Tournament 2100 CC Boat Test

Tournament boats have been acquired by the Haines Group, which has added its quality and technological expertise to transform Tournament’s 6.25m 2100 centre console into a potent offshore fishing machine.

Tournament 2100 CC Boat Test

Boat Test Tournament 2100 CC: TOURNAMENT-READY
Author and photography: Warren Steptoe

This boat test ran in ISSUE 112 of BlueWater magazine – SEPT-OCT 2015

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

Centre consoles aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I’m a long-time devotee of the format’s effectiveness for serious fishing. I found the Tournament 2100 Centre Console an exciting and user-friendly prospect for bluewater anglers looking for a six-metre trailerboat, but if a centre console doesn’t interest you, look out for Tournament’s cuddy cab version built over the same hull.

Tournament boats have been around a while, but the brand was recently acquired by the Haines Group – importer/distributors of the excellent Suzuki outboards in Australia and builders of the remarkable range of Signature boats, among other brands. The original builders of Tournament made a great boat; however, the Haines Group’s expertise with bluewater trailerboats has few peers.

Back in 2010 I tested a couple of these boats built by their original manufacturer and was more than impressed with the design of the hull, although they were somewhat let down by their build quality. Both tests, unlike this one, were conducted in uncomfortable weather and included ‘playtime’ on the Gold Coast Seaway bar while a serious swell was rolling in across a fast-falling tide. The hull proved very capable indeed and I’d have to confess that the rough water and a fine-handling centre console added up to quite a lot of fun.

Better And Stronger

Tweaks to the hull by the Haines Group in the meantime have changed a few things. Its dry weight has increased from the 900kg specified by the earlier builder to 1000kg. And the Tournament 2100CC’s maximum power rating has increased from the previous 150hp to 200hp.

Presumably the Haines Group’s tweaking includes some attention to the hull’s internal structure. The Haines Group has several proprietary technologies available and it shows. Unlike its predecessors, this new boat seemed firm and strong while being thrown around energetically (albeit under much less challenging sea conditions).

The specifications for the 2010 boats allowed a maximum engine weight of 239kg. At the time, 200hp outboards weighed well above that, but Suzuki’s new four cylinder DF200A weighs a mere 226kg, well inside even the original weight limit. Check the performance table and you’ll see the top speed of this boat is a sparkling 84km/h.

This boat with 200hp really boogied. It was flying in no time at all from standing starts and would have made a more than passable ski boat. And while it never gave the impression of being overpowered, it seems reasonable that a 150 or 175hp outboard might be ample for many people.

Bracing Change

However, there are two issues that I feel prevent the Tournament 2100 centre console version from realising its considerable potential as a brilliant little bluewater fishing machine. The first is that in front of the console its hull angles outwards, away from the deck. A centre console layout offers many advantages for serious fishing, but several of them are negated if you can’t support yourself by simply bracing your upper leg against the side of the gunnel. If your toes touch the side wall before your upper leg contacts the side deck, you’re already overbalancing. It makes it difficult to cast and much more awkward when you’re fighting a fish.

Changing this would require a new deck mould, but I sincerely hope the Haines Group’s designers intend to do this with their Tournament 2100CC in the near future. In the meantime, a quick and fairly low-cost fix can be achieved by either installing a leaning rail around the periphery of the forward cockpit, or perhaps by reconfiguring the bow rail to fulfil a dual purpose. Neither would be as good as wider side decks, but they would be quite effective nonetheless.

My second concern is debateable; the Tournament 2100CC doesn’t have a self-draining cockpit. For both safety and convenience, it’s helpful for a bluewater fishing boat’s deck to be self-draining. This is especially relevant in a centre console where the bow is vulnerable to a considerable influx of water during storms and bar crossings. However, the issue becomes debateable in boats of this size because when the deck is carried high to drain overboard, it’s also likely to raise the boat’s centre of gravity high enough to affect its stability at rest.

Personally, I’d prefer a boat to sit firmly in the water while fishing, rather than rocking from chine to chine the way six-metre hulls with a steep deadrise tend to do if their deck is set too high. Look around the market and you’ll find many so-called self-draining decks which aren’t high enough to drain effectively. When a deck is not high enough for effective self-draining, particularly when someone stands in an aft corner, deck level is forced below the waterline and they then rely on the scupper design to prevent water entry. The end result is usually a deck which will only drain when the boat is travelling at speed, with water often sloshing around underfoot while you’re fishing unless a bilge pump is activated.

Spartan Interior

The interior of the Tournament 2100CC doesn’t offer many bells and whistles. Its console is situated slightly aft of centre, and behind it lies a simple fish box cum dry stowage locker cum seat with a flip-over bolster behind it.

There is a livewell to starboard in the transom bulkhead and a door leading to one of those telescopic fold-up boarding ladders on the portside. The Haines Group is very good at crafting transom workbenches, and a nice stainless steel example perches atop the bulkhead, below which is a fold-away transom lounge.

In front of the console, another fish box cum wet stowage locker is located belowdecks in a slightly raised area. Marine carpet was screwed onto a simple flowcoat finish over the entire deck area.

Our test boat had rod/gaff/tag pole racks along each side beneath the side deck, with side pockets along the aft cockpit. A bimini perched above the console added stowage for another six rods overhead.

Restricted Access

I see no point in restricting access along the sides of a centre console boat by mounting a bimini on the side decks like this one was. When I raised this with the Haines Group staff assisting with our boat test they immediately agreed and explained that this particular boat had been assembled for a client who wasn’t keen on fishing. Apparently, the boat’s looks and how sporty it was to run around in were his priorities.

This boat screams out for a console-mounted bimini and no doubt, with a custom stainless steel fabrication workshop being a part of the Haines Group, it would be easy enough to option one.

The steering wheel is angled perfectly and ergonomically situated in the centre of the console, where it should be. The skipper can dodge a great deal of any errant spray – often unavoidable in any centre console offshore – behind a neat plexiglass windscreen while the passengers are able to move about as needed to trim the boat as the direction of travel changes relative to wind and sea. This and the general excellence of the helm ergonomics are very important and too-often overlooked aspects of offshore centre console fishing. In these respects, this boat’s interior design showed itself to be of a similar lofty standard to the hull.

In conclusion, a new deck mould offering decent leg support around the periphery would transform this boat into something quite special and indeed rare in a country where centre consoles of this size – boats this good anyway – are hard to find. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t let the need to add a rail around the area forward of the console dissuade me from setting up one of these boats as a darn fine bluewater sportfisher.

Highlights

  • Great offshore performance from the hull.
  • Simple yet entirely effective interior layout.
  • A performance centre console like this offers an exciting fun factor.

Capacities

  • Maximum Rated Power – 200hp
  • Fuel – 235 litres

General

  • Material – GRP laminates
  • Hull Type – centre console mono hull
  • Length – 6.25 metres
  • Beam – 2.34 metres
  • Deadrise – 21 degrees (at transom)
  • Weight – 1000kg (hull only)
  • BMT Towing Weight – approximately two tonnes

Engines

  • Make/model – Suzuki DF200A
  • Type – inline 4-cylinder DOHC EFI 4-stroke outboard
  • Rated hp – 200
  • Displacement – 2867cc
  • No. cylinders – 4
  • Weight – 226kg
  • Gearbox ratio – 2.50:1
Tournament 2100 CC Boat Test

Boat Test Tournament 2100 CC: TOURNAMENT-READY
Author and photography: Warren Steptoe
Manufactured by: The Haines Group

This boat test ran in ISSUE 112 of BlueWater magazine – SEPT-OCT 2015

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here