The Stabicraft 2050 SC is the new incarnation of the popular 589SC, the brand’s smallest hardtop model. Freddy Foote and the Propeller magazine team ventured out on a blustery Auckland harbour in two of Stabicraft’s latest 2050SC models out of the southern factory.
Stabicraft has a small yet dedicated team working continuously on making what is a great product even greater. In fact every model comes up for a design review every two years – where anything from subtle to substantial changes can be made. New R&D on the model has seen a number of changes made to the 2050SC. Notably, the roof has been modified to increase headroom by over 50mm and increase the range of sight for drivers and passengers.
The inside of the cabin and wheelhouse is fully lined with carpet. The foredeck hatch provides both light and ventilation. Access to the foredeck can also be had via the wide side decks, a feature I utilised while we were launching and retrieving the boat. There is also an access hatch to the anchor well where you can choose a selection of anchoring options, which in turn can be operated from the helm.
The helm is traditional Stabicraft – a neat, tidy and practical layout. Our test boat was fitted with a standard pedestal seat with a second seat to port for a passenger. Additional seating is optional, and it can come in the form of a fold-down rear bench seat or a King/Queen seat with alloy swivel.
The dash area is well laid-out on a single surface, designed to accommodate larger multi-function display units; this particular 2050 was just begging for one to be fitted (may have helped us catch some bigger fish!)
A sliding starboard side window provided some much needed extra ventilation for the wheelhouse area. One for the port side is available as an optional extra. Single and twin wipers are available as options; there was one fitted to our Mercury powered craft.
The driving position has been tweaked in this latest incarnation of the 2050SC. The position of the controls have been scrutinised with an aim to making them more user friendly and the footrest has been adjusted for increased comfort.
On test day, the driving position was excellent, with good visibility fore and to the sides. I did find however, in the rough conditions we experienced on test day, I couldn’t stand comfortably on the passenger’s side. The forward grab rail above the cabin seemed to be positioned too far forward, and the base of the bunks extended too far out into the helm area, so I found all 6’1” of me standing at an awkward position and my head literally a couple of inches from the front edge of the roof where it meets the windscreen.
After talking to the team at Stabicraft, I learned that the rail had been positioned there for children to grab onto; and had I been smaller in stature I would have found it quite useful. For a more comfortable standing position, adults could elect to stand behind the passenger seat.
Along the inside of the hardtop roof, grab handles for passengers to use while standing come as an optional extra – an extra I would recommend fitting.
On the deck, the tops of the gunwales have a raised lip to guide water away from the deck and keep users drier. All good in theory from the Stabicraft team, but some of us on test day felt they didn’t get this part quite right. When you’re fishing in the cockpit, the tendency is to sit up and rest on top of the gunwales; at the wrong angle it’s a little uncomfortable to do so. I think running the lip the entire length of the gunnels is a little overkill, running it at a shorter length and angled towards the side, should alleviate any water coming down off the hardtop.
The redesigned transom includes a raised battery compartment to alleviate water damage and a re-think of the fuel filler which has been positioned within the transom to make refuelling the 150L tank easier.
Safety, as always, remains paramount within the design philosophy at Stabicraft, and in the couple of years since I tested my last Stabicraft, it’s good to see nothing has changed – safety remains a key selling point to the brand.
Stabicraft says that the hull and tubes have been designed to try and promote performance, ride and comfort. The distinctive tube shape provides lift at speed, cushioning passengers with a pocket of air while providing bite during turns. Stepped chines turn the water away from the boat, providing a dry ride, while the standard non-feedback steering makes manoeuvring pretty easy.
The tubes and coamings have been designed to maximise internal beam and storage without taking away from the 1830L of reserve buoyancy. Air is trapped in 4 separate sections through the tubes and under the fully welded tread-plate floor. All these chambers need to be punctured before the boat will fully sink – which basically means you would have to be pretty unlucky to sink one of these things!
Blue water boat
So after all of these comments about design philosophy and innovation, does it all come together and work?
Well, it sure does! Test day conditions while not ideal for boating were actually ideal for boat testing. We were the only boat launching at Westhaven that morning, and were still the only boat when we came back 5 hours later!
We launched at high tide, with the wind coming from the southwest and forecast for 20 knots, increasing to 25 knots later in the day.
The plan was to head up to Tiri Island, meeting the rest of the Propeller team out there, in another Stabicraft 2050SC with a Mercury 125 OptiMax from Gulfland Marine, our white 2050SC with 115 E-TEC coming from Kev & Ian’s Marine in Manurewa.
On the way up to Tiri, we managed to cruise at a comfortable 30mph with the majority of the water a following sea, before it shifted to a quarter following sea, which meant that a bit of careful driving was needed. We got up there in good time, about 40 minutes.
The rest of the morning we explored a few fishing spots around the northern side of Tiri, electing to drift fish over a couple of spots.
The team in the Mercury-powered Stabi claimed they had caught and released a kingi around the 1m mark, but considering our results for the rest of the day, I’m not sure how sincere that claim really was.
From a fisherman’s perspective, the 2050SC did everything right. In true Stabicraft fashion it was very stable even in the rough conditions. Our test boat hadn’t been fitted with rod holders in the gunnels; they are customised by the owner at purchase, though we did have a rocket launcher above.
One hindrance, and one that is a compromise with a pontoon boat, is no toe kick in the cockpit. It’s not a huge negative, but it’s always nice to have one when fishing. We fished two of us very comfortably, and there is no reason why you couldn’t fish four with ease.
We used the E-TEC to hold us in place amongst a rocky outcrop, but unfortunately, a few small snapper were all we could catch and throw back.
The aft port section has a walk-through with removable sliding door, and a large boarding platform on either side of the outboard will be a favourite with divers. If you’re looking for a place to store dive bottles, the large side-shelves in the cockpit will cater for those easily.
The journey home was always going to be the worst part of the day for the team. Heading back to Westhaven, head on into 25 knots and a breaking swell, oh and it was raining too, thank God for hardtops!
We trimmed the boat to suit the conditions, and cruised back at around 22-25 mph. Most of the waves we managed to skip over, the odd one catching us out and actually requiring some attention at the helm.
The ride was pretty good considering the conditions; we were both standing to let our knees take any impact. We got back to Westhaven in about an hour – pretty good time considering the weather that was thrown at us.
Performance wise, there was very little difference between the two models we had on hand. The Mercury 125hp OptiMax model managed to achieve 42.8mph @ 5800rpm, while the 115hp Evinrude E-TEC model managed 39mph @ 5250rpm. We did note, that the E-TEC really needed to go up another hole on the transom and was fitted a 17″ propeller. While giving great acceleration out of the hole with the 17″, a 19” would give the boat a little more top end – and mounting the motor higher would give even more.
The 2050SC is rated up to 150hp if you should choose. But in reality, a 115hp or 125hp engine is more than adequate.
It is interesting to note that we ran the 115hp E-TEC powered boat for approximately 4.3 hrs engine time and used 50 litres – which by my calculation equates to fairly economical boating!
Overall, I liked the 2050SC. The aesthetics of the Stabicraft have come a long way, and the new lines of the 2050SC certainly appeal to me. I’m pleased to see a manufacturer like Stabicraft paying attention to feedback from customers and media alike to improve its product even further. It’s the design and R&D philosophy of Stabicraft that will continue to keep it at the forefront of aluminium production boatbuilding in New Zealand.
- Model: 2050 SC
- Designer: Stabicraft
- Price As Tested: $ 73,689
- Material: Aluminium
- LOH: 5.87m
- LOA: 6.4m
- Beam: 2.31m
- Deadrise: 17.5 deg
- Hull Config: Semi Deep Vee
- Trailerable Wght: 1200kg
- Height on trailer: 2.75m
- Engine Capacity: 115 – 150hp
- Power Options: Outboard
- Fuel Capacity: 150 litres
Performance Mercury Optimax 125