Issue: January 2002
Just to confuse the great tinnie debate even further, Stessl released two new additions to its already extensive range. And while these boats may look like just another couple of pointy-nosed tinnies, they aren’t!
They look alike. Their interiors are similar, so similar in fact that the only distinguishing feature between them is the longer forward casting platform of the 435. But that’s where any similarity ends.
Stessl call the 4.15m Stessl 415 Angler an Edge Vee hull. To students of Stessl innovation this is basically an adaption of the well known Edge Tracker concept used in other Stessl barra punts.
This new hull does all the things that Edge Trackers are renowned for, including producing a soft ride over mild wind chop. But while the Edge Vee hull’s pointed bow has advantages in rough water ride, it does reduce interior space slightly.
The 415 Angler has a sheet metal skin supported by an internal bow section frame. But the 4.35m Stessl 435 Angler, despite the layout similarities, is a different boat. The 435 Angler is constructed using 3mm aluminium sheets making it what is commonly called a plate hull. But just to keep everyone completely confused, the 435 also has box section frames visible above the decks.
The clinker look pattern pressed into the 415’s sides gives the thinner aluminium sheets integrity, while the sheet metal sides of the 435 are strong enough to be left flat.
Under the water is where the two boats differ most. The Edge Vee hull’s turned down Edge Tracker chines extend from the transom to half way forward before being lost as the hull tapers toward the bow. On the other hand the 435 Angler has what Stessl calls Track Rails. These are 100mm deep rails fixed edge-on to the hull. They extend from the transom to around three quarters of the way to the bow.
At speed they serve a similar purpose as the Edge Tracker’s chines. They gather air and water on their forward end, which turns the water to emulsion. This emulsion is forced aft where it cushion bumps while reducing the friction between hull and water.
Perhaps the word “stiction” would be a better way of relating to the effect here. And it’s not just a matter of reducing grip between the hull and water. It’s a significant reduction in drag that leads to increases in performance and better fuel economy.
But there’s no reduction in grip while cornering, because Track Rail hulls run like they are on rails. Nor do these rails hinder the hull’s cornering ability. When lesser vessels start wandering off line when crossing wakes and waves, Track Rail hulls keep going exactly where you point them.
The 435 also has an additional spray rail along its chines that extends back from the bow to the step-up onto the casting platform. This stops spray flow up the sides of the hull.
Being smaller and lighter you’d expect the 415 to be noticeably livelier under foot, but it isn’t unstable. At rest the 415 is steady enough to allow an angler to stand comfortably and cast from either the bow or stern casting deck.
The 435’s forward casting deck is 200mm longer than the 415. This extra space under the platform of the test boat contained a live-well, which is long enough to hold any bass or a big flathead. Some readers may find this option unnecessary, but those into tournament fishing, where live weigh-ins are the trend these days, will disagree.
The same space can also be used as a battery well to hold the big deep-cycle batteries needed to power an electric motor. A bow-mount bracket for an electric motor is an option on either boat. If nothing else the space provides additional under deck storage. We also note that the live-well option in the 435 and smaller live-bait wells in the 415 – both with cutting boards as lids – are extremely handy.
Under the starboard side of the aft casting decks of both boats is a wide splash lip. The importance of this lip will be immediately apparent to anyone who has experienced water slopping out of bait wells not fitted with a splash lip in anything other than mirror calm water.
Storage space under the rest of the 435 and 415’s forward casting decks is accessed through triangular hatches. Under the short foredeck in the bow of both boats is more storage accessed through a hole in the bulkhead. This is the ideal place to stow life jackets and spray jackets or any other gear you might need in a hurry.
The aft casting decks are slightly lower than those in the bow. Although these are narrower they are still wide enough to stand and cast comfortably from without constantly finding yourself stepping off.
The live-bait tanks on the port side help to balance the weight of the helmsman, while the additional underfloor space can be used for a fuel tank, the battery or more storage.
Both boats are fitted with remote-filled underfloor fuel tanks sited centrally in the hulls. Here they have no effect on the overall balance of the boat on the water.
Australian-made pedestal seats with folding backs are standard. There are various mounting positions including one central in the forward casting deck, which enables seating changes as desired, or when under way for trim.
Apart from the usual side pockets there is no horizontal rod storage in either boat. Our sentiments about trusting expensive rods in these pockets are simple. No way! Naturally, being bigger, the 435’s cockpit sides are a bit higher.
Both boats have wide gunwale caps, which support your legs while standing in the central cockpit. But leg support in the larger boat is noticeably better due to these higher sides.
The cost of the 415 Edge Vee Angler is $5900, but you’ll need $7500 to put a 435 on the front lawn.
With a 25hp two stroke Yamaha on the back and two adults on board, the 415 felt slightly under powered during speed trials on the Coomera River. It did manage to plane at 9 knots and run out to just under 22 knots flat out. But the 415 is a lot of boat for 25hp to propel. Under acceleration the 415 lifted her bow high and was somewhat leisurely about clambering over the distinct hump.
The Modern Boating team felt that a bigger engine would reduce the time the hull spent waddling from displacement to planing speeds. But having said that, those without rev head tendencies, looking to pare costs to a minimum, would probably be satisfied with the smaller and cheaper 25hp motor.
On the other hand the 435 had a 40hp Yammie strapped to its transom and was a horse of an entirely different colour. The 40 punched the 435 out of the water briskly, reaching a top speed of more than 26 knots. Despite the extra power and torque, the 40 is a more sophisticated and lively engine. This engine features adjustable steering tension, gas assisted lift and a long tiller arm.
Story & Photos by Warren Steptoe