Stessl boats has undergone something of a revolution in recent times. Changes in overall design have introduced new models emphasising contemporary styling and increased fishability, while enhanced manufacturing techniques have ensured a strengthening of components within the under floor framework and bearers.
The reviewed Stessl Trophy 520 centre console, which is marketed as their Trophy, is an example of the company's new construction system that they refer to as a Platerix II system and structural design.
Keel sheets are 4mm thick, side sheets 3mm; and the keel of the Trophy is 12mm thick, 100mm in depth. For greatest rigidity the under floor stringer system features a maximum unsupported distance of no more than 390mm within the grid's formation. Welds are continuous, smoothed and designed to eliminate all vibration with the overall result being a smoother, quieter and much stronger craft than the Stessl we knew of old.
The ride has also undergone transformation, with an increase in the vee at the transom plus fairly substantial outer reversed chines.
The new revised Stessl was reviewed within the Southport Broadwater, which offered quiet conditions within the bar and somewhat more boisterous outside the Seaway.
The 5.2 Trophy Centre Console's features and performance were impressive. This craft is no lightweight at 480kg, but the 90hp Suzuki had more than enough power.
Launching from the Swiftco multi roller trailer required no more than a half wheel's emersion plus a small shove to see the craft reversing easily away from a ramp within the Southport Broadwater.
Once aboard the Trophy Centre Console, I familiarised myself with the new Stessl layout. There were several things that immediately caught my eye: 13 cross ribs throughout the length of the hull, smoothed full weld finish, attention to detail in the paint work and neat, well trimmed upholstery embossed with a stylish Stessl logo.
But there was more, the new breed of Stessl was designed to make all aspects of fishing as easy as possible. The vessel is essentially a blue water boat with 700mm of freeboard, a full height transom and a combination of sea keeping ability plus stability.
In fact, Kieran Harland (of Coastal Power Boats) and my-self purposely moved to the thigh high port gunwale of the craft to test the voracity of the Stessl's stability. We noted virtually no lean whatsoever as we sat on the 30cm wide side decks. So full marks for stability.
Forward of the centre console, equipped with a grab rail plus a folding upper section, is an elevated fishing area set up with under floor storage area. A high bow rail is also featured, as is a generous anchor storage compartment aft of the bow sprit and roller.
At the centre console, the Skipper enjoys the comfort of a full back rest, and passengers have an equipped two person bolster seat on a drained storage box. The two level console featured a compass plus the craft's multi gauge dash layout on the upper section, with plenty of room also available for a sounder/GPS unit and other navigational aids if required.
Engine controls were easily reached on the lower section. The wheel is obviously central with a Fusion stereo system and Navman VHF radio to port. The usual array of switches was to starboard.
Aft of the console is sufficient fishing room for at least four anglers to work in harmony. Features here included an in-floor storage area, 2m long side pockets (deck wash in the starboard unit), grab handles and three rod holders per side on the wide side decks. A folding two person seat to starboard came with a well padded backrest.
To port is the craft's well sealed (recessed) boarding gate and associated ladder and rail, which had a decent step to allow people onto the carpeted floor of the Trophy. The step also extended full length across the transom area to form an off floor shelf for the engine battery.
As expected in a serious fishing rig the craft also featured a rod holder equipped bait station complete with lower tray and live well. The transom mounted unit was forward of the engine well area.
The 5.2 Trophy is designed to perform with engines in the 70-90hp range and the 90hp Suzuki four-stroke fitted was a fine match for power and balance. I noted that the hull with its aft pod sat very flat in the water, which to me is always a pleasing aspect of any rig; it's a personal thing but I hate the look of craft sitting at rest with the nose up and stern down.
Rising to the plane at just 18km/h at 3000rpm, the craft settled into a very smooth cruise at 38.2km/h at 4000rpm. At 5,000rpm saw 48.6km/h on the trusty Eagle hand-held GPS unit with 5,500rpm giving some 53.1km/h. The engine was not run-in, so WOT speeds were not tested but the responsiveness of the Suzuki was pleasing. Few would be dissatisfied with the smoothness and easy power of the 90hp four-stroke in my view.
Ride within the Broadwater was both gentle and quiet, thanks to the excellent hull design being complimented by the under floor floatation material. Wash from passing craft taken at over 40km/h had very little influence on the ride of the Stessl and as we headed out through the Seaway into the blue water the craft really came alive.
Low swells were taken on the plane with the greatest of ease and with no impact or jarring to speak of. The very high sided hull with its lifted bow would provide ample sea keeping ability and make it suitable for offshore fishing in conditions that would suit boats around this size.
At rest on the ocean, the Trophy also sat quite steadily with no tendency to pitch or roll whatsoever: again a bonus for the offshore angler but all thanks to a new wide reverse chine fitted to the fairly moderate vee sectioned hull.
Handling was quite user-friendly as the rig came equipped with non feed-back steering (hydraulic steering is standard on the 5.5 and 6.0m Trophy's) and I found the craft was quite responsive to the wheel at virtually any speed.
Running down across swells offshore caused no hint of broaching or other undesirable handling traits.
Back into the Broadwater and heading to the ramp I reflected on what the new Stessl Trophy centre console had to offer. The internal and external finish had improved; The overall build quality appeared to be substantially upgraded; And, there was no shortage of features to make fishing in lake, river, or ocean an absolute pleasure. The ride was excellent, with stability assured. Overall, a good all rounder.
Options on the test rig included: the bait board, deck wash, rear lounge, transom door plus under floor aft kill tank. All Trophy's will come with a sounder although the test rig did not feature one. And at $36,795 I do consider the craft to be very well priced on today's market.
Alternatively, a standard rig could come home from around $32,875.
The test Stessl Trophy featuring the new Platerix II construction was supplied by Coastal Power Boats. Contact number is (07) 5526 0858, fax is 5526 5654 and email address is --e-mail address hidden-- for further information.
|Power fitted:||90hp Suzuki four-stroke|
|Towing:||Family six sedan or wagon|