It was a shocking day. Not only was there a strong wind warning on the bay, but the rain was now getting heavier and the sky was closing in. I turned up my collar, grabbed my pad, tape and camera case, and chucked it all into the boat. We had a job to do and we weren’t going to let the weather affect our busy timetable.
We were the only activity on the Patterson Lakes boat ramp as the American-built Trophy slid off the trailer and the big black 150HP Mercury Optimax two stroke gurgled into life. Thank God for the bimini cover! I huddled under the protection as we headed under the road out onto the bay to see how this pocket cruiser would perform.
Outside the wind was howling. With me was George Christodoulou, Service Manager of the new Boronia Marine, now a division of the Avanti Marine Group. The rain drove through the open windscreen and I knew we were going to get wet.
Although classed as a walkaround, the gangway round the cockpit on the Trophy 2002 is narrow and I recommend keeping a secure handhold at all times, especially in a rocking sea. Full bow rails up front are solid and give good support for working up the sharp end. These rails sweep right down the side of the boat and finish amidships. The anchor locker is small, although deep has not much width to store a grapple or sand anchor. Access to the ground gear is via the walkaround, or you can come out through the hatch in the cabin.
I just loved the cockpit layout. The Americans do a great job in having everything to hand. Comfortable seats that give an A1 view, throttle quadrant that’s in just the right place, plenty of room for dash-mounted electronics, and radios that can be roof or flush-mounted in the dash.
I also liked the Navman Trackfish, an instrument that gives full colour readings on depth, course and engine management. Although small, the cuddy cabin has a touch of luxury. Standard comes a Porta Potty that is connected to a holding tank. This conforms to the strict laws we have in this country about not pumping waste into the sea. Many marinas now have boat pump-out facilities, something that keeps our precious waterways clean and unpolluted. For eating, a small collapsible table can be erected and four or five people can enjoy a meal together seated on the bunk cushions. Being fully lined, the whole cabin gives a feeling of warmth.
A super strong stainless assembly holds up the hardtop and there is a four-shooter rocket launcher to keep rods away from the working area. I found this superstructure a boon to hold on to as we hit the rough chop in the bay.
A kill tank in the floor and a small livebait well in the transom turn this boat into a fishing machine. Covered rod holders in the coamings and rod holders under the gunwales all make for an ergonomic fishing platform. For those who fish at night, a large floodlight on top of the rocket launcher will give plenty of deck illumination. Another feature that gives this boat offshore credibility is the Drainage Response System. Basically these are posh words for a self-draining deck, although the boat has a huge bilge pump so any water intrusion can be expelled very quickly.
A small boarding platform is married to a folding boarding ladder, which makes entry easy whether the boat is on the water or on the trailer.
So how did she perform in the inclement conditions? As I pushed her out into the teeth of the wind, I trimmed the Merc right in so the forefoot of the boat would take the sharp, breaking chop. Opening her up, the two stroke popped the big hull up on the plane in an instant and we were away. I trimmed her out to around 3900rpm and that put me over the chop. Although it was bumpy, there was no hard slam due to the severe deadrise (19 degrees at the transom). Rain drove in hard above the small screen and I wished the boat had front and side clears.
Electric trim tabs are standard issue, and these small tabs on the back help to keep the boat straight. By working each tab individually, I could straighten the boat as it tended to lean into wind. With both of us on one side under power, a small adjustment of the trim tabs once again brought the boat back straight so the hull could do its work. On a beam sea, we did get even wetter as the big shoulders sheeted up the spray and then the wind picked it up and threw it into the cockpit. However, the ride was great with the boat having no inclination to wander off track. Down wind was the same. It rode over the swells and powered down the other side, totally under control. I felt that the big Trophy didn’t want to broach at all. Hydraulic steering makes manoeuvring a breeze and, when trimmed out to take the load off the wheel, the Trophy can be turned using one hand.
I must admit that we were only out there for a short time: just long enough to see how she performed in an open sea. Then we hurried back to sheltered waters. Back in the Patterson River, I put the boat in idle and both of us leant out over the side to see how much she would heel. Hardly noticeable, which augers well when two are leaning over the side gaffing a big shark.
In full reverse, the small transom well filled quickly with water and there was a small amount that entered the cockpit. This disappeared quickly back outside when I put the throttle back to neutral.
I dropped George back on the ramp then stood off as he backed the Esi Tow custom-made tandem trailer into the water. Large guides grabbed the forefoot of the boat and with a touch of the throttle, the Trophy centred and slid up the trailer. Whilst I kept revs on the motor, George clicked on the winch strap, wound it up till tight and connected the safety chain. I killed the engine and tilted her up.
My impressions were very positive about this American import. As an offshore fishing platform, the Trophy will get you there and get you back, even when things turn a little pear shaped. With all the supplied electrics, you only have to grab your tackle and you’re ready to go. I know that $85 gees is a fair investment for a fishing platform but if you are serious about your sport, check out the new Boronia Marine and have a climb over the Trophy. Oh, by the way – it’s a boat that attracts a bit of attention at the ramp.
The price of the boat as tested including Esi Tow custom tandem trailer, all registrations and on-water tuition if required $84,990 inc GST.
Boat supplied by The new Boronia Marine, 345 Dorset Road, Boronia, Victoria 3155. Ph 1800 802 444 or (03) 9760 2222. Web: www.boroniamarine.com.au
|Deadrise at transom||19 degrees|
|Weight (including motor)||1516kg (approx)|
|Length on trailer||8.23m|
|Height on trailer||2.49m|
Hard top with 4 rocket launchers, cooler seat, electric trim tabs, port and starboard windshield wipers, raw water wash down, bow cushions, aft jump seats with removable cushions, swim step and ladder, pump out head, 7200VHF, safety gear inc EPIRB and boat rego.