REVIEW: STACER 549 SEASCAPE

By: RICK HUCKSTEPP, Photography by: LOU MARTIN


Comfortable and well kitted-out… Stacer’s 549 Seascape is just the boat in which to kick back after a day on the tube or wakeboard

Yet another bowrider has hit the market: the Stacer Seascape 549.
The launch follows a recent trend by Telwater, the manufacturer, of using inboard motors with sterndrives. There’s probably some marketing logic behind this, given the numerous American fibreglass imports that come pre-rigged in this fashion.
Stacer has fitted a 3lt, 130hp carburetted petrol engine to this boat and it sits snug against the transom. The soundproofing does a good job of muting engine noise and the engine bay has enough room at its forward end to perform maintenance on belts and pulleys. The engine is connected through the transom to an Alpha One leg, which was spinning a 19-inch, three-bladed prop.
The leg, when fully tilted up, had plenty of room left between it and the full-beam swim platform, which had a smooth rebate in the centre. This styling is set to change on future models as a result of discussions with Stacer dealers around the country. The new platform will curve across its length in line with the rounded effect of the modern Stacer EVO hull.

SUN AND SHADE
Stacer has done a good job on the lounge area of this boat and is clearly aiming for a theme of family comfort.
There is a flat sunlounge flush with the top of the transom bulkhead. It runs full-beam inside the cockpit, with a centrepiece that protrudes out and the length of the engine bay. The lounge is heavily padded and, while one person could recline back on the full-beam section, another could sit on top of the protruding section. The subsequent rebates created by this lounge are snug, safe seating positions in each aft corner. The contoured upholstery finishes this off nicely.
The front of the protruding section of the lounge featured a short seat that followed the lines of the front of the entire assembly. The top section hinges aft and gives access to a slide-in lid that opens into the engine bay. With all cushions lifted, a small hatch accesses the bilge, where an electronically operated bilge pump is fitted.
A couple of rodholders are included in the wide coamings in the corners.
There are sidepockets next to the skipper and the passenger. In between the swivel seats, in the floor, there’s a very large hatch that would be ideal for storing short skis and boards, wet gear, or for using as a kill tank. It will also hold safety gear and even the removable tabletop and post that can be fitted in the bowrider section.
The helm had a spread of instrumentation. A Navman depthsounder was mounted centrally. This did not have an overly large housing and you’d struggle to fit a large sounder here. Considering the brow above the dash and the one in front of the passenger, large marine electronics are not an option for this boat. There’s an elastic mesh in the leg wells that would towels and lifejackets.
The centre of the windscreen folds back and a short, hinged door opens to provide access to the bow lounge, where two adults and two kids could sit comfortably. The short bowrail was within easy reach.
More storage is found under the removable bow lounge cushions.
The open anchor locker is big enough to handle a small Danforth anchor and plenty of rope and chain.
The frame of the retractable canopy is an alloy and the fittings are nylon. If you want extra shade, you can zip an extension to the rear of the original canopy. There’s a cross strap on top of the canopy for securing a ski tube and, since we did not have one on board to test the canopy’s strength, we were assured it can handle the weight.

TIME FOR A SPIN
Under power, the Seascape had no trouble getting out of the hole and throttled out at 5000rpm and 40mph. Trimming the Alpha leg out, the boat tended to yaw slightly at the bow, similar to a large, oversteering craft.
This boat runs with a high bow attitude and this reaction to the helm is no doubt caused by a weighty transom lifting a lot of the keel line clear of the surface. Any trim up past the quarter mark on the gauge triggered this behaviour. Once diagnosed, it was easy to remedy but some weight distribution under deck might provide more scope in the trim department. Perhaps swapping the aft cross-mounted fuel tank and the large wet compartment might remedy the situation.
In any case, the boat would behave nicely with a couple of people in the bow section and this would allow a greater range of trim.
All up, though, this boat handled well and, with the leg trimmed in, it was good fun throwing it around on the water. It did not exhibit any aeration at the propeller and manoeuvrability was excellent at speed.

WHAT WE LIKED
Manoeuvrability
Plenty of power
Well designed rear lounge

NOT SO MUCH
The trim/yaw issue should be addressed at the point of manufacture


Specifications: Stacer 549 Seascape

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested:                $35,352
Options fitted:                 None

GENERAL
Material:                          Aluminium
Length overall:                6.01m
Beam:                    2.33m
Deadrise:                        14 degrees
Rec. max HP:                   135
Max transom weight:       288kg
Weight:                           978kg (boat only)
Flotation:                        Basic

CAPACITIES
Fuel:                               118lt
People:                           Seven

ENGINE
Make/model:                   MerCruiser
Type:                              Petrol sterndrive
Rated HP:                        130
Displacement:                  3lt
Weight:                           288kg
Drive:                    Alpha One
Gearbox ratio:                 2:1
Propeller:                        19-inch three-blade aluminium.

SUPPLIED BY
Stacer
Website: www.stacer.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #216

 


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