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1973 Trojan F-32 Sedan Crusier

Smart new Trojan fiberglass cruiser offers first-rate handling characteristics, dry ride, plus luxurious accomodations for up to six. Full galley and enclosed head round out the novel open cabin arrangement.

Trojan 1973 sedan cruiser

TIME WAS, not all that long ago, when a month's cruise or even a day on the bay was a notably Spartan proposition. Meals, when they were possible, came cold, and when heated over a one or two burner alcohol stove, were considered downright gracious. Foul weather gear was often layers of whatever was too tattered to wear shopping anymore. Baths were almost universally over the-side propositions.

But now, even a casual observer knows that, except for a few purists and single-handers, boatmen in great numbers have decided the hardtack and cold-water life is not what they had in mind for "cruising." Nor, given appropriate means, is there any reason why life afloat should not be as well-appointed as individual taste permits. Certainly, a weekending or cruising family aboard the new Trojan F-32 Sedan we recently spent some time with would find the livin' pretty easy.

As one of the first of a new breed, designed to replace Trojan's popular F-31s, she made an impressive package at the Miami Boat Show last February. When Trojan's president Jim McQueen let it be known that she'd be offered for sale at Al Behrendt's Nautical Yacht Basin on the Dania Cutoff Canal, Dania, Fla., we saw a good opportunity to satisfy our curiosity. Jim agreed to let us take custody for a few days to see what this early-off-the-line boat was all about.

"Eleven percent roomier than the 31-footer, but only a foot longer," the promotion copy had read (an extra 2' in the beam helped, by the way), and you do indeed notice a frontal attack on lebensraum. The 6'3" x 9'2" teak-soled cockpit sports a teak-capped taffrail on s.s. stanchions that are a businesslike 11" height, with port and starboard gates. And although a stern gate would be missed if you customarily dock stern-to, the whole aft area is basically spacious and secure.

Large safety glass panels enclose the after end of the 9'1" x 7'3" main cabin, and as you enter through the sliding glass door (a good place to watch your head - or your temper), you recognize that the designer's intent was to divide space without chopping it up. Rather than separating the forward cabin from the dinette on the starboard side, the standard layout uses a hanging locker extending only about midway up from cabin sole to overhead. (to port, the head enclosure provides a measure of privacy.)

An equally open and airy feeling comes from a similar partial bulkhead on the port side between the main cabin and galley. Light from the large windshield thus shines directly down into the galley and, to a lesser extent, into the dinette.

This sort of peek-a-boo use of bulkheads does give separate spaces without closeting them up, but boatmen valuing privacy above family-wide intimacy would probably elect the "privacy bulkhead" option ($235), with door, to close off the forward cabin.

Our F-32 test boat was obviously well-found, as befits a boat-show specimen, but since weather conditions were likely to deteriorate, we cut short note-taking to make the brief run up to and out of Port Everglades Inlet for photography.

Conditions at the basin had been clear, calm, light of air - and deceptive. While not exactly weather, in the yachtsman's sense of the word, what we found as we sped out beyond the inlet wasn't zephyrs-and-ripples either. Since a dramatically leaping cruiser was not the sort of photograph we were looking for, speed was held well within the comfortable range for the existing conditions (about 22 mph). The lighter and smaller camera boat bobbed about, occasionally tossing up hefty dousings of spray, but the Trojan's bridge remained pleasantly dry as her flared bow did its thing. As a precaution, though, the instrument console is well protected by a plexiglass panel, particularly important if a bimini top is not routinely used.

Our camera boat continued to get wet, and we continued to stay dry, as we ran through a series of maneuvers. It was a revealing test of the Trojan's hull configuration: a fine entry forward, fairing rapidly to a shallow-V at the stern; flared bow, hard chines, and four running strakes. The combination of qualities is interesting. She keeps down spray nearly as well as boats with a wider flare, and is firm against quartering seas. Handling in following seas requires only average concentration, for the boat has no inordinate broaching tendency. Come around and head directly into the chop, however, and the 32's inclination to pound sharply, giving a staccato ride when she's planing, makes most welcome the hefty grab bar atop the bridge's venturi-type windscreen.

In fact, the layout of the bridge has many admirable features. A compartment with acrylic sliding doors at the console's base could easily handle binoculars, small-craft charts, and other weather and wind-susceptible things, while the cavernous space beneath the bridge's forward slope is a likely site for additional electronics as well as for whatever foul weather or lifesaving gear you want to keep handy but sheltered.

Glare from the white foredeck is soaked up by the tint of the acrylic windscreen, though as in many free-standing centerline console arrangements, the windscreen is unaccountably placed so that its air stream catches the helmsman squarely above the shoulders.

Forward of the console, a five-foot-wide vinyl-cushioned seat in the windscreen's lee, combines with the aft-facing seat to starboard of the helm, to give the bridge comfortable seating for four besides the helmsman.

Safety, too, is assured by a nonslip white deck surface and 29" high s.s. rails, through-bolted and high enough to give support when they're needed. And since the solid footing of the teak-runged s.s. ladder is likely to lure company topside, it's good to know they'll be not only comfortable, but unlikely to leave in an unplanned way.

While the Marmac controls felt a bit loose, engine response was basically predictable and good, and the chain-and-gear steering was quite firm. You can feel that the twin 225-hp Chryslers with 1.5:1 reduction gears obviously have some hull inertia to overcome, but their overall performance is creditable and engine roar is adequately subdued by fiberglass mufflers. Several engine options, including twin diesels are available, by the way, and all are 225-hp - certainly respectable for the boatman who doesn't require his cruiser to double as a hot performance machine.

Manning the helm is intended to be a pleasure in the Pompanette seat, which swivels, adjusts fore-and-aft, and, of course, can be locked in position. We appreciated the versatility, but the s.s. automotive-type steering wheel's 20" diameter seemed to defeat the chair's purpose: With the chair moved back, a satisfying grip on the large wheel was impossible; forward, the wheel became more manageable, but knees and ignition keys were often brought within banging distance of each other. Short of aesthetics, there seemed no real need for a wheel that size — it takes some time to go hard over to hard over (4.5 turns) - and livability would be increased if it were slightly smaller and a few switches repositioned.

Back at Nautical Yacht Basin, we secured for the night in the ample lee of Al Behrendt's new boat-storage facility. Line handling was a pleasure on the F-32's nonslip decks. Side deck width averaged 13", and footing was further made secure by the fore-to-midships bow rail (a $400 option), flybridge-length grabrails (fitted to hardtop if optional bridge—$3050—is not ordered), grabrails on the after edge of the deckhouse, and teak toe rail (part of a teak trim option consisting of toe rails forward, and covering boards on the side decks abaft the deckhouse, and the stern deck: $575). Al said that very few boats were ordered without the trim option, and we could see why. In heavy weather, you'd probably miss the extra security the toe rail offers, and without the teak covering boards on the after decks, you're left with a shiny, untextured stepping surface.

Deck hardware on the F-32 is all securely through-bolted. This includes the 7/8" s.s. bow rail, with each base secured by one through-bolt in addition to the other fastenings, and the chrome-over-brass fittings: a 10" mooring cleat forward, deck chain pipe, two 8" base chocks, and two 8" base stern quarter cleats. Our mooring didn't require spring cleats (available as options) so they weren't missed but they do seem an odd omission.

Speed trials and an overnight cruise to Dinner Key were scheduled for the following day. While stowing gear for the trip, we decided it was hard to overlook a 33,000-sq-ft building that has sprung up since we were last in the neighborhood. Asking, we learned that Al's new facility is an in-and-out operation: Call ahead, and your boat is launched, gassed, and ready to go when you are. Leave it behind, and it's hosed down, and stowed again in the 200-boat facility. It seems to be one answer to boat storage without tears.

Although another of Nautical's selling points is the brevity of the hop to Port Ever-glades Inlet, the Intracoastal Waterway glades Inlet, the Intracoastal Waterway promised a more relaxing day, the only impediment being the doggedly half-hour-only opening of the Hollywood Bridge. Since the odds against avoiding the wait must be about six-to-one, we weren't at all surprised to hit it wrong. It was a good opportunity to pass some of the enforced waiting time in the main cabin.

Till then, nearly all our time had been spent at the bridge station for the best sense of control. The starboard lower station, however, offered surprisingly good visibility through the generous safety glass forward, side, and after windows. Sliding, lockable side and after aluminum-framed windows and screens prevent a cooped-up feeling from afflicting the helmsman.

Instrumentation is divided between the console ("binnacle" to Trojan) and an over-head panel. This arrangement avoids the cathedral-organ appearance of some composite arrangements, and puts controls for most of the ship's 12-v circuits conveniently up top within sight and reach.

On the console are the usual pairs of: tachometers, water temperature gauges, oil pressure gauges, voltmeters, and fuel gauges, in addition to oil pressure alarms, controls for the Boat Leveler trim tabs, and two switches which permit reading of the fuel switches which permit reading of the fuel levels of the two optional auxiliary fuel tanks (total extra capacity, 100 gal). You'll also find two ignition reset buttons to reset a tripped ignition circuit, and a switch labeled "Emergency Start."

Emergency Start? Used by Trojan for some time, this is a crossover switch temporarily connecting the two ship's batteries in parallel. Trojan sets up one as the engine-start battery, the second as power for the 12-v system. Should either battery become undercharged, the switch will channel curent from the good battery for engine starting or emergency 12-v accessory operation.

Most of the instruments you would need are duplicated topside, with the exception of the fuel gauges and the manual switch for the Lovett automatic bilge pump. Of course, a case can be made that a manual switch on an automatic pump is redundant, but if you're a dry bilge enthusiast, you'd want a switch in both places so as to have as much authority as the pump float concerning bilgewater level.

Upon arrival at popular Dinner Key, finding a berth seemed a dubious proposition at first. Fortunately, however, the dockmaster was cooperative, and after our assurances that we wouldn't be there when its authorized occupant returned, lent us a slip for the night. We hooked up the shore line to Trojan's Power Sentry system - a main circuit breaker to prevent improper grounding or stray currents, as well as a warning light (no audible alarm) polarity indicator - then flipped on the air conditioning, closed the full-length, after draperies, and settled back for a drink in pleasant surroundings.

Trojan was one of the last major boatbuilders to switch from wood construction to fiberglass and, if the F-32's interior is an indication, they fortunately never made the full transition. Short of a Swedish sauna, you won't often find this much teak used in one place. It is a lavish display which creates a very un-resin-like atmosphere and, with red shag carpeting throughout, the effort at a rich visual and olefactory experience is on target. Polyester and epoxy become anachronisms.

Lovely to look at, but does she stand the real test is she hospitably designed belowdecks?

For sleeping, even without the optional insert, the 4" foam, 6' 3.5" x 30" A-berths in the forward cabin provide comfortable quarters for two adults. Headroom (sitting: 33.25"; standing 5' 5.5") by A-berth cabin standards is generous, as it is throughout the boat.

A railed shelf along the vinyl-and-cloth ceiling above both berths makes a fine home for small personal gear. Two large jump drawers under each berth provide stowage for bedding and folded clothes. Ground tackle is easily absorbed by the large forepeak locker.

Neither shelf nor drawer space should be a problem on this boat. Running aft on the starboard side along the dinette, a continuation of the railed shelf makes a handy place for condiments, napkins anything that must be gotten out of the way when making up the dinette for sleeping. Beneath both dinette seats is a total of six good-sized plastic drawers for more clothing, bedding, or whatever, and a wider, lower drawer beneath the raised dinette sole. Lacking a jump lip, or any other means of securing them, however, these empty drawers persistently inched open when the boat was under way even in no sea at all. (Left open, the main cabin door also tended to creep; a hold-back is scheduled for later models.)

Hanging lockers, each with a 12" rod and shelf top, are provided forward of the head and dinette, though only one is fully available for clothing — the other also accommodates the manual bilge pump (a traditional and standard Trojan safety item), and an impressive amount of air conditioning plumbing as well. According to Al Behrendt, some of this pirated space is to be recaptured in later models by rerouting the air conditioning gear.

Seating at the dinette's 41.5" x 30" table is definitely for four, since cushions are only about 37" side-to-side. Nevertheless, the boat we tested was equipped to sleep five, including the double sofabed (6' x 4' 5") in the deckhouse, and assuming the dinette makes up into a 37" wide single bed.

At turning-in time, a riddle was posed in the deckhouse by the sofabed and lounge chair, both options offered by Trojan ($520 and $318, respectively). An attempt to open the bed resulted in a collision between it, in partially-opened state, and the chair. Since it was evident that the chair had to be moved out of the deckhouse, we finally stowed it in the galley rather than aft out in the weather. An owner who opted for both these pieces of furniture would want a trustworthy, waterproof cover to protect his investment, since the only convenient place for the chair at night is the cockpit.

Twelve-volt lighting, and strategically placed 110-v outlets, show careful planning throughout. Lights are fitted over the two forward berths, the dinette, head, galley, deckhouse, and outside the sliding door, with 110-v outlets equally well distributed, (Even the port and starboard running lights were intelligently located on the toe rail, for easy bulb changing.) Since our boat was air conditioned, it was equipped only with the standard forward hatch (16" x 20", tinted acrylic, with convenient on-and-off Velcro-mounted screen) for supplementary ventilation. In fact, we learned that only about 1 of 15 boats is ordered without the air conditioning and flybridge options.

Now, the two port lights in the dinette area and the one in the head are both tinted and fixed, with sliding shutters, so the need for the light fixtures is obvious. Optional hatches over dinette and head, available with vents, can be ordered, and in a boat without air conditioning would be mandatory from a ventilation standpoint, particularly since the port lights don't open. Actually, with or without air conditioning the extra hatches, particularly in the head, would add needed light.

Even though the head is equipped with an electrically-operated exhaust, with the door closed it tended to grow uncomfortably warm when the air conditioning was off. That additional hatch is what's needed, particularly since the blower unaccountably exhausts the air from the head into the bilge, rather than over the side.

On the plus side, with over six feet of headroom the compact head is well arranged. Beneath the full-length formica-covered vanity, with 10.75" x 4.5" round stainless steel sink, a locker is handy for pharmaceuticals, tanning lotions, and maybe even the spare towels that don't fit on the towel rack. As in the dinette opposite, the teak-railed shelf is extended aft from the A-berths through the head for additional stowage.

Nearly eight square feet of mirror (43" x 26") on the after bulkhead made morning shaving almost a pleasure. The telephone-style shower hadn't yet been fitted with a curtain, but we did notice that the fiberglass drain pan under the head's carpeting was textured for a secure footing. Freshwater piping throughout the boat is plastic, and drainage is overboard above the waterline, except for the shower, which is equipped with an electric sump pump. The standard head is a Raritan manual with overboard discharge. This, we discovered, isn't readily usable at higher speeds because it is so far forward that both intake and discharge are apparently out of water.

Breakfast afloat — one of the finest rituals known to man — was both a culinary and logistical success. With the galley aft of the windshield, and with no overhead, headroom is limitless, natural light floods in, and it's obvious that a designer was there.

A designer who knows the cook's needs, too. The L-shaped galley provides good working space on the black formica counters, while the stove's lid, when closed, forms an attractive chopping-block top. The stove itself is practical, too - a Princess two-burner, alcohol-and-electric model with sea rails and adjustable clamps for pots. Cook's dependence on 110-v current is obviously eliminated, which should add welcome cruising flexibility.

Under the after portion of the galley counter, the 4.5 cu ft Marvel ice chest, we regret to report, drains into the bilge. To the right, the 14" x 10" x 4.5" stainless steel sink is centrally located at the joint of the L-shaped counter, with a nice touch - its own overhead light mounted beneath the hanging stowage cabinets.

And these, too, are a plus. Two full-width hanging cabinets above the counters each have two shelves with retaining lips, and sliding doors that give good access to dishes and canned goods. At dock-side or mooring, you'd find the shelves atop them in the deckhouse convenient for lamps, ashtrays, glasses in use - the sorts of things a small sideboard is invariably used for.

Beneath the stove and adjacent counter, two narrow jump-type cutlery drawers, and two large shelfless lockers - naturals for pots, boxes, bulky cleaning gear and the like.

Trojan has long enjoyed a reputation for attention to safety details, which may in part be due to Trojan president Jim McQueen's former presidency of the National Association of Engine and Boat Manufacturers. In any case, the F-32 is a well-found boat in the safety department: Bronze seacocks on all through-hull fittings below the waterline are standard, as is the manual bilge pump noted earlier; fuel shutoffs are located both at the tanks and on the engines; hosing for ventilating the engine spaces is unobstructed by a blower, which has its own, fifth, hose. (A blower in an exhaust line, when not on, will invariably impede air flow and effective ventilation to some extent.)

Equal care is shown in the electrical system. Circuit breakers protect 110-v circuits, while automotive-type fuses are used in the 12-v system. According to Trojan, circuit breakers are also installed in the battery circuits and engine ignition systems. Wiring is color-coded, although Trojan makes its own wiring harnesses and therefore assigns their own coding. Finally, as recommended by the ABYC, the batteries themselves are secured and covered to prevent accidental shorting of the terminals and a possible explosion of battery gases.

On our return to home base, we made plans to visit Trojan's main plant in Lancaster, Pa. The trip wasn't all that difficult: helicopter from LaGuardia Airport to Newark, and a DeHaviland STOL direct to Lancaster. Waiting for us at the airport was Trojan Chief Engineer, Jim Ressler, who spent the best part of the day guiding us through the plant and answering our many questions.

Starting with the mold room we followed the progress of the F-32 right through to final inspection. The mold room operation is quite conventional for both hull and deck (see Specifications column for fiberglass lay-up schedule). However, once out of the mold room things start getting unconventional.

The fiberglass deck is positioned atop a rather complex positioning jig and the interior is built from the top down. The set-up jig positions major bulkheads, hull stringers, transverse floors, side frames, plus cabin and cockpit sole framing. All the bits and pieces are attached one to another and those that touch the deck are secured to same.

Next step along the line we found a hull ensconced in an "octopus," and fearsome creature it was. The octopus is actually a fiberglass holder-upper made over the basic hull plug. When a new hull comes out of its mold, the glass is "green" and tends to be somewhat flexible. Hence it must be properly supported to prevent deformation ... this is the function of the octopus.

While the hull is still in the clutches of the octopus, the completed deck/interior unit is lifted by overhead crane and lowered into the waiting hull. Bulkheads, stringers, and other members that bear on the hull are firmly glassed in place. The whole package is removed to a travelling dolly and advanced along the production line.

As the boat advances, engines, fuel tanks, underwater running gear, etc., are installed. The bottom is prepared and painted with a name - brand antifouling coating - an item that most builders list as an option, but Trojan includes in the base price. Then comes the launching - midway along the line, we came upon a large plywood-and-fiberglass tank with an F-32 serenely sitting therein. This immersion test is to check the watertight integrity of stuffing tubes, through-hull fittings, and other possible areas of leakage.

We looked for mooring lines, or even an anchor, but the boat sits on a cradle which supports her in a position just short of full flotation. The line continues for two or three more stations where the nitty-gritty is completed, flybridges fitted and later removed for shipping, and the boat readied for trucking to dealer or owner.

We assumed once the huge overhead doors were opened and the boat slid out, that this was it - but no, another nasty test lay ahead. The completed boat is slid under a jungle gym of water pipes and given a typhoon-like shower to test for topside leaks in windows, deck fittings, etc.

The F-32, a worthy representative of the Trojan line, can be, at the buyer's option, fitted-out to suit the most discriminating and safety-conscious boatman. We left Lancaster with the feeling that Trojan's people are doing a first-rate, conscientious job of building a boat of which any owner could be justifiably proud.

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