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2018 Stacer 429 Sea Master Review

All new Stacer aluminium runabout range kicks off with the budget-priced, smart looking Stacer 429 Sea Master.

Stacer’s forward windscreen runabout range has been refined with the existing Sea Way and Bay Master models consolidated into a single new series under the label Stacer Sea Master. All are equipped with Stacer’s soft riding new concave shaped Revolution hull and upgraded with new features and equipment. The entry model is the Stacer 429 Sea Master, a terrific new sheltered water family fishing boat at an amazing price.

OVERVIEW
Stacer has recalled the classic Sea Master nameplate for its new range of forward windscreen alloy runabouts. The new models are available in five sizes: 429, 449, 469, 499, and 599.
Experienced boaters and old salts alike will recall that the original Stacer Sea Master was a very popular 4.74m runabout launched in the early 1980s. This clinker-sided, relatively traditional pressed alloy runabout proved a huge hit for Stacer and was retained in the Stacer boat range for more than two decades – albeit with regular upgrades and improvements.

The new Stacer Sea Master runabouts have been introduced to replace the existing Sea Way and Bay Master models. Those names have now been cut completely from the Stacer range.

The new runabouts are substantially different to their forebears, as they are fitted with the all-new Revolution concave Stacer hull, heavier duty smooth topsides (instead of clinker style panels) and a number of interior upgrades.

Following is a water test by the boatsales.com team on the Stacer 429 Sea Master.

PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
Until the launch of the Sea Master range, Stacer’s best selling model was the 429 Sea Way. The new 429 Sea Master is effectively its replacement. We expect the new boat to be even more popular as it has a softer riding hull and improvements to the interior layout.

Like its predecessor, the new 429 Sea Master is great value. Among the standard features you will find an attractive curved, centre opening windscreen with handy grab rail, overhead bimini cover (with storage envelope), bow and stern cleats, port-side glovebox, two plastic rod-holders, a full width transom bench seat, side storage pockets, dual transducer brackets, bow and stern rails, and underfloor foam flotation to Basic Standard.

Improvements over the previous Sea Way model include rubber gunwale bump strips, semi-hookless ‘shark’ carpet, under-dash storage with a solid foot bracing bar, fully welded side decks (instead of spot welded) and a starboard side transom stainless steel boarding ladder.

As with all Stacer models, customers can also choose from a wide range of options. Boxes to tick include various branded electronics displays, marine and VHF radios, an electric drum winch, transom door, 48L underfloor fuel tank, transom live bait tank, bait board, travel cover, vinyl hull wrap, extra rod holders and lots more. We recommend adding few of the most desirable options – such as a marine radio and fish finder/GPS combo unit.

DESIGN AND LAYOUT
The Stacer 429 Sea Master is a better-looking boat than its predecessor, thanks to the move to smooth topsides. Yet the improvements are not confined to the exterior. The dash in the new model, for example, has a proper walk-through design with a larger, deeper dash cut-out so you can stand at the anchor well once you have opened up the centre windscreen pane. The large poly plastic anchor well is much easier to reach from this position – which in turn makes it easier to raise and lower the anchor.

The windscreen itself is little changed. It’s a good looking alloy framed screen with three clear front panes and an excellent wrap-around grab rail. An easy-access safety gear locker bin is situated beneath the anchor well and foredeck. The flat dash area itself gets a new lip to the outer edges to stop stuff sliding off, while the helm station opposite is low set and well designed for a seated driver.

From the helm, the sports steering wheel and side-mount throttle lever are well placed and the surprisingly large lift-out helm chair is very comfortable. The stand-up driving position is not quite as good due to the low height of the dash and steering wheel – but this is to be expected with this boat’s runabout configuration.

We should add that the included windscreen grab rail does make it easier to drive while standing as you can clutch the rail securely with one hand, the steering wheel with the other. There is limited dash and fascia space beneath the windscreen for instruments and electronics. There is sufficient vertical space for engine gauges, but a fish finder/GPS combo unit will need to be bracket mount — either above the steering wheel or over on the port side. Behind the dual, removable helm chairs the cockpit stretches aft about a metre or so to the transom, providing enough fishing or move-about space for two people.

For additional crew seating, there is a full width, a fold-down bench seat at the transom beneath a padded back-rest which doubles as a coaming bolster. Cleverly, the bench seat is not only removable but can be repositioned closer to the helm chairs so you can sit and face aft to fish over the stern.

Other useful features here include a full width, elevated transom battery/fuel tank platform under the rear coaming, cockpit side pockets, stern rails, cleats, starboard side ladder and stern boarding platforms.

ON THE WATER
During the unveiling of the new Stacer Revolution hull bottom at a recent media function, we were able to sample a number of boats equipped with the new hull. The Stacer 429 Sea Master was among these boats and we think it benefitted the most from the new hull shape. In choppy seas on the Gold Coast Broadwater, the sharper entry shape of the new Revolution hull worked exceptionally well, the 429 Sea Master knifing through the waves to provide a surprisingly comfortable and stable ride for what is a very small boat. Underway, the Sea Master shed most of the spray away from the boat, out to the sides of the bow. Very little came back onboard and this can be attributed to the new concave hull shape and the pronounced flare which stretches from the stem/keel right out to the chines. We did get wet during the test, but that was due to the regular rain squalls – and nothing to do with the design of the hull.

VERDICT

The Stacer 429 Sea Master is a welcome addition to the Stacer range and an excellent little boat. The new Revolution hull is a definite improvement and the boat looks a treat with its new, smooth alloy topsides.

Overall, the 429 Sea Master is a good value, safe, stable, well-mannered boat with a comfortable ride and easy handling. We thoroughly recommend it as an entry-level package for budget boaters.

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