She maybe a couple of feet shorter than Modern Boating’s last workboat, but a quick trip offshore, in blustery, choppy conditions, showed the new Trophy 1952 Walk-Around is no toy. With her high flared bow and plenty of diesel ‘grunt’ under the bonnet, she packed quite a punch in the hefty short chop that developed off Sydney Heads. Built by the giant Brunswick Corporation, the Trophy line-up is marketed primarily as fishing platforms; however, with a walkaround deck, large open aft areas, a small cabin, a head and extra seating options, there is no doubt that the 1952 can double as a family runabout. And when things get a bit dull, the more adventurous can head out on the deep blue yonder for some serious fishing to keep the crew happy.
The Modern Boating team is very familiar with Trophy fishing boats, after having a 2052 Walk-Around as part of the crew last year. We were all impressed with the 2052’s offshore performance, build quality and fuel efficiency, so to try out a lighter rig with the same power plant was an opportunity too good to be missed. And to make things even more interesting, this test was the Trophy’s maiden voyage. There is nothing like the crisp smell of new engine paint setting on the turbocharger during the first run. And there is nothing like the guilt of the first time flat-out run down the harbour. There seems to be two schools of thought when running in a new engine give it heaps, or nurse her gently. We opted for somewhere in between and nursed the engine gently for five or so minutes, then we gave it heaps.
The first thing that struck me about the 1952 was its heavily flared bow compared to the low aft topsides. This rig looked determined to punch holes through chop, while allowing good aft access to the sea from the sides and across the swim platform In conditions that one would have had us normally pulling back on the throttle, especially in a 19-footer, the Trophy just wanted to keep at it. To exemplify this, the similar-sized photo boat, which followed us out to sea, took quite a while to catch up after we chased the Manly ferry down the harbour.
The diesel-powered rig jumped out of the hole and continued to accelerate once on the plane. The team found a good 7-knot troll speed at 1600rpm with a nudge on the throttle promptly powering the hull to 20 knots at 3200 rpm. The Trophy’s four-cylinder MerCruiser diesel cruised comfortable at around 25 knots pulling 3800. Flat out the GPS nudged 33 knots downwind at 4400rpm. The choice of speeds was great and there’s enough top end to let the team know that if we needed to get there fast the Trophy could deliver. But more importantly, in the gusty chop we all stayed dry, a tribute to the high flared bow and the large, look-through windscreen.
The Trophy 1952 WA’s layout is open and functional. The small cuddy cabin surrenders some space to the bulwarks, but with such wide footholds the walk-around deck layout is a winner especially for fishos. The Trophy was designed for fishing and the cockpit layout reflects this. There are two fishing stations serviced by rod holders and drink holders, padded combings and the provision for transom seating. These port and starboard positions are close to the water, offering good access for the net man; plus, the craft stability means that with two blokes on the one side she leans only slightly. Remove the padded cushions from the two aft facing bench seats and there is direct access to an integral live-bait tank and the bait preparation area.
The test craft was not fitted with all the fishing options, but I am sure, if you’re keen, a set of rocket launchers, radio, GPS and a fish finder would convert this rig into a fisho’s battle wagon. The swivelling helm and passenger bucket seats are made from light plastic. Behind each is a padded bench seat. The rest of the crew can find spots on the combings and engine box. The Trophy offers a seating option on top of the engine box, which would suit a family, but most fishos will choose to keep that area clear, or to fit a bait-prep stand.
The helm features full instrumentation and an array of switches controlling everything from the horn to live-bait tank pump. The solid stainless steel wheel is at a comfortable position with a drink holder sitting in a handy spot for the skipper. The test craft had no VHF radio or stereo, but these can be fitted prior to delivery. The simple cuddy cabin has a veeberth, 12V lighting and a starboard side chemical toilet. Absent was a cooler and any freshwater drinking, or wash-down facilities, putting this craft in the day boat or quick overnighter category.
The Trophy build quality is supported by a 10-year transferable structural hull warranty. At Trophy, the components and stringers are built into the hull while still in the mould and all cleats have solid backing plates. Plus, there’s plenty of solid stainless steel fitting about the place. PVC chases are fitted to support the wiring and hoses and allow for the fitting of more accessories later on. Also, for those worried about osmosis, a Vinylester resin barrier coat is applied to the underside gelcoat to guard against the blistering of moored craft.
During this test the Trophy 1952WA delivered impressive performance in the choppy to rough conditions. The high flared bow and low aft topsides deliver a craft well suited to fishing in all conditions. With a $59,990 price tag this little, big sea boat will certainly make budget conscious diesel sterndrive buyers happy.
Words and Photos by Andrew Richardson