By: Rick Huckstepp

The tremendous stability, dryness, space and handling of Stabi-Craft’s 659XR will make it popular with offshore anglers, writes Rick Huckstepp.


Move up in the range of Stabi-Craft pontoon-style aluminium boats and you get a bigger version of the 389 Fish'R (tested last issue), featuring all the impressive attributes of the range's smaller boats.

The 659XR - a 6.7m pontoon-style aluminium boat - sports a fibreglass upper cabin fixed to the alloy hull. Inside, there is enough room for one to sleep if an infill is used over the footwell (an optional extra). Otherwise, it makes a good dry-storage area for clothes and other gear.
The helm panel is also a fibreglass module with ample space for two large-screen electronic units. The shelf that makes up the rest of the dashboard is also large enough to take more electronics should you want to install them.
Access to the anchor is via the hatch in the cabin roof or by walking around the coamings on a rebated footway.
This boat has a massive cockpit, and like its baby brother - even though there's no foot-under room between the deck and inner cockpit liner - the inner coamings extend into the cockpit enough to give a reasonable amount of upper thigh support.
A livebait tank is installed in the transom bulkhead step-through. While it has a pair of hose-type scuppers, the deck also features a grate in the rear bulkhead that drains excess water into the engine pod, where it is removed by the bilge pump.
The 150hp Evinrude two-stroke had heaps of punch to get this hull out of the hole, where it could hold plane down to quite low speeds. At full throttle (5000rpm) the Stabi-Craft reached about 70kmh. Expect speeds in the mid-eighties with a 200hp outboard fitted.
An unusually flat Moreton Bay had nothing to challenge this rig on the day, and at the helm it performed faultlessly.
Most importantly, Stabi-Craft boats give their occupants a feeling of tremendous stability, safety and security. Any doubts about the image they project are quickly dispelled when you jump aboard.
These boats are rock-solid in the water, yet they still ride very well. The number of Stabi-Crafts in service with government departments as patrol boats is testament to that fact.
Why, then, should we care if they are not the slinkiest-looking boat on the block?




Specifications: Stabi-Craft 659XH




Price as tested: $68,768
Options fitted: Speedo, amp meter, engine water pressure gauge, hour meter
Priced from: $64,715




Type: Pontoon-sponson monohull
Material: Aluminium
Length (overall): 6.7m
Beam: 2.38m
Weight: About 1250kg




Rec/max hp: 150/200
Fuel: 200lt
Reserve buoyancy: 2450lt
Passengers: Eight adults




Model: Evinrude 150
Type:  Fuel-injected two-stroke
Rated hp: 150 @ 5000rpm
Displacement: 2589cc
Weight: 190kg
Gearbox ratio: 1.86:1
Propeller: 17in




Leisure Marine, 3242 Old Cleveland Rd, Capalaba, Qld, tel (07) 3245 5111, email or visit



Originally published in TrailerBoat #186

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