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October 26, 2001

Bayliner Trophy 2002

If anyone raises an eyebrow when you mention Bayliner's Trophy series, just laugh at his ignorance.

Having visited the Bayliner factory, take it from me that Bayliner has the largest research, development and engineering departments in the business. As for Bayliner construction, not only does the company use top-quality ingredients, but advanced technology as well, with syntactic foams, vinylester resin barrier coats, isophthalic gel-coats, great stringer design and construction and eminently offshore-capable hull designs. If anyone raises an eyebrow when you mention Bayliner's Trophy series, just laugh at his ignorance.

It hit home how far outboard technology has come in recent years when I cold-started the new, still-in-the-double-oil-stage, carbureted Mercury 150-hp Bluewater outboard. Thank goodness for today's cleaner-burning direct fuel injection and four-strokes.

Winds at 20 knots out of the southwest kicked up a nasty chop as we came out of Crystal River, Florida. Interestingly, the boat ran every bit as smoothly through the chop with the engine trimmed up for speed as it did with the engine trimmed down to cut into the waves. Upwind, we attained 43 mph at 5,600 rpm. I found 30 mph at 4,000 rpm to be a comfortable cruising speed in the sloppy conditions.

Though the seas weren't rough by offshore standards, the chop still tested the boat's ability to rest comfortably while drifting in a beam sea, and it passed with flying colors. The 2002 will drift from abeam to the wind to offering up its stern quarter, depending upon engine alignment. With seas on the quarter, the motion is much akin to gently swirling cognac in a snifter: somewhat circular, with a motion slightly more pronounced fore-and-aft than lateral.

A hard turn at 30 mph bled speed instantly but also turned 180 degrees in just over one boat length. The running surface grabs in a sharp turn no matter the engine's trim angle, so moderation in handling is key.
The optional trim tabs won't be necessary for fore-and-aft trim; adjusting the drive angle handles that admirably. However, I think I'd install them to correct side-to-side imbalance from passenger weight and engine torque.

Admittedly, the Bayliner Trophy 2002 wasn't designed to fish far offshore for big game. But if you fish nearshore, the 2002 performs flawlessly. In fact, considering ride, dryness, family comfort, fishability and performance, and then adding price and value into the equation, it would be hard to find a better buy than the Trophy 2002.