Issue: April 2001
Just when you thought the exchange rate had strangled the American import market into submission, South Carolina-based Stingray has hit Australian shores. This manufacturer concentrates solely on trailerboats, producing a 15-model range of bowriders, sports runabouts and cuddy cruisers from 5.5m to 7.1m.
Ocean Fleet Marine in Sydney is the agent and already a number of boats have found their way to new owners.
While the design and configuration of these boats conforms to contemporary US tastes, the level of fitout is high quality and quite extensive.
The 190LS bowrider provided as part of this two-boat test proved to be an exceptionally clean-riding, fast and superbly handling machine.
Impressive as the performance of this 5.8m hull was with the 4.3 litre V6 MerCruiser, it was perhaps overshadowed by the overall handling and smoothness.
This was not just a quick and efficient hull, it was an outstanding boat to drive. The hull rode clean and smooth on the water, and it was very positive in the turns with an extremely firm hold.
This enabled the boat to be thrown around at will without the hull wanting to slide, buck or spin.
It is an extremely good match of engine and hull with enough speed and power to satisfy the younger boat operator and skiers, while the family man will enjoy the ease of cruising and the economical operation of the engine.
The layout is standard bowrider configuration, giving good roomy seating accommodation that suits five persons, though the boat is rated by the US Coast Guard to carry eight.
The lift-out rear quarter seats can be rearranged to form a full-width rear sun lounge, while the passengers seat also converts to a lounge. The single swivel bucket seat for the driver ensures that there is room to store food baskets and portable coolers, without them cluttering up the cockpit space too much.
The bow has under-seat storage, as well as the normal sub floor locker located in the passageway. This locker is ideal for bulkier items such as skis, knee and wakeboards.
Priced at $45,000 as tested, including a trailer, all covers, safety gear and registration, this is a competitively priced package. There’s not too many options, other than a choice of trim and moulding colours, and a limited selection of engine and sterndrive packages.
But based on the way that the test boat ran, I wouldn’t look at anything other than the 4.3 litre V6 package.
Powered by a 4.3 litre 190hp V6 MerCruiser, this boat is a very clean and efficient runner. The engine planes the rig with minimum effort – the hull simply glides onto the plane, keeping its bow level and requiring only the slightest throttle.
With the leg trimmed under, the hull is planing at 2400/2500rpm and a shade over 12 knots. It cruises very easily at 3000rpm for almost 24 knots.
Such efficiency and responsiveness to engine trim and throttle ensured it was always going to be a quick rig, running to a top speed of almost 50 knots.
The top-of-the-range 240CS is a trailable sports-style cruiser that makes a great little day cruiser or an overnighter/weekender for a couple or small family.
Its combination of standard equipment and options allow you to tailor it to your needs.
For family weekends away, the 240SC is just within the realms of easy trailing. Initially weighing in at just over 2000kg, it’s probably going to be around 2500kg when fitted with fuel, gear and weekend provisions. A large 4WD will have little trouble.
Again this was a nice, easy boat to drive with a well-designed helm station. The wheel is tilt adjustable, the instruments are well set out and the console presentation very smart with its polished woodgrain insert.
Given the constraints that are imposed by the trailing limits, this boat is a very neat package. Though it will sleep four people, it is far more practical for a couple and maybe two small kids at the most.
Anything more is really going to place a strain on the boat’s capacity and the bonds of friendship.
The transverse aft berth works OK. It is compact and a bit of a squeeze to get in and out, but it works and is well illuminated and ventilated. The small dinette in the bow converts to a so-called double berth – two children or a single adult is more like it.
The galley has a good amount of storage and work space. It has everything that is necessary for a weekend away, including a single-burner cook top, sink with hot and cold water, and an optional refrigerator.
Given the compactness of the saloon, this galley is quite a good size and conveniently placed to serve snacks directly up to the main cockpit.
The shower/head compartment is to starboard. There’s not a lot of room to shower, but for a quick lather up and wash down it’s all you need. With fresh water limited to 64 litres, you won’t want to spend much time in there anyway.
The cockpit is user-friendly, having comfortable seating for six. There is a walk-through transom to access the swim/boarding platform, a CD stereo system and a portable cooler.
A bimini top and a complete set of clears and storm covers complete a very neat package that is priced from around $85,000.
There are a number of engine and sterndrive packages available, from the 210hp 4.3 litre EFI V6 through to the 300hp 6 litre 350MPI V8 with Bravo 3 sterndrive. The latter is probably overkill, though there would certainly be little problems in manoeuvring with the dual prop sterndrive coupled to the power of the fuel injected V8 engine.
The test boat, with a 220hp 5 litre V8 MerCruiser, was meek and mild when compared to that top-range option, but it wasn’t disappointing in the way that it performed.
Top speed stopped just short of 39 knots, but at the lower RPM range, this boat showed just how well powered it was for cruising – 3500rpm was ideal for cruising with just over 29 knots.
Like the bowrider, the 240 slid reasonably easily onto the plane between 2600 and 2900, and just held on the plane at 3000rpm for 21 knots.
Story by David Taylor