New Zealand born and bred Stabicraft are alloy pontoon-style boats renowned for immense stability, toughness, longevity and easy performance from a given horsepower. In fact, many professional services rely on these attributes to carry out their work using these well-regarded boats.
Presented and well equipped with lots of extras by Northside Marine, the reviewed Stabicraft 2400 Supercab/225 Yamaha 4-stroke was a go-far-and-fast combination dedicated to the angler who wants to go offshore, perhaps even a long way offshore, and get there ASAP.
Supercabs these days feature Stabicraft’s revolutionary Arrow (narrower) pontoons incorporated into the outer extremity of the hull, which also has a deep V central section. These somewhat straighter-sided pontoons result in a slimmer, more streamlined overall profile without detracting from the brand’s legendary raft-like stance at rest, and the ability to easily shrug off seas underway.
The review day started well. The big Stabi slipped readily from its Dunbier dual-wheeled multiroller trailer, and with the 225 Yamaha kicking into life first turn of the key, I boarded the rig without even getting the feet wet. In my view, this was a great start to the morning. Love those dry foot launches!
As we headed out into the Bay proper, I couldn’t help but remark to Bill Hull of Northside just how large every aspect of the Stabicraft was. High sides, wide decks, ample headroom everywhere, and a massive angler’s cockpit.
The helm area and corresponding protection against weather provided by the hardtop overhead was impressive, while the bunks within the open cabin with its soft lining and massive side storage pockets were plush enough to be considered luxurious. They’re large enough for mum, dad, and a couple of youngsters to sleep on with ease.
Under the bunks were ample storage areas, and there’s the option for a marine toilet as well as a privacy door for the cabin.
Up front of the cabin, a large overhead hatch allowed access onto a beach or pontoon, with a bow rail there to assist departure or entry. Overhead on the roof of the Supercab’s hardtop were side rails, radio aerials, plus a set of eight rod holders set onto the rear lip. A portable life raft would fit up there as well.
The helm area of the 2400 Supercab was very user friendly. Full visibility via the tempered glass windscreen sections was everything you might wish for, with a windscreen wiper to starboard and sliding windows on both aft sections extending around the cabin. A dash area extended the width of the craft, and incorporated a hand-hold for the first mate, plus a convenient mounting point for the marine radio as well as gauges linked to the Yamaha astern.
The Stabicraft’s neat helm area was set up with a three-spoke sports style steering wheel, rows of switches, controls for the Maxwell winch up front, with a Simrad NSS12 sounder/GPS unit set neatly into the facia. There were very supportive, high-backed bucket-style seats mounted on soft rider pedestals for the skipper and mate. With ample slide adjustment, the swivelling seats also featured front drop-down bolster sections to allow skipper and mate to stand up fully braced when necessary. In all, it was a very complete helm set-up that was well sheltered thanks to the hardtop overhead, which was lined and equipped with lighting. Both side areas adjacent the forward seating were also soft lined for best comfort.
Northside Marine had optioned the big Stabicraft’s cockpit floor with rubber tube matting, which I reckon was a very wise move given that a boat of this size and capability could clearly see a lot of offshore usage. The main cockpit features consisted of full-length shelving along each side, large enough to hold a generous amount of tackle or other items, while three rod holders and three drink holders were set into each gunwale. Wisely, rubber mat sections were set onto the gunwales as well as each corner of the full height transom, where you could board after a swim, as a ladder and handrail formed part of the transom features. A large bait station with live bait well, cutting board, drink and rod holders was set up centrally aft, while a deck wash was provided within the starboard side shelf.
Aft seating consisted of paired drop-down seats located in each cockpit corner, where padded back rests were also provided for comfort underway. With the seats in an upright position while fishing, these cockpit corner areas would provide quite decent brace points.
By contrast, fishing along the sides of the Stabicraft’s cockpit would involve working around a somewhat prominent inward bulge at floor level (due to some intrusion of the outer pontoon section). This shouldn’t really be an issue, but certainly not the same as having a toe rail or shelf there to tuck the feet under when working on a big fish in less than friendly sea conditions.
The 2400 Stabicraft Supercab features a wide enough transom lip for dual engine installation, which saw the V6 225 Yamaha 4-stroke sitting with plenty of room to spare. The compact 4.1l 225 was mid-range within the craft’s 200-250hp rating.
Whisper quiet at idle, the 225 Yamaha proved to be smooth and very quiet unless really pushed towards full rpm. It also had ample grunt to push the 1180kg Stabicraft hull to a top speed of almost 48.5 knots. Speed readings with two aboard saw an even plane at 1800rpm at 7.7 knots, with 2000rpm recording 9.5 knots. 3000rpm lifted it along at 21.7 knots, 4000rpm 30 knots, 5000rpm 38 knots, and 6000rpm 47.7 knots.
The speed readings are impressive, but cannot show how easily the big 225 powered the hull. With rapid throttle application, it fairly leaped forward; such was the torque of the 4.1l V6. Offshore work, bar crossings and the like would see the Yamaha providing wide safety margins in the power stakes.
It would have been great to have reviewed this dedicated offshore rig in sloppy seas, but the test runs were carried out in very calm conditions. The only chance to assess wave impact was to jump over the wash created by a Surtees 610 Gamefisher rig (also from Northside Marine) reviewed back-to-back while making the best of photo opportunities. Even when moving really fast, that Supercab could not be made to bang, clang or bump over the modest wash from the other boat. Any number of reviews of these rigs back home in NZ will show just how well they perform in sloppy conditions.
I found the ride and handling simply outstanding, with hydraulic steering offering fingertip control of the sports-style wheel. The craft’s slightly bow high stance underway plus 1m interior sides kept any spray well away from us, while the 19° central V section easily sliced through wash without the slightest fuss. Anglers will not only enjoy the rig’s great ride, but also the terrific buoyancy and stability courtesy of the Stabicraft’s pontoon construction, which prevents virtually all leaning.
All in all, this is a well built and well performing craft. I saw the Stabicraft 2400 Supercab as well suited to either family bay or touring duties, with the keen offshore angler likely to enjoy it most of all. The finish was of the highest standard, with welds visible but smoothed. Joinery and fitout were all top shelf. There’s virtually everything an angler might need to enjoy serious fishing, and with 300L of fuel under the floor, this boat has a massive cruising range. An added bonus is that Stabicrafts have a strong resale value.
On a dual wheel Dunbier trailer, the rig as reviewed and with quite a few options including tube floor matting and the Simrad unit would cost $141,175. Northside Marine can be contacted on (07) 3265 8000 or on the net at www.nsmarine.com.au.
• Quoted performance figures have been supplied by the writer in good faith. Performance of individual boat/motor/trailer packages may differ due to variations in engine installations, propellers, hull configurations, options, hull loading and trailer specifications.
|Length on trailer||8.5m|
|Height on trailer||3.3m|
|Construction of hull||Alloy (6mm central section, 4mm tubes)|
|Central V section||19° deadrise|
|Towing||4WD wagon or F-truck|