Stabi Craft 589 XR

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Stabicraft 559 XR

Two years ago, Stabicraft released the 559XR, which was the start of a new look for the company with the boats following softer lines. This has been followed by, the 589XR, which as Freddy Foote found out, shares a lot of the attributes of the smaller 559XR.

When I phoned South Auckland Stabicraft dealer, Kev and Ian’s Marine and spoke to sales manager Andrew Deadman, it took a little bit of persuasion. The weather for the last two weeks had been nothing but heavy rain, not only in the Auckland area, but much of the country, with news reports of flooding in a number of areas.

“Andrew, want to do that boat test today?” “Umm, now?” replied Andrew.

“Yeah, 1.30?” “Umm, OK”

“Bring a jacket.” was my last response. I reckoned we were probably going to need it. No-one goes boating on days like this unless they really have to. It was 25knots gusting to 35knots, raining, cold and miserable, but there were a few breaks of fine weather which we somehow managed to find during the test.

Released a few months ago, the 589 is a continuation of the popular 559 model, and shares many of the same attributes as well as a few extra features. The 589 uses the SuperCab layout, which includes the wide side decks around the cabin sides. The 589 is also 300mm longer, which is all in the cockpit, and the hull has been upgraded from 4mm aluminium to 5mm. Also, the fuel tank, at 150litres, is 50% bigger than the 559’s.

Fisherman Friendly

The Stabicraft design and aesthetics have certainly come a long way and the design team are certainly doing something right, with the target for 2005 being to produce 681 boats. With a new factory expansion, output is aimed at around 1000 boats a year before too long.

Like a lot of Stabiracft models, the 589 utilises a GRP cabin top. Using the latest 3D computer design, the design team have come up with a concept that is working well, giving people the option of having the versatility of aluminium, and the comforting finish of GRP.

Seating layout on the 589 is optional, but the standard layout comes in the form of passenger king/queen seats and a pedestal seat at the helm. Additional seating is available as standard, aft in the form of a bench seat that can be fully removed to free up more cockpit space, or easily folded down if there are four or more passengers in the boat.

Forward in the cabin, squab seating has storage space underneath, while side shelf storage is also available. Access through to the anchor well is easy, with enough room for a larger adult to stand through. But with the addition of the new wide side decks around the cabin, and enough handholds, there seems no reason to work through the hatch, when access around the sides is so easy.

This particular boat had also been fitted with the targa canopy and rocket launcher, the non-skid tube matting in the cockpit, and it has also been painted in champagne metallic.

Aft, above-floor shelf storage space is built into the transom, and houses batteries and oil tanks. A walk-thru transom is incorporated into the port side, and has a slide-in door, that when not in use is stored on a bracket further across the transom, a boarding platform is also included as standard, with a dive ladder.

The transom was also finished with a ski pole, which when in place will also accommodate a bait board, which clips onto the pole itself.

The engine pod is lower than the cockpit floor by about 130mm, so any water taken into the cockpit by divers flows down through a grate above the floor and into the pod, where the bilge pump is located.

The cockpit is very spacious for a boat that is just under 6.0m, with enough room for around four people to fish comfortably. Full length side pockets line the cockpit sides, proving ample room for rod or gaff storage, there is also the option to use the rocket launcher. As on all Stabi-Crafts, a fuel gauge is fitted into the floor.

Soft Rider

As I alluded to earlier, test day conditions were diabolical – it’s easy to tell that a day is not good for boating when you arrive at the carpark and there are no other trailers parked there!

The Met Service had actually issued a gale warning for the Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf, and the wind was blowing from the southwest at 25 knots and gusting 35 knots – not ideal conditions for boating!

However, the benefit in going out in these kinds of conditions is getting a true feel of what the boat really goes like in rough conditions. Because let’s face it, a lot of the time we go out in flat conditions and come back home in the rough.

The 589 XR really impressed me, as in the choppy and blustery conditions off Westhaven Marina it delivered a sure and soft ride.

A couple of times Andrew and I had to reposition ourselves to keep the boat on an even keel, as the canopy, while keeping us out of the blustery wind, acted as a giant sail, catching the boat and changing our direction quite dramatically.

The 589’s pontoon and hull design ensured a very dry ride, with very little spray taken onto the windscreen or clears even with the blustery wind.

The canopy fitted by Manukau Upholstery was brilliant. Andrew and I, both 1.88m tall, were able to stand easily to drive and not have to duck our heads. In summer it is easy enough to take down the clears, and either have the sides and front clears down, or both, just leaving the bimini top up to stay out of the sun.

The Yamaha 115 4-stroke pushed the 589 to a respectable 40mph @ 6300rpm.

The boat is rated to handle outboards from 115hp up to 140hp, which would be an ideal match, giving that little bit of extra performance if so desired. Punch out of the hole was excellent, bringing the boat up onto the plane quickly, keeping in mind that there were only two of us on the boat, with a fairly light fuel load. So if your boating consists of fishing trips with a few mates, fitting a 140hp outboard should be a serious consideration.

It’s quite an easy boat to drive, and it really doesn’t require too much trim. Given the conditions, we had it trimmed down quite a bit anyway. I was most impressed with the ride in the blustery, choppy conditions. We pushed the boat reasonably hard, and had the boat skipping over the troughs that were formed by the wind and tide. There was no banging of the aluminium hull, each time the boat re-entering the water with a whooshing sound.

The helm was tidy and as this was a demo boat there were no electronics fitted as yet. However, the dash is very spacious and would easily be able to accommodate a combo electronics package, or a couple of singular units.

As with all Stabi-Crafts, stability was brilliant, easily demonstrated with Andrew navigating around the side decks to secure a bow line as we docked. A high bow rail ensured that even in disturbed water, there is always something to hold onto.

Weighing 1150kg on a trailer, the 589 certainly isn’t cumbersome to tow around, and with appropriate brakes fitted to the trailer, would be fine to tow behind a reasonable family car. Launching and retrieving is a breeze, and done right, is a one-person affair.

Currently, 30% of Stabicraft’s production is exported to Australia, with another 5% going to the USA, and the company is working hard to increase sales in these markets.

Overall, the 589XR is an excellent all rounder and the combination of aluminium with a GRP cabin top is a nice compromise.


  • Model: Stabicraft 589 XR
  • Price as Tested: $59,582
  • Base price from: $48,850
  • Designer: Stabicraft
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Type: Pontoon
  • LOA: 5.9m
  • Beam: 2.25m
  • Deadrise: 16 degrees
  • Hull Configuration: Mono
  • Trailerable Weight: 1150kg
  • Height on Trailer: 2.2m
  • Engine Capacity: 115hp-140hp
  • Power Options: Outboard only
  • Fuel Capacity: 150 litres

Performance -Yamaha 115

700 rpm 2.5 mph
1000 rpm3.0 mph
1500 rpm4.5 mph
2000 rpm6.0 mph
2500 rpm7.5 mph
3000 rpm11.0 mph
3500 rpm18.0 mph
4000 rpm23.0 mph
4500 rpm27.0 mph
5000 rpm30.0 mph
5500 rpm33.0 mph
6000 rpm38.0 mph
6300 rpm40.0 mph

Manufacturer: Stabicraft |

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