AGILE & EASY
By Richard Milner
The Stacer 429 Seamaster has been introduced at a time where it is becoming increasingly difficult to purchase a cost-effective, agile, well-featured alloy trailer boat on a budget.
The Australian Stacer Seamaster has been around since the 1980s and has also taken several other names such as the Sea Way and Bay Master. Don’t be fooled though as the latest editions are significantly different from all other models and incorporate their concave designed hull.
Fibreglass boat manufacturers have been using the gull-winged design with considerable success for years. Stacer has recognised this, and with a significant investment of tooling have now incorporated this concept into their design. It gives a sharp, deep V entry that efficiently moves the water away from the bow, encouraging a very flat and nose level attitude. Plus it flattens out to the stern, maximising stability. Deep topsides allow the passengers to sit comfortably in the boat with wide gunwales, that we normally find on much larger boats. This separates the Stacer 429 Seamaster from the average alloy dinghy. It was also great to see that the gunwale was welded from the bow to the stern, which is a considerable water tightening improvement on earlier spot welded models.
I must confess with a much larger glass boat the ease of hitching the boat up on your own, quickly glugging in a few litres of fuel and bait then heading for the ramp have long gone. With a larger trailer boat, it is now for me almost military precision planning often starting the day with an ocean tanker of fuel. When it comes to the Stacer Seamaster, I loved the ease of doing everything from filling the tote tank to the effortless launching. The whole process was quick, easy and is sure to put the fun back in boating.
WELL THOUGHT OUT
Although the weather was stunning, I was a little apprehensive about the smaller almost dinghy style, that I was soon to take on the water. In my early childhood days on my grandfather’s boat, we used to rocket off to Waiheke Island in a little Seaforce, and I wondered if those memories would come flooding back of rough and tumble boating. Nothing was further from that truth.
First impressions were a well thought out and functional boat. At just a tickle over $30,000 with a Yamaha 50hp four-stroke, this inshore boat certainly packs some punch. It is great to see the walkthrough windscreen giving outstanding access to the anchor box, allowing you to get right up front and not strain to reach the cleat and fairlead. We all know what it’s like to reach over a windscreen on a rough day, and this boat certainly gave me the impression of safety. The windscreen is also quite upright giving you the ability to stand up when manoeuvring from the ramp, beach or tucking into the favoured fishing spot which is a great leap from smaller boats having that sit down only helm position.
The helm is also well portioned with a pedestal seat, and although this model didn’t have an adjustable seat, at 192cm tall I was not cramped, which is surprising for the size of the boat. The dash while basic, with the Yamaha smart gauges and MFD, is functional and all necessary information is easy to see. The passenger side has enough room on the dash area for a Fusion marine radio and a VHF.
Both front seats have footrests, and there is plenty of places to hold on. In the aft of the boat, the multi-person bench seat arrangement would fit three adults comfortably across the back. A bonus for the avid angler or the spotter watching the kids on the water toys, the bench seat repositions forward so you can sit facing aft. It is easy to move with no fuss and adds a great dimension to this design. As with all small boats, space is a premium, and this well thought out feature maximises the use of the available space
The standard features on the Stacer 429 Seamaster include the two pedestal seats, fantastic wrap would windscreen, bimini canopy with optional clears, port side glove box, huge side storage pockets, large storage bin in the bow under the anchor box, Full-width transom bench seating with two seating positions, bow and stern cleats, and rails, plus two transom-mounted transducer plates.
Just like most alloy boats, the customisable options are endless. The Stacer 429 can accommodate a drum winch, underfloor fuel tank, live bait tank, the much needed bait station, painted topsides or vinyl wrapping. There’s also tons of space for more rod holders and dive gear mounting points.
The aft area is also well thought out with the fuel tank and battery box hidden away and not taking up precious floor space. There is nothing worse than falling over fuel tanks. The battery was mounted on the aft starboard side but with a little thinking could be positioned in the centre allowing for a second fuel tank extending the range. You can always find time to hit one more fishing spot before heading home.
The engine box is fully built into the transom, and this feature separates the Stacer 429 Seamaster from other small alloy boats that bolt the engine on extension boxes or transom plates. This gives excellent safety and peace of mind, especially in a following sea. This coupled with a transom step on the port side and ladder on the starboard side, gives greater functionality for getting in and out of the water; be it diving, swimming or on and off water toys.
The Sea trial went exceptionally well, partly due to the fantastic winter weather we experienced. We were lucky enough to have a container ship give some larger wake and so utilised it to simulate a 1m swell. Into the waves, the boats gull-wing design from the stem to the chine moved water away and kept the foredeck dry. I was happy this boat was able to deliver a dry deck. In a following sea, the boat was stable, and the helm answered effortlessly. The boat rode very well, and it was pleasant to find that at WOT it was just as comfortable, if not more so than just on the plane or at mid revs. I could see myself taking this boat further afield to the Noises or the bottom end of Waiheke Island.
As tested with the 50hp Yamaha four stroke the boat had plenty of get up and go, and the holeshot was just a sniff over 5 seconds with a full tank of fuel and two typical Kiwi blokes. The Stacer 429 Seamaster can be powered with smaller outboards and does come recommended with a 40hp engine, but for the few dollars more it’s worth having the larger engine with increased displacement.
Overall the Stacer 429 is a fantastic entry level inshore alloy boat priced well and within easy reach, for more kiwis to get out on the water. I was impressed with how easy it was to get ready to go, launching and retrieving on my own and parking was a breeze with a smaller single axle trailer. With the maximum payload of 5 adults, it really is an excellent solution to getting out there and enjoying all that New Zealand’s waterways have to offer safely, effortlessly and without fuss.
- Model & Model: Stacer 429 Seamaster
- Price as tested: $32995
- Priced from: $29995
- Type: Runabout
- Construction: 3mm Alloy
- LOA: 4.30m
- Beam: 2.07m
- Height on trailer: 1.95m
- Trailerable weight: 850 kg (Est)
- Test Power: Yamaha 50
- Propeller: 13″ 3 bld Alloy
- Power options: Outboard Only
- HP Range: 40-60hp
- Fuel Capacity: Tote Tanks
- Trailer: Stacer Aluminium
PERFORMANCE – YAMAHA 50