• There is no doubt that Trusty have used the available space to the absolute maximum.
  • The Trusty 23 is a single-purpose craft that does the job it is built for very well.
  • Build quality and finish are outstanding, which is not surprisingly reflected in new and second-hand values.

Trusty T23

The Trusty T23 is a single-purpose craft that is surprisingly spacious for a boat of its size, but does it live up to its name in all respects? Greg Copp gives us his thoughts …


Aptly named, the Trusty T23 is a go-anywhere boat that is built and engineered to a standard not often found in a boat this size. This is not to say that small displacement boats do not get used in earnest offshore, but only a few are built to the same standard as their larger siblings for skippers who intend to stretch their cruising legs beyond local waters.


Speed is clearly not an aspect with this boat, as its twin-bilge-keel displacement hull is built to provide a steady frugal pace in most sea conditions. Bilge keels are not often found in motor boats, but if you build a boat with a top speed of 7.5 knots and a cruising speed of 6 knots, then the small amount of drag caused by the keels is offset by the extra stability and the ability to dry out on an even keel. The hull forefoot is good and sharp – ideal for cutting its way through sharp head seas, while the boat still has a wide spread of beam.


The accommodation is very well designed considering this boat is barely 23ft long and has a large cockpit. The galley sits to starboard literally just inside the cabin door, with a dinette opposite that converts to a moderate double berth with a couple of infill cushions. This boat has the optional microwave along with the optional cooker, which I can’t imagine anyone not specifying when ordering this boat new. You really feel the benefit of the boat’s beam in the cabin, especially as the headroom has not been compromised. My first thought was ‘how have they fitted in a respectable heads?’ – until I opened the door forward of the helm. Cleverly, Trusty have managed to fit a toilet, washbasin and a shower in a compartment that utilises dead space forward of the dash console.


All of this would, of course, be of little consequence if you couldn’t bring yourself to sleep aboard. But unless you are particularly fussy about luxury living, this is no hardship as the diagonal double berth built across the forepeak has made maximum use of the available space in providing a big double bed.


Sensibly there has been no compromise in the design of the helm – after all, hopefully this is where you will spend most of your time. With a boat of this size, often the helm has been scaled down accordingly, but with the T23 you get a double helm seat, a little ship’s wheel and a good array of instruments, in this case courtesy of Garmin, though Raymarine is now the current option.


Being a beamy boat, the cockpit has plenty of space, with seating around the transom for four, a drop-in table and a small wet bar starboard of a beautifully crafted teak cabin door. The side decks are a squeeze as a result of the generous internal cabin space, though to a degree this is compensated for by unusually tall guard rails and good texturised anti-slip decking. The windlass and deck hardware are reassuringly hard-core and more in keeping with a 36-footer.


This boat does not have the optional cockpit helm, which quite a few were ordered with. This option can be a bonus when berthing single-handedly, but the lack of forward visibility and comfort do not make it realistic to use for any extended period of time. Engine access through a cockpit hatch is very good, but considering there is just one 4-cylinder 54hp diesel Yanmar 4JH4 engine, it should be. This boat has just 420 hours logged, which on one of these understressed 2-litre engines is token use. Not being turbocharged not only makes for a simple engine, comparatively speaking, but it makes this engine much better suited to running at low speeds than the turbocharged 75hp and 110hp versions of the 4JHA. Not surprisingly, skippers with Trusty 23s do not spend much time on the fuel pontoon topping up the 24-gallon fuel tank.


The Trusty 23 is a single-purpose craft that does the job it is built for very well. Build quality and finish are outstanding, which is not surprisingly reflected in new and second-hand values. A new T23 now costs from £101,000 (inc. VAT), and the seven-year-old boat featured here is up for sale at a reasonable £64,950. Not that surprisingly the owner is buying a new Trusty 28.

Points to consider


There is only one engine for the Trusty 23 – the non-turbocharged 54hp Yanmar 4JHA. This engine is a dependable plodder and more reliable than its turbocharged cousins, the 4JHA TE and 4HJA THE, with no known issues. However, it will only push this boat to 7–8 knots at best with a clean bottom, so letting hull growth take hold is certainly not a good idea.


The options list with the T23 is extensive, so if you are lucky enough to be able to consider more than one boat, take a good look at what each one has to offer. The featured boat has the optional auxiliary outboard bracket – a totally unrealistic piece of kit. Teak decking is an extra that most, if not all, choose for the cockpit and cabin, but few choose it for the side and foredeck, which is a shame as it certainly looks the part. Also, an Iroko rubbing strake is another tasty option that is often forsaken for the standard heavy-duty commercial-like rubbing strake.


Given how easily the performance and economy are affected by hull growth, scrutinise the state of the antifouling, especially while the boat is ashore for a survey when fresh antifouling can be applied. The best alternative for a boat like this is copper coat – any other form of antifouling is snake oil in comparison.

Data file

  • Hull type: Displacement with bilge keels
  • RCD category: B
  • Length overall: 22ft 7in
  • Displacement: 2600kg
  • Fuel capacity: 24 gallons
  • Cruising range:  Expect 250 miles with a 20% reserve at 6 knots
  • Current value: £60,000 plus





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