Stacer 475 Nomad Top End Barra Boat Review

Issue: June 2003
Manufacturer: Stacer

The concept of the Stacer 475 Nomad originated in the Top End where barra fishers needed to combine a lure-casting platform for creek fishing with a comfortable hull happy to cross open water. While boats like this tend not to be catgegorised (unlike the barra boat tag attached to pointy punts) the marriage of raised fore and aft casting decks with a conventional dinghy-style hull works well. It works so well that it is now offered by just about every aluminium boat builder in the country, plus a couple of fibreglass boat builders. 

Few of them, however, do it as well as Stacer with the 4.75m Nomad. Most of this boat’s peers have conventional moderate-vee aluminium hulls; the 475 Nomad goes one better by having a stretchformed variable-deadrise hull Stacer call the EVO. We’ll come back to that. The 475 Nomad also has what Stacer call a Mod Pod, which, though not quite unique, is a little different from most of its imitators. It is a full-width extension of the hull’s bottom sheet and is nothing like the pods of a few years ago where the motor sat on a smaller pod projecting from the transom. 

The Mod Pod has several advantages including increased planing area, which helps the hull trim better, and more surface area, which helps the hull support heavy motors (such as four-strokes). It also enhances static stability, but perhaps the prime advantage of the transom seen here is that it does away with an engine well. Originally these boats were tiller-steered so there had to be a cutout in front of the motor (which raised concerns in a following sea) and the powerhead intruded into the boat’s interior where it interfered with fishing space. 

The only drawback of the transom arrangement seen in the Nomad 475 is that the motor has to be remote-steered and throttle and gearshift operated remotely too. So you need a steering wheel, mounted in this case on a small side console, and a remotecontrol box, mounted onto the side deck. Like all things, there are pluses and minuses. Although remote controls are more expensive than tiller steering the expense is minimised by a side console as opposed to a centre console; cabling is shorter and its route to the motor simplified. 

Theoretically a side console interferes with internal movement around the boat more than a centre console would, but a small console like the one here has little effect. An obvious downside is that when fishing solo the boat will lean one way all the time. But people who fish tend to operate in pairs, so that is not such a problem. The EVO and Mod Pod amount to a great package. We at Modern Boating have tested many different-sized EVO Stacers and all of them rode softer and brought much less spray aboard than the average tinnie. For use on big dams, big estuaries and middling-sized bays there is not much that will faze the 475 Nomad. 

On big bays though, like the open parts of Moreton and Hervey Bays, it will become progressively more uncomfortable once wind speeds pass 10 knots. The song remains the same for inshore waters but, given reasonable weather, big bay and inshore fishing are feasible. And that covers an awesome amount of fishing water in this fair land of ours. The Nomad’s layout is eminently suited to lure and fly casting although the aft casting deck, greatly appreciated when casting lures at snag piles up a creek somewhere, will not be as good at open-water trolling. Someday someone will come up with an aft casting deck that can be taken off and left at home. This one’s not too bad, it’s just that some may prefer a cockpit in the stern instead of the raised deck. 

What do we think ? It would depend on where we lived. That’s about the only complaint there is about the interior of the Nomad. Beneath the stern casting deck is a plumbed livewell and the rest of the underdeck space is accessible for stowage. Hidden beneath the covering board, between the carpeted deck and the transom, is a small out of the way shelf, which, in our test boat, held a battery box. Our two-stroke outboard had an integral oil reservoir so there was no oil bottle on the opposing side, although there was room for one. 

From the aft casting deck to the bow, the lower deck is dead flat and uncluttered. There is only a selection of mountings for the pair of pedestal seats and the side of the console, none of which we found to get in the way while fishing. The forward casting deck has two separate storage compartments beneath and there is a separate anchor well up on the foredeck. The the back of fish finders on the convenient flat top of the console behind the screen. All-in-all, a VERY workable place from which to fish. Our test boat was powered by a Mariner Bigfoot two-stroke outboard which at 60hp was between the hull’s rated maximum of 75hp and the factory recommendation of 50. 

We recorded a top speed of 29.6 knots, or about 55km/h, pretty quick for a fishing boat. With tackle boxes and an icebox on board the lively performance with the 60hp two-stroke should be moderated somewhat. Our feeling is that a 60hp four-stroke outboard would be about perfect power. A lot of fishos would agree with the factory recommendation of 50 if using a punchy two- stroke. Only those crazies in the Top End, who travel 60km down the Daly River carrying a big icebox and half a tackle shop and plan to waste no time doing so, would think of opting for the 75hp max. 

Words by Warren Steptoe