The Monaco 640 Cruiser is right at the top of the Stejcraft range. This a very well put together fibreglass craft, and needs to be, as she’s competing for sales in a market niche where our high dollar is seeing a lot of overseas manufactured craft in boat yards around the country.
While it’s readily acknowledged that overseas-made craft, more particularly those from the USA, are very well made, they are also pretty hard on the pocket and this is exactly where the Victorian-made Stejcraft Monaco 640 Cruiser has some advantage. The finish is right up with the best and so is the value.
A very handsome lady with a flair for the sumptuous, the Monaco is an eight person craft with strong family boating credentials. With galley, toilet, dining table, and a fresh water shower, there’s comfort to spare with room for up to four to sleep within the very large cuddy cab (with bunk infill). This is all complemented by a high standard of fit out and finish that oozes class from stem to stern. Yet those same credentials would make the Monaco a terrific offshore fishing rig once the aft table is stored, rods and tackle set up for serious use.
Overviewing the Stejcraft 640 Monaco Cruiser I noted a bow roller and bow sprit nestled within strong bow rails that extended virtually back to the rear of the cuddy cab.
The Monaco’s locking anchor well was accessed via a wide fore cabin hatch and it’s an easy matter to lift the pick while firmly braced against the side of the hatch.
The cabin was fully-lined and thanks to large side windows, was very well light and airy. Moulded bunk framework was graced with deep and attractively patterned cushioning, well-padded back rests, and I noted plenty of useful storage space under each bunk. A marine toilet was standard; user’s privacy assured thanks to a folding cabin door.
Stejcraft had obviously put some thought into their Monaco’s helm area providing both shelter from a tastefully tailored extendable bimini on stainless framework stretching overhead, with clears able to link with the craft’s five piece wind screen.
The Monaco Cruiser’s helm area was an interesting and carefully thought out set up. Very strong and comfortable fully swivelling seats for skipper and mate were set on storage box style bases which, being hinged, could be flipped backwards to allow access to a two-section galley below the seat bases. Under the port seat was a sink, under the skipper’s seat was a spirit stove. With seats unlocked and flipped back it would be easy to access the galley items for preparation of a meal or snack and then enjoy it at the craft’s dining table aft.
At the helm area front passenger comfort was enhanced by a grab handle, foot rest, tiered side pockets and strong bed end style foot rest while the skipper was treated to a drink holder, similar side storage shelving and foot rest. Both skipper and mate’s seats were equipped with very high backrests for ultimate support under way. I noted that visibility was fine from either seat.
The Monaco’s dash area also caught the eye thanks to a selection of tasteful imitation walnut trim. The dash was a multi level affair with a drink holder and compass uppermost while the next level featured a Lowrance Mark X Sounder unit with a bank of switches and GME marine radio immediately below.
To starboard of the craft’s deluxe three-spoke wheel another walnut insert highlighted twin Yamaha gauges linked to the 150 4-stroke astern. A padded section on the side of the craft adjacent the skipper was set up with the engine’s forward controls which fell easily to hand, as they should.
The Monaco Cruiser’s cockpit was fully carpeted and featured ample padding aft, a gunwale grab rail plus deep side pockets able to store tackle boxes and other equipment. A highlight was the removable, drink holder equipped, aft table which offered room from Mum, Dad and a couple of youngsters to enjoy breakfast or dinner while seated at the aft modular lounge which also, being on paired storage bins, offered considerable storage room under it. Note that the lounge, and storage boxes below could be removed if necessary.
The Monaco Cruiser’s cockpit was quite deep at 780mm depth and offered fishing room for three or four anglers. Rod racks within the side pockets plus a bait tank aft were useful items for anglers: completing aft features were twin non-skid boarding platforms with a ladder and grab handle set to starboard.
Engine ratings for the Stejcraft were from 115-225hp. Fitted with a four cylinder 2.6L 150hp Yamaha four-stroke the craft never seemed short of power. How it would perform with a 225hp on the transom was fairly mind blowing considering that the 150hp easily planed the craft at 9 knots (18km/h) at 2,800rpm and cruised very easily at 3000rpm at 18 knots (34.6km/h). The 4,000rpm registered a speed of 25 knots (47.3km/h), and 5,000rpm seeing us slipping along at 33 knots (62.4km/h), 6,000rpm a lusty 42 knots (78.8km/h).
Obviously, the Stejcraft’s 22º deadrise hull was a very slippery one given the ease in which the 150hp Yamaha four-stroke shifted us along with two aboard. With the throttle depressed rapidly, the rig crested onto the plane in around 20m – impressive stuff.
Ride and handling of the big Stejcraft reflected the 43 years this company has been manufacturing pleasure craft. With its deep Vee double chine hull, the well-formed and quite prominent under hull strakes, and a solid hull weight of some 970kg the Monaco rode brilliantly. A run-out through the Gold Coast Seaway reinforced my initial thoughts on ride quality as the craft gently crested incoming swells and, when pushed harder, jumped gently over the larger ones to land with a graduated sort of impact rather than a hard or noisy one.
Riding back over incoming swells presented no problems whatsoever as the rig stayed right on track and when power was needed the Yamaha 150 was happy to supply it. In all, ride quality is obviously going to be a selling point with this craft, along with excellent performance.
Overall, I saw the Stejcraft Monaco 640 Cruiser as a great value for money family or fishing craft with potential to fish anywhere from bays, estuaries or well offshore. Fuel capacity was 150L, freshwater was 48L (if this option was taken up) so a weekend on the water cruising and fishing would be just as enjoyable as running offshore for some blue water work.
There are not many craft of this particular size that provide the overall comfort levels and special features of this well appointed rig, which help make it so special.
On a tandem Dunbier trailer, with safety gear and registrations, the Stejcraft Monaco would come home from Broadwater Boating Centre of the Gold Coast, as reviewed, for around $66,990. For more information contact Broadwater Boating on (07) 5529 1777 or log onto www.broadwaterboating.com.au.
|Weight of hull:||970kg|
|Power fitted:||Yamaha 150hp 4-stroke|
|Towing:||4 x 4 wagon|