BOAT TEST: STABICRAFT 2150 SUPERCAB


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The Stabi-Craft 2150 Supercab comes with an award-winning pedigree. We sent John Ford to find out if the hype is deserved.

BOAT TEST: STABICRAFT 2150 SUPERCAB
STABI-CRAFT 2150 SUPERCAB

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (lucky for me someone found my ugly head attractive) but in the boating world there are conventional design lines for which most manufacturers offer some respect. Not so for New Zealand manufacturer Stabicraft. In the case of our 2150 Supercab test boat, the builder didn't camouflage the unusual lines with drab colour. Instead, the craft was finished in Owens Red, which further highlights the Stabicraft's take-no-crap attitude. You won't be sneaking around and flaunting the waterways laws - it's LOUD!

Even though the new Generation Three (G3) hull is less of a blow-up boat on steroids than its predecessors, the angles and corners still set it apart from more conventional rivals. Bay Boats, from Port Stephens, provided the ride which - thanks to the location - meant we got to try it out in a wide range of conditions. These ranged from touring around the estuary to a trip out past the islands guarding the entrance to this magnificent harbour. What a place. If you haven't been, go!

Wayne from Bay Boats is a staunch supporter of Stabicraft in Australia and he says that buyers are attracted to the brand's stability - yeah, Stabis are stable.

The other thing owners like is the inbuilt safety. Wayne says these boats are almost unsinkable because of the eight, fully-sealed sections in the side-pontoons and two additional sealed compartments under the floor. We're not brave enough to back any claim for unsinkability - remember the Titanic? - but Stabicraft has certainly invested time and design energy into making this boat as seaworthy as it can be.

 

 

 

WHAT'S IT LIKE?

 

Onboard you get the impression of earnest boat construction. The frivolous hotrod-red belies the industrial impact of the sharp angles and overriding practicality of things. The dancefloor-sized cockpit, cavernous cabin and high roof all go towards making it feel big for a 21-footer.

Up front a large hatch gives access to the bow area, which has a solid and well-designed bowrail. Anchoring is eased with the fitment of a Stress Free electric winch, feeding rope and chain into a large hold, which can be accessed from the cabin. The bow can also be approached from the sidedeck with an easy step-up from the cockpit and well-placed handholds on the cabin top to keep you onboard in sloppy seas.

Back in the cuddy cabin a V-berth has an infill for a large bed, with plenty of length but not much headroom towards the bow. Storage space abounds under the seats and in full-length sidepockets.

A huge screen dominates the cabin and because the cuddy roof drops away quickly, vision forward is almost unimpeded right up to the bow. Both driver and passenger get adjustable and very comfortable moulded seats with bolsters, and usable footrests set into the bulkhead. The seats are in a back-to-back arrangement - what Stabicraft calls its "king/queen option" - and they're set on solid, spacious storage bins, accessed through the folding rear seats. The dash houses a huge flat panel with room for large electrics and switch panels, while Evinrude ICON instruments provide engine readouts.

The cockpit has high-sided gunwales with wide sidedecks, sensibly covered in non-slip rubber material. The floor itself is practical checkerplate. Large raised storage pockets run the length of the deck, with room for rod storage.

There are no recesses for toeholds on the floor - something that surprised us in a supposedly hardcore fishing boat - and while the deck was sealed there were no scuppers as standard equipment. Despite these surprising fishing-friendly omissions, a large killtank was set into the floor, a livebait tank was housed in the transom, and there was also a reasonable baitboard, albeit without a drain.

The starboard transom section has a removable door for access to a boarding step/swim platform. The transom extension pod is sealed and there's room for two motors, although the test boat was fitted with a single 175hp Evinrude E-TEC.

 

 

 

CRUISING THE BAY

 

Underway the boat has a big boat feel by virtue of the high sides and big cabin, as well as the solid feel on the water. It was easy to move around with the non-slip deck and well-placed holds thoughtfully distributed around the boat. There was some resonance through the hull at lower speed, but the overall sound suppression seems to have been improved over previous models. The expected "echo" of the motor in the cabin was absent, partly because of the inherent quietness of the Evinrude, and also the carpet lining in the cabin. Things would improve even further with a carpeted deck.

The side windows allow for a welcome breeze and with the front hatch open as well there's plenty of fresh air circulating. Power from the 175 E-TEC is adequate and gets the easily-driven hull moving onto the plane at around 9kts (16.6kmh). Top speed is a reasonable 32kts (59.2kmh).

The Stabi is happy to cruise at any speed in the range but feels most comfortable at 4000rpm, where it achieves 21kts (38.8kmh) with a 25lt/h fuel burn.

The driving position is great with the seat in its normal position or perched on the raised bolster, and although there's plenty of adjustment, one of the adjusters tends to hit your left leg when driving from a standing position.

Vision all round is good. The controls are the superb ICON units, which come standard with the E-TEC. Throttle control requires only light fingertip pressure and gear changing is nimble and clunk-free. Across the bay the boat gave plenty of confidence in turns, and even when thrown around it responded in a lively but well-mannered fashion.

While the flat waters of the bay allowed full noise runs, once we passed the headland into the open ocean the chop on the run to the islands was typical of the sort of sea often encountered at the entrance to Port Stephens. The tide and current had set up a nasty chop, which presented a good indicator of the boat's handling ability.

The 2150 has 20° deadrise, which is not extreme in a craft professing superior sea-handling. Where Stabicraft claims to differ is in a hull designed to trap air between the sponsons to cushion the
ride over waves.

The people at Stabicraft may have a point - ride quality was impressive across a 2m swell and with chop blown up by 18kts (33.3kmh) of breeze. We maintained an easy cruise into the sea at around 20kts (37kmh). If you want to ignore passenger comfort there's plenty of power to launch this boat over waves and it will land flat and soft. Around the island and heading back to land we were able to run at over 25kts (46.3kmh) in the following sea where the ride and handling were even more impressive.

At sea the Stabicraft is well-mannered and confidence-inspiring, a feeling which is enhanced by the security of the cabin and the way the hull deflects spray. There's no banging or creaking and everything is rock solid. We hove to in the swell, riding up to the seaward side of Big Island, and found the 2150 was happy to ride the swell and chop with minimal rock and roll.

 

 

 

THE WRAP

 

Wayne from Bay Boats summarised the boat well when he suggested that "it has no vices". However, some aspects of this vessel could be improved with a view to satisfying hardcore fishermen - toeholds, for example - and we believe that for recreational family use, more sound suppression would be a good thing. There are also a few sharp metal edges in the cockpit that could be dealt with more effectively.

The 2150 is rated to 225hp if you want more speed, and it's buoyant enough for a big payload. It does what it's supposed to do, that's for sure, but there's still scope for customising it to suit buyer preference. This boat recently took out Trade-A-Boat New Zealand's Boat of the Decade award. Does it deserve it? Well, that's a big call in a sea of very competent and pretty boats. If you like your boat tough, and tough looking, maybe this is the one for you. Is the Haka better than the ballet? Most fishermen think so.

 

 

 

 

On the plane...

 

Safety factor

Handling

It stands out

 

 

 

Dragging the chain...

 

A bit industrial

Seat adjuster protrudes

No toeholds

 

 

 

 

 

PERFORMANCE

 

6kts (11.1kmh) @ 19

00rpm (trolling - 7.2lt/h)

9kts (16.6kmh) @ 2400rpm (on the plane - 11.5lt/h)

13kts (24.0kmh) @ 3000rpm (20lt/h)

16.5kts (30.5kmh) @ 3500rpm (21.5lt/h)

21kts (38.8kmh) @ 4000rpm (25lt/h)

25kts (46.3kmh) @ 4500rpm (33lt/h)

29kts (53.7kmh) @ 5000rpm (48lt/h)

32kts (59.2kmh) @ 5800 rpm (WOT - 67lt/h)

 

 

 

 

Specifications: Stabicraft 2150SC

 

 

HOW MUCH?

 

Price as tested: $99,800

Options fitted: Rear boarding ladder, livebait tank, king/queen seats, V-berth infill, baitboard

Price from: $91,400

 

 

 

GENERAL

 

Type: Monohull

Material: Aluminium

Length: 6.7m

Beam: 2.32m

Deadrise: 20°

Weight (dry): 1000kg

Approx. towing weight: 1850kg

 

 

 

CAPACITIES

 

Fuel: 200lt

Rec. max. HP: 225

People: 7

 

 

 

ENGINE

 

Make/model: Evinrude E-TEC 175 (E175DPXII)

Type: V6, direct-injection, two-stroke

Rated HP: 175

Displacement: 2592

Weight: 196kg

Gearbox ratio: 1.185:1

Propeller: 17in Viper

 

 

 

MANUFACTURED BY

 

Stabicraft

345 Bluff Road

Invercargill, Southland

New Zealand

Web: www.stabi-craft.co.nz

 

 

 

SUPPLIED BY

 

Bay Boat Sales

332 Soldiers Point Road

Salamander Bay, NSW, 2317

Tel: (02) 4982 7899

Web: www.bayboatsales.com.au

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat 267.

 

Find Stabi-Craft boats for sale.

 


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