Stingray Powerboats
What a Difference a Day Makes

Boating Life - March/April 1999

Stingray 240LS

For most people, the thought of Stingray Boats conjures mental images of performance. What with the company's patented Z-plane hull, its sleek designs and the availability of engines up to 385 and 414 horses on some models, it's little wonder why performance comes to mind. But the reality is that Stingray offers a full line of boats, including deck boats, cruisers and outboard and I/O powered runabouts, including the new-for-'99 240LS. And after spending a day with a few friends aboard the 240, we found that it performs like a Stingray and offers the features and benefits of a great day boat.

At first sight, the 240 looks like any big, open-bow runabout. The lines are clean, sweeping and unhindered by superfluous vents, hardware and gadgets. Stingray designers located the bow grab rails in an ideal place for front passengers, yet hid them below the gunwales, adding to its clean profile.

Sweeping toward the stern, the wraparound windshield is high enough to keep the wind from bringing tears to your eyes without creating a "boxed-in" sensation. At the stern, Stingray designers tucked the docking cleats inside the swim platform, maintaining the clean profile yet out of the way of ski tow ropes.

Entertaining and Cruising
240LS head Look more closely, however, and you will find that the 240 offers more than sporty looks. For example, it has a lighted, enclosed head compartment large enough for six-footers, an amenity peculiar to this breed of boat. Likewise, a portside freshwater sink is standard, as is a starboard self-draining cooler with a textured lid that doubles as a prep station. There's also another cooler at the bow that doubles as a step into the boat's interior.

Taking the 240 out for a spin revealed things we've grown to expect from Stingrays and some surprises.

At speed, we expected the responsive, stable ride the company's Z-plane hull provides. The design employs ZP strakes, which differ from conventional strakes in that they don't protrude from the hull's surface. Rather, they form a "step down" toward the keel. Combined with reverse chines along the outer edges, the Z-plane hull turns right-by-God-now, even off-throttle. The design also stabilizes the ride at high speeds. The 240 displays zero chine walk, that side-to-side seesawing motion that can make a ride a little hairy for passengers. But then, we expected that.

What is surprising is how quiet the ride is, even at higher rpm and speeds. From the driver's seat we measured 83 decibels, making it the second quietest boat we've tested, bettered only by a Cobalt, a boat that costs thousands more. Second, the 240 is stable at the dock. Passengers can walk from side to side without seriously affecting the boat. And third, the 240 comes standard with a dinette table and supports and cushions to convert the rear of the cockpit to a recessed sun pad.

Water Sports 240LS sink
When it comes to towing, the 240 is equally suitable, and for several reasons. The deck features a nonskid design that is more effective than most. Because most skiers boarding from the water drag about a gallon of water into the cockpit, the 240 features self-bailing drains at the rear corner and in the gutter around the in-floor ski locker, which is large enough for a couple of skis or wakeboards. On the trailer or in the water, the boat's attitude directs water on the deck to the drains. People who boat a lot in brackish water will appreciate the transom shower, also standard.

Uniquely designed to, in effect, form two "tiered" platforms, the transom allows reasonably easy access over the gunwale and boasts two draining lockers with nonskid-surfaced lids. To gear up for the water, sit on the gunwale, the locker lids 240LS dash or, on the bottom tier. When reboarding, lower the three-step telescoping ladder, above which is an ideally placed grab handle.

At tubing and boarding speeds, the 240's wake forms a decent ramp about 20 inches tall, although it's a bit frothy at the top. At skiing speeds, the froth remains, but the wake settles down to about 8 to 10 inches in height.

Overview
There are some things the 240 is not ideally suited for, such as fishing, but with a little determination, it could be done. The engine hatch cushion removes so you could stand and cast from it, and the bow steps could perform the same function up front. The 240's stability would be instrumental, but if you plan to do a lot of fishing, the 240 LS might not be your kind of boat.

Stingray 240LS

Likewise, it's probably not the best for camping and overnighting, despite the presence of a head, a transom shower and a freshwater sink. Stingray offers its own line of cruisers for those buyers.

However, if you are looking for a quiet, stable runabout with a lot of deckboat-like amenities and enough room for a large family or group of friends, take the 240 out for a day. That day might make a difference in your purchase plans.

Highlights

  • Excellent high-speed stability
  • Great turn-in response
  • Quiet ride at all speeds
  • Well-placed instrumentation
  • Lumbar pads on bow seat backrests
  • Armrest at throttle lever
  • Lots of standard features
  • Good wind protection

Boating Life
March/April 1999




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