Lakeland Boating May 2005

Stingray Powerboats
Stingray 250CR

Lakeland Boating - May 2005

This pocket cruiser is quite the anniversary present.

Stingray 250CR

What better way for a boat manufacturer to celebrate its 25th anniversary than to launch a brand-spankin'-new 25-footer? Stingray actually debuted several models at its 2005 dealer meeting, but it's the 250CR (and its open-bow 250LR cousin) that serve as the boatbuilder's flagships.

While the bowrider version is self-explanatory, the 250CR isn't so clear-cut. To label the boat as a cuddy cabin doesn't do justice to its many cruiser-like amenities, but then its zippy sportboat-like performance and sleek profile aren't characteristic of a typical cruiser, either. So I'm taking the liberty of calling it a pocket cruiser.

Some of its cruiser features include a cabin with a V-berth large enough to sleep two in comfort. (A couple can sleep in the cockpit when filler cushions are in place, and an optional canvas package encloses the entire space.) Beneath the cabin berth's center cushion is a porta-potti. Unlike most cuddy cabins that require physically removing the portable head or dragging a filthy pumpout hose through the cabin, the 250CR's head is equipped with a self-contained holding tank connected to a convenient dockside pumpout. Although there's no separate enclosed head compartment, the cabin's bifold doors can be locked for privacy.

A cruiser must have a means to store and prep food, of course. The 250CR comes with a 25-quart carry-on cooler with dedicated storage beneath the cockpit's refreshment center on the port side of the boat just aft of the passenger seat. The top contains a molded-in sink with pressurized water, a small countertop and drink holders. Directly across from it, aft of the driver's seat, is another built-in counter that contains a molded-in cooler with a removable lid. Beneath it, right where it's needed, is a trash receptacle. There's also a portable single burner butane stove, which comes in a nifty carrying case that stows in a recessed tray under the berth. The fact that it and the cooler are carry-ons gives you the freedom to move your dining party to a private beach.

The 250CR is one of the Stingray models to feature an extra-large swim platform. The added room makes it easier to don waterskis or hop on a wakeboard, or simply sit with your feet dangling in the water as you watch the sun set. The platform also houses an integrated storage compartment so that ski lines, gloves, snorkels and the like are within easy reach. A retractable boarding ladder recesses beneath a flush-mounted hatch, so it's easily accessible, yet not a cause of stubbed toes.

Access from the swim platform to the self-boarding cockpit is different from most boats. To create the greatest possible amount of cockpit seating, Stingray designed a step-through transom in lieu of a walk-through. Passengers go over a notched-out portion of the transom rather than through it. The seat cushion removes to reveal a solid step pad. The arrangement means there's room for a full-width bench seat, both ends of which wrap forward to form a U-shaped lounge. A built-in socket pedestal lets you quickly set up a table for meals and games. Or add filler cushions and the lounge becomes a massive sunning area or berth.

The 250CR also sports Stingray's Z-plane hull, which employs lifting strakes with rounded, rather than sharp, edges. The company says the design allows water to flow over the hull without forming bubbles or vortices so that the propeller gets a more solid bite. The hull also incorporates a notched transom—a proven performance-enhancing feature long used on race boats.

Stingray offers several engine options. Base power is a carbureted 220-hp Volvo Penta 5.0 with an SX drive (MerCruiser units are also available). The boat I tested, however, was rigged with a more potent 320-hp fuel-injected, 5.7-liter engine coupled to a Duoprop drive, which turned this pocket cruiser into a pocket rocket. So equipped, I hit a top speed of 53.6 mph, much faster than the common cruiser. But even when clipping along at wide-open throttle, the 250CR felt tame. The optimum cruising speed is in the 3000 rpm range, where the boat runs about 30 mph and nets 3.7 mpg. The boat maneuvers much like a runabout, carving tight turns on demand and jumping on plane quickly.

LOA 25'
Beam 8'6"
Draft 2'10"
Bridge Clearance 5'5"
Weight 5,086 lbs.
Sleeps 4
Fuel Capacity 68 gals.
Base Power Volvo Penta
5.0 SX (220 hp)
Base Price $37,329
Power as Tested Volvo Penta 5.7 GXi
DuoProp (320 hp)
Price as Tested $42,577

Another benefit of the 250CR is that it's trailerable. With a wet weight of 5,086 pounds (add about 1,100 pounds for a trailer), it falls well within the towing capacity of a host of SUVs and trucks. And its beam is legally trailerable without special permits in many states, including Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, and Ohio.

Stingray chose to celebrate its anniversary by giving us a new pocket cruiser that has all the essentials for extended stay and distance, plus the performance characteristics of a nimble sportboat. And the company did it at an affordable price.

Randy Scott


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