I WALKED into In Tune Marine’s showroom at Long Jetty, on the Central Coast, and was instantly greeted by a smiling Janette McCarthy, In Tune’s retail and office manager, and Sparky, the friendly Jack Russel. What a great start to the day!
I was there to test Stacer’s big 6.05-metre Easy Rider bow rider on Tuggerah Lake with In Tune proprietor, Jeff Bullard. After a quick hello to the rest of the staff – John Morton, who does the fit-outs, and Steve Henville, who looks after servicing, we hitched up the big Stacer and headed for the ramp.
It was a picture-postcard day, brilliant sunshine with a slight nor’-easter. The boat slipped off the trailer into the calm waters of the lake and we were away. Make no mistake, this is one big boat and feels like going from a sedan car to a light commercial. However, there is a ton of room for a family of four, even with the space-chewing bow-rider seats in the cockpit.
The test boat was powered by a 175hp, hydraulically-steered Johnson two-stroke spinning a big 19” alloy prop. There was no shortage of power on this set-up with the big Johnno coping well with the size and weight.
Jeff is an ardent skier/wake boarder and had installed an In Tune speciality – a swing-down Targa arch that gives a high tow point for wakeboarding. The Targa also sported six rocket launchers for storing fishing rods. All in all, an aesthetic, well thought-out and very strong dealer add-on that can be folded to give a lower profile for storage.
The all-round white navigation light and radio and GPS aerials could also be mounted on the Targa, practical and out of the way. Besides being a qualified marine mechanic, Jeff just loves his skiing and wakeboarding. An ex-barefoot ski champion and Central Coast-born and bred, he knows what is wanted in an all-round boat and will put together a rig to suit the whole family’s requirements.
One thing that Stacer does well is to deliver boats with a very good finish. Welds are neat and clean and all fittings are solid. The hull comes with attractive decals and sturdy, scratch-resistant paintwork.
There’s a short, extra-strong bowsprit holding a small roller for the anchor and a large cleat. Split, sturdy bow rails, to which optional spray dodgers can be added, give support when working the anchor and reach back past the front of the bow rider.
A self-draining anchor well, deep enough for a kilometre of rope plus anchors, is part of the foredeck and easily accessible from the bow area.
The carpeted bow rider area is big at 1800mm x 1590mm, with cushioned seats and padded backrests. Under all the seats in the bow rider area is a cover which can be lifted and the space inside can be used for storage.
Five average size adults could sit up front and although not the most comfortable place to be in bumpy seas (what with spray and being right above where the hull hits the water), it’s a thrilling place to ride. Kids especially will love sitting up front with the wind in their faces as Dad does a bit of wave jumping.
By inserting the standard infill, the bow rider section becomes a casting platform where up to two adults can throw lures or flies to their hearts’ content. The sturdy, three-piece, tinted, wrap-around windscreen has a full-length grab rail across the top.
There’s full back and hip support from the seats and the helm seat can be adjusted fore and aft. The rotomoulded dash fits the engine management gauges with room for a combined GPS/sounder combo. Dash room for further electrics is limited.
The standard, fused, three-way switch panel looks after nav lights, auto bilge pump override and accessories. It was pleasing to see a 27MHz two-way radio as standard – an important safety feature.
Underfloor is a 115-litre tank with sender – not really enough for a full day out with a big donk like the Johnson. The neat, high-mount throttle fell nicely to my right hand and the all-round vision was excellent sitting down or standing up.
For safe storage, there is a small, lockable glove compartment on the passenger side. Off the floor, wide side pockets will hold all the jumble that boats tend to accumulate over time and there are rod clips on the starboard side that will accommodate short spin sticks.
The carpeted floor was solid with no sign of flex. Below decks is filled with flotation. Even with the bow rider configuration, there was heaps of room back in the cockpit (1800mm x 1950mm) to move around and I would guess four could fish comfortably without many arguments.
High gunwales (720mm) gave security and somewhere to dig those hips in when fighting fish in sloppy water. Being over 60mm wide, the side decks can also act as somewhere to park the bum if all seats are taken.
Our test boat had an optional full-length rear lounge that shielded battery, bilge pump and separating filter. The battery sits on the floor but I would like to have seen a small raised shelf to keep this ‘heart’ of the boat away from water intrusion.
The 500gph bilge pump has an automatic float switch with a manual override on the dash, again a great safety feature but something that must be looked at regularly to see if it’s functioning correctly.
Quarter grab rails run from the stern and are solid enough to tie off mooring ropes. Twin rear cleats and twin rod holders are all standard, as is the fold-down bimini for weather protection.
Stacer’s unique full-width Mod Pod puts the engine on a fully floating pod with twin boarding platforms. The standard fold-away transom ladder is a boon for getting back in the boat after a swim.
With 5mm bottom and 3mm pressed sides, the boat has a very solid feel to it. Stacer’s patented EVO hull design gives a very smooth ride in all conditions. The boat sticks to the water like glue, even in power turns. Stacers are among the safest craft I have been in and the 605 Easy Rider was no exception.
With the tacho showing 5200rpm we flew over the water at a tingling 89kmh (55mph). At a more sedate 3500rpm the speed meter rose to 48kmh (30mph).
In reverse the water gurgled under the full-width platforms with no sign of intrusion into the cockpit. The lean test when stationary was excellent, with little gunwale dip with both of us hanging out over the side.
I had a ride up forward in the bow section and even that was comfortable as we chased across our own wake to create a bit of turbulent water. The 605 had a nice feel to it from the helm and the hydraulic steering made manoeuvring this big lady a breeze.
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Bimini top, compass, Eagle sounder, GX294 radio, swing-back seats, boarding ladder, safety equipment, full marine carpet.
Targa/hi-tow tower, full-width rear lounge, Johnson 175hp, *Redco deluxe trailer.
*Optional Redco trailer comes with spare wheel, bearing buddies, full-length walkway, dual offset axles for lower launching and retrieving, override braking system, fold-away jockey wheel, dual-leaf springs, full Galpack protective coating and full-width skids for total hull support.
Boat supplied by In Tune Marine, 425 The Entrance Road, Long Jetty NSW 226. Proprietor Jeff Bullard. Phone (02) 4333 3444 or Fax (02) 43333455. web site --e-mail address hidden--
Price as tested with above options, including dealer delivery, safety gear, all registrations, on-water instruction and Redco deluxe trailer: $45,055.Reads: 2975