Freddy Foote checks it out.
Stabicraft is the latest to go mobile, by adding Sealegs amphibious technology to one of their models. Freddy Foote checks out the new Stabicraft 2100 HT (Selegs technology).
The integration of the retractable wheel system based on a Stabicraft 2100 Supercab model is a joint project between the boat builder and Sealegs and represents the start of a whole market for New Zealand’s biggest alloy boat builder. Most readers would be pretty familiar with the Sealegs concept, but briefly this is how it works. The Sealegs system has powerful motorised wheels, which give the user a variable speed of 0-10km/h (forward and reverse) powered by an onboard 24hp Honda driven hydraulic power pack. Essentially it allows the 2100 ST to be driven from a storage location, down a boat ramp or beach and into the water – all with the occupants staying in the boat and remaining completely dry. Once in the water, the Sealegs wheels are easily retracted into the ‘Up’ position and are completely out of the water. The boat is then driven and used as normal.
When approaching land, the Sealegs wheels are lowered into the ‘Down’ position whilst still moving in the water. Based on Stabicraft 2100 Supercab model, according to Paul Adams, Stabicraft’s Managing Director, the design and production of the 2100 ST was an exciting prospect for Stabicraft Marine. “The 2100 has been one of our most popular models for almost ten years, so for us to do something quite different with it was a great proposition for us,” says Adams. “Like Stabicraft Marine, Sealegs are an innovative New Zealand company and we have admired their amphibious technology for many years.
It has been great working with the company and getting our very first amphibious craft on the water, and more importantly on the ground! “This is a new market for us, but we see some great opportunities for not only Stabicraft customers but also Sealegs customers to add another dimension to their boating activities. When venturing out for a day or weekend on the water, users can now drive their Stabicraft straight up onto the beach instead of having to anchor off and carry their gear onto land by hand. “We’ve always stated that a Stabicraft allows you to adventure with confidence when on the water. Now you can still do that, but also explore various coastal terrain as well,” says Adams. Adventure with confidence is correct. I can picture this kind of set-up venturing around the remote coastal areas, and then up onto land and setting up camp for a night or two. Imagine camping on the beach with the comfort of knowing your boat is safely parked up next to you and not moored out in the bay.
I’ll have to admit, it is a very weird feeling driving a boat on land, but I think once you get used to it all, it becomes second nature. Sealegs supply their vessels with specially designed trailers, which allows you to lower the wheels on the trailer and drive it off in the car park. You will never have to use a boat ramp in the traditional sense ever again. The whole system is incredibly well designed, and I was very surprised as to how effortlessly the 2100ST climbed out of the water, and what kinds of gradients it could tackle. Like all Stabicraft’s the 2100 ST has been designed tough with safety as the foremost consideration. Constructed out of marine grade alloys and utilising Stabicraft’s ‘life-ring’ pontoon design the 2100 is durable, stable, spacious and virtually unsinkable. The 2100 ST boasts a generous forward cabin, underfloor storage, cockpit side shelves, seating for four passengers and provision for four anglers to fish comfortably in the cockpit.
Once aboard the Stabicraft 2100 ST, you soon realise that though it looks quite different externally, not a whole lot has changed internally. Despite having an engine cover situated aft in the cockpit housing the Honda engine for the Sealeg’s hydraulic systems, the cockpit still feels large and spacious, with plenty of storage throughout. In fact, I felt the engine cover added something extra to the cockpit as another place to sit, and could be used as a table when at rest. Large side pockets run each side of the cockpit and provide storage for extra rods and gaffs, etc., and also house the wash-down hose system on the starboard side. Four rod holders are fixed into the coamings, two each side and further rod storage is available above in the rocket launcher. Aft, the large live bait tank complete with viewing window is positioned in the centre of the transom as standard, as are he alloy rod holders and bait station above the tank itself.
In the aft corners, the rear seats fold up for fantastic access to the rear of the boat when angling – the serious fisherman will love this. Twin boarding platforms either side of the outboard provide plenty of space for disembarking into the water, and divers will appreciate the sheer amount of space available for reboarding and the sturdy boarding ladder located to port. At the helm and flush mounted into the powder coated dash is a Garmin 12” fishfinder/chartplotter display, which is connected to a small camera underneath the bowsprit allows the operator to view the positioning and direction of the forward wheel when navigating terrain. As in other Stabicraft models, the company has done a lot of work in the ergonomics of not just the helm area, but also the boat.
Everything is positioned correctly and just where it should be. I’m a big fan of sliding side windows in hardtops as they are quite a handy feature for poking your head out the side and surveying the terrain you’re negotiating. Cantilever swivel seats for the skipper and passenger not only provide dry storage underneath, but also allows for easy wash-down and clean-up after a day on the water. I loved the seating configuration. The lift-up bolster-style seats are big and comfy, and give you something to lean against when underway and standing to drive. A small step-over bulkhead divides the helm area from the forward cabin. This allows you to store an array of gear up there and not have it slide back into the cockpit when underway. The cabin is configured in a traditional vee-berth with optional squab infills and whilst it is not massive, it does provide a great place to keep gear stored. Stabicraft describes this as the ‘Dump Zone’ or simply a place to retreat out of the sun, and for the kids to chill out when needed. Extra storage space is available under all three squabs and via side shelves in the cabin itself.
The Stabicraft 2100ST hull is rated for outboards from 130hp through to 200hp. Our test boat was powered with a Yamaha F200 200hp four-stroke. Wide open throttle the 2100 ST and Yamaha 200hp package will hit 37.0 knots at maximum revs of 5800rpm and use 73.0L/h of fuel. The Yamaha F200 is a good match and delivers a great mix of out-of-the-hole punch, mid-range torque and top-end speed. In addition, it is quiet, and returns an excellent fuel economy. The hull can be rated for as little as 130hp, but I’d be worried that with all the extra weight onboard with the Sealegs system, that it might be a bit underpowered. I’d be more inclined to stay with the 200hp option. Underway the ride is good, in fact, the extra weight of the Sealegs system males the boat feel ultra solid in the water, and I could feel that in rougher conditions the boat would excel. Trim Tabs were not fitted on this particular model, but they are an option. With any hardtop model, windage can be such an issue that trim tabs would be well worth considering. What more can you say? It’s a Stabicraft with wheels that you can drive on land! It doesn’t get much cooler than that!
- Make & Model: 2100 ST
- Priced from: $234,000
- Type: Alloy hardtop pontoon
- Construction: Aluminium
- LOA: 6.4m
- Beam: 2.3m
- Deadrise: 20 degrees
- Height on trailer: 2.80m
- Trailerable weight: 2800kg
- Power: Yamaha F200
- Propeller: 17” stainless
- Engine capacity: 130-200hp
- Power options: Single outboard
- Fuel capacity: 200L
FUEL & PERFORMANCE DATA
Stabicraft 2100ST / Yamaha F200
Fuel capacity: 200 litres
|RPM||Knots||L / h||L / NM||Range (NM)|