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 stronger structural design and components.
The Stessl Trophy 520 centre console is an example of the company's new design and construction system the company refers to as a Platerix II.
Keel sheets are 4mm thick, side sheets 3mm and the keel of the Trophy is 12mm thick and 100mm deep. For greatest rigidity, the under floor stringer system features a maximum unsupported distance of 390mm within the grid formation.
Welds are continuous, smoothed and designed to eliminate all vibration. The overall result is a smoother, quieter and much stronger craft than the Stessls we knew of old.
The ride has also undergone transformation, with an increase in the transom deadrise and fairly substantial reversed chines.
The new Stessl was tested in quiet conditions within the bar and somewhat more boisterous seas outside the Gold Coast Seaway.
At 480kg this craft is no lightweight but the 90hp Suzuki had more than enough power.
Launching from the Swiftco multi-roller trailer required no more than immersion half-way up the wheel plus a small shove.
There are 13 cross ribs in the hull, which sports a smooth finish, detailed paintwork and neat, well-trimmed upholstery embossed with a stylish Stessl logo.
This is essentially a blue water boat with 700mm of freeboard, a full-height transom and a combination of good seakeeping plus great stability. With two of us at the thigh-high port gunwale there was virtually no lean and almost none when we sat on the 30cm wide side decks. Full marks for stability!
There is an elevated foredeck with under-floor storage. There is a high bow rail and generous anchor storage aft of the bowsprit and roller.
The centre console has a grab rail plus a folding upper section. The skipper enjoys the comfort of a seat with full backrest and passengers have a two-person bolster seat on a drained storage box.
The two-level console features a compass and multi-gauge on the upper dash section with plenty of room for a sounder/GPS unit and other ele3ctronics.
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-upholstered 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 elevated shelf for the engine battery.
As expected in a serious fishing rig, the boat also featured a bait station complete with lower tray, livewell and rod holders.
The 5.2 Trophy is designed to perform with engines from 70hp to 90hp and the 90hp Suzuki four-stroke fitted was a fine match for power and balance and sat level in the water.
Rising to the plane at just 9.7 knots (18kmh) at 3000rpm, the Trophy settled into a very smooth cruise at 20.6 knots (38.2kmh) at 4000rpm. At 5000rpm we saw 26.2 knots (48.6kmh) on the Eagle handheld GPS unit with 5500rpm giving 28.6 knots (53.1kmh).
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.
Ride on the Broadwater was gentle and quiet, thanks to the hull design and underfloor flotation material and as we headed out through the Seaway into the blue water, the Trophy really came alive.
Low swells were taken with the greatest of ease with no impact or jarring of. The very high sided hull with its pronounced bow shear should provide ample seakeeping in reasonable offshore conditions.
At rest on the ocean, the Trophy sat quite steadily with no tendency to pitch or roll, thanks to a new wide reverse chines and the fairly moderate vee of the hull.
Handling was quite user-friendly. The rig came equipped with non-feedback steering (hydraulic steering is standard on the 5.5 and 6.0m Trophies) and was quite responsive to the helm at virtually any speed.
Running down and across swells offshore caused no hint of broaching or other undesirable handling traits.
Heading back 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, this is a good all rounder.
Options on the test rig included the bait board, deck wash, rear lounge, transom door and underfloor kill tank. All Trophies will come with a sounder, although the test rig did not feature one. And at around $36,795 as tested, it’s very well priced in today's market.Alternatively, a standard rig could come in around $32,900.
|Power fitted:||90hp Suzuki stroke|
|Towing:||Family six sedan or wagon|