VIDEO: Tristram Grandeur 851

By: Steve Raea


Released at the 2003 Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show to a string of industry accolades including 'Boat of the Show', the Tristram Grandeur 851 set a benchmark for design innovation, finish and practicality.

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  • The Grandeur 851 is among a small number of New Zealand-built boats that have successfully bridged the divide between trailer, boat and launch.
  • At 9.1m overall, the Grandeur is one of the largest production trailer boats built in New Zealand. It measures 13mm thick at the turn of the bilge and is solidly built with full-length longitudinal stringers and solid GRP keel-section.
  • The Grandeur 851 has been engineered for New Zealand conditions and reflects the boat’s envisaged use for longer coastal passages and off-shore fishing.
  • The sport fisher layout is available to customers who wish to customise their boat for angling, however the cruiser layout is also available for a more recreational usage and includes space for overnight berths.
  • Tristram Boats is a brand synonymous with design innovation and quality. While not the most prolific manufacturer in terms of new model releases, Tristram owners continue to benefit from an enduring second-hand market.

The Tristram 851 has a subtle European influence and exacting cabin and exterior hard top detail, which gives an aggressive quality. The 851 Grandeur is a statement in design opulence. The sport fisher layout is a layout available to customers wishing to customise a Tristram Grandeur.

From the water the sports fisher Grandeur looks and performs exactly the same. However, the new seating plan has seen the shapely, full-length port side lounger and dedicated galley and counter opposite replaced with a matching set of king and queen seats checked seamlessly into the boat’s existing internal GRP liner.

The galley sink and two-burner LPG hob have been relocated under the driver and passenger seats and the 12v fridge has been recessed into the passenger seat moulding. The rear-facing queen seats have lift-off bases, providing the additional storage required for fishing gear, but other than this the boat is the same in every respect as the popular cruiser layout.

The quality, standard of finish and use of space with this alternative has not changed but the advantages for the angler in the sport fisher version are largely practical, with more secure seating – a worthy consideration for tournament or game fishing. The rear-facing queen seats are well within the hardtop overhang so the Grandeur retains it all-weather usability with no requirement for clears or canvas skirts.

The Tristram has always been well served with a wide boarding platform; port and starboard transom walk-thru and bait board design that can be swapped simply and quickly from the external boarding platform to the cockpit transom.

Under-floor storage is necessarily restricted by the inboard engine but even so, there are shallow lockers in the cockpit sole on port and starboard and a deep central locker designed for seven dive bottles or dedicated lift-out fish bin liner.

With upholstered thigh cards and wide teak-capped cockpit combings there is space aplenty for four anglers without stumbling over each other when things cut up a bit rough. It has recessed cockpit combing rod holders and a choice of overhead and transom-mounted rocket launchers. The cockpit parcel shelves are also designed to secure two rods each side.

The Grandeur’s mouldings and coving ensure a fast and effective clean up using either the boat’s existing fresh water system or custom-fitted saltwater wash-down pump.

A coved step-down moulding separates the wheel house and the cockpit, keeping water contained to the aft cockpit, and allowing owners to keep the wheel house clean and dry.

Cruiser or sport fisher layout, the Grandeur’s level of comfort and appointment remain largely the same, though how you use them will differ slightly. The cruiser galley is equipped with sliding crockery and glass racks, two-burner stove, fridge and generous serving counter. The helm seat also tilts forward to maximise counter space.

The sport fisher version misses out on the sliding under-bench racks and doesn’t have counter space for a lot of food preparation. Seating will also be restricted when using the hob under the passenger seat or the sink under the driver seat. Boats are all about compromise and this layout is an effective use of available space.

Both versions offer a hot and cold shower and a fully-enclosed electric toilet with hot and cold washroom facilities. The hardtop design is also common across both layouts and is crafted with clean, flowing lines, impeccable mouldings and stylish use of suede or vinyl upholstery inserts to accentuate the windows and hard top ceiling.

The lockable cabin features a single door that slides to port on runners and is concealed by a timber cabinet with teak shelving including a wine rack. Accommodation layout is conventional with twin 2m single V berths that form a large comfortable double with the addition of an optional insert.

The cruiser layout offers additional overnight accommodation options over that of the sport fisher, which is optimised for a couple. An athwartship cabin berth can, however, be added as an optional extra if required.

The Grandeur 851 has been heavily engineered for New Zealand conditions and reflects the boat’s envisaged use for longer coastal passages and off-shore fishing, reflected in part by its 360-litre fuel and 240-litre water capacity. CPC-compliant, the Grandeur has four, sealed buoyancy chambers, each pressure-tested before the deck is glassed onto the hull. It also has two foam-filled bow sections for reserve buoyancy.

The hull is engineered from polyester GRP, quad axial cloth and Coremat in the top sides with Nuplex vinylester resins used below the waterline to prevent moisture penetration of the laminate substrate.

Measuring 13mm thick at the turn of the bilge and solidly built with full-length longitudinal stringers and solid GRP keel-section, the Grandeur carries a full five-year return-to-factory structural warranty.

The Grandeur displaces about 2700kg with much of the hull design weight centred along the keel line, which gives the boat surprising stability at rest without compromising its low-speed planing attributes. It can be fitted with a range of MerCruiser or Yamaha marine diesel engines from 6.2 to 8.1 litres.

A cruiser by design, the Grandeur 851 has all the feel of a sports boat with a firm and positive helm and a hull form that obliges when put through hard and fast cornering. The boat’s considerable weight has taken nothing away from the hull’s willingness to shoulder through a chop and deliver a dry and predictable ride.

To read the full review on the Tristram Grandeur 851, see the latest issue of Trade-A-Boat magazine, on sale now at all good retailers.

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