REVIEW: STACER OUTLAW 529

By: ANGELO SAN GIORGIO, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH


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Angelo San Giorgio has had several Stacers over the years and was busting his leather chaps to get the Outlaw 529 in his sights.

REVIEW: STACER OUTLAW 529
Stacer Outlaw 529.

Three years ago I penned my first feature for this magazine at the insistence of senior boat tester, John "Bear" Willis. I was still selling boats at the time — including Stacers — and had just signed my life away to the finance company for the privilege of parking my own lurid green Stacer 479 Nomad MP on the nature strip.

I broke my writing duck by chronicling the whole experience in print and was lucky enough to have it cross the desk of the TrailerBoat editor of the day, Barry Ashenhurst, who in a moment of delirium, suggested I make stroking the keyboard a regular gig. Countless syllables and examples of misplaced punctuation ensued as I committed progress reports to print.



GREAT EXPECTATIONS

The Nomad was my fourth Stacer and the family and I enjoyed countless hours of fishing and memory-making in what was a visually-striking and capable hull. Powered by a 90hp Honda four-stroke, it made for fun and practical transport.

It’s three years later, and although that green Stacer now resides on someone else’s lawn, the memories of our time together are indelibly etched into my grey matter.

So when the call came from Stacer HQ to sample a new model range spawned from the same gene pool that created my Nomad, I pulled rank and stuck up both hands for the gig. Truth be told, I was more than a little curious to see how this pressed alloy range would stack up.

My current line of work sees me in and out of one boat or another almost every other day, and many pack some mighty credentials and leave crater-size impressions. So how is a well-constructed but relatively conventional "tinnie" sportfisher going to cut it? Based on the spec sheets I’d been supplied, I’ll admit nothing really rang my bell, but I decided to leave it to the boat to make its own case.

Test day loomed on Queensland’s Gold Coast as we greeted a crisp but clear autumn morning. Clear skies and light winds meant a trip into the Seaway was on the cards, providing us the opportunity to pit the Outlaw against some rolling swell, all in the name of thorough product testing, of course.

The first Outlaw I laid my mitts on was the 529. A substantial open-decked sportfisher with a compact side console to starboard, this example was resplendent in an optional eye-catching blue and white wrap — at least on one side — and it certainly looked the part. The port flank was a lot more subdued in white, with the trademark red and grey swirl graphic.

With the influx of aluminium sportfishers from all over the globe into Australia, Stacer has retained a distinctive local feel with this range that, like many other quality alloy brands, owes its basic design to another Aussie stalwart, the Quintrex Top Ender. Some of that influence is evident in the rearward bias of the console, which trades a wide open bow for a compact rear cockpit, typical of the architecture favoured by the NT barra brigade. Those guys often travel extended distance in sparsely-populated country and as such, eskies of a metre or more are the order of the day to keep beer and barra chilled.

To be honest, if you’re into chucking lures or towing big minnows the layout is pretty much spot on as it is. However, if you’re a double dipper and also enjoy drowning a pilchard or worm, I would suggest a request to your dealer to have the console moved forward a couple of feet, freeing up some valuable rear deck space. While you’re at it, specify a bow-mount electric plate from the options list because you’ll want to fit a lekky to this ride, not to mention a decent sounder.

The hull configuration is a relatively simple one, eschewing the stretch-formed Evo2 structure that endowed my aforementioned Nomad. The underwater configuration is also relatively standard: the lower hull is constructed in 3mm alloy with a moderately deep vee reinforced by a full-length extruded keel and three pressed strakes for tracking at speed. This is complemented by smooth 3mm sides, giving it a "plate" appearance that only looks more horn with the addition of the inkblot-style wrap.

Top decks are similarly flat and broad, allowing for rod holders, downrigger bases, etc. to be installed with ease. They’re also handy to park yourself on between bites.



RIDE AND PREJUDICE

Satisfied that the layout, storage and overall packaging were all on target, I was keen to see if this hull could match the more sophisticated Nomad in the ride department. Larger but similar in weight to my old rig, the Outlaw it also carried 15 fewer two-stroked horses, and I may have packed on the pounds over the last six months. Damn you and your pies, Mrs Mac.

The verdict? Pleasantly surprised, actually. While not the softest hull I’ve recently driven, it was certainly more than capable and, without the benefit of a head-to-head comparison, felt similar to my Nomad. Short chop was handled with barely a murmur from the hull and only when we jumped swell or wake did we feel a jolt upon re-entry. The hull was dry when trimmed out and turned tight and predictably through figure-eights.

Engaging neutral saw us drift gently in the 10kt breeze and the shallow draft allowed us to clear several sandbanks with knee-high water covering them. Stability at rest was more than reasonable courtesy of a 2.25m beam and it never felt overly pitchy.

Credit also needs to be extended to the 75hp E-Tec, which gave a great account of itself. A rather vocal engine that’s not shy in pumping its three pistons, we squeezed 5500 revs out of it for a GPS-verified 31kts (57.4kmh). While I was initially concerned it might have been on the lean side, the 75hp E-Tec had no trouble popping the boat and crew — around 650kg give or take a couple of Mrs Macs pies — onto plane with a firm nudge of the throttle.

Torque was meaty and only occasionally made its presence known via the helm. While the maximum 115hp would have no doubt provided more thrills and a more refined soundtrack, I’d spend the difference on a decent sounder / GPS, bow-mount and a trip to Disneyland.

One issue of note was that the rearward weight bias required a heavy throttle hand to force the bow down when jumping to the plane. However, since most Outlaws will probably be optioned with a Minn Kota, Watersnake or Motorguide on the bow, that should balance out the weight nicely.



THE TRAILERBOAT VERDICT

If the 5.48m 529 Outlaw is more boating real estate than you really need, the range is available in varying sizes, including 429, 449, 469 and 489. Most models are available unpainted and many come with a choice of tiller, side or centre console options. Stacer has spoilt the market for choice.

While its natural hunting ground might be inshore waters — bays, lakes, rivers — I’d have no hesitation in taking the 529 Outlaw several miles offshore in the right conditions. It’s capable in chop, has an uncluttered fishing-friendly layout and a considerate options list that will allow you to customise to your personal piscatorial preference.

The 529 is definitely going on the most wanted list.

ON THE PLANE...

  • Good-value fishing machine
  • Sure-footed ride
  • Efficient power choice
  • Beefy enough to handle the slop



DRAGGING THE CHAIN...

  • Needs a few more trimmings to finish it off
  • Bimini impedes fishing from the rear deck
  • Wrap is a sexy, but pricey, option



STACER 529 OUTLAW SPECIFICATIONS

HOW MUCH?

Priced from: $35,913

Options fitted: Vinyl wrap; bimini and envelope.

Options available: Bow-mount thruster plate; slab side paint; plumbed livewell; dedicated rod storage; and more.



GENERAL

Type: Side console sportfisher

Material: Alloy

Length: 5.48m LOA

Beam: 2.25m

Weight: 452kg (dry)



CAPACITIES

People: 5

Max. HP: 115

Fuel: 95L



ENGINE

Make/model: 75 E-Tec

Type: Direct injection two-stroke

Weight: 145kg

Displacement: 1296cc

Gear ratio: 2.01:1



MANUFACTURED AND SUPPLIED BY

Stacer Boats

Queensland

Web: www.stacer.com.au



PRICE SUPPLIED BY

Wynnum Marine

31 Fox street

Wynnum

Queensland 4178

Tel: (07) 3396 9777

Web: www.wynnummarine.com.au

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #298, August/September 2013

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