Buckle up!


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Stacer unveiled some surprises at its 2010 boat launch, writes Warren Steptoe

Buckle up!
Buckle up!

BUCKLE UP

Even veteran boat testers like myself are sometimes pleasantly surprised when seemingly subtle changes bring a dramatic improvement to boats that have been among the best of their genre for years. But surprise is the first thing you feel when you ride in one of the 2010 model Stacers with a revised bow shape.


NEW AND IMPROVED

Stacer’s new bows revolve around a more acutely raked stem, along with some reworking of that critical area where the chines swell out from the fine "entry point" of the bows to become the full beam of the hull. It makes for a steeper deadrise in that oh-so important part of a hull where it first penetrates surface chop, and the immediately apparent result is a noticeably softer roughwater ride.

Stacer’s EVO hull has for some years utilised stretch-forming technology to create a variable deadrise aft, making Stacers some of the best riding boats in their class. Now this latest version, which Stacer calls EVO Advance, combines EVO’s familiar variable deadrise with these new finer bows to further improve what has long been a Stacer strength.

EVO Advance will be available in Stacer’s runabout, bowrider and cabin boats and its Nomad specialist fishing boats from the various 479 (4.8m) models up to its 6.4m 639 Bay Master (runabout) and 639 Ocean Runner (cabin) top of the range.

Apparently EVO Advance came from knowledge gained during development of parent company Telwater’s accompanying range of Yellowfin bluewater fishing boats — hulls rated highly for their roughwater ride. Telwater goes to some lengths to maintain separate identities for the Quintrex, Savage, and Yellowfin boats but this is a prime example of how experience and expertise gained with one brand sometimes flows through to the others.

EVO Advance also brings two separate new transom arrangements: one for bowriders, runabouts and cabin boats; and another specific to the Nomad range. Both designs are aimed at increasing interior space and onboard stowage and improving bilge access. Several commentators, including the writer, criticised earlier Stacer transoms for the amount of interior space they consumed but these new configurations have addressed that, especially the new Nomad transom which regains significant amounts of deck space while maintaining stowage aft for batteries and so on. Even better, it still leaves room for a livebait tank in the covering board.



YEP, IT WORKS BETTER

The reworking of the bowrider, runabout and cabin transoms hasn’t been quite so radical, achieving all of the same things without compromising style to the same extent. I doubt fishos will notice because they’ll be too happy with the new Nomad arrangement.

For fishos, arguably the most important new boat to come from a comprehensive re-organisation across the Stacer range is an all-new 449 Northern Fisher centre-console. The considerable success of the (sensibly left unpainted) 4.9m and 5.3m Northern Fisher models revealed demand for a smaller 4.5m version, and here it is. Stacer’s ultra-practical Northern Fishers proved immediately popular with people who are serious about their fishing, and there’s little doubt this latest smaller version will meet a similar reception.

Options for the Northern Fisher range now include a well thought-out console mounted "T-Top" to shade the helm area without preventing 360° fishing access around the periphery, and a bait-cutting board/workbench mounted on the aft bulkhead. A carpeted deck, wide sidedecks, a console with plenty of room for fishing electronics, rodholders, and raised casting deck have of course all been retained.

One section of Stacer’s 2010 lineup that remains unchanged (apart from the EVO Advance hull and some new colour schemes anyway) is the line of 5.5, 5.8, and 6.1m sterndrive bowriders. Sterndrive Stacers were something of a surprise packet themselves when introduced, even stealing sales from imported boats, but I’d suggest that it’s not surprising, given our national mania for aluminium boats of all kinds.

Other new models for 2010 included a beefy cabin boat with 4mm plate-aluminium sides called the 589 Ocean Runner; and the 449 Seaway, basically a slightly bigger version of the 429 Seaway. This was a popular little runabout aimed squarely at getting first-time boat buyers on the water in the best boat possible, and at minimal cost.

At a recent function to introduce the boating press to Stacer’s 2010 models we also got to ride in a revamped 509 Baymaster runabout, a 539 Easy Rider bowrider, and a 479 Nomad. With a standard boarding-ladder, bimini top, and aft lounge, the runabout and bowrider also featured level flotation (the importance of which can’t be overstated for family boating), in new sidepanels fitted with bigger sidepockets.

As you’d expect, the fisho in me immediately took to the 479 Nomad. It’s a perfect size for so many of us, and the soft ride and extra fishing space afforded by the new EVO Advance hull made it clearly my favourite on the day; and perhaps THE most underrated fishing boat around…

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