About four weeks ago, my wife and I went out on a Saturday morning to look at some new boats. We had only two stops planned.

The first was at our local Sea Ray dealership, the largest marine dealer in Central Florida. We were treated extremely well and were very impressed with Sea Ray's undeniable quality. The sales manager presented an offer to us on a 1999 19' bowrider model. The offer was very good. However, I made it clear that I had one more stop to make, at our local Stingray dealer.

We went to Boat Tune (our Stingray dealer) to take a look. I had been reading for years about Stingray's patented hull and stellar performance. Being a fairly performance-minded person, I had to check it out. I also knew, for example, that Stingray was one of the first affordable boat builders to use polypropylene seat cores. I was impressed by this. I've been a frustrated victim of wood rot before.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the owner, Bob Leatherman. I told him we were interested in the 20' bowriders (because the 19' Stingray is only offered with a V-6 versus a 5.0EFI V-8 for Sea Ray; never mind that the V-6 Stingray is about 5 mph faster than the V-8 Sea Ray). Within an hour, we were ready to place an order. Of course, Bob, being the conscientious individual he is, insisted we test drive a similar boat on his lot before signing.

He had a 200LS V-6 on the lot that he could have taken us out in as it was all ready to go. Instead, he and his mechanic spent the next 45 minutes installing an outdrive (on a SATURDAY!) on a 200LS 5.0EFI on his lot so we could drive a boat with much more similar characteristics to the boat I wanted (a 200LX 5.7EFI).

I was very impressed with every facet of the boat's performance; planing speed, acceleration, top speed, and especially tight cornering . . . you simply can't break the propeller loose in a full-throttle tight turn!!! What a blast!!

We've been waiting for our boat to come from the factory for a little over a month now and it's scheduled to arrive in 5 days. I can't wait to see how the 5.7EFI performs.

Not to end on a down note, but I am little concerned that the boats are not given the same attention to detail as Sea Ray, especially on the fit and finish of the interior and its ability to hold up. I hope I am pleasantly surprised. I have NO doubts that the powerplant (MerCruiser) and the hull are of top notch quality.

Again, we are very excited about the pending arrival of our new Stingray. I'll update you again after our first day on the water.

Ric Adkins
Orlando, FL


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