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December 20, 2012

Stamas 317 Tarpon

The Stamas 317 Tarpon is as sleek as its namesake.

Click through all the images in the gallery above

The expression what was once old is new again certainly applies to Stamas Yachts. As the oldest family-owned boat company in the United States, it is credited with innovations that are industry standards today. Stamas ­pioneered the use of fiberglass in hulls and liners, developed self-bailing cockpits, added foam flotation and incorporated livewells into its designs. Its boats have always had a reputation for solid, quality construction and seaworthiness. 

That tradition continues. Stamas still builds rugged fishing boats at its plant in Tarpon Springs, Florida, but it recently adopted a new marketing strategy. By selling though their factory showroom, located in St. Petersburg, Florida, a big ­discount can be passed on to buyers. The 317 Tarpon is the first model introduced under this program. 

I almost gave a wolf whistle walking down the dock the day of my test. The 317’s Imron sapphire-blue hull was that striking and gave the boat a fresh, modern look. Several other hull colors are also available. The boat appeared to be much larger than its actual size, and the clean layout and roominess were noteworthy. So was the performance, as I soon discovered.

Customer preference determines the engine choice: Our test boat came rigged with a pair of 250 hp Mercury Verados. Those four-stroke ponies produced a top speed of 50 miles per hour. A more economical cruising pace of 4,500 rpm pegged the GPS at 38.8 miles per hour, with a fuel burn of only 27.2 gallons per hour. The boat is responsive and easy to handle, appreciable traits for its size. The slightly rounded stern has a variable deadrise going from 18 to 20 degrees. This feature, combined with the aggressive bow entry, gives the Tarpon a soft, sure ride. We punched through passing boat wakes without ­hesitation. It’s always comforting to have that much glass under your feet when encountering rough ­conditions offshore.