By: Rick Huckstepp

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This Aussie contender has enjoyed more than just a couple of cosmetic changes, writes Rick Huckstepp.

Stacer 539 Sportster

Stacer has worked hard over the years to design models that offer a good ride and superior strength-to-weight ratios. Using aluminium press-forming technology, the company has created solid, rigid hulls that deliver outstanding on-water performance.

However, ongoing research and development has led to the introduction of the new EVO Series II hull. This new design delivers added spray deflection, faster and flatter planing, a softer ride, surefooted turning and tracking, as well as enhanced stability. It's this hull design that Stacer has used for its revamped 539 Sportster, a strong competitor to imported fibreglass bowriders.





The colour of all Stacer hulls has traditionally come from the blue spectrum, but this well-known Aussie boatbuilder now leans towards neutral colours, like creams and greys. Of course, hull colour isn't the only modification Stacer has made to the 539.

One visible change is in the bowrider section, which now has more scalloped seating with storage boxes underneath the cushions. An optional infill can be fitted here to create a casting platform, transforming this smart rig into an even smarter fishing machine.

Next, there are upgrades in the cockpit. Here Stacer took the old sidepocket modules from earlier models and modified them by opening them up, creating even more storage. It's a great idea that maximises space without the need to fit more underfloor storage, something that would otherwise add to the price.

The test boat wasn't fitted with electronics like a depthsounder, but it did come with an optional portside boarding ladder. The pins on the ladder hinge were unusually long and could do with a trim to reduce the risk of catching on clothing and skin.

As with all Stacer models, there's extensive use of tough rotomould inserts, and even the anchorwell was lined with one to help combat noise from the anchor bouncing around when underway.





Several slots were positioned at various points along the inside edge of the gunwales, to accommodate removable drinkholder frames. The handrails have also been anodized for a smarter and longer-lasting look and finish.

The helm and passenger seats are positioned behind rotomoulded modules. The dash module in front of the passenger's position accommodates a recess for a radio-CD player, a couple of storage trays, and a lidded compartment.

The helm module is filled with instrumentation, but there's a small tray that's ideal for a small-screen sounder or a GPS on a gimbal-mount. If that's not enough and you need an additional electronics cabinet, then the tray top of the passenger module, with enough room for a GPS or sounder, is within easy reach.

Lifejackets on earlier Stacer bowriders were secured under elastic-net retainers under the consoles, but the new model does away with this and keeps the safetygear under the bowrider seats.

The wraparound Perspex windscreen is strengthened by a handrail that stops along with the edge of the screen at the companionway, leading to the bowrider cockpit. The windscreen's middle section opens and folds back to one side and is held open by an elastic cord. A small carpeted door closes off the bowrider cockpit when underway, stopping much of the draught coming into the main cockpit.

While this boat isn't fitted with a skipole, it does have a standard-fit towring centrally located on the stern.

Both the driver's and navigator's seats are on swivels with rocking backrests, so they're great for lounging or observing skiers.

A stylish swim platform covers the Alpha I leg. It has a non-slip surface and there are grabrails at the corners of the transom. Seats are rebated here into each corner, which combine with a central section in front of the enginebox to form the rear lounge.

The top of this area is now covered with heavily-padded cushioning to create a handy sunlounge.





The sunpad actually opens on a gas-assisted strut to reveal the heavily soundproofed enginebox. The lid then comes off completely for easy access to the MerCruiser 3lt TKS engine. This is a 135hp petrol carburetted-engine, which is way above the horsepower rating normally allowed for a similar boat fitted with an outboard motor. All the fluids bottles are located at the front of the engineblock within easy reach, and the belts and pulleys are also easy to get to.

Flexible blower tubes pump fumes out of a vent in the outside edge of the transom bulkhead.

The cranking battery is located outside the enginebox on the portside. On the opposite side is the power-steering pump for the Alpha I, as well as an additional battery box. There's ample storage space in these corner compartments and in the seat-base boxes under the lower lounge seat.

As mentioned, Stacer has done an excellent job of soundproofing the engine compartment. During the test the four-cylinder engine hummed away nicely and provided plenty of holeshot, although we were only lifting one person onto the plane.

The engine had lots of torque throughout its rev range and at WOT (5000rpm), we hit a top speed of 40kts (74kmh) on the water pressure-activated speedometer.

The power steering on the sterndrive worked a treat and the only issue we could find with it was in the manual side of the system. For those not in the know, the manual helm drives the hydraulic pump. There was a small amount of slack in the helm, which created a lag in control when moving the helm from left to right. While not a safety issue, it does feel a little strange, and it could be easily remedied.





All up, this is a good rig from Stacer, with plenty of room for window dressing. She's well-priced and offers good value-for-money in her as-tested 'package boat' fitout.

I think most buyers would add a GPS/sounder to the equation. Another advantage over fibreglass boats is that you can run her up onto a beach for a picnic and not have to worry about the gelcoat rubbing off by wave action caused by the wakes of passing boats.




Soft, dry ride
Soundproofed enginebox
Bowrider cockpit door
Value for money




Split pins on ladder
No sounder/GPS
Small amount of slack in the helm








Price as tested: $34,795
Options fitted: Two-tone paint, bow ladder, and anchorwell hatch
Priced from: $34,339




Material: Aluminium
Type: Bowrider
Length overall: 5.53m
Beam: 2.5m
Rec. max. HP: 135hp




Fuel: 118lt
People: Seven
Max. load: 918kg




Make/model: Mercury MerCruiser 3.0TKS
Type: Four-cylinder carburetted petrol
Rated HP: 135
Displacement: 3lt
Weight: 288kg
Sterndrive: Alpha I
Prop: 19in three-blade alloy




53 Waterways Drive,
Coomera, QLD, 4209


First published in TrailerBoat #248

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