TOURNAMENT 1700F BOAT REVIEW

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH


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It may not have all the shiny extras, but Kevin Smith says the Tournament 1700F fishing boat has all you need to get out on the water.

TOURNAMENT 1700F BOAT REVIEW
The Tournament 1700F, a sub-$40k ’glass half cab that does a bit of everything.

Getting into a decent half-cab-style fibreglass boat for less than $40,000 seems to be a pretty tall order these days. And perhaps the biggest reason is that so many boats are packed with costly accessories, which significantly bump
up the price.

What people tend to forget, however, is that these boats can be purchased in a simple form, without all the bling. Going down this road means you can save a fair whack initially and add the extras to the boat over time as your savings allow. Keep it simple.

Tournament's latest 1700F is just that: plain and simple. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but it still looks pretty funky and it has enough angling features to get you among the fish, all for a little less than $40k.

While obviously an entry-level boat, the 1700F still comes with a 90 Evinrude E-TEC motor, bimini, Garmin fishfinder, fairly large open-plan half cab (with bunk), decent seating, live well / Esky-style cooler storage and full / split rear lounge. And to top it all off, the boat has a nice finish to it and looks awesome in plain white, rather than the optional two-tone scheme.

On first impression, I would say the 1700F comes across as functional and practical boat, and is well suited to fishing and family fun.



LAYOUT

Given its entry-level status, one would expect the 1700F to be little more than a bare shell in need of some extras. However, I'm happy to report that it actually comes with a number of features and accessories - enough to get you out there without having to spend any extra.

Those accessories include a simple depth / fishfinder, dual bait well / icebox, kill tank / stowage hatch in the deck, large side-pockets with toe-locks, a few rod holders, small open-plan cab, decent screen, recessed gunwale grab rails and cleats, and a fold-away lounge. I particularly like the finish throughout the boat, as well as its open and spacious feel and the basic simplicity to the whole thing.

When it comes to wetting a line, you have ample space for two adults to fish very comfortably, plus room for a few more when at anchor (as long as you don't mind sharing space). For the family, the boat is really an ideal size that would easily accommodate mum, dad, and a handful of small snappers. The gunwales are at a good height to keep the kids in, and having the full-length lounge at the rear and bunks up front means there is no problem when it comes to getting them out of the weather.

Having the rear lounge split in half is a simple but innovative idea that means you can either have it at full length for extra seating, half up and half down so you can fish up against it, or completely down for extra fishing space against the stern. It all just works!



NIPPY PERFORMER

Although the maximum performance rating for the 1700F is a 130hp, I reckon the 90hp E-TEC is really the ideal match based on its performance, economy, and affordability. This in-line three-cylinder, direct-injection donk is a new-technology two-stroke with three-star emissions compliance that packs a healthy 67kW at 5000rpm. The engine provides nippy holeshot performance and a pretty good top end of 31.4kts (58.2kmh) at 5400rpm.

When it comes to general ride, this little 17-footer is actually quite impressive, especially considering there was a 15kt (28kmh) breeze puffing on Queensland's Moreton Bay. To be frank, I was not expecting to be sitting back and relaxing at the helm once entering the main channel between Peel Island and Cleveland Point - where it turns to a washing machine due to opposed currents and wind - but the hull cut through the slop and produced quite a soft ride. The average speed maintained (without getting battered around) was around 17-20kts (31.5-37kmh) on and off the throttle which, again, is good for a boat of this size.

When underway stability is quite good, with the weighting fairly matched with two on board. When shifting weight, however, the hull is a bit sensitive due to a vee that's slightly deeper than usual for a boat of these dimensions. This is not an issue, but rather one of those compromises between ride comfort and stability.

Stability at rest is a little tender, but not excessively so, and it again boils down to the same ride / stability compromise. Low-down tests produced a feisty holeshot with two on board, and when hurled into "unnatural" turns the Tournament banks in gently without biting and throwing you off the seats.

The boat's operating controls consist of a standard side-mount control box and non-feedback cable steering, which had no torque pull at speed and was quite smooth to turn. I am a firm believer in hydraulic steering, which I think is worth fitting if you have a few spare bob.

Overall, the 1700F is a nippy little performer and anything but a hardship to operate. It comfortably handled Moreton Bay's slop and chop, and it's the kind of boat you could easily use for light offshore fun and general boating.



THE WRAP

The Tournament 1700F doesn't feature a truckload of features and accessories, but that's the point: keep it simple and keep the price down. This vessel is designed as an affordable option for those who want to start boating or are looking to upgrade from a smaller boat. That said, the 1700F does come with enough to get started immediately.

With a length of 5.4m and dry weight of around 650kg, this boat is a manageable size for small families or boaties who frequent bays, dams and the like.



PERFORMANCE

4.8kts (9kmh) @ 1500rpm

8.6kts (16kmh) @ 2500rpm

15.4kts (28kmh) @ 3500rpm

24.7kts (46kmh) @ 4500rpm

28.2kts (52kmh) @ 5000rpm

31.4kts (58kmh) @ 5400rpm



On the plane...

  • Good performance, handling and ride for a small boat
  • Neat, simple finish throughout
  • Enough accessories to get started without spending extra



Dragging the chain...

  • A bit sensitive on stability, but a soft ride due to the slightly deeper vee
  • It would be nice to see a few upgraded accessories for the same price



SPECS: TOURNAMENT 1700F

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $37,990

Options fitted: Bimini, Garmin fishfinder

Priced from: $36,990 (with 90hp Evinrude E-TEC)



GENERAL

Type: Multi-purpose fishing and family runabout

Material: GRP

Length: 5.45m (LOA 5.75m)

Beam: 2.13m

Weight: 650kg dry (approx.)

Deadrise: 21°



CAPACITIES

People: 6

Rec. HP: 90hp

Max. HP: 130hp

Fuel: 90lt (underfloor)

Water: Optional



ENGINE

Make/model: Evinrude E-ETEC E90DPXIN

Type: In-line three-cylinder E-TEC with direct injection

Weight: 152kg

Displacement: 1296cc

Gear ratio: 2.25:1

Propeller: Stainless steel, 16in Viper



MANUFACTURED BY

Tournament Pleasure Boats

2/13 Octal Street

Yatala, Qld, 4207

Tel: (07) 3807 6999

Web: www.tpboats.com.au



SUPPLIED BY

Australian Marine Centre

3491 Pacific Highway

Springwood, Qld, 4127

Tel: (07) 3808 7333

Web: www.australianmarinecentre.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #288, November 2012

Find Tournament boats for sale.

 


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