Stagg 7.8 Custom Boat Review

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Boat Review Date: July 2011
Author: Mike Brown


Peter Stagg builds only custom boats, with lines and scantlings individually crafted by naval architects. This inevitably means nothing cheap comes out of the factory, but it also means every owner gets exactly what he wants.

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Primarily, what the owner of the review boat wanted was a long ranging fishing boat with all the bells and whistles, and there is no doubt that is what he got. Just under 7.8m long, with the requested beam of 2.5m for rule-free towing, the boat is diesel powered and fitted with the largest fuel tank that could be squeezed in. The relative narrowness gives the boat an easy motion, and the sharpish deadrise and fine entry delivers a very good ride. Despite the lean and shapely hull, stability too is good.

The engine is a three-litre Yanmar, coupled to a dual-prop Yanmar leg. This is renowned as a frugal motor, but can also be a noisy one. To cope with this, as well as a thoroughly insulated engine box it has a special air inlet. The intake panel faces aft, directing noise away, and it carries a pair of high power fans. These supply a redundancy of air, making life very easy for the Yanmar.

Boat builders usually make the raised lids of motor boxes as small as possible to minimize intrusion on deck area, but doing that also makes engine access tighter. Stagg has cured this problem by combining a small raised part with side extensions at deck level.

Effective use of deck area is a feature of the boat. Although there is a large console carrying a bait station, sink, barbecue, drawers and locker, it is mounted amidships to allow fishing to carry on around it. Deck area is also effectively extended by the very large rear platform. This is provided with sockets in its outer corners to accept game fishing outriggers.

There are plenty of other specialized fishing items on board: tuna tubes, live bait tank, fresh and sea water deck wash, sockets for more than a dozen rods, and a superb catch tank. This has 50-odd mm of insulation and will hold an ice slurry for several days, but can also gravity drain at sea.

Habitability is excellent. The hardtop extends well aft to shade a good half of the cockpit, and the pair of seats under its forepart are superior in comfort to anything in my lounge room. The deck is cork sheathed and kind to bare feet. Getting around is made safe and easy by an abundance of grab rails, including a set around the hardtop’s perimeter that also serve the role of roof rack. The side decks have a nicely judged width that makes transits forward painless, but takes the minimum away from internal room.

The insulated and lined cabin has not been crowded by inserting an extra double bed, instead providing comfortable accommodation for two on long V-berths. There is also a flushing toilet linked to a sullage tank for environmentally sensitive waters.

There is no downstairs galley, and who would want one? This is a boat for the maximum outdoor experience, and all the facilities are outdoors as well: barbecue rather than stove, and a transom shower. There is no shortage though of the vital bits of civilization. As well as the icebox possibilities of the catch tank, an 80-litre fridge is carried, and dry storage forward and under the cockpit floor is cavernous.

The Raymarine electronics package is to die for and includes radar as well as the more usual equipment, with a future planned addition being an auto pilot. Helping the batteries keep pace with the considerable electrical demand is a solar panel array on the hardtop.

Stagg also built the trailer: a massively strong aluminium structure that mounts on a turntable on the towing ute for best weight distribution. Towing is to be an important part of this Stagg’s future: the day the owner took delivery he was on his way to Shark Bay, with Onslow and the Kimberley on the same agenda.

The Stagg has a magnificent finish using the same paint as the world’s super yachts, and extraordinary ends are gone to for preserving it and preventing corrosion prevention. Every hinge, every fastening, and even every socket is insulated by plastic to avoid dissimilar metal contact. The sort of attention you have to give when offering a lifetime warranty.


Price as reviewed    AUD $196,000

Length                    7.77m

Beam                      2.5m

Fuel capacity           350L

Motor fitted             Yanmar BY diesel, 260hp