working
Igloo portable icebox in cockpit was awaiting factory mounting brackets
Quite a distance from transom to beyond engine for rod clearance
Trailer may not be the best available for Aussie conditions

 

 

 

SPECIFICATIONS



Price as tested: $78,590 w/ 200hp Mercury OptiMax outboard and options
Options fitted: Pro Pack, T-top, electronics locker, cushion package, Sea Mist graphics and hull colour, pre-wiring for Mercury SmartCraft, American Karavan trailer w/ hydraulic brakes and more
Priced from: $66,990 w/ 150hp Mercury EFI on US-made trailer

 

 

GENERAL


Material: GRP fibreglass with foam stringers
Type: Deep-vee planing hull
Length overall: 6.48m
Beam: 2.59m
Deadrise: 20°
Weight: About 1589kg (dry)
Towing weight: About 2400kg

 

 

CAPACITIES


Berths: Camp on deck
Fuel: 382lt
Water: 70lt

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: Mercury
OptiMax 200hp
Type: V6 fuel-injected two-stroke
Rated hp: 200 @ 5000-5750rpm
Displacement: 1859cc
Weight: About 225kg
Gearbox (make/ratio): Outboard 1.75:1
Props: 21in s/s

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


Avante Marine, Silverwater,
tel (02) 9737 0727; or for your nearest dealer contact Bayliner Australia, Berowra Waters, NSW,
tel (02) 9456 3200 or visit
www.bayliner.com.au

 

First published in TrailerBoat #184

Find Trophy boats for sale.

 


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