Stingray Powerboats
Comfort Zone

Boating World - June 1999

Smart design and sporty performance converge in the Stingray 240LS

Stingray 240LS

The Stingray designers who crafted the company's patented Z-Plane hull and worked scores of ergonomically engineered elements into the design of the new Stingray 240LS probably would have had a seizure if they'd heard my first question. "Where's the head?" I ask, momentarily dismissing the 240LS's sexy lines, plush upholstery and spirited performance.

However, the question is not actually as flippant as it might sound at first. The 240LS, with a built-in freshwater system, transom shower and cockpit sink/bar, as well as plush cockpit seating that looks like something out of a nice studio apartment, is a bowrider designed to address serious creature comforts. And, as my spouse has made me compellingly aware in boat-buying ventures in the past, a good potty, while anything but glamorous, is at the top of any reasonable list of creature comforts.

And so it speaks well for the 240LS when I flip open a door in the passageway between the bow and the main cockpit and find a generous sized head compartment with an overhead light and a small hatch for cross ventilation.

It's not, of course, as if the Stingray 240LS is the only bowrider that incorporates a head these days. Enclosed heads, and a host of other civilizing elements, have worked their way into a lot of sport boats recently, even some bowriders. But what impresses me about the 240LS is the way Stingray has worked in elements such as the sink, potty, shower and a host of other markedly non-sporty features, and still kept this boat feeling like the hot sportcraft its typical buyer is seeking.

Stepping aboard the 240LS is an invigorating experience. It has a sense of style, carried out not just by the overall silhouette of its racy-looking hull, but basically involving every line of the boat you see from any vantage point inside the craft. The designers used an ergonomic dummy, created from specs supplied by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which they fit into all the various spots that humans would be fitting into when they are aboard the boat. The result is a boat interior that feels right in every place you stand, lie or sit.

The test boat is equipped with the 280-hp, 5.7L Volvo Penta Gsi/SX, which snaps us up on plane in the 3-second range every time, maxing out at just more than 51 mph (at 5200 rpm), and giving us a dandy cruising speed of 32.2 mph at 3200 rpm. And all this is done relatively quietly. We don't have the decibel meter cranked up at the time of this test, but one good indicator of the Stingray's quiet performance is this: It's easy to carry on a conversation with other people in the boat without having to yell, even when clipping along in Biscayne Bay at speeds of more than 40 mph.

A good portion of the 240LS's performance even its quiet ride must be attributed to the carefully designed hull features. Stingray's approach to the high-tech hull design competition that's been going on among manufacturers for the past few years is called the Z-Plane hull.

Fold out the seats on the 240LS to make a
		sundeck for two! In this design, which was first introduced in 1988, the strakes are cut to face the keel instead of facing out to the chines. Although originally intended to enhance handling, which it did, the Z-Plane's patented running surface has also proven to boost speed. The combination of the Z-Plane design and reverse chines along the outside edges of the hull give the boat a nice, sure-footed ride, almost as if it were riding on a steel rail under the water no sliding out in turns.

This doesn't make the 240LS unique. I've tested other boats that hang in there on the turns as well as the 240LS, but I haven't run across any that do it better or smoother so this boat would go in the upper echelon of hull performance.

Another hull design element that enhances performance is the notched transom. It allows the outdrive to ride higher in the water, reducing drag in the same way that you do when you trim up when you're on a plane. The 240LS outdrive simply starts out higher in the water, and can of course be trimmed up from there. This notched transom is also not a unique Stingray feature, but when combined with the other hull design elements, it delivers a satisfying result.

Notable storage features include a stowage locker built into the floor of the swim platform. There's no need to drag that long, wet ski rope into the cockpit when the skier comes aboard just stow it in the swim platform. Too bad that the locker is not big enough to stick in a pair of skis. Alas, I know of no boat that has that feature. Like most sport boats manufactured on the planet, the 240LS has a ski locker in the cabin floor; just ahead of the center of the boat.

The 240LS offers another good storage spot in what basically amounts to a small closet in the bulk-head area in front of the helm console. It's the corresponding half of the bulkhead to where the enclosed head is found, located in front of the passenger seat. Inside this storage closet there's enough room for the table top that can be set up in the stern of the boat, as well as the two cushions that will turn the area into a gunwale-to-gunwale bed/playpen. When you don't want to use the table or the cushions, it's easy to stow them away in this locker and still have room for an assortment of your own personal junk, which will stay nice and dry once you shut the door.

Symmetry was clearly important to the designers of the 240LS. Just as they offset the head compartment with a corresponding locker on the opposite side of the boat, they've also offset the cockpit sink with a corresponding built-in cooler on the opposite side of the cockpit. What adds to the look of both the sink and the built-in cooler is that they are molded into the body of the boat itself, giving them smooth, seamless lines.

Inside the 240LS However, the boat violates one of my minor pet peeves like most sport boats, it's difficult to get from the swim platform to the cockpit without stepping on upholstered surfaces so you better use that transom shower nozzle on your feet or you'll have footprints all over. You can, however, go from the bow into the cockpit without hitting upholstery, stepping on a non-skid surface that covers a forward, built-in cooler.

One of the redeeming qualities of this boat, if you are one of those neat freaks who doesn't like dirty carpeting, is that the entire interior has a tidy-looking, fiberglass, non-skid liner that's easy to clean with a sponge.

Another important standard feature, if you happen to live in warmer climates, is a Sunbrella Bimini top. Get that top up, open the little butterfly windows in the wraparound windshield, and you've got an instant, natural air conditioner.

The more you use the 240LS, the more you will discover little ergonomic surprises fashioned with the use of that dummy from MIT (which is a contradiction in terms). There's a nice little armrest for the helmsman's left arm, set just at the level of the throttle. The helm and passenger seats pivot and slide back and forth, so it's almost impossible not to find a position that fits your comfort zone.

Even though there are options for a full cockpit canvas, you won't necessarily want to overnight aboard the 240LS. But the level of comfort that Stingray has designed into the boat makes it more than a worthy place to spend long days on the water.

Boating World
June 1999


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