True World TE288 Review

This 28-footer is nimble enough to handle a 1,000-pound bluefin, but easily run by a crew of two.

December 17, 2003
True world TE288

True world TE288

It’s really hard to imagine that at one time, Jersey City, New Jersey, was part of the greatest shipping and trading center in the world. Today, True World Marine is trying to bring back some of that seafaring spirit by making Jersey City its home.

Years ago, the company started out building 50- to 100-foot commercial fishing boats in Alabama. Then, in 1980, True World Marine branched out, creating Master Marine, a New England builder of bluefin tuna boats. Henry Masters’ design criteria for this 28-footer stipulated that the boat be nimble enough to handle 1,000-pound bluefin while being easily run by a crew of two. It had to be trailerable, seaworthy and stable. That is the heritage of the True World 28.

We spent our day on the boat running around the island of Manhattan and New York Harbor. You might think that’s not much of a workout for a boat. Au contraire! This area hosts an incredible amount of shipping – more ferry traffic than ever before, construction traffic, tugs, barges and so on. The water is absolutely roiled all the time with a substantial 2- to 4-foot chop. I found a pretty constant 3-foot sea around The Battery and the East River with waves going in every direction. The True World TE288 went through it all like a champ.


Our test boat matched a Yanmar 315-hp diesel with a MerCruiser Bravo 3X, dual-propped sterndrive. Cruising at 28 mph proved comfortable in all conditions and burned only a skimpy 3 mpg. Even leaving 10 percent in reserve, that means a cruising range of at least 300 miles. Wide-open throttle produced 31.5 mph at 3,900 rpm. So the TE288 may not be a barn burner, but its offshore speed is perfectly acceptable for a diesel.

You’ll find the balance of this boat to be particularly good, with a midplaced engine and jackshaft. The twin lifting strakes help get the hull up out of the water to reduce friction and knock down spray at the same time. The TE288 proved to be a very dry boat even in very confused seas. It barely took a drop of water on the windscreen. The sharp 65-degree entry and 18-degree deadrise at the transom make for a relatively smooth head-sea ride but don’t cause steering problems down-sea.

I realize that most offshore anglers don’t appreciate the advantages of sterndrive power. They should, though. Especially when coupled to a diesel, sterndrives provide the most efficient propulsion available today. Not sold on a jackshaft? Then you might prefer the TE287 with the engine aft or perhaps the TE289 outboard version.


This 28 turns rather sharply without losing any speed. However, beyond a certain point, it digs the bow in, and the stern just swings around. I personally found the helm equally comfortable whether I was sitting or standing, and the view remains unobstructed both ways as well. Handholds throughout are more than satisfactory, but I’d like the hardtop to be a little higher on the sides to keep from banging my head.

Since the original design for the True World 28 called for commercial bluefin capability, recreational anglers will find this vessel much more than adequate as a fishing platform. For trolling, the cockpit offers a wide-open space. Bottomfishermen will particularly appreciate the widest side walkways of any boat this size and its excellent handholds. Once forward, the cabin top makes an ideal seat.

I can’t imagine taking water over the transom unless you back up fast into really big seas. But if you do, the grandly oversize scuppers will drain your deck area instantly.


Though True World offers only two rod holders under each gunwale, it supplies four more across the back of the helm seat, and you could easily put rocket launchers on the standard hardtop as well. You’ll find two fish boxes in the cockpit sole, as well as fresh- and saltwater washdowns. The TE287 moves the engine aft to the transom, so leaving room for a large livewell amidships.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of fishing this 28 is its roll moment. In a short, steep beam sea, it doesn’t roll very far, and transitions remain very gentle. If you bottomfish or anchor up and chunk for tuna, you’ll love the stability.

Design and Construction
Although our test boat had plenty of space for bracket-mounted instruments on the console, there was plenty of space to flush-mount everything you could want right on the console face if it weren’t taken up by all the Yanmar gauges and such. It would take no more effort to mount the engine panel above the console in the overhead electronics box.


Below, the cabin offers molded seating hiding substantial storage underneath, a sink, and a stand-up head with shower. True World builds each with a solid fiberglass bottom, balsa-cored topsides and deck, and fully encapsulated stringers. You can choose from a number of beautiful hull colors.

True World builds a solid, functional boat that performs well. Though it comes from the factory pretty plain, understand that this is virtually a semicustom builder. So True World will work with you to make your boat exactly what you want it to be.

LOA 28 feet
BEAM 9 ft. 3 in.
DEADRISE 18 deg.
DRAFT 1 ft. 10 in.
WEIGHT 5,600 lb. (dry)
FUEL 130 gal.
MAX POWER T250-hp OB 315-hp diesel I/O
MSRP $119,600 (base)

Notable Standard equipment
Extra-wide walkways
Excellent soundproofing
Oversize scuppers
Seacocks on all thru-hulls
Hardtop w/instrument box 10-year hull warranty

Yanmar 315-hp 6LPA STP turbo diesel
TYPE 6-IL (24 valve)
DISPL. 254 cid
WEIGHT 1,160 lb.
ALT. OUTPUT 80 amps
MSRP $18,500

Yanmar owns the small-footprint, high-output diesel market, and for good reason. These turbo units run forever, sip fuel and offer great low-end torque so they don’t take forever to spool up.

True World Marine


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