words - David Lockwood
Saddle up for a long ride, Tonto. This superb new walkaround from Bayliner delivers an enormous range with its grunty diesel engine, and doesn't often stop for a drink. Sheriff Lockwood reports

Bayliner's baby Trophy walkaround mightn't be a rocket ship, but jeez, think about the fuel savings. Fitted with a sensitive new-age diesel motor with sterndrive leg, the boat has a factory-stated range of 241 miles or almost 410km. From where I sit, that's from the ramp to the shelf and back home six times! What's more, the frugal sportsfisher is a comfortable hitch and haul for your popular mid and maxi four-wheel drive.

Offered as a boat/motor/trailer rig on a US-built Caribbean cradle with hydraulic brakes, the 2052 would make a great adventure craft for towing to some interstate destination or island archipelago for a week-long fishing trip.

Without risk of sounding like a salesman, let me also add that the Trophy 2052 is really well laid out. The boat has wide walkarounds along which you can move while nursing an arcing rod. Up front is a handy casting platform or fighting area backed with a high bowrail.

In fact, the best thing about this boat after the diesel donk is its layout. Despite measuring 6.58m overall, the well-proportioned boat doesn't compromise in any one area. While the sidedecks are wide, the helm isn't pinched and there is room between the seats for a third crewman and to reach the cabin.

To these things you can add performance that will put paid to any preconceived notion of mainstream mass-produced boatbuilders missing the mark. A combination of engine weight low in the hull, a fine entry and lots of forward flotation make for a smooth, dry ride.

But wait, there's more ...

It stands to reason that the world's biggest boatbuilder, Bayliner, takes the construction of its offshore-bound Trophy fishing boats seriously. The 2052, for example, is backed by a 10-year structural hull warranty, which appears to be one of the longest in the game.

The Trophy Hull System, as the company calls it, draws on digital design files of a time-proven flared bow hull with slightly down-turned chines and two strakes per side for lift. The boat has a variable deadrise hull that ranges from a sharp bow to a moderate-vee at the tail for efficiency.

The boating industry's largest robotic milling machine delivers moulding accuracy to within 25/1000in. Full-sized mock-ups of new models are made to allow the R&D team to test the ergonomics of things like seats, driving stations, storage space and loos (what a job!).

Each hull also has a built-in Drainage Response System — you and I know it as a self-draining hull ? which includes channels moulded in the deck sides and a slightly domed cockpit sole to direct water back to the scuppers.

In the engineering department, the hand-laid boat has what Bayliner terms a Monolithic Stringer System. It is a one-piece box-beam frame comprising two big foam-filled stringers, three cross members and a recess for the fuel tank.

The frame is 'glassed to the hull while it's in the mould and then 'glassed to the deck to form one solid structure. Vinylester resin in the skincoat means you can antifoul the boat and leave it on the water without risk of osmosis.

Cleats, bow eyes and transom eyes are through-bolted, wiring is colour-coded, numbered and fed through PVC conduits, while the stainless steel bowrail is welded and the skin fittings also fashioned from stainless steel.

However, these things aren't as unusual on a fishboat as the complexity of this rig's deck.

The intricacy of the moulding is pretty much the preserve of big companies who can afford to invest in big-buck tooling.

At the transom, the well-proportioned walkaround has large trim tabs, a small (optional) boarding platform to starboard with a rail through which you could mount a berley pot and a good grade non-skid. All the coamings had non-skid to make boarding from the ramp or jetty safer.

The local importers fit the factory-listed Pro Pack to all Trophies destined for Australia as a matter of course. The pack includes padded coamings, a cooler under the passenger seat, a raw-water hose, a bow cushion on the mother-in-law seat, a portable head with a pump-out/holding tank, electric trim tabs, a VHF radio with a 2.42m whip and a windscreen wiper on the driver's side.

The 2052 Pro also had four rodholders and hawsepipes leading to concealed cleats just like a real gameboat. Ditto the padded coamings and extra wide coamings that deliver toe-under standing room so you can lean outboard and fight stubborn fish.

There are padded aft-quarter seats for the kids on those family days afloat that can be removed for extra fishing room either side of the low-profile central engine box. To access the motor, batteries, bilge pumps and suchlike, you fold back the engine cover and open the hatches behind the quarter seats.

I found two big oval sub-floor fishwells that can each take a few school mackerel, mahi mahi or reef fish. The wells are insulated and drain overboard, but I'm unable to ascertain whether it's via macerators or straight into the bilge.

A neat moulded livebait tank behind the helmseat is connected to a raw-water pump that can be switched to a deckhose outlet. The tank is about 60lt capacity and a fair bit of it hides beyond the access hatch. Netting livies could be tricky.

There are two gaff, paddle or rod storage holders mounted under each coaming. The clips have recessed tubes at either end so you can slide the butt end of long-handled gaffs or nets or tag poles away. The boat is, however, short on serious rod storage.

My tip is take the canvas and clears off the supplied bimini top, ditch the framework and visit a stainless engineer for a custom fold-down rocket launcher that can carry, say, six outfits plus outriggers. The factory has a listed hardtop option, but a custom targa with clears will be cheaper.

I noted a diesel deck filler, water and waste tank connection, a neat clip that holds the radio aerial when it's folded forward, and a nice thigh-high stainless bowrail that supports you along the decks. Of course, there were some beverage holders dotted about the Yankie-made boat.

The foredeck with quasi casting platform and seat also harbours nav lights, a bowsprit with anchor, optional windlass and small anchorwell (ask a stainless welder to fit a pipe with PVC insert on the bowrail for carrying the reef pick).

Despite the wide walkarounds there is good access between the helmseats to the cabin. The bi-fold door can be held open using the supplied strap. Inside, a V-berth has seated head and shoulder room for four people around a dinette table.

The table and lounges convert into a big V-berth with real room for a couple to sleep over. Add the loo linked to a pump-out facility and, well, this could be the ideal boat for trolling to a nearby port or island, overnighting, then trolling home the next day.

There is storage under the bunk cushions in three small holds and room to carry spare fishing outfits, such as heavy-tackle game rods, on the cabin cushions out of the weather. The brochure talks of cabin rod storage, but I couldn't see it unless it was the wee sidepockets behind the padded backrests.

Overhead lighting, thick upholstery and full lining make for a neat cabin on a 20-footer. Storage isn't a highlight, however, and some custom arrangement will be needed for carrying jumbo tackle boxes, lure bags and suchlike.

As mentioned, the helm is a gem. The copilot had the optional cooler seat as part of the Pro package, that is, a seat over the top of a 45lt esky held in place by a bracket. Both it and the helmseat have plastic moulded bases, clip-on easy-clean cushions and fore and aft adjustment.

The copilot has a grabrail off to the side. While the windscreen doubles as a handhold, it would be better to have a rail tracing its leading edge. Drinkholders are nearby along with a hatch to access the wiring loom.

The switch panels identify principal functions such as horn, nav lights, cockpit lights (of which there are two), anchor light, blower, and a test function for the audio/visual alarms covering engine temp, oil pressure, battery charge and water-in-fuel. There is a 12V outlet for the mobile phone.

Another switch panel was labelled with baitwell, starboard fishwell, bilge pump, wipers and accessories. The soft-touch electric trim tab switches were off to the side, as was the simple flush-mounted Mercury throttle and 12V circuit-breaker board.

There was some dash space left over for flush or bracket mounted electronics, while the stainless steel wheel adds a sense of purpose. While it looks dicky, I used the wiper to clean the windscreen of some all-too-rare rain and it worked well.

The leading edge of the windscreen bisects your vision when seated and driving on the Trophy 2052. But having said that, this is a practical and high windscreen that does its job deflecting spray.

The boat's flared bow does an even better job of ridding your ride of spray and, during testing in bumping conditions, the boat remained dry.

But the thing that amazed me was the acceleration produced by this 1.7lt four-cylinder block from Isuzu. The compact 120hp diesel motor with Bosch direct-injection system and four-blade 18in alloy prop shunted the 1589kg hull cleanly out of the water. I own a 3lt diesel Patrol and love these kinds of motors.

The availability of both engine leg trim and the electronic trim tabs let me do all kinds of interesting things with this rig. With the leg right in and the tabs down, I could hold plane at 2300rpm with 17kmh on the speedo.

A super-economical cruise speed of 36kmh comes in at 3000rpm, which the motor holds onto happily, while 3500rpm was just perfect for traversing the messy stuff at 41kmh. On the good days, you can sit on 4000rpm and 48kmh and still there is something in reserve.

At 4200rpm the boat did 51kmh and at 4400rpm with the leg trimmed out, which is maximum revs on the Mercury brochure, the speedo showed 54kmh. This is in keeping with the top speed stated by Bayliner, and it's plenty quick enough.

There are 3lt to 4.3lt MPI petrol MerCruisers, as well as outboard options, available for this boat. But the MerCruiser D1.7L DTI diesel is without doubt the most sensible, economical and intelligent power match. You get incredible range, a diesel trolling note that attracts fish like the Pied Piper and a surprising turn of speed. What more could you ask for in an offshore fishing weekender?

Bayliner Trophy 2052 Pro Walkaround
Price as tested: $75,990
Options fitted:
Pro pack, swim platform, tandem trailer, holding tank
Priced from: $71,990 w/4.3lt 220hp MerCruiser MPI
Material: Fibreglass
Length overall: 6.58m
Beam: 2.47m
Deadrise: 19°
Rec/max hp: 120/260
Weight (ex trailer): 2387kg
Fuel capacity: 322lt
Make and model: MerCruiser D1.7L sterndrive
Type: Four-cylinder direct-injection diesel
Rated hp: 120
Displacement (cc): 1686
Drive/ratio: Alpha 1,2.0:1
Propeller: Four-blade 19in alloy
SUPPLIED BY: Bayliner Australia, Berowra Waters, NSW, tel (02) 9456 3200.

Published : Saturday, 1 March 2003

Prices and specifications supplied are for the market in Australia only and were correct at time of first publication. makes no warranty as to the accuracy of specifications or prices. Please check with manufacturer or local dealer for current pricing and specifications.

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