BOAT TEST: TIGÉ SWITCH I

By: Rick Huckstepp


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It's testament to the fun factor of the Tigé Switch that Rick Huckstepp, a dyed-in-the-wool fisho, still managed to have an awesome time. Perhaps this is what it means to bait and switch...

BOAT TEST: TIGÉ SWITCH I
Tigé Switch I

FROM THE ARCHIVES: First published in TrailerBoat #183, Sep 2004

 

Manufacturers of fibreglass boats have traditionally used timber stringers in their hull design to increase longitudinal strength. 


This is still the case with larger cabin boats and offshore fishing rigs, but in recent times there have been dramatic changes in the 'fun' boat market in the way hulls are laid up. And to many who enjoy the flat water, 'fun' is skiing and wakeboarding.

In pursuit of lightness while not sacrificing strength, there are variations to this evolution of change such as hollow fibreglass stringers, foam-filled fibreglass stringers and, most recently in a boat we looked at, high-density closed-cell injected moulded cores.

This rig is the Tigé Switch I, and it featured this latest innovation, which the manufacturers claim offers 300 per cent more coverage over the hull than a conventional set of stringers.

The foam module is precision-cut to match the 'glass hull, and then glued in place. There is no timber aboard this boat; rather, extensive use of Penske Extreme, which is a composite material mostly found in high-speed offshore boats and military assault vessels. It consists of multiple strands of fibreglass in resin, sheathed in two outside woven layers of 'glass. Engine mounts are of 50mm Penske Extreme with 7mm aircraft-quality aluminium saddles.

So confident of the quality of this hull are the manufacturers that they offer a lifetime warranty. You'd have to be happy with that peace of mind! But it's not just the inner hull structure that is different.

 

 

SHOCK ROCKER



The hull forward of the centrally located 500mm-wide trim tab takes on a rocker-style convex shape, which flies in the face of conventional hull design for this type of sport - where downturned, permanent hook shapes are implemented at the transom to give the boat a bow-down attitude.

Manufacturers of some conventional hulls attempt, at times, to alter the wake by using trim tabs - but the downturned hook that provides the flat planing attitude continually resists change. The result is often mediocre board wakes.

The convex shape of the Tigé hull allows the stern to settle deep when the trim tab is adjusted up, thus pushing up large waves for wakeboards.

The trim tab shadows an equally wide planing plank - which is tapered toward the bow - and this system allows the trim tab to jack up the hull to produce a flat wave for high-speed slalom skiing. This adjustment is made in seconds with the touch of a button, rather than having to rely on the conventional pumping of hundreds of litres of water ballast to gain the same effect.

Our initial impression as the boat reversed down the ramp was that perhaps we should be going out wide - where were the rods? The Tigé has a healthy beam but a very high freeboard across the transom and well forward to the forequarters. Standing inside, it offered very high support on the upper legs - better, in fact, than what's on offer in many fishing rigs I have tested.

 

 

ACID TEST



We took the Tigé Switch I for a spin on the Brisbane River with a wakeboarder in tow and experienced first hand the experience of those on the rope, as well as the ease at which waves could be altered to suit the conditions.

Climbing aboard the boat when in the water was easy via the expansive aft water-level platform, and if you're boarding from the beach, the downturned bow section allows for easy entry into the bowriding section by cocking your leg over the gunwale. The upholstery here and throughout the boat is super plush - and there is plenty of it, with cockpit liners soft-padded as well.

A fixed aft-facing observer seat had plenty of legroom in front of the centrally located engine box, and the rear lounge was large enough to sprawl out on. Sidepockets were at floor level and were quite shallow, but they were handy to place things like sunscreen in. They're also high-lipped enough to stop gear falling out and sliding across the floor during white-knuckle manoeuvres.

A large locker for stowage of wakeboards, ski ropes and wet togs is located in the transom bulkhead under the full-width lift-up hatch, which opens on gas struts.

 



REBEL WITHOUT A PORPOISE



One question sprang to mind when I first learned of the boat's banana-shaped hull: at what point was this thing going to porpoise? That's usually the result of a hull that has a curved keel line, but this hull didn't even think about it!

Holeshot was brilliant, while acceleration was rapid with not even a hint of any porpoising - even with the trim tab lifted completely.

At 4530rpm the speedo was showing 71kmh with a healthy V8 rumble burbling from the exhausts. If you're into water antics, this rig can be put on full hard lock at full throttle and not miss a beat, or cavitate air, while maintaining a flat attitude. The inertia is half the thrill!

Backing off the throttle, the boat dropped off the plane at 17kmh with a boarder behind, and rather than fall back in the water it settled with the same attitude as when on the plane.

The manufacturer speaks of big days on the water with boarders and skiers in tow for 20lt of go-juice per hour. The amount of noise emanating from the engine box was negligible, and it was surprising to find that there was no soundproofing in the box whatsoever - it's a straight fibreglass shell!

What was also impressive was the Velvet Drive gear train - it's silky smooth, with no engine rev-up that usually results in a clunk and jump forward. It took a bit of getting used to, but it was lovely all the same.

The test boat was fitted with TAPS (Tigé Adjustable Performance System), which allowed digital monitoring of engine revs and speed, plus automatic adjustment for wakeboard and skiing tournament conditions.

If you are like me and tend to hang on to boats for a long time, the lifetime warranty on offer with this boat will be fairly persuasive. The fact that there are no components that can rot with dampness is also food for thought.

Whether skiing, boarding or just being a rev-head, this is one very smart rig. If you have kids along for the ride, the bigness of the boat's cockpit will also help settle the nerves somewhat.

 



HIGHS


High freeboard gives feeling of security
Economical and great for a young family
Very little engine noise

 

 

LOWS


No rodholders
Velvet Drive takes some getting used to

 

 

 


SPECIFICATIONS

 

 

Price as tested: $56,391

Options fitted: TAPS upgrade, Clarion stereo, Digital Pro Cruise control, bimini, paint trim

Priced from: $49,990

 

 

GENERAL


Material: Fibreglass
Length (overall): 6.12m
Beam: 2.25m
Rec/max hp: 340
Towing weight: 1500kg

 

 

CAPACITIES


Fuel: 140lt
Passengers: Eight
Water: n/a

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: MerCruiser Competition Ski
Type: V8 petrol, carburetted
Rated hp: 270
Displacement: 5.7lt
Weight: 379kg
Drive: Direct Velvet Drive
Propeller: 13in x 12in three-blade

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


Karee Marine, 1851 Ipswich
Road, Rocklea, Qld,
tel (07) 3875 1600 or email karee@bigpond.net.au

 



First published in TrailerBoat #138

Find Tige Switch boats for sale.

 


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