As Stessl boats celebrate 45 years of innovation we caught up with the General Manager, Scott James, to find out some of the underlying history behind the brand and what makes Stessl boats such a brilliant, success story.
Stessl was founded on the Gold Coast in 1975 by Alf Stessl. Scott’s father, Bob James, worked with him in the late '80s for a number of years through the development of the Edge Tracker range and various other models.
Stessl grew and expanded well and developed the Platetrix hull method of plate boat construction and developed the unique Edge Tracker aluminium boat range, names that have become synonymous with Australia boating and aluminium boat innovation.
The unique and revolutionary Stessl Edge pressing of the bottom sheet at the chine - the sharp change in angle in the cross section of a hull - helped create additional stability and improved cornering ability, making it a stand out with in-shore boaters and tournament fisherman. The Stessl Edge is incorporated into the Dare Devil, Vagabond and Edge Tracker and Edge Tracker Tournament models. Refinements for 2020 saw noticeable handling and styling improvements in the recently tested 455 Edge tracker Tournament Side console. The edgy and stylish satin black side console featured in this model is now standard in all Stessl side console and centre console models.
The Delta Hull series has also been around successfully for many years and has also received its share of development over time and the recent marked increase in the width of the boat at the chine level and angle of the reverse chine on the boat, which now angles down, has improved the critical handling characteristics. The boats are wider, deeper, have more storage and more internal volume than the previous Stessl Truck hull on which this new Delta hull was originally based. The improved reverse chine, the front hull shape and the variable dead rise that we've incorporated gives you great stability, a really good ride in the choppy water, and great cornering ability making the Delta Hull series a very good all rounder. The Delta Hull has been introduced across the Stessl pressed boat range from 4.2 metres up to 5.25 metres. The Delta Hull series, like all pressed boats, can be used offshore in the right conditions , but is most used in bays, lakes, estuaries and river systems.
The Stessl plate boats feature the PlatetriX2 hulls which are manufactured using 5083 high-tensile 4mm aluminium bottom sheets , 5052 4mm aluminium side sheets and transom. Constructed with a matrix of 4mm and 3mm plate full height longitudinal frames,and full height transverse bulkheads gives the hull immense strength and rigidity and allows for a number of different floor options to be fitted to suit both your recreational family boating and dedicated offshore fishing. The PlatetriX2 hulls are foam filled for safety and provide a quiet, soft ride.
The hero within the PlatetriX2 range would be the Stessl Coast Runner. A centre cabin style boat providing 360 degrees fishing ability, an ideal for offshore fishing boat enabling fishermen to chase the fish right around. The cabin is always useful if the weather does turn bad so you're not left out in an elements, and if you do want to have a nap between bites, you've got the cab there to have a sleep in as well.
The Delta Hull series hero is the Apache Pro-Side Console. The new side console models are a very sporty, functional boat with increased internal floor space and a larger casting deck with more storage up the front, compliments of the new hull design.
For the Stessl Edge hull the new and improved Edge Trackers, like the 4.55 Edge Tracker Tournament Pro, is a true standout. It's fun, it's got great stability and so much fishing room. You can buy two of 'em for the price of one US bass boat and still have the same amount of fun and still get from A to B in a quick amount of time.
But if you’re looking for a small tinnie you cant go past the Stessl Edge Tracker. It is synonymous with family boating and is perfect for car topping. It's the perfect little alloy tinnie to put up on the roof of the fourby and go camping and get the kids into fishing.
Since taking on Stessl our factory has grown from a 500 square metre factory down in Currumbin on the Gold Coast to a 2000 square metre factory with room to expand at the Coomera Marine Precinct.
With fishing and boating as popular as ever, Stessl are prepared for growth. With Australia having some of the best waterways and coastlines in the world the Stessl range has a model to suit you.
“Whether it be the little 2.4 metre tinnie or a 6.6 metre half cabin, we've got it covered.”
Aside from improvements in R&D and boat manufacturing Stessl has upgraded their upholstery, seating and steering wheels. "Our wheels come now from Italy and they not only look and feel good but are much more practical, making them the best you can get. "
With everyone getting bigger electronics, Stessl hasn’t been left behind, re-engineering the dash panel layouts on most models to fit up to a 12-inch flush mounted screen.
“To now have the capacity to fit flush mounted 12-inch sounders in a small to medium size aluminium boat is unique and brings Stessl into the 21st century.”
Excited about what the future holds for Stessl, Scott James believes in a simple approach to continue innovating, “We made it a point when we took over to grow our dealership network. We're constantly working with those dealers, working with the customers to get ideas and feedback. And we listen to all that to be able to grow and change our product.”