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May 27, 2014

Boat Review: Stamas 390 Tarpon

“Once you take it for a test ride in sloppy seas, you’ll likely be done looking and ready to sign the ­paperwork, because this is one ­serious juggernaut.”

When evaluating a new boat, two factors always come into play: the builder’s reputation and how well it executes its design. In the case of the Stamas Yacht, there was never any doubt about either. Family owned for nearly 65 years, Stamas was one of the first ­builders to embrace fiberglass construction, and it has a lengthy list of other innovations on its resume as well. Practical designs, meticulous craftsmanship and an ­overbuilt philosophy add to the reputation, with the Tarpon 390 ­center console the latest example.

The 390 is the epitome of seaworthiness and fishability. Sporting an overall length just over 41  feet and a 12-foot- 6-inch beam, the bow has enough room for a pep rally, even with the optional forward console sun pad. A more fishing-friendly bench cooler seat is standard. The drop-down table in the bow gives access to the optional windlass and plow anchor in the pulpit, and a wraparound, recessed bow hand rail adds safety underway. A massive guttered deck storage ­compartment drains overboard, while twin insulated 347-quart fish boxes with overboard drains and cushions round out the bow layout. The list of fishing amenities ­continues aft.

The console leaning post with sliding flip-back bolster seats incorporates a complete tackle center. A 199-quart recirculating baitwell pairs with the freshwater sink and prep area, tool racks, and multiple locking tackle storage, including drawers and plastic boxes. Another 210-quart fish box incorporated into the transom complements a second 120-quart baitwell in the port corner. A single transom kill box may be substituted. A large tuna door in the ­starboard transom corner sits within reach of the raw-water washdown for quick cleaning. Rod storage includes holders in the gunwales, horizontal racks for six and secure under-bunk storage in the cabin. An optional Taco Grand Slam outrigger package can also be added to the standard robust hardtop, which comes with four rod holders, ­life-jacket stowage and spreader lights.

The console itself rivals the bridge of a Navy destroyer. It’s massive. 

Upgraded power steering comes standard with triple outboards and twin 350 V8s. The ergonomic dash accommodates two, 15-inch displays, and the waterproof system switches lie within easy reach. The bolster seat configuration allows comfortable operation either sitting or standing, with footrests when you want to kick back. The wraparound 3⁄8-inch acrylic windshield sits at just the right height. I didn’t have to duck my head or stand on my tiptoes for unhindered visibility.

A folding hatch starboard leads a couple of steps down into the huge console cabin. On some boats this layout serves as a catch-all for the stuff that won’t stow anywhere else. On the 390 Tarpon, however, the space is actually large enough to use without getting claustrophobic. The warm, bright cabin sports a teak-and-holly sole and twin vents. The large forward bunk easily sleeps two adults. A vanity with sink sits to port, with the standard electric head on the aft bulkhead, or its upgrade, a Vacuflush head with discharge. An optional upgraded comfort package includes an inverter, shore power, air conditioning, microwave and TV/DVD. The Tarpon accommodates weekend excursions on the hook with ease.

Hand-laid fiberglass with a vinylester resin skin coat yields a hull that boasts a seven-year warranty. A ­bonding system with zinc anode and durable components — such as bronze and stainless-steel through-hulls, below and above the waterline, respectively — are standard. The hinged cockpit deck, an especially handy design element, raises on triple, electric screw rams, providing access to the fuel tanks, ­battery systems and wiring below.

The 390 comes standard with twin Yamaha F350 ­f­­­­our-stroke outboards. Our test boat ran just fine with triple F300s, though, making a top speed of 54 miles per hour in serious slop. At a cruising pace of 4,000 rpm, the speed registered just over 37 miles per hour with a fuel rate of nearly 34 gallons per hour combined for all three engines. Like all Stamas boats I’ve tested, the 390 was as solid as Gibraltar and exceptionally dry. Even with a beam-to chop, I never felt a drop of spray, and I was on the windward side. Despite its size, it came about quickly and surely, with no sliding whatsoever. Another impressive performance trait: no noticeable bow rise on acceleration. The rounded transom deadrise (averaging 19 degrees) lifts the stern and flattens the entry immediately.

For hard-core anglers who routinely make long runs ­offshore — or for couples with an adventuresome spirit — this newest offering from Stamas merits a long and careful look. But be forewarned: Once you take it for a test ride in sloppy seas, you’ll likely be done looking and ready to sign the ­paperwork, because this is one serious juggernaut.