REVIEW: STACER 679 OCEAN RANGER HARD TOP

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH


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Hardtop fishing boats are as popular as ever right now. The Stacer 679 Ocean Ranger HT embodies that trend.

Head down to any boat ramp for a look and it seems every other model is wearing a hardtop these days. So it came as no surprise to find yet one more of the aluminium fishing boat breed hitting the market, this time from Queensland boatbuilding giant Telwater: the Stacer 679 Ocean Ranger Hard Top.

The Stacer plate boat range has really come a long way in recent years, where value-for-money and better fishability are the main attractions. This trend continues with its latest hardtop.

 

STACER HARDTOP

STACER 679 OCEAN RANGER HARD TOP

The new Stacer 679 Ocean Ranger Hard Top oozes space with a simple but practical layout and as expected, awesome fishability. Several new additions grab my attention, the super-wide coamings being the first. These are a long way from the standard width found on most boats and in this case, not only make the boat look and feel stronger but also create more surface area to mount accessories. It works well as a walking platform when moving forward and can even be used as seating when at rest.

 

DESIGN

STACER 679 OCEAN RANGER HT COCKPIT

In the transom, a decent baitboard is fitted, plus a good-sized livewell (with clear front view) and a rigid rear lounger that not only serves as a seating section but also as a full-size measuring table for fish. Batteries and plumbing sit neatly behind the rear bench and off the floor.

Another great feature is the spacious self-draining deck system. There’s a nice open space for fishing and when finished in treadplate, this space works well as a non-slip platform that can simply be sprayed down to clean.

But it’s the new hardtop that definitely steals the show, especially when matched with a full-length curved glass screen with wiper and freshwater wash. For anyone seeking serious protection from the elements this is definitely going to do the trick, as there is no chance of getting cold and wet in the cab. What I do like is that Stacer has managed to maintain spaciousness without restricting access to the helm, while also keeping it nice and airy with plenty of light and ventilation. A pair of roof vents are fitted to the test boat but are not necessary as the sliding side windows provided enough airflow to keep it cool inside.

 

LAYOUT

STACER 679 OCEAN RANGER HT KILLTANK

Externally I noticed a lack of rails on the hardtop. But when utilising the walkaround platform to access the bow it becomes obvious that handles are unnecessary as the roofline has a recessed drain that serves as a full-length grabrail.

A full-length rocket launcher lines the back of the hardtop and consists of six adjustable rodholders enabling the rods to be tilted to suit fishing or travel purposes. The coamings and baitboard are also loaded with rodholders and for the bait brigade there’s a mounted burley bucket on the transom.

The dash setup comprises a sensibly-sized electronics panel that can take a flush-mount Lowrance HDS 12 or similar, or even two smaller units. If the angle is too flat for you, then bracket mounting would be no issue either. Other smaller electronics can then be mounted above and either side of the steering wheel. The passenger side has a glove compartment and grabrail. If anything, I’d lose the plastic drinkholders and replace them with something a bit tougher.

Console seating consists of side-mounted bases with tackle stowage incorporated and comfortable swivel seating on top. Instead of having a standard box-shape the bases have tapered lower sections, keeping the walkthrough area more spacious.

A roomy killtank is positioned on the deck between the seats and can either be kept dry or flooded.

 

FISHABILITY

STACER 679 OCEAN RANGER TRANSOM

On the dedicated fishing side the 679 Ocean Ranger HT is designed to suit the serious offshore fisherman, as well as the weekend family boater. I like the way it’s setup, as space has been maximised while still packing in some solid fishing features. Rodholders are everywhere, there are a few inbuilt tackle trays, a good baitboard setup, livewell and massive sidepockets.

On the water you’ve got a 220lt fuel tank at your disposal matched with the economical 150hp Evinrude E-TEC HO for power. Naturally, I thought the 150hp to be a bit on the small side – well, at least until I put the hammer down. There I found more than ample holeshot, as well as nice mid-range and reasonable top end of 33kts WOT.

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

STACER 679 OCEAN RANGER HT TURNING

When we hit the open water a gradually building southeasterly provided a typically sloppy chop and medium swell. At standard offshore cruise speeds of 15 to 20kts, the 679 did a good job of eating up the bumps while keeping us comfortable behind the wheel. It did feel like it rides a bit bow-down but these hulls are designed to fully utilise the sharp entry off the bow. Normally where this was the case you might find yourself constantly cleaning the windscreen, but I must say I was impressed as I did not have to use the wiper to give it a clean.

As tested, the 679 Ocean Ranger HT had a set of Volvo Penta trim tabs – something well worth including on any monohull – just to manipulate for a better ride. When well-trimmed the hull is very responsive and it only takes small adjustments to fine tune the ride. The hull also maintains above-average stability which is not only a handy characteristic to have in the ride, but also means they’re great at rest, especially when it comes to fishing.

 

THE VERDICT

STACER 679 OCEAN RANGER CABIN COCKPIT

Long-range travel is no problem with that large-volume fuel tank and although it might not be a high-speed machine in the rough, it still punches out a good comfortable ride at economical speeds.

At the end of the day there’s nothing better than trailering with ease – and that’s definitely the experience you have when towing any of these Telwater-brand boats, all supplied on easy-to-load aluminium trailers. These trailers are setup to suit difficult launch and retrievals (or for those of us that just don’t have no clue). Regardless of angle, the roller system and guides do a sterling job of perfectly aligning the boat on the trailer. So, from towing through to offshore performance and fishability the Stacer 679 Ocean Ranger Hard Top is definitely worth a look and test drive.

 

HIGHS

• Features included as standard

• Hardtop of course

• Good offshore fishability

• Wide coamings

 

LOWS

• Prefer more angle to the dash

• Add a few permanent and decent quality drinkholders

 

STACER 679 OCEAN RANGER HARD TOP SEA TRIALS

RPM

SPEED (KTS)

FUEL BURN (LT/H)

1551

5.1

4.8

2538 (planing)

9.6

17

3556

21.5

26.3

4545

28.7

47.7

5208 (WOT)

33.

58.3

*Sea-trial data supplied by the author.

 

STACER 679 OCEAN RANGER HARD TOP SPECS

PRICED FROM

$73,488 (BMT package w/ 150hp Evinrude E-TEC HO, rego and safety gear)

 

PRICE AS TESTED

$77,498

 

OPTIONS

Paint, vinyl wrap, transducer, VHF and tackle trays in seats

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Plate aluminium

TYPE Monohull 

LENGTH 6.85m overall

BEAM 2.4m

WEIGHT 1133kg (boat only)

DEADRISE 20°

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (DAY) 7

REC. HP 125

REC. MAX HP 200

FUEL 220lt

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Evinrude E-TEC HO

TYPE Loop-charged V6 petrol two-stroke with direct injection

RATED HP 150

DISPLACEMENT 2592cc

WEIGHT 190kg  

GEAR RATIO 1.86:1 high speed

PROPELLER 15¾ x 15in

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Visit stacer.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #453, June / July 2014. Why not subscribe today?

Find Stacer boats for sale.

 


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