FROM THE ARCHIVES: First published in TrailerBoat #175, Jan 2004
The Stejcraft Monaco, a six-metre-plus family fun machine, is competing in a very crowded market against some of the best boats in the world. As the dollar appreciates, we’re seeing more and more imports of this style of craft, especially from the US.
The Americans, as we’ve noted in this magazine before (probably ad nauseum), really know how to finish their boats — but they also charge for them. Australian boatbuilders understand that to compete, they must present the best possible “finish” to their boats — and at the right price. Near enough is never going to be good enough unless you want to be at the “budget” end of the market.
The Stejcraft competes well on both counts. And it’s a fine-looking craft as well, with sleek, flowing lines, a touch of metalflake, stylish bowsprit and cutaway stern. It has some nice touches too, like the concealed bow post under the side-hinged lid on the anchor and rope locker.
When this type of boat is beached, people tend to slide off and climb on to the bow section, and having the bow post hidden away is probably just as much a safety feature as an aesthetic one. Even the forward cleats are mounted unobtrusively inboard to give the boat a smooth, hazard-free nose.
The bow cockpit, for which there is a clip-on cover, is large enough to seat four adults comfortably. It has stylish, soft, white-vinyl cushioning with creamy-grey inserts as well as padded backrests and drinkholders. There’s plenty of storage space under the cushions and a toilet under the starboard seat. An infill cushion (stored under the passenger seat) drops in to create a sizeable bed on which to snooze during the day or sleep under the stars at night. The Bunga Arm on the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria comes to mind.
CRUISING FOR VIEWS
The centrally-supported windscreen is a five-piece glass wraparound affair, and the centre panel opens for walkthrough access to the bow. The skipper sits in a fully-adjustable, moulded bucket seat complete with headrest. It’s a very comfortable position with heaps of legroom.
The instrument cluster in a mock-woodgrain panel is directly in front beneath a black cowl. It features the four basic instruments — trim, rpm, speedo and a fuel gauge. The small Autotechnica woodgrain wheel features leather inserts on the hand positions and looks quite smart. The throttle falls easily to the right hand.
A basic switch panel for bilge, radio, nav lights and accessories is mounted on top of the dash to the left, while there’s a stainless drinkholder on the right.
The passenger seat is a back-to-back style, which can fold down to a long lounge. A real bonus for this comfortable position is the huge glovebox in front as well as an odds-and-ends tray recessed into the dash near the stainless-steel drinkholder on the left. There is a padded buffer on the front of the dash and substantial padding on the coaming near the left elbow. Chrome striping on the edges of the fibreglass mouldings finish things off well. These are nice touches that lend an air of sophistication to the boat.
The passenger seat sits on a cupboard in which is stowed the foldaway dinette table. This can be mounted either forward or back for the picnic goodies. A bimini top with a large zip-out section keeps the weather out and allows for visibility in tight manoeuvring.
ALL IN THE DETAIL
The deck is fully covered in a dark-grey marine carpet. Beneath the central floor is a very large ski locker with a large lid for easy access. All coamings are padded and stylishly stitched in white and light grey vinyl.
Sidepockets are large and open and are also vinyl lined and padded. Rear-moulded quarter seats beside the engine well also have stainless drinkholders within easy reach. A stainless skipole is mounted through the transom.
The battery and oil bottle are tucked away under the rear starboard seat. Outboard are twin swim platforms. A telescopic ladder folds under the port platform. The stern is completed with twin cleats and two small grab handles, which perhaps could be a little larger.
The boat is based on a hull with a waterline length a tad under six metres. It features three strakes per side, wide chines and a hefty 21° deadrise — so it rides well in a rough chop without losing stability at rest.
We got blown out of the water on our test day, so we weren’t really able to test performance — but Mentone Marine assures us that this craft, powered by the 200hp Evinrude direct-injection two-stroke, is good for 100kmh at around 5400rpm. If you want to go quicker than that, buy a seatbelt and a racing helmet!
Actually, the recommended maximum horsepower is 225, so there’s still some room to move if you really want to. The underfloor fuel tank holds 140lt, and that goes a reasonably long way with modern direct-injection outboards.
Price as tested: $55,200
Options fitted: Bow cover, tonneau, sports canopy, hydraulic steering, table, CD player
Priced from: $48,900 (with Johnson 175hp two-stroke)
Length (overall): 6.42m
Rec/max hp: 175/225
Towing weight (dry): 1600kg
Make/model: Evinrude FICHT
Type: V6 DI two-stroke
Rated hp: 200
Prop: SST 14¾ x 19
Mentone Marine, Mentone, Vic, tel (03) 9585 4566
Above-average finish and build quality.
Good top-end speed and sporty performance.
Comfortable seating and intelligent storage ideas.
Grab handles at the stern could be larger.
Fuel capacity a bit light-on for a full day’s skiing with a carby two-stroke.
Story: Bernard Clancy Photos: Ellen Dewar
First published in TrailerBoat #175
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