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September 21, 2007

True World Marine TF242

The True World Marine TF242 provides a simple, sturdy platform ready for almost any fishing conditions.

The TF242 from True World Marine is a departure from most boats in its class, but in today's world of $2.50-per-gallon gasoline a diesel makes perfect sense - as I discovered during my test of the boat in Highlands, New Jersey. I was impressed by the pleasing lines of the TF242, which make the boat look larger than its 24 feet. This sleek cuddy model has a wide bow flare reminiscent of Carolina-style boats and a slick hardtop and helm enclosure that provide excellent protection from the elements. At True World, they call it a "fish around" design because of wide passageways to the bow and flat deck space forward that allow three people to fish safely and comfortably along the knee-high, stainless-steel rail.

The TF242 has a large, uncluttered cockpit surrounded by high gunwales. The 260-hp Yanmar turbo diesel sits just aft of amidships under a raised deck hatch, which provides access to the engine. The helm chair, rocket launcher and tackle center are integrated into the engine hatch. There is also flat space for a jumbo cooler - something you'll need, because the boat does not have a built-in fishbox.

The full transom rises to mid-thigh height. A pair of lift-out boxes and a deck-level hatch provide complete access to the dual batteries, raw-water strainer, running gear, pumps, hoses and wiring. A quick glance inside reveals bronze through-hull fittings, double-clamped hoses, and wiring that is neatly protected in plastic sheathing and runs through one of four conduits under the deck. A small, pump-fed livewell lies under the center hatch. The TF242 could benefit from flappers over the scupper drains to prevent water from entering the cockpit while in reverse.

Rod storage includes six holders on the back of the hardtop, four in the rocket launcher, four in under-gunwale racks and six flush-mount holders in the gunwales and transom.

The Mercruiser Bravo 3X outdrive, designed specifically for high-winding turbo diesels, spins a pair of counter-rotating props and is connected to the engine via an AquaDrive jackshaft that relies on constant-velocity joints to reduce noise and vibration. Electric trim tabs are standard. The helm features hydraulic steering, top-of-the-line Panish controls and a hatch providing access to the switch panel and battery switch. The Yanmar engine-control package takes up most of the flat surface on the dash, so electronics must be gimbal-mounted on the helm or installed in the optional overhead electronics box.

A door provides access to the cabin, which sleeps two and comes standard with a dinette/vee-berth lounge with cushions, a sink, storage, a hatch and side windows, a full headliner and a manual head with holding tank. An optional refrigerator and electric head are available.

Length 24'
Beam 8' 6"
Draft 19"
Fuel 108 gals.
Weight 4,400 lbs.
Deadrise 19 ¿
Base price w/ 260-hp
Yanmar diesel $125,000

Backing away from the dock, I noticed the dual-prop outdrive negates one problem associated with single-prop designs: this boat simply goes wherever you point it.

Entering the channel, the boat snapped on plane and accelerated smoothly to its 26-knot cruise, where it sipped a meager six gallons per hour. That's over five miles per gallon, in case you're counting. Pushing the throttle forward, the turbo kicked in, and at 4000 rpm we were making 32 knots at only nine gallons per hour. The manufacturer told me the optional 315-hp Yanmar provides a top speed of 40 knots (46 mph) and a cruising speed of 30 knots with only a small increase in fuel consumption.

The TF242 ran level and quiet and ate up the bay chop like it was not there. The bow flare kept spray to a minimum. The hull's 56-degree entry cut the waves smoothly, while the 19-degree deadrise at the stern kept the re-entry soft. Running abeam sea, the boat exhibited only a minor roll and held its course - it gave me the impression of running a much larger, heavier vessel.

The TF242 is built with simple and solid construction. With the standard 260-hp Yanmar, the TF242 is sufficiently fast to get you to the fish and back in pretty much any conditions, and with the optional 315 it is downright fast. The boat is semi-custom, and the folks at True World pride themselves in customer satisfaction and personalized attention. True World Marine, Little Ferry, NJ; (201) 440-5550;