Bayliner Trophy 29 EX: Return of the Family Cruiser

Bayliner’s all-new Trophy 29 EX is an affordable weekender that blends the best of cruiser comforts with runabout performance

By Craig Ritchie

One of the world’s most recognized boat brands, Bayliner has long enjoyed an enviable reputation for getting families out on the water, building well-made, well-equipped boats that over-deliver in value. For the 2024 boating season the iconic, 67-year-old boat builder has raised the bar with a line of all-new Trophy models built with an eye to versatility, affordability, and extending our time on the water with short cruises and weekends away.

The five new Pilothouse and Explorer models joining Bayliner’s Trophy collection this year are new boats derived from popular models sold in Europe as part of sister company Quicksilver’s lineup. So while they may be new boats to the North American market, each one comes with a proven track record overseas, perhaps explaining why the new Trophy models made such an immediate impact at this winter’s boat shows. The series consists of 23-foot and 25-foot models in both the Pilothouse and Explorer series, along with a 29-foot Explorer. Pilothouse models put the emphasis on cockpit space for fishing, diving or enjoying the sun, while Explorer models with their extended indoor spaces provide greater year-round protection from the elements.

I was among a handful of extremely lucky boating journalists to be invited to Bayliner’s top secret media reveal in Florida last November, where with five boats to choose from I immediately hopped aboard the Trophy 29 EX – not just because it’s the largest model, but because it’s the one most likely to check all the boxes for Canadian boaters who want to make the most of the open water season.

The galley is handy to the cockpit.

“The Trophy 29 EX feels larger than its specs might suggest, thanks in part to the large windows, full glass salon door and large hardtop roof hatch,” explained my host, Bayliner’s Benoit Verley. “With its fresh, clean interior décor and full beam that carries well forward of the windshield, there’s plenty of space for a family to stretch out.”

The T29 EX was designed for active families looking for an easy-to-manage, affordable weekender that can also manage short cruise holidays. That’s clear the moment you step aboard at the stern swim platform, with its retractable four-step swim ladder, and through a wide, starboard-side transom door which leads into the roomy cockpit.

Although the Trophy Explorer models are configured to deliver more indoor space, they still enjoy a roomy cockpit with plenty of room for lounging about, catching some fish or drying off in the sun after a swim. A near full beam, forward-facing bench seat features an adjustable seat back that can convert into an enticing sun pad. With the seat back up and the Trophy 29 EX’s removable cockpit table in place, the wide bench makes a great spot for dining al fresco while enjoying panoramic evening views. There’s storage space below the seat cushion as well, providing a convenient spot to tuck away personal belongings while keeping them close at hand.

The galley shown with the counter top and backsplash up.

Bayliner’s attention to detail is impressive. Just forward of the transom pass-through, a small compartment to starboard opens to reveal the Trophy 29 EX’s dual battery system, which comes included as standard equipment. The T29’s cockpit is fully self-bailing, allowing any residual water from overnight rains to simply run along the deck, through the scuppers and back over the side to keep the decking nice and dry without any reliance on shore power, batteries, or pumps. Overhead, a standard Bimini sunshade extends to protect the cockpit from the mid-day glare for greater occupant comfort.

In keeping with the low maintenance theme, the standard cockpit decking is fibreglass non-skid, with Flexiteek synthetic flooring available as an upgrade. Both look great and are super easy to keep clean.

Heading forward, a large, double-pane sliding glass door leads into the spacious salon, where a surprising level of headroom contributes to making this boat feel much bigger than it actually is.

The salon offers all the essentials, including a well-equipped galley to starboard, complete with a sink and faucet with hot water, plenty of storage space for food and gear, and factory pre-rigging for a microwave. A Wallas stove is available as an optional upgrade, as is a 51L refrigerator that’s offered as part of Bayliner’s cabin comfort package, which includes niceties like cabin curtains and interior floor carpeting.

The port side of the aft salon is reserved for a roomy dinette, which can pull double duty for late-night card games or cocktails. The dinette table lowers when not in use, creating a snug but useful overnight berth if required.

The sunshade extends well out over the cockpit.

Throughout, a six-speaker Fusion stereo provides audiophile sound. LED courtesy lights are a nice touch.

The helm sits to the far forward end of the salon, and is served by its own full-size, starboard-side sliding door to greatly facilitate docking the boat, particularly when operating solo or out just with the kids. The fibreglass dash is attractive and modern, with key instrumentation such as the Mercury SmartCraft speedometer, tachometer and nine-inch Simrad NSS EVO3S with Mercury VesselView link positioned high up where they’re easily seen. The custom five-spoke stainless steel steering wheel (with tilt) is slightly recessed into the helm console for much greater comfort at the controls, and reflecting the advanced state of refinement in this boat’s design. A delightful captain’s seat with a flip-up bolster also comes standard, as does a Simrad VHF. The Trophy 29 EX’s enormous windshield and large side windows provide excellent visibility, whether seated or standing at the helm.

Binnacles for the standard twin Mercury 225 V6 four-strokes sit to the right side of the console, with additional dash space reserved for controls to operate the trim tabs, anchor windlass and bow thruster, which are all included as standard equipment. The helm also includes control for the standard rooftop spotlight to facilitate docking when returning late in the day.

Galley and Dinette.

In northern markets like ours, the Trophy 29 EX is sold with cabin heat as a factory standard feature and air conditioning available as an option (conversely, boats headed for southern markets get standard AC, with the heat available as an upgrade). Large internal battery banks allow the climate controls to be enjoyed independently of the included shore power system. That’s right – there’s no noisy genset to refuel at 4:00 am.

As a true explorer, the Trophy 29 EX is well-equipped for both weekends away and short cruises to visit distant ports of call. A large V-berth in the bow and a compact but useful mid-cabin stateroom that the kids will immediately claim as their own provide comfy overnight accommodations. The lower deck also includes a roomy and well-appointed head with a shower. Extensive privacy glazing and opening portholes ensure lower deck spaces remain bright and fresh.

While more open boats like Bayliner’s centre console models may be popular, there really is no substitute for the freedom that comes with being able to overnight in comfort, especially in a country like ours with so many distant shores to explore. But make no mistake, the Trophy 29 EX is also a great day boat, particularly if one springs for the optional bow sun pad. Catwalks on either side provide easy bow access, with the starboard walkway being slightly wider, reflecting the boat’s mildly asymmetrical cabin design.


With twin Mercury 225 four-strokes as standard power, Bayliner’s Trophy 29 EX is quick to plane and a lot of fun to drive. But that’s to be expected. What really sets this new model apart is how it stands apart in a crowded market, with its comfortable accommodations, thoughtful amenities and brilliant design – and all at a price well below what we’ve become accustomed to seeing. When it comes to over-delivering on value, the Trophy 29 EX more than lives up to Bayliner’s long and glorious heritage.

Bayliner Trophy 29 EX

Length: 29’ 3”

Beam: 9’ 9”

Draft: 3’ 7”

Dry weight: 6,508 lbs

Fuel Capacity: 477L

Max Power: 450 hp

Aft seat back is folded down for lounging at the dock.

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