Recently, Tauranga builder Steadecraft Boats released a new model to the public, the Steadecraft 635 Capreece, a boat targeted at the fishing market. Freddy Foote went to Tauranga to check out the new offering, and was rapt with the whole package.
Steadecraft was started by Keith Eade in the late 1960s and for many years was one of the foremost trailerboat builders in New Zealand. The company built runabouts and cabin boats from around 5m to 6m in solid GRP and followed the very traditional boat building techniques of the day. Eade earned a reputation for designing and building quality boats that performed well, especially in moderate to rough seas.
He used offshore racing to develop the best from his hulls and for many years in the early 1970s his hulls dominated the smaller single outboard classes. What he learnt from racing he put into practice with new models. Some of his more popular models were the V146 runabout and cabin, V156 cabin and the V179 cabin, boats that enjoyed considerable success in the market.
With the downturn in the industry in the early 1980s, Eade sold the business and since then it has been through a number of hands. The current owners have done a lot to put the brand back up to where it was. Editor Barry Thompson’s first boat test as a marine journalist was a V146 Steadecraft for Boating World magazine in 1971, so the name has been around longer than he has!
The 635 Capreece is a whole new model for Steadecraft from the ground up and is a boat that will appeal to a wide variety of buyers in the 6.0m-6.5m market.
One of the main design concepts with the boat was to target the fishing fraternity, by giving the boat a large cockpit, wide body and good stability.
While there are two large access hatches built into the cockpit sole, only one provides underfloor storage. This particular boat was the first boat off the production line and more of a prototype with a number of design ideas being explored while the boat was in development. The forward locker is a large underfloor storage compartment, while the aft cockpit hatch provides access to the 115-litre underfloor fuel tank.
While they weren’t fitted at the time of testing, seats can be positioned in the aft corners and have bin storage underneath. This seating is fully removable so you can maximise your cockpit space for fishing, and have them in place if you’re doing general boating and want somewhere for the kids to sit.
Tucked under the transom sit the battery boxes and hoses all associated with the Verado.
The main seating arrangement for the skipper and passenger comes in the form of two pedestal seats with storage space underneath. The helm seat sits atop of a moulded unit with an access hatch to store gear underneath. The passenger seat on the port side has an almost identical set-up, with the added feature that the seat lifts forward to provide access to the single burner stove underneath.
As the photos indicate, the cockpit is fairly sizeable, with more than enough room to fish four anglers very comfortably.
Large side pockets run the full length of the cockpit and this particular boat has been fitted with horizontal rod holders along the cockpit sides. The second 635 out of the Steadecraft factory hasn’t had the side pockets fitted, the owner preferring to have additional rod holders all the way to the floor, and also having the cockpit a little bit more open, with more room to stand and fish. The second 635 has also been kitted out with the optional rocket launcher.
The transom also features a walkthrough in the port corner, and combined with the huge uncluttered cockpit is a great drawcard for divers. The walkthrough can be closed off with a drop-in door.
Forward at the helm, a moulded dash unit provides ample room for all of the Mercury SmartCraft gauges and the Navman GPS and fishfinder units. Long and deep side pockets are available for both the skipper and passenger and are a great place to store miscellaneous items. The driving position was quite good, although not very flexible, as the seat is fixed in the one position. In the seated position I found I was well protected by the wrap around windscreen and the footrest was a great place to rest my feet for a comfortable drive. The passenger side also has a good footrest.
Standing to drive was also good, with plenty of room to brace your feet in rougher conditions, and the throttle was well positioned and within easy reach.
More large side pockets ran along the sides of the cabin. Storage space is available underneath the seating squabs. Access to the foredeck and anchor locker was good, by standing through the large hatch above. While this hatch was a solid GRP hatch, an acrylic hatch is available, giving the cabin a bit more light.
On this test boat an anchor winch or capstan had not been fitted. However, there is provision to fit a capstan if so desired.
Test day conditions were perfect for boating, with clear skies and plenty of sunshine. On arrival at Sulphur Point boat ramp, the car park was full of empty trailers, and given that it was a Thursday it was obvious that others were taking advantage of the good boating weather while it was here.
The inner waters of Tauranga harbour were calm with a very light breeze causing only a slight ripple over the water’s surface – great conditions for our speed runs.
Venturing out through the harbour entrance, there was little more than a very gentle swell rolling in. Had we had rods onboard it would have been a great day for fishing, although the only marine life we saw was a seal playing in the waters just off Mt Maunganui.
Underway, the Capreece was one of the nicest riding and handling GRP boats I’ve been on in quite some time. Given its 19-degree variable deadrise and double chines it delivered a pleasant, dry and soft ride, and even when running at full speed with just over ¾ trim it felt very safe and stable, without a hint of the boat doing anything unexpected while underway.
With the throttle hard down, we managed to gain a top speed of 45.0mph @ 6200rpm, with a light fuel load and four adults onboard. The best cruising speed was a comfortable 32.0mph at a little over 4000rpm, and a quick glance at the Mercury SmartCraft instruments showed the 175hp Verado was burning through the fuel at about40 litres per hour.
Most of the 635 Capreece’s will be rigged with conventional two-stroke outboards or four-strokes. This particular test boat had been rigged up with the latest four-stroke technology from Mercury, the 175hp Verado. However, bear in mind that choosing a Verado adds considerably to the package price, as a conventional Mercury 150 EFI two-stroke retails for $17,175 and a 150hp Verado retails for $27,714. Combined with the boat, trailer and all the standard features on the boat, the packages start from a very attractive $59,750.
For the market that the boat is targeted at, a 150EFI or 175EFI would be ideal options, giving more than enough horsepower to allow the boat to perform at its best. While the Verado is a great bit of kit, it’s probably a bit of an overkill for this particular boat.
Overall, I was impressed with the new 635 Capreece, as it fits all of its design criteria exactly, and is priced remarkably well, with boat, motor, trailer, and all the features that you need to be out on the water, all for a little under $60,000. Exceptional value for money, hard to go past!
Steadecraft 635 Capreece Specifications
- Model: Steadecraft 635 Capreece
- Price as Tested: $70,250 (Packages from $59,750)
- Designer: N. Preece Steadecraft
- Material: GRP
- Type: Cabin
- LOA: 6.35m
- Beam: 2.420
- Deadrise: 19
- Hull Configuration: Variable deadrise
- Trailerable Weight: 1600KG WITH 175
- Engine Capacity: 115-175hp
- Power Options: Outboard
- Fuel Capacity: 115 litres
|750 rpm||3.0 mph|
|1000 rpm||4.0 mph|
|1500 rpm||6.0 mph|
|2000 rpm||8.0 mph|
|2500 rpm||12.0 mph|
|3000 rpm||18.0 mph|
|3500 rpm||24.0 mph|
|4000 rpm||30.0 mph|
|4500 rpm||35.0 mph|
|5000 rpm||37.0 mph|
|5500 rpm||40.0 mph|
|6000 rpm||43.0 mph|
|6200 rpm||45.0 mph|
Speeds recorded on a Lowrance GPS and rounded off to the nearest 1/2 mph.
- Make: Mercury
- Model: 175hp Verado
- Horsepower: 175
- Cyl. Configuration: In-line 4, supercharged
- Max RPM: 6200
- Propeller: 17” MIRAGE