Boat Test: 2024 Bayliner Trophy T23 Pilothouse

The new Bayliner Trophy T23 Pilothouse gives anglers a boat capable of extending their season on both ends.
Bayliner Trophy T23 Pilothouse running near shore
The T23 Pilothouse offers a confident ride. Courtesy Bayliner


The mission of Bayliner Trophy models has always been to give owners a capable boat at a ­reasonable price. That has never changed, and to prove it, Bayliner has debuted a Portuguese-built pilothouse design featuring a comfortable and dry ride even if sea conditions prove less than clement. It’s one of the five new cabin models in the Pilothouse and Explorer lines.

While pilothouse boats are common in the Northeast and Northwest US, this 23-footer would also be ideal in places such as the Great Lakes and large bodies of water in the Midwest. During my sea trial on a frosty Florida morning, I realized that the benefits of this design were not limited to Northern climes.

Bayliner Trophy T23 Pilothouse helm
The helm can be accessed via a sliding door. Courtesy Bayliner

Interior and Accessories

The two Trophy Pilothouse models, which also include the T25 PH, are more fishing-forward than the three Explorer cabin-cruiser models, which are purpose-built more for cruising and entertaining. The most visible difference between the two lines is that the Pilothouse models have glare-reducing windshields that angle past vertical like the windows of an air traffic control tower, which gives them a rugged, ­mini-tugboat appearance compared with the Explorers, which have aft-raked windshields that lend them a sleek appearance. Both sport nearly ­vertical bows, which further cements their European lineage.

Our T23 PH test boat featured the Fish Package ($2,312), which includes port and starboard 30-gallon in-deck fish boxes, each with a pump for quick draining. Also included are toe rails, a raw-water washdown, a pair of extra rod holders, and a transom fish station with a smallish 10-gallon livewell. Thanks to the pair of flip-down bench seats in the cockpit, there’s plenty of room to move about when it’s time to fish. The bench to starboard is a $2,693 option that also comes with a ­table for expanding the T23 PH’s entertainment quotient. The minimum 27 inches of gunwale height in the cockpit allows anglers to lock in safely during a fight. Boarding from either side is easy thanks to the pair of standard swim-platform extensions with port and starboard transom walk-throughs leading to the cockpit.

Bayliner Trophy T23 Pilothouse galley
Food prep is easy inside the pilothouse enclosure. Courtesy Bayliner

The sturdy hardtop provides an excellent anchor point for the pilothouse enclosure and grants 6 feet, 6 inches of headroom. This is similar to Jeanneau’s 24-foot-11-inch NC 695 Sport Series 2 ($95,000 base boat plus pre-rig, with a 150 hp Yamaha engine). Up top are four standard rocket-launcher rod holders and a rack for securing items such as paddleboards. The bridge deck can be fully enclosed thanks to the rear sliding glass door and side windows conjoined to the top. There are two more sliding glass doors on either side for ventilation and access to the twin passageways around the enclosure. Above, there’s a slidable hatch to let a little of the outside in. One nitpick is that the tall windshield could use a couple of vents to allow more direct airflow on hot days. Access around the cabin is minimal to create maximum indoor space, and despite having a cabin, you can walk all the way forward to attend to anchor duties. An electric anchor windlass is an option ($2,511).

Because of space allocation, the cabin is tiny and barely accommodated my 5-foot-10-inch frame when laying beam-wise, but kids will love its fortlike vibe. Taller owners might consider opting for the T25 PH model, which has a far roomier cabin, but the downside might be the 9-foot-6-inch beam, which might require wide-load towing permits. Our boat came equipped with the Cabin Comfort Package ($3,883), which included berth filler cushions, curtains, a sea toilet, a cabin door, a flip-down jump seat and a front-porch light. Adding an optional refrigerator will cost an extra $1,435.


Owners can choose a 175 hp or 225 hp Mercury FourStroke outboard. These share the same 3.4L V-6 powerhead. The upcharge for the additional 50 ponies is $3,220. With the max power option, our test boat planed in 3.8 seconds and accelerated to 30 mph in 8.2 seconds, even with five well-fed Americans on board. Top speed? 42.2 mph. Superb visibility comes from the tall windshield with a standard starboard-side windshield wiper. I felt most comfortable standing because of the throttle position: It’s mounted on a pedestal on the dash instead of being the usual side-mounted binnacle, made impossible due to the glass sides.

Read Next: Bayliner Trophy T24CC

Bayliner Trophy T23 Pilothouse cockpit
Seating in the cockpit folds away to maximize space. Courtesy Bayliner

The T23 PH proves easy to operate thanks to standard features such as Active Trim, which automatically sets the boat’s running attitude. Its happiest cruise speed? Around 30 mph, with the engine running at 4,500 rpm and burning 10.3 gallons per hour. At this speed, the inclinometer showed that it was running at 5 degrees bow-up, which inspired a confidence that it was resistant to wave stuffing and, along with being enclosed, added to the feeling that I was driving a bigger boat than its 23-foot-7-inch length would indicate. Its moderate 17 degrees of deadrise meant that when cranked over in a hard turn, it heeled over, but not to extremes.

With the T23 PH, fishing couples can cruise to their favorite fishing spot, throw out the anchor, watch the sunset, retire, then wake up at dawn in position for the morning bite.

How We Tested

  • Engine: Mercury 225
  • Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Enertia 16″x17″ 3-blade stainless-steel
  • Gear Ratio: 1.85:1 Fuel Load: 45 gal. Crew Weight: 950 lb.

High Points

  • A four-speaker Fusion stereo comes standard.
  • The tall transom makes a great place to lean against while fighting a fish in rough water.
  • The bridge-deck sliding doors have large bolts that keep them securely open or shut as needed.  

Low Points 

  • The flip-down cockpit bench seats have overly large metal grab handles that protrude into the cockpit, creating bumping hazards.   
  • The livewell lid could use friction hinges or a dam to keep it partially open when grabbing a bait. 
  • A trim-tab option would help level the ride when the human payload is unevenly balanced. 

Pricing and Specs

Price:$97,211 (base with test power)
Draft (max):3’0″ (engine down)
Displacement:4,071 lb.
Deadrise:17 degrees
Bridge Clearance:7’11”
Fuel Capacity:51 gal.
Max Horsepower:225
Available Power:Single Mercury outboards to 225 hp max

Speed, Efficiency, Operation

Bayliner Trophy T23 Pilothouse performance data
Bayliner Trophy T23 Pilothouse Certified Test Results Boating Magazine

Bayliner Boats – Knoxville, Tennessee; 865-971-6311;