438 Stryker XPF fast back

438 Stryker XPF fast back

Posted on November 27, 2017



A ripper bay, harbour, and estuary fisher with 50hp Yamaha four-stroke outboard for <$20k

A new release from the Gold Coast’s Horizon Aluminium Boats’ is the 438 Stryker XPF Side Console Deluxe. We tested this great value bay and estuary fishing package with power from Yamaha’s smooth running 50hp four-stroke outboard.

- Family-owned company going from strength to strength
Horizon Aluminium Boats is a stalwart of the Aussie trailerboat industry. This second-generation family-owned company has been manufacturing great-value alloy boats from its Gold Coast factory since 1992.

Now, on the eve of the company’s 25th anniversary, Horizon is expanding further, having secured the rights to manufacture and distribute the long-running Stessl aluminium boat range.

Stessl boats will be produced alongside Horizon branded models from the company’s Currumbin Waters, Gold Coast factory.

Horizon has always offered customers a huge range of boats (60 plus models) and with the addition of the Stessl brand, the range will be all-encompassing, with everything from light-weight car toppers to heavy duty plate alloy offshore sport fishing boats.

A relatively new series for the Horizon brand is the Stryker range of deluxe vee-bottom boats. Launched last year, the Strykers are equipped with Horizon’s Hydrolift reverse chine, variable deadrise hull that is manufactured with a 3mm pressed alloy hull bottom and 3mm topsides.

The Strykers are available in 4.38m, 4.54m, and 4.74m model sizes and with tiller-steer and side console layouts. All models have flat floors, wide coamings, carpeted casting decks and plenty of storage.

The latest model in the Stryker range is the 438 XPF Side Console Deluxe. 

We secured this ripper little bay, harbour, and estuary fisher for this review, coupled with a 50hp Yamaha four-stroke outboard and Dunbier trailer.

- Feature-packed for a great price
The Stryker XPF range is available in standard and deluxe models. Our test boat was the latter, and it came superbly equipped with a plumbed live bait tank in the starboard transom corner, underfloor kill tank, deluxe side console, two very comfortable bucket chairs with four in-floor pedestal seat sockets, fast-back style transom with outboard splash well, and rear boarding platforms.

Other standard features include the carpeted bow casting deck, alloy anchor well, bow and stern rails, casting deck storage with three access lockers, wide side coamings (fully welded), cockpit side storage pockets, reinforced tread-plate foredeck, and a transducer-mounting bracket.

About the only thing we would consider missing from this deluxe package is an underfloor fuel tank. A 50-litre sub-floor tank is listed as an option, but should probably be standard in this deluxe model.

A few standard rod holders would be good too. The test rig had two plastic holders but these are optional. Other fitted options included the rear boarding ladder, navigation lights, GME GX700 VHF radio, Lowrance Hook 4x colour fish finder, bimini top, battery and battery box and two-tone hull paint.

Package with a silky smooth Yamaha 50hp four-stroke outboard and Dunbier single axle galvanised steel (unbraked) trailer, the test rig is very well priced at just $19,990.

If you are looking to save a few dollars, you might consider fitting the base model engine, a Yamaha 40hp CV two-stroke – which drops the package price to an affordable $17,490.

Worth noting for tournament anglers and serious bream, bass and barra fishermen is the option for an electric trolling motor mount on the bow, a bait board, and a 75L live fish well which can be fitted under the casting deck.
- Versatile layout with space for three anglers
The Horizon Stryker has been designed to fish smooth and choppy bay waters with occasional forays offshore. To this end, the rear cockpit area, abaft the casting deck, has plenty of freeboard.

At its lowest point in the rear transom corner there is 530mm of cockpit freeboard so the gunwale sits around knee height. This is sufficiently high enough to brace yourself against the side coamings to fish over the stern or sides of the boat with a reasonable degree of safety.

For smooth water fishing, chucking lures at submerged tree branches, close to oyster leases, etc., the forward casting deck does its job well. It is elevated 200mm above the rear cockpit, while underneath the deck is a huge storage area with a flat, carpeted false-floor.

The under-deck locker can be accessed via three plywood casting deck hatches – all of which are carpeted front and back to protect against rot and weathering.

At the bow the Stryker has a tread-plate deck, low bow rails and a shallow alloy anchor well. We would like to have seen carpet in the anchor well as this would dampen any anchor or chain rattle when underway.

Between the forward and rear casting deck hatches is an in-floor socket for one of the three standard pedestal bucket chairs. The chairs, which are sturdy and remarkably comfortable, can be moved easily around the boat from this bow floor socket to three more positions in the rear cockpit.

One of those positions is at the helm, before what we would consider to be quite a large alloy console unit for this size of boat. It is not too big however, but big enough to accommodate engine gauges, and electronics – such as the Lowrance 4X colour fish finder and GME VHF radio, both of which were flush-fitted into the fascia.

The helm chair does not slide fore and aft, but it doesn’t need to – as the steering wheel and side-mount throttle are easy to reach from a seated position.

There is some wind protection from the small, clear perspex windshield and the frame around it doubles as a grab rail.

There is space underneath the helm console for a small icebox or tackle box.

Features in and around the 1.77m long cockpit include a sub floor kill tank, elevated side storage pockets, coaming grab rails and fully plumbed live bait tank in the starboard rear corner.

With a capacity of 25 litres we would expect the bait tank to keep a dozen yellowtail size baits alive and lively.

- Easy handling, smooth ride and good performance
The Horizon 4.38 Stryker has a pressed alloy vee hull design with wide, reverse chines and a variable vee shape. Horizon has called this hull bottom the “Hydrolift” hull, and it certainly does its job of providing a decent level of ride comfort with stability and easy planing.

The hull is very responsive to power trim so you can trim the bow down for improved ride comfort into a headsea – or trim it out to run before the sea and for better hull/engine fuel efficiency underway.

The test rig cornered well with minimal propeller slip and the standard mechanical steering was direct and responsive.

The 438 Stryker is rated for a single longshaft outboard between 30 and 50hp. We had the maximum in the form of the wonderfully smooth Yamaha F50LB electric start in-line four cylinder, four stroke outboard.

The top speed we recorded during the test was 28.5 knots. This was an average (up and down current) from a two-way run on the Tweed River in northern NSW. For a small boat 28 knots is plenty and feels quite quick on the water.

The boat/engine combination accelerated strongly through the rpm range with two adults onboard, indicating that you could certainly drop down to a 35 – 40hp outboard engine and still achieve modest performance.

On the water the 438 Stryker/Yamaha 50 package proves an excellent combination with the performance and seaworthiness to handle bay chop, and close-in offshore work in calm conditions.

- A smart looking, well-equipped inshore fishing package
Horizon has been manufacturing aluminium boats for many years (nearly 25 in fact) and it shows. The 438 Stryker XPF SC Deluxe is nicely finished, well-built, and all the interior features are just the right height, length or width.

The Stryker is also a solid performer, achieving a safe, secure, comfortable ride for a small boat, combined with excellent performance.

Given the number of included standard features the Stryker is also excellent value for money. Package prices start at just over $17k with a two-stroke 40hp, but we would advocate spending a little extra for the four-stroke Yamaha 50hp engine, as it is a much more economical, smoother, and quieter motor.

>> Great value package
>> Versatile layout
>> Easy handling
>> Comfortable helm
>> Ample freeboard in lower cockpit
>> Very good performance
>> Hatch covers carpeted front and back

>> Underfloor fuel tank optional
>> Rod holders optional
>> No stern cleats

Overall rating: 4.78/5.0
Mechanical/equipment: 4.9/5.0
Packaging and practicality: 4.8/5.0
On the water performance: 4.7/5.0
Value for money: 4.9/5.0
X-factor: 4.6/5.0

3.8kts (7.0km/h) @ 1500rpm
4.8kts (8.9km/h) @ 2000rpm
6.0kts (11.1km/h) @ 2500rpm
6.8kts (12.6km/h) @ 3000rpm
14.9kts (27.6km/h) @ 3500rpm
18.6kts (34.4km/h) @ 4000rpm
21.5kts (39.8km/h) @ 4500rpm
24.5kts (45.3km/h) @ 5000rpm
28.5kts (52.7km/h) @ 5500rpm (WOT)


words & photos - Jeff Webster

Published : Friday, 6 May 2016



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