Boating – May 1981

BOATING – May 1981

 BOAT TEST NO. 299

 We loved her lines on paper.

 Now the question was: Would the actual boat measure up?

 BY JEFF HAMMMOND

 One of the problems of editing a boating magazine is keeping things in proper perspective.  It goes without saying that people who write about boats, like boats.  It is natural and easy when taking a boat out for a day to become enthusiastic about what the builder has tried to accomplish, then wax a little too enthusiastic about it all on the printed page.

As a result, I find myself going through reports written by the BOATING staff and contributors and making little question marks along the margins.  “Was it really that good?  That fast?  Can’t you find some more negative things to say about the boat – after all, every boat is a compromise!”

This process is designed to separate temporary infatuation from true love, the latter being more enduring, one hopes.  The devil’s advocate approach is also a reaction to the Will Rogers school of nautical journalism. (Never met a boat I didn’t like.”)  And there are more caveats: “Yes, the joinerwork looks like it was done by Columbo, but is the price commensurately low?  What was the boat really designed to do – and will it?” etc.

Having gone through that ritual, the editor says, “Now, if you are really excited about the boat, then say so!”  The editor usually says that after reading three or four reports that are so objective, so measured in tone, and so emotionally controlled, that he’s afraid he’s doing the boat a disservice, rather than the reader.  Having edited, in one capacity or another, boating magazines for 12 years, I can tell you that there is no universally accepted happy medium.

This little preamble is my long-winded way of saying that when I saw the drawings last year for the new Trojan 10 Meter, and found myself being very enthusiastic about it, I said to myself, “What the hell, let her rip.”  Which I did in February (“Trojan 10 Meter,” p. 56).

There’s one little foot note that goes with the “let her rip” approach.  Namely: you’d better be right.

The boat was unveiled in mid-Februaury.  I spent the better part of two days paoking around on the two 10 Meters in Miami, and took one from Fort Lauderdale down to Miami.

BOATING Associate Editor Doug Schryver also spent a day on the new design after the Miami Boat Show and ran a full set of tests (see p. 172).

Our conclusion is: the boat is every bit as good as we thought she would be.  In fact, there were a number of important aspects of the boat that turned out to be better than we thought.  There was only one major disappointment, and that was a result of Trojan’s optimism rather than a failing of the boat.

The Trojan 10 Meter is designed to be a family cruiser and convertible.  The Express version is the one we tested, other models will be launched just as soon as Trojan can tool them.

The boat’s Italian styling is the finest thing that hits you.  You either like it or you don’t.  There’s no middle ground.  While other American builders have incorporated Italian styling here and there, Trojan let her rip.  I guess that’s why I like it.

I’m not suggesting you should, too, but I am saying that if you don’t like the interior, I know how you feel.  But I believe familiarity will breed appreciation.

 Remarkable Stability

So much for the boat as a piece of art.  How does she perform?  That’s the important question, and it is here that the 10 Meter surprised even Trojan.

First, she tracks in a beam sea like a boat three times her length.  That sounds like so much hyperbole, but in this case it isn’t.  Coming south from Fort Lauderdale, I set a course of  180* – in four-to seven-foot beam seas.

Second, in following seas she tracks as straight as an arrow.  Coming into Baker’s Haulover we surfed a few times down six- to eight-foot seas without the first untoward motion.  The bow did not want to dig in, and the stern gave not the slightest indication of wanting to come around.

Third, docking and close-quarters maneuvering are actually easier than on most twin-screw inboards because the shafts are six to eight inches farther outboard than they normally would be on a boat this size, or on larger deep-Vs.  As a result, she’s quite maneuverable.

Fourth, she’s as stable as Trojan claimed she would be.  At rest in a beam sea, the boat reacts exactly as promised.  Now follow this:  she rolls from port to starboard to port (exactly one cycle in about three seconds on a stopwatch), then she pitches aft, then forward, then she’s motionless.  Incredible.  At trolling speeds in a beam sea the boat gently rides up and over as the sea slides under.  No need for calisthenics.  No gut-rolling snap.  It’s a delight.

The reason for this incredibly defined behavior is, of course, the “Delta-Conic” hull designed and perfected by Harry Schoell.  On the Trojan 10 Meter this underwater shape (described fully in February) is superb in the conditions I encountered.

Running the boat is fun.  She feels massive, far bigger than her 33’ LOA.  She moves over seas with the authority of a much larger boat.  The rudder shafts are right at the transom, which makes the boat more maneuverable in reverse, and probably also helps her track so well.  The boat is responsive, easy to control, and, as I keep saying, remarkably stable.

 Italian Pedigree

Below decks, the unusual styling is practical.  The curving companionway works.  That is to say it’s wide enough for my 210-lb. frame, with ample headroom (at least 6’1”) going down the stairs.

The galley to port is well designed with a countertop range, refrigerator, sink, toaster oven, and integral trash bin all in a compact area.  There’s not much counter surface, though.  The dinette actually seats four adults and the settee is comfortable.

There’s a double berth in the forward cabin, but it is a trifle high.  Trojan has notched a step in the glass liner under the berth to make it easier to climb onto.  I have only two minor criticisms of the forward cabin:  1) There isn’t much “bend-over-and-put-your-pants-on” room between the door and the berth.  It’s tight.  But remember she’s a 33 footer.  2)  Stowage is minimal.

The head compartment is large and well executed with the shower stall (with teak grate and deep sump), toilet and sink are arranged to fit harmoniously.  Here, there is room to bend over and pull your pants up.

The numerous oval port lights, translucent deck hatches, indirect lighting, and light-colored interior fabrics, make the 10 Meter bright and inviting below.  Trojan installed a series of port and starboard air conditioning vents in the overhead, and they do a good job of spreading cool air evenly around the cabin.  Since cold air sinks, the vents are in the right place.  The “power doors” closing off the forward compartment and the head are a novel touch.  Like power windows in your car, you merely push a button and the doors slide open or closed.  Some people will call it a gimmick.  But it’s fun, so why not?

The cockpit in the Express model is large enough to hold a square dance.  At the helm there is a raised pedestal seat for two.  The wheel is mounted vertically on the bulkhead, and I found it comfortable and preferable to a canted installation.

Access hatches to the engines are large.  Aft there are two clever “bin” compartments molded into gunwales which are handy for line stowage.  A convenient rack for four rods is located to port and out of the way.  Port and starboard steps make it easy to climb out of the cockpit, and the sidedecks are wide so there’s no obstacle course to negotiate when going forward.

The foredeck has molded in non-slip, but most notable here is a clever anchor stowage compartment.  (The one on the 10 Meter is the best design I’ve seen, with a V-bracket at the top to hold the stock of a Danforth anchor and a deep well below for the shank and rode.

 The Problems of Prototypes

Since it’s well established that I like the boat, let me run through a list of things where she falls short.  First, Trojan’s estimates of her top speed with twin 250-hp Crusaders proved to be over-optimistic.  The company thought she would go nearly 40 mph, wide open.  When Associate Editor Doug Schryver tested her (see Performance Table) with a half load of water and fuel, five people aboard (plus generator, air conditioners, etc.) she ran 33.4 mph, top.  Granted, she was heavier than the stock boat, and her foredeck layup was 300 lbs. heavier than it should have been (or will be in the future).  Still, the boat will not do 40 mph with the Crusaders.

That top speed was probably too much to expect in the first place.  The stock, production Express should do about 35 mph (30 knots) and that’s not bad for a pair of 250-hp engines.  Bigger engines should push her to 40 mph.

Secondly, the prototype, as tested, was on the noisy side.  There was only one strip of sound absorption material in the engine room because the job wasn’t done by Miami showtime.  Trojan stated they planned to add more, which should help measurably.

The grey gel coat on the prototype was a bit dark.  It’s amazing how the color of the hull would appear lighter or darker, depending on the ambient light.  In bright sunlight she seemed fine, but with an overcast sky she appeared to be battleship gray.  Fine if you’d like to picture yourself running a patrol boat.  Trojan noticed the problem as soon as they landed the first boat and have already reformulated the color to a lighter gray – more Riva-like.

There was a number of little details that are forgivable in a prototype, particularly one that was rushed to completion.  (Tooling didn’t even begin until last summer.)  The oval portlights are nice but they leak.  A different gasket design is probably the solution.  The sliding companionway hatch is well-executed, but there needs to be a slight ridge around the opening to keep out driving rain.

Finally, and most noticeable, the interior and exterior fabrics and colors can be greatly improved upon.  While this is a cosmetic problem, it is nonetheless real for a boat that plays so strongly to aesthetics.  Trojan admits these materials were chosen hastily and they will be taken care of.

All things considered, Trojan has delivered what I feel to be one of the most outstanding boats in years.  At the Miami Boat Show there were crowds around her constantly.  Every naval architect and boatbuilder in the country has taken notice.  She’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but she does make life interesting.  And, isn’t that what it’s all about?

 This article by Jeff Hammond appeared in the May, 1981 issue of BOATING

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