Stabicraft 2400 Supercab Boat Test

While Stabicraft’s 2400 Supercab might not win a beauty contest, it is one heck of a good trailerable offshore gameboat. This safe, seaworthy, alloy pontoon monohull provides full shelter in an enclosed cabin and helm, as well as a stack of standard fishing features and a massive rear cockpit. This distinctive-looking craft also gets along smartly too, as Jeff Webster outlines.

Stabicraft 2400 Supercab Boat Test

Boat Test Stabicraft 2400 Supercab: FUNCTIONAL BEAUTY
Author and photography: Jeff Webster

This boat test ran in ISSUE 114 of BlueWater magazine – JAN-FEB 2016

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

New Zealand’s Stabicraft has been manufacturing aluminium pontoon craft from its Invercargill base since 1987. Early models looked a bit like inflatable boats, with rounded alloy pontoons and a cab perched on top. That certainly isn’t the case anymore. The latest ‘Arrow’ pontoons used with these craft are sleeker, more streamlined and much better looking. Handling, ride and performance havealso been improved, without sacrificing the renowned safety and seaworthiness of these distinctive-looking craft.

Stabicraft have traditionally been designed as work boats and for commercial applications. They are commonly used by Coast Guards on both sides of the Tasman, along with Water Police and other rescue-based organisations. They are great sea boats and have an edge over other trailerable craft for wide offshore fishing. Combine this excellent performance at sea with their latest and vastly improved rear-cockpit layouts and you have some very good reasons to consider a big Stabicraft for your bluewater gamefishing.

Models And Configurations

The latest Stabicraft boat range includes around 20 models, from the entry 1410 tiller-steer open boat to the flagship 2900 Supercab Pilot House. While there are a few centre-console craft in the smaller sizes up to 2100, most boats are finished with a cuddy, half-cabin or enclosed hardtop configuration.

The Stabicraft models best suited to trailerboat gamefishing are the Supercabs. Purpose designed for fishing, the Supercabs all have a cuddy or half-cabin layout, complete with hardtop and fully sheltered helm stations. There are nine different models, and all have a legally trailerable 2.5m beam. The smallest is the 1850 Supercab, while at the other end of the scale is the 2900 Weekender Supercab. Apart from the Weekender, all models are designed for fishing applications, including the test model: the 2400 Supercab.

Great Size

The 2400 Supercab is a long, relatively thin craft with a positive buoyancy pontoon ring surrounding its 19-degree vee monohull. The outer pontoon or sponson acts as a reverse chine on the water, suppressing spray and providing superb stability at rest. You’ll have no trouble landing a big fish from the sides of this boat.

In the Supercab range, the 2400 sits between the 2100 and the larger 2600. I believe it is the ideal size for bluewater fishing. Although it’s a touch on the small size for roaming out beyond the continental shelf dropoff on a regular basis, the 2600 is probably overkill. While the larger boat will be more capable at sea, the extra length (same beam) and weight makes it a more difficult proposition to tow between fishing destinations.

Simple, Practical Interior

The 2400 also has a relatively simple yet effective interior design, consisting of an open-plan saloon and forward cabin stretching aft to a large, uncluttered rear cockpit.

With no cabin/saloon bulkhead, the interior feels large and spacious, although on the negative side this means there’s little privacy in the cabin, and securely stowing your expensive rod/reel outfits could be problematic. However, you can option the 2400 Supercab with a rear cabin wall/bulkhead with lockable bi-folding doors, which is advisable if the boat is to be kept on a marina berth or parked in the front driveway at home. On the other hand, if garaged, the open layout works well as there is no restriction between the saloon and rear cockpit area.

With the open layout there is also far better visibility aft, allowing the skipper to ideally position the boat when chasing down a gamefish.

Modular-Berth Set-Up

The forward cabin area is wide and long with a modular-berth set-up. When configured as two single berths, each one is 1.82m long by around 580mm wide. Slotting the three infill cushions into place converts the singles into a big double bed.

The test boat was not fitted with a toilet, but you can order one as an option, along with a privacy curtain.

There is plenty of storage space under the berths and in the sidepockets built into the carpet-lined cabin walls.

Accessing the foredeck for docking and/or trailering is best achieved by moving the infill berth cushions aside and walking forward and up through the acrylic hatch in the cabin ceiling. The Stabicraft comes standard with a Maxwell HRC-8 Capstan anchor winch, so you will rarely need to go forward while at sea. An access hatch in the forepeak also allows you to check the ground tackle from within the cabin.

Helm And Saloon

Beneath the hardtop in the Stabicraft there is plenty of standing headroom, with the full-height armour-glass windscreen and wide, sliding cabin windows providing an excellent view forward and from the sides.

The unobstructed view aft is also very good so the skipper can keep pace with the action in the cockpit. The only real blind spot is likely to be the panel or hardtop support pillar aft of the sliding windows. For example, you could momentarily lose sight of a jumping billfish if it moves from the rear quarter forward to the side of the boat.

The helm position is well laid out whether you prefer to stand or sit while driving. In the test boat the helm and forward passenger chairs were mounted on optional Soft Rider brand suspension pedestals, which help to cushion the ride.

The bucket chairs provide good back and thigh support, and from the seated driving position the steering wheel and throttle are within easy reach.

During a hook-up and prolonged fight with a fish you would push the helm seat backwards on the sliding base to give yourself standing space to manoeuvre the boat and be able to turn around and keep track of the activity in the cockpit.

When looking forward, the engine instruments and electronics are well positioned, flush-fitted into the fascia. There was also enough space for the optional Simrad NSS12 fishfinder/GPS and engine gauges.

While there is not a lot of flat or horizontal dash space in the Stabicraft, there is a car-like vertical dash panel running across the boat underneath the windscreen. Head units for the Fusion stereo and VHF radio were neatly set into this panel, with the speakers and saloon lighting secured to the carpet-lined ceiling.

Super-Sized Cockpit

At 1.75m in width, the rear cockpit is a real beauty in terms of size and shape. There is 2.4m of open space behind the helm chair and 3.2m from the helm back to the transom wall, with nearly 800mm between the cockpit floor and the top of the side coaming.

As the sealed (positive buoyancy) hull pontoon forms the inside cockpit wall, the Stabicraft does not have toe rails or any underside pocket foothold space. However, this is not really an issue as the extra depth to the cockpit and broad 220mm-wide gunnels more than compensates for the absence of a foothold – to the extent that I felt comfortable and well braced while leaning up against the side coamings.

There is no issue about bracing and standing security in the stern of the boat as the large livebait tank and bait-prep station is elevated well above the floor. The alloy quarter seats also fold away so you can easily position your feet under them when standing in the transom corners.

The baitstation incorporates the livebait tank with front viewing window, a split, two-piece cutting-board lid, overboard drain and two cup holders. There were also another six cup/sinker holders built into the side coamings, along with six rodholders.

Two of the rodholders face directly aft, two more at 45 degrees out from the boat, while the two amidships face almost directly outward and would be ideal for rods run off outriggers. While there is no standard rod-rack storage within the cockpit, there is a seven-rod rocket-launcher running along the back of the hardtop.

The cockpit sidepockets are situated just under the gunnels and stretch most of the length of the cockpit. Although the sidepockets are not as deep as I would prefer, they are wide and long enough to stow gaffs, skirted lure bags and deck lines, etc. Batteries and oil tanks are situated in a compartment under the livebait tank where they will remain secure, dry and out of the way.

Other features worth mentioning include the lift-out rubber-tube cockpit floor matting, a good-sized underfloor fishbox between the helm chairs and a starboard-side deck-wash hose.

The large stern cleats are situated rather too prominently on top of the rear side coamings, and I would prefer to see them secured on the inside of the outboard well or in another location where they would be less likely to become an obstacle in the end-game with a big fish.

Performance

The 2400 Stabicraft is designed to accept single extra-longshaft outboards to a maximum of 250hp. We achieved a top speed of 38 knots with a 225hp Yamaha 4-stroke and there is no real need for any more performance.

Yamaha’s 225hp 4-stroke is the well-proven F225XCA, a 60-degree V6, 24-valve, DOHC EFI outboard engine. This same basic engine configuration is used to generate up to 300hp, so in 225hp trim it runs easily and under-stressed.

Like most 4-strokes, the V6 Yamaha has a smooth, linear power delivery through the mid range and responds well to subtle throttle movements. It proved to be a good match for the Stabicraft as the hull felt nimble and responsive underway and quick off the mark.

At trolling speeds, the Yamaha was smooth and quiet and there were no hull vibrations or annoying rattles. I would be more than happy to troll all day with this boat/engine combination.

While the listed fuel capacity of 300 litres will easily last a long day wide offshore, there are larger fuel tank options available for remote locations.

Handling And Ride

For what is quite a large trailerboat, I found the Stabicraft 2400 to be very agile and responsive on the water. It accelerated quickly, turned sharply and with ease, and was generally good fun to drive.

This can be attributed in part to the wonderfully smooth hydraulic steering, although the 19-degree vee hull also felt quite sporty and parted the waves cleanly to deliver a comfortable, dry and stable ride.

With its high cabin and superstructure, I was expecting a bit of wind list when running across the breeze, but it tracked very straight and on a pretty even keel. While you could get away without fitting trim tabs, I would still recommend tabs for long-range offshore runs.

Stabicraft’s acclaimed ‘Game Chaser’ rear transom design works pretty well when backing up, so you should be able to chase down a fish in reverse without too much drama. That said, with any trailerboat I would always advocate keeping the boat running forward and fighting a fish over one side of the boat, with the skipper manoeuvring the boat accordingly.

Trailering

The 2400 Supercab has an expected dry highway towing weight of 2400 to 2600kg, so it should be pretty safe and easy to tow behind any of the current crop of 4WD crew-cab utes and wagons on the market. As the BMT package weighs over the 2000kg mark, the trailer will require an electric hydraulic break-away braking system with the controller in the towing vehicle.

The test-boat package was delivered on a Dunbier Supa-rolla tandem-axle aluminium trailer, which should save a few hundred kilograms of weight over a regular galvanised-steel trailer.

Launching and retrieving the test boat with the Dunbier was a breeze as the trailer was rigged for driving the boat on and off the trailer. As many experienced anglers will also know, longer trailerboats are actually easier to launch than shorter boats. The extra boat length has the outboard engine sitting out in deeper water where there is little risk of scraping the skeg on the ramp or sea bottom when driving on or off the trailer.

Bluewater Pedigree

The Stabicraft 2400 Supercab has a strong bluewater pedigree and is built, outfitted and designed for offshore fishing. Stabicraft hulls are renowned for their safety and seaworthiness, and when you combine the excellent hull performance with a ripper fishing cockpit layout, then you have the perfect recipe for a first-class bluewater fishing boat.

With prices starting at around $125,000 and the fully fitted rig selling for $145,000, the Stabicraft 2400 is also great value for money. The test package could have done with a set of outriggers, perhaps a few more rodholders and even a berley bucket, but otherwise it’s ready to head wide offshore in pursuit of big fish.

Highlights

  • Swift and manoeuvrable
  •  Stability and built-in safety features
  •  Game Chaser transom for backing down
  •  Large, uncluttered cockpit
  •  Readily trailerable

Capacities

  • Maximum power: 250hp
  • Maximum engine weight: 537kg
  • Fuel capacity: 300 litres
  • People: 8

General

  • Type: Pontoon monohull
  • Material: Plate aluminium
  • Bottom alloy: 6mm
  • Side tube alloy: 4mm
  • Length: 7.3m
  • Beam: 2.49m
  • Deadrise: 19 degrees
  • Hull weight: 1180kg (approx)
  • Weight on trailer: 2500kg (approx)
  • Height on trailer: 3.3m
  • Length on trailer: 8.5m (engine down)

Engines

  • Make/model: Yamaha F22F225XCA
  • Type: V6 24 valve DOHC EFI 4-stroke outboard
  • Rated hp: 225
  • Displacement: 4.17L
  • No. cylinders: 6
  • Weight: 253kg
  • Gearbox ratio: 1.75:1

SPECIFICATIONS: Stabicraft 2400 Supercab
Options fitted:  Simrad NSS12 fishfinder/GPS, Uniden VHF radio, full hull paint (champagne metallic), wash-down pump kit, rear boarding ladder, foam soundproofing to pontoons, Soft-Rider seat pedestals, rubber-tube floor matting, Sarca anchor with rope/chain pack.  

Stabicraft 2400 Supercab Boat Test

Boat Test Stabicraft 2400 Supercab: FUNCTIONAL BEAUTY
Author and photography: Jeff Webster
Supplied by: Northside Marine

This boat test ran in ISSUE 114 of BlueWater magazine – JAN-FEB 2016

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here