Numbers don't lie. While running at wide open throttle, I looked down at our fuel-flow
test gauge and saw a burn rate of 7.2 gph. At cruising speeds, the numbers hovered in the
3-to-4-gph range. That means an angler who takes the helm of the Stingray 200MS center
console can stalk fish very far away and for a long time.
Powered with the optional 120-bhp MerCruiser 1.7L DTI diesel, the 200MS is intended for
the boater who wants range and fuel economy over top-end speed. The boat tops out at 41.7
mph, about 3 mph slower than the Bayliner Trophy 1903 powered by a 125-hp Mercury carbureted
two-stroke outboard ($25,495). But to get that top speed, the traditional two-stroke had to
burn 14.8 gph. A diesel engine can also run close to WOT for extended periods of time, which
is harmful to gas engines. Of course, you're paying a few grand more for the diesel and,
unlike an outboard, you can't tilt a stern drive out of the water when docked.
Stingray mounts the 1.7L DTI amidships--rather than astern--for better weight distribution
underway, and connects it to the Alpha stern drive with a jackshaft. Diesel power makes the
200MS a little sluggish out of the hole, but once on plane it handles like a sportboat. The
main drawback is the 1.7L DTI's rough idle. It's like putting quarters in a vibrating bed.
Once you throttle up, though, and find its sweet spot, all is smooth and quiet.
The 200MS has a 14-gallon livewell built into the transom, along with two stowage
compartments that double as fishboxes. The hatches, made of starboard plastic, serve as bait
cutting boards. The inwale racks hold two rods apiece, and there are four gunwale-mounted
rodholders. The captain's chairs sit on the engine box, which has a snap-on pad aft to serve
as a fish-fighting bench seat.
Unlike the Trophy 1903 or the Century 2000 ($25,164 with a 115-hp Yamaha outboard), the
200MS is not a pure fishboat. It has an integrated swim platform on the transom and an
optional radar arch ($1,838) that serves as a towing tower for water sports. (The optional
T-Top is $2,300).