We've always known that Stingray builds great boats, but we didn't know
that the company also throws great parties. At least we didn't know that
until we met up with Jack Trittler, the owner of Castaic Boat and Marine
in Castaic, California, to test the new Stingray 190 RS.
A long-time Stingray dealer, Trittler was hosting a party for his
employees at Castaic Lake on a beautiful sunny day and we sort of
invited ourselves along(we'd never pass up a party). For this yearly
event, Trittler brings a few of his boats to the lake along with water
skis, wake-boards, music, food and beverages. The company closes early
and all the employees and their families gather for an afternoon of fun
on the water.
We must say that some of his employees are very good wakeboarders,
which made us wonder if maybe they throw this party more often than they
are willing to admit.
Trittler is also one of the most easygoing boat dealers we've ever
met. After we finagled our way into his soiree (under the guise of doing
a boat test), we asked him if we could also shoot our cover shot while
we were there.
"No problem," he said.
"Know anybody who would be willing to volunteer to model?"
"No problem," he said.
"Got a dog we could borrow?" we asked hopefully.
"No problem," he said.
"Have any life jackets?" we asked.
"No problem," he said. (Thank goodness he was prepared.)
Once we got our act together(and tore ourselves away from the
festivities on shore), we launched the Stingray 190 RS. Trittler looked
like a proud papa, "She's a nice little boat, isn't she?"
Revel Without a Care
As we took off across the lake, we immediately were impressed with
the boat's acceleration.
Even with three adults, a child and a dog on board, the 190 RS jumped on
Stingray's patented z--plane hull eliminates the aerated water
beneath the hull, which makes the boat faster, more fuel efficient and
gives it improved handling. It also has a racing-style notched transom,
which allows the engine to be mounted higher to boost performance.
Castaic Lake was completely calm during our test, except for the
wakes of the boats driven by Trittler's employees, which the 190 RS shot
over with barely a thump.
The steering is very responsive through even the tightest maneuvers,
and the hull is able to track straight without much input from the helm.
There is also minimal slide during turns, giving the operator more
Another thing we noticed while sitting in the helm seat, is how easy
it is to read all the gauges and reach all the controls. Ergonomics is
very important to Stingray's designers who have developed a
"virtual boater" they call Oscar, which they use in their CAD
system to manipulate the positioning for seating and controls for the
The computer-generated ergonomic design ensures generous leg room,
correct helm position, convenient control locations and overall comfort
for the driver and passengers. Even Trittler's dog Kota seemed
comfortable during our ride.
The fully instrumented helm on the 190 RS features backlit Teleflex
gauges set in burled wood, tilt steering, a cupholder, a Maxxima AM/FM
cassette stereo, illuminated switches, a 12v outlet and a custom
steering wheel. The passenger-side dash has a glove box and a cupholder
accented with burled wood.
You can design the cockpit seating arrangement to meet your family's
needs. Our test boat had helm and passenger front-to-back lounger seats
and two jump seats aft. You also can order swivel bucket seats and a
full-width aft lounge seat, or several combinations thereof.
All the seats are made with injection molded polypropylene cores
and molded foam inserts covered with 32 ounce UV-stable vinyl.
Passengers seated in the cockpit all have cupholders located within
easy reach and access to the side storage compartments. Passengers are
also protected from the wind by a tempered safety glass windshield with
side vents. The in-floor ski locker offers plenty of room for all your
Additional seating is available in the bow, which features deep
comfortable cushions so that parents will feel safe about letting their
kids ride up front. There is also more storage under the seats and a 36
quart cooler that drains overboard.
Reboarding swimmers and water skiers is easy via the telescoping
stainless steel swim ladder with a convenient stainless steel grabrail
off the roomy integrated swim step.
Raising the Roof
Performing routine engine maintenance is a snap on the 190 RS. Engine
compartment access depends on which seating arrangement you opt for. In
models with the aft jump seats (like our test boat), the engine can be
reached by removing the jump seats and simply lifting the engine box. In
models that have a rear lounge seat, you simply raise the sunpad.
But what really sets the 190 RS - and all Stingrays - apart is the
quality of the construction and detailing. Having grown from a 1,500
square foot plant with 11 employees to more than 200,000 square feet of
production space with more than 100 employees, Stingray Powerboats is
now one of the most technologically sophisticated builders in the world.
A unique overhead tram system, developed just for Stingray, carries
parts around the plant under computer control.
Each boat is created and tested using advanced computer design and
manufacturing programs, and a multi-axis milling machine produces
three-dimensional parts from computer instructions. While many builders
use power saws to trim fiberglass components, Stingray uses a
computer-controlled water-jet cutting machine - that uses a stream of
water .007 of an inch thick, firing at more than 50,000 psi - to cut
quickly and neatly through a variety of material much more easily.
Then the company combines robotics and skilled craftsmanship to
complete its lamination process. And all of Stingray's hulls are
constructed of handlaid fiberglass, with Klegecel and Coremat cores
for a high strength-to-weight ratio.
While this process may seem expensive, it actually allows Stingray
to offer a complete line of affordable boats priced to fit most
families' budgets. As a case in point, the 190 RS costs $13,901 with a
3.OL MerCruiser engine.
If you and your family do buy a Stingray and you find yourselves in
the Los Angeles area, we highly recommend you stop by Castaic Boat and
Marine to say hello to Mr. Trittler. Maybe he'll invite you to the party