Issue: June 2005
Are you a serious bluewater fisho chasing serious fish on serious water ? If so, are you looking for the ideal sportfishing platform ? The latest Trophy 2503 Centre Console is the boat for you.
With enough room for you and all your fishing mates, the Trophy 2503 is a serious bluewater performer that handles the rough stuff better than many larger boats. But the good news is that this centre console is dry. No, it’s not a typo, this is one dry riding boat, something not normally associated with centre console boats. Plus, powered by a super quiet and extremely smooth 275hp Mercury Verado supercharged four-stroke, this boat’s got the grunt to power you out to The Shelf with indifferent ease.
The Modern Boating team can more than vouch for the sea-legs of this vessel, because not only did we run her at length off shore, but we spent three hours crashing head-on into the 3-4m swell that rolled in past Sydney Harbour’s South Head, photographing the cover shot for this edition. It was so rough during the morning that the swells had even stopped the Manly ferry running across the Heads. However, it did die down a little by the time we hit the Heads, but there was more than enough swell running to get as the wakeboarders say some serious air under this hull.
At 25ft (7.62m), the 2503 is by no means a big boat, but it’s her hull design that gives her better than most bluewater handling. Her extreme Carolina-flared bow reminiscent of many beautiful old Hawaiian gameboats throws all the spray and white water down and well away from the hull and contributes greatly to the boat’s dry ride. But that exaggerated bow flare isn’t the only attribute that the Trophy’s hull can boast. The 2503 is another of the modern hulls to carry its chines well forward, right to the bow in fact.
There are two trains of thought on these extreme chines. Some manufacturers, such as Boston Whaler also built by the giant Brunswick Corporation that build Trophy Boats have wide flat chines on models such as the 240 Outrage. These make the hull super stable and extremely dry, but do offer the sea two large surfaces to hit against when underway. This can increase the banging and running noise generated by the hull.
Don’t get me wrong, the 240’s an excellent hull and her ride is magnificent, one of the best boats I’ve driven as a matter of fact, but as with most things in boating, some of the pluses normally generate a few negatives along the way. On the other hand, the 2503 Trophy’s chines, while still extremely wide, are more downturned, at an angle of almost 45 degrees. These form mini tunnels where air is trapped on each side of the keel. These air pockets do a similar job as the flat chines on the Outrage, but leave nothing for the water to slap against, so the hull doesn’t bang and runs much quieter.
As well as the chines there are two heavily pronounced strakes on each side of the keel, which promotes straight tracking; and a super-sharp bow entry that slices through chop and swells cleanly. The 2503 also has a 21-degree deadrise at the transom, which on some hulls would make it unstable at rest, but that’s also where those down turned-chines come into play. There’s no way that the air trapped under the chines will let the hull roll and the result is an extremely stable hull both running and at rest.
While doing the aerials for the cover, we also discovered the boat keeps a relatively level attitude when she comes off a wave. Yes, she does land bow up as it should caused by the weight of the motor on the transom, but the boat doesn’t hit right at the transom, it lands just behind the driver’s seat, two thirds of the way back from the bow. Not only does this helps reduce banging and the running noises from the hull, but it keeps the driver in control and confident in the surefootedness of this boat.
The 2503 the Modern Boating team tested was powered by what can only be described as a magnificent 275hp Mercury Verado outboard. This engine is so quiet and smooth that even when running flat out you can barely hear it. You could rest a stubby on it when it was running and you wouldn’t spill a drop.
The Verado’s performance is excellent right through the power range and she demonstrates plenty of that push you back in the seat acceleration that only an engine like this supercharged four-stroke can deliver. In a nutshell, even though the 2503 is normally fi tted with two 150hp, the 275hp has more than enough grunt to get the job done, and at a considerable saving I might add.
At 2500rpm you can barely hear this 275 ticking over, on many occasions the Modern Boating crew checked to see if the motor was still running, plus, she’ll cruise along effortlessly at a perfect 3.7mph-troll speed and do it all day without any dramas. The marlin boys are gunna love this one.
An ideal cruise speed is 22mph at 4200rpm, while at 6100rpm she tops out doing 40mph, not bad for a fully laden, almost 3-tonne rig.
The Trophy 2503 Centre Console was built for fishermen. She’s a 25-foot, purpose-built sportfishing machine featuring everything most sport fishos could want, including Mercury’s Smartcraft instrumentation system as well as analogue gauges. Nothing needs to be added except a good electronic’s package.
There’s a fully enclosed head, yes you can move around easily in here, mounted in the centre console for privacy. The helm console is designed with plenty of space for all your electronics. The helm seat can accommodate two comfortably and also houses a huge fish box and the fully-sealed twin battery box.
The helm seat module is large and has a four-piece rod rack mounted on the backrest. But, because it is a large structure it does encroach a little into the usable area in the aft cockpit, but it’s a small price to pay for its benefits.
Other features include a raw water deck wash and pressurised freshwater system to make it easy to keep your boat and gear in top condition. The hard top keeps the sun off your head, it doesn’t impede when you’re fishing and has a four-rod rack at the back. The padded gunwales are more than high enough to brace against, there are plenty of grab rails and in-gunwale rod holders and the anchor well holds plenty of rope and chain.
This well is also set-up to lock the sand anchor in place when underway. However, there is no room in this locker for a second anchor, or reef pick, but it does have a windlass, so pulling the anchor up isn’t going to break your back.
The bow area converts easily from a raised table with bench seating to a large casting platform, but when standing here there is nothing to brace against when fighting a big fish.
There’s also trim tabs, live-bait tank, built-in tackle boxes, removable cutting board, two Eskys, plenty of storage compartments and lockers. There’s even a small locker in the roof of the hard top to store your car keys and wallet.
The Trophy 2503 and Mercury 275 Verado package was designed by fishos for fishos. Plus, having only the single motor fitted, there is a considerable price saving on the purchase price. Add a good sounder/GPS chartplotter, EPIRB and radio and she’s ready to fish. Her bluewater performance and handling are second to none. Her standard of fit-out and finish are superb and yes, you can trailer this boat. The Modern Boating team agree this is one serious boat for serious anglers.
Quiet & Smooth
Following this test the Modern Boating team can confirm that the Mercury Verado 275hp is an extremely smooth, quiet and powerful outboard. According to Mercury, this in-line six cylinder, supercharged, four-stroke powerhouse is the strongest, quietest, fastest and most reliable outboard it has ever produced.
It offers the world’s only fully integrated outboard propulsion system, merging power and responsiveness via Smartcraft Digital Throttle and Shift. In addition, electro-hydraulic power steering eliminates steering torque and delivers ultra smooth handling. So smooth in fact, that it will troll all day at 7 knots, then effortlessly rocket away, smoke and vibration free once the hammer goes down.
The Trophy 2503 Centre Console was powered by a single Mercury Verado 275hp, supercharged, four-stroke outboard. The motor is extremely quiet, vibration-free and offers plenty of that push you back in the seat performance.
These speed-to-rpm readings were obtained in the smooth waters of the Parramatta River on the way to The Heads.
Speed to RPM: 2mpm @ 2000rpm, 3.5mpm @ 2500, 4.7mpm @ 3000rpm, 8.8mpm @ 3500rpm, 17mpm @ 4000rpm, 24mpm @ 4500rpm, 34mpm @ 5500rpm, 40mpm @ 6100rpm.
BEAM: 8 6
DEADRISE: 21 Degrees
DRAFT: 3 2
BAIT TANK: 130lt
PRICE: $125,000 (approx)
+ Excellent bluewater handling. Purpose-built fishing platform Verado 275hp
? No room for reef pick
Words and Photos by Ian Macrae