|  First Published: February 2007

Many readers request reviews on entry level rigs so I am going to put a series of articles together on boats under $10,000 called Tinnies Under Ten. I’m going to start with a flattie that comes in just under $5,000.

Stessco make a series of Vee-nose punts that start with the Tripper 3.5 and go up from there in length, layout and price. The Tripper 3.5 offers great value for money and can be amply powered by an 8hp outboard, which helps to keep the price down.

With a beam of 1600mm the Tripper has good stability for its size. During the review Dave Powell, from Quay Marine in Cairns, stood on the foredeck fishing while I wandered around the stern trying to get the best angle for a picture and he had no trouble keeping his balance. For those who aren’t as adventurous as Dave but still want some elevation to flick lures, the extra wide front and rear thwart seats offer a good casting platform with a bit more security.

The Tripper is solidly constructed and has eight floor ribs, and four of them extending right up to the gunwale. The full height ribs come up either side of the two thwart seats and are welded to them to offer extra rigidity. An angled brace at the base of the transom further improves rigidity and significantly strengthens the transom to take a 15hp outboard if desired.

We took the Tripper up Trinity Inlet and found a bit of chop on one of the long reaches and I was very impressed with how well it handled it, especially with how dry it was. It turned beautifully even at full tilt. The 8hp Mercury 2-stroke had enough power to get it easily up on the plane and topped out doing 25 km/h (16mph, 13knots) with two up, which isn’t mind blowing but it will still get you there.

The BMT combo being offered by Quay Marine comes in at a fraction under $5,000 with a Belco entry level trailer, which has all new construction but second hand tyres and rims. If Dave hadn’t told me the wheels were second hand there is no way I would have picked it. Even after being told I had to look hard to tell they weren’t straight off-the-shelf.

The hull between the thwart seats is flat enough for comfortable walking but you could easily add a small floor if you wanted a dead flat surface. Two carry handles, front and back, make the Tripper ideal for car topping and with a hull weight of only 78kg it’s not going to bust your back loading it on a vehicle. The cut away transom means a short shaft motor can be used, further reducing the cost and weight. Twin 25mm bungs make for rapid draining and there are rowlock holders for good old paddle power.

All up the Stessco Tripper 3.5 is a top little entry level rig that has plenty of scope to be developed by the angler as time and money allow. For further information contact Quay Marine in Cairns on (07) 4041 3166, or your local Stessco dealer.



Weight:78kg approx.
Recommended hp:8
Maximum hp:15
Transom: Short Shaft
Max transom weight:50kg
Max people:4

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