by Dom Wiseman

Stacer call this model the Ocean Ranger and simply looking at it, it’s not hard to see why. This plate aluminium boat is built tough and suited to a serious offshore angler looking for a knock around boat capable of handling every condition offshore and keeping the occupants dry. Families with kids will also like the appeal of the expansive interior, large cabin and deep cockpit. Stacer’s plate aluminium range is built tough using 5mm plate bottom sheets crafted into their EVO advance hull offering 20 degree bow entry, spray deflector, reverse chine adding to the stable nature of the hull, and over 700mm height from floor to gunwale internally. In the case of the 679 Ocean Ranger Hard Top, it creates an impressive footprint and formidable looking boat.

WHAT YOU GET
The layout of this boat is fairly simple but that allows the maximum room and usability for its primary purpose, fishing. The space in the cockpit is instantly welcoming and while waiting to get aboard, I was already imagining several mates running around as we’d attempt to tame a double or even triple hookup wide of tuna. There is literally that much room for such a situation to not be an issue. Excellent! Once you’ve got your fish aboard, the self draining checker plate floor means a simple hose out is all that’s needed to keep things clean and the 100-litre kill tank between the seats provides plenty of room to keep a couple of fish. I may be concerned about how hot the checker plate floor could get in warmer climates than Sydney.
Stacer 679 20
Stacer 679 22Access to the important things like the live bait tank for such a fishing scenario is simple too and with its clear side you can make sure the bait are still swimming. Boarding access is over the top of this tank which also doubles as a step into the cockpit. The other side of the stern houses a handy fold out bench seat, which doubles as a handy fish measurer, for passengers. Above this sits a massive bait board and prep station which also has five rod holders along its rear. This sits at a perfect height, has storage underneath and a replaceable nylon cutting surface keeps your knives protected. The wide gunwale is comfortable to sit on and features several standard rod holders.
The aluminium seats for the driver and passenger swivel and sit atop storage bins that taper away from the walk through to the cabin, increasing foot space in this important thoroughfare. The seats are covered in durable upholstery and are extremely comfortable featuring arm rests for both. Ahead of the passenger sits a large storage compartment and for the driver all electronics are within reach. A switch array sits to the right of the sports steering wheel and a large dash mounted 9-inch Lowrance chart plotter/sounder immediately ahead of the driving position. You could fit a 12-inch model here and still have room for the Mercury Vessel View and trim tab switches. The dealer has opted to fit a carbon finish on the dash which looks fantastic and adds a certain level of refinement.
Stacer 679 13
Stacer 679 7The hard top really sets this boat off and includes glass windscreen, windscreen wiper and side sliding windows creating a welcoming and dry area from which to head out to your chosen fishing grounds. The wide walkaround offers a generous foothold while the integrated channels in the roof provide a good handhold while moving to the front of the boat. While possible, a hatch in the cabin and an optional anchor winch removes the necessity to walkaround the cabin. There are six adjustable rod holders along the back of the hardtop.
Down below the cabin is basic and features optional carpeted sides and ceiling. This does give the impression of some sophistication and comfort so is an option I’d elect to have. The vinyl cushions are comfortable enough, easy to clean but could perhaps get a little sticky on a hot day. A full length shelf runs either side of the cabin and the aforementioned hatch allows fresh air to enter and access to the front.

POWER
The impressive Mercury 200hp Verado built on a 1.7-litre inline 4 cylinder platform is a beauty and performs well with this hull. Flat out speed is not crucial in a serious offshore boat like this as you are often cruising out into chop and swell, yet the engine will push this package to a cruising speed of 44km/h at 4000 revs and a top speed 67km/h at about 6500 revs. Fuel usage would be in the vicinity of 18-litres per hour at cruising and 24-litres at flat out. Holeshot is still good and the boat climbs onto the plane effortlessly. The engine has plenty on reserve and can deliver power when needed and did I mention, it sounds awesome for anyone watching you cruise past courtesy of the through prop exhaust. The 200 weighs in at 231kgs
Stacer 679 11ON THE WATER
It would be difficult to look at performance without first considering the hull design which is integral to its performance. The 679 Ocean Ranger is built tough, sitting on an internal frame that comprises of some serious aluminium. Eight 6mm aluminium stringers are supported by 5mm ribs arranged in a pattern that offers enormous strength and helps create the EVO hull’s shape. The back two-thirds of the boat has a box frame for added strength and the fully welded checker plate floor sits atop this framework. It creates a very strong hull which also includes a solid keel and some very tidy welding, something Stacer prides itself on.
Underway, the boat feels solid and incredibly safe, almost tank like. It’s an impressive ride and it feels as though it could tackle anything. The boat slices through chop or rises over it and comes down the other side without the classic aluminium feel you may expect. I put this down to the thoroughly well designed and built superstructure the boat sits on which creates rigidity and adds crucial weight. For the uninitiated it feels to be pushing through the water as opposed to riding over it, but the boat uses every inch of the hull length when tackling the water and therefore the 20 degree deadrise is used to maximum effect. Once you get behind the wheel and start initiating some turns, you can feel the hull respond and go exactly where you intended.
The test boat was also fitted with trim tabs which help when you’ve got too much gear, or too many people on one side of the boat, by evening out the ride. The hydraulic steering was responsive enough and easy to turn providing instant input to the engine.

Stacer 679 10ON THE TRAILER
The Stacer comes with an in-house braked twin axle alloy multi-roller trailer that tows well and is lighter than equivalent galvanized trailers. Despite only covering a short distance, it tows well and is easy to reverse courtesy of the tandem configuration. The rollers ensure the boat slips off with a minimum of effort although launching a boat of this size is a two person job. Putting the boat back on the trailer is also a simple case of driving it up into position. If you’re not confident with that, you could winch it up, but that’s hard work.
The entire package including boat, motor and trailer would lie in the 2200kgs range putting you in the larger car market for a tow vehicle.

OVERVIEW
The Stacer is undoubtedly a fisherpersons boat. It’s built tough for offshore work and rides well. Despite its basic layout and appointments it is immensely functional and has everything you need to hit the wide blue knowing you’ll be well catered for in any event. The hull is well built and superbly safe in all conditions and the 20 degreee deadrise will chew up the chop and swell. It also doubles as a kid proof family boat with ample accommodation for days trips with the family. Did I mention it’s as tough as a proverbial nail?

POSITIVES

Stacer 679 17

  • Great space
  • Simple layout
  • Fishability

NEGATIVES

  • No lip on dash

NUMBERS THAT MATTER
Price: (from) $75,767 (as tested) $95,764
Construction: Plate Aluminium
Length Overall: 6.85m
Beam: 2.40m
Draft: 1.20m
Weight on trailer: 1650kgs (approx)
Engine: Mercury Verado 200hp
Fuel Capacity: 220 litres