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
Entertaining and Cruising
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
- 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