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August 12, 2009

Stamas 308 Predator

The Stamas 308 Predator is a beamy offshore beast.

Family boating has always been a top priority at Stamas Yacht. For more than 50 years, craftsmen related by blood and Greek heritage have produced rugged, seaworthy vessels designed for fun on the water. That's why the company's newest boat, the 308 Predator, is different. Unlike the multipurpose approach of the Express line or even the refined Tarpon center consoles, the Predator is a hardcore, blood-and-guts fishing machine whose attributes will be more appreciated by your buddies than the wife and kids.

"The 308 is based on our proven 31 hull, but we made several changes for guys like tournament anglers or charter captains, who are serious about fishing," company president John Stamas told me as we idled out the Anclote River toward the Gulf of Mexico. "It has a 48-degree entry at the stem that transitions to 18.5 degrees at the transom. There's not much taper, so it'll carry a lot of weight and plane easily. We also lowered the sheer to make it easier to handle fish."

But even though it has a different focus, the Predator still shares the same proven Stamas qualities: overbuilt construction and a smooth, steady ride. Tipping the scales at nearly 8,200 pounds and sporting a 10-foot beam, it muscles through waves with ease. The choppy seas and confused boat wakes we encountered offshore didn't affect performance a bit. Regardless of heading, the boat behaved predictably. It was quick to plane, dry as a bone and rock solid, without the slightest creak or shudder. I wouldn't hesitate taking it anywhere, an assurance that comes from its considerable heft and build.

Starting with premium materials, Stamas carefully hand-lays the solid glass hull to ensure the right resin-to-glass ratio. Stringers of kiln-dried, pressure-treated lumber encapsulated in glass are laminated into the hull, where they cure in the mold. Stamas laminates the continuously reinforced deck to the stringers, hull and transom for a unitized fit, and injects closed-cell foam into the voids for flotation and to deaden sound. All deck hardware is through-bolted, polished, 316-grade stainless steel. Add it all up and you have a boat that can withstand the demanding offshore environment for years.

Buyers can choose the level of performance and fuel economy to fit their own fishing style because Stamas designed the 308 to run well with several power packages. Our test boat came rigged with a pair of 300 hp Suzuki four-stroke outboards. They provided a snappy hole shot, good midrange power and a top speed of nearly 55 miles per hour. That's pretty darn fast for boat not on a diet.