Author : Freddy Foote
IMPROVING WITH AGE
Officially released at the 2013 Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show, the new Stabicraft 2600 Supercab is the new version of the previous 2570 Supercab. There have been a few changes including some subtle changes to the hull and pontoons. Freddy Foote jumps aboard and checks it out.
The new 2600 Supercab features Stabicraft’s ‘Arrow Pontoons’ and ‘Game Chaser Transom’ These design refinements, which were first seen in the 1850 Supercab, have made their way through to six models so far.
Stabicraft says the benefit of the Arrow Pontoons is in reducing the impact area under the shoulders up front and extending the hull at the rear has meant the waterline length has been increased, providing more buoyancy aft to hold heavier engines.
Add to that the Game Chaser Transom, and Stabicraft says the profiling of the transom has made ‘chasing the game’, or backing down, a lot smoother and easier, something previously seen on the 2100 Supercab. The narrow design of the pontoons will also aid in manoeuvring in tight spaces, too.
So let’s get to it, what are these changes like out on the water? The 2600 has certainly benefited the most from these design changes and I must say it performed really well in the rougher conditions.
On the water I noticed the changes straight away. The deeper V in the hull has made the 2600 more buoyant in the water, so much so that the pontoons now sit out of the water when at rest, meaning that the boat will tend to rest on one pontoon. This however is only evident when the boat is lightly loaded with minimal fuel, gear and passengers. Load it up, and you’re not going to notice it.
Underway, the boat performed really well and handled with ease any rough water we could find to throw it at. The only negative comment I would make is that like any boat of its style and size, it was prone to leaning over in the wind. However, the addition of some trim tabs would soon fix this. The boat comes from the factory standard with the trim tab mounting plates already fitted.
Not only has Stabicraft made changes to the performance characteristics of the 2600, but there have been numerous internal changes to the model, too.
There is now a massive 420L of fuel capacity as standard, a 450L kill tank and provision for a through-hull transducer. With all of these features, the boat should be good for pulling in plenty of fish.
The bait station has become standard (formerly an option) and Stabicraft has increased the live bait tank’s capacity to 80L and given it a split cutting board lid and sealed storage underneath. The layout is fisher-friendly, with more cup/tackle holders and rod holders.
This boat was a few months old at the time of testing and its owner had very few options fitted, so it is more like a ‘bare boat’. Among the few options specified from the Stabicraft factory were a rear boarding ladder, wash-down kit, Softrider pedestals and the full ‘Crush Orange’ paint. This is a colour scheme that was hard to miss out on the water on the dull day of our test.
The inside of the cabin and wheelhouse are fully lined with carpet, which gives a warm and quiet feel to the boat.
The helm area is neat and tidy and with a two-tiered configuration it has more than enough room to mount large multifunction displays for navigation and sonar.
This particular model had engine instruments mounted above, whilst below a large Humminbird display was flush mounted into the dash. To starboard was a VHF, whilst to port were a couple of switch banks for other onboard systems.
Forward in the roomy cabin, there is generous storage space in the form of side shelves and space available under the V berth.
Above, the foredeck features a large deck hatch with tinted window, with further access available via the wide side decks.
Seating on this particular vessel was in the form of twin pedestal with lift-up bases for extra height and back support. Both seats are adjustable forward and back as well as up and down. Additional passenger seating is available in the aft corners. The seats fold up flush, so when fishing you can get right into the corners to play your fish.
Footrests are forward of the helm and passenger seat, whilst the passenger has the added benefit of a forward handrail for when underway in choppier conditions.
The 2600 comes in two hardtop configurations, the open hardtop model as seen here with drop-down clears, or an enclosed version that comes with bi-folding glass doors, separating the cockpit from cabin and helm area.
Sliding side windows provide extra ventilation from both sides, and a wiper will clear any spray from the starboard side of the windscreen on those really rough days. An optional port-side wiper is available as an option.
Large side shelves run the length of the cockpit and provide ample room for rods, gaffs, etc. Above, a rocket launcher provides further rod storage.
Aft, a boarding platform on either side of the outboard provides access in and out of the 2600, and there is a two-step T-bar boarding ladder. A three-step ladder is also available as an option, as too is a three-step ladder for the bow should you wish.
One thing I noticed was the size of the boarding platforms, which didn’t seem to be as big as on previous versions of this model (2008 759 Supercab) that I had tested in the past. However, even though the surface area of the platforms themselves is a bit smaller, Stabicraft has done something quite clever and incorporated a small step into the transom. So instead of divers having to step over the transom, a small step halfway up allows them to easily climb back into the 2600.
The large bait station in the centre of the transom will keep every fisherman happy. A large live bait tank built in underneath can be filled either by a switch at the helm, or manually when underway by opening an inlet valve under the transom.
To starboard, a wash-down allows you to keep everything clean during the day’s fishing.
To get to the fishing spots, power options include single or twin outboards up to 300hp, with a minimum 225hp outboard needed to power the 2600. This particular version was fitted with a 300hp Mercury Verado.
Underway and in slightly choppy conditions we managed to get 43mph out of the 2600 Supercab and Mercury Verado 300hp combination. The Mercury Verado 300hp outboard performed very well and provided more than enough ‘get up and go’ for the 2600. The hull is rated for outboards from 225hp upwards, and I feel something like the 225 would perform very well also with the 2600 hull.
Overall, I really liked the new 2600 Supercab. The only changes needed to make the boat perfect for me would be the addition of trim tabs (which this boat is getting in the near future) and for my own preference I would add the bi-folding doors to make it an enclosed hardtop.
Whilst I had mentioned that this particular boat is more of a bare boat put on the water at a budget, it doesn’t have to be like that. What I like is Stabicraft’s massive options list. Instead of throwing everything into the boat as standard, the company provides a big list of what it thinks the customer might like. Everyone is different and will have their own list of requirements, and it’s almost a certainty that everyone will be catered for at the time of order.
It’s big and bold and will handle anything you throw at it. This is the type of boat that you would have no hesitation in taking out to Great Barrier (this one has been out there a couple of times already).
Stabicraft is a company that has ‘continuous improvement’ as an in-house motto and you know the best will always get better; it has definitely hit the mark.
- Model: 2600 Supercab
- Priced From: $156,000
- Type: Alloy Pontoon Hardtop
- Construction: Aluminium
- LOA: 7.92m
- Beam: 2.49m
- Deadrise: 22 degree2
- Height on Trailer: 3.15m
- Trailerable Weight: 2925kg
- Engine Capacity: 225-300hp
- Power Options: Single/twin outboards
- Fuel Capacity: 420L
Performance – MERCURY 300