Stingray Powerboats
Hotshot
Motor Boating & Sailing - October 1998
230SX link

"I never knew hot boats could actually raise the temperature of a body of water," I observe. We are standing on the docks at Lake Robinson, near Hartsville, S.C., watching a dozen or more runabouts perform. The heat emanating from the lake weighs on our skin.

Al Fink, president of Stingray Boats, grins.

"This whole lake is a cooling pond for that nuke over there," he says.

I peer at the tower peeking through the pines. I prefer my version.

A few minutes later, I step aboard the fire-engine red 230SX closed-deck sportboat and in about the time it takes to get the boat up on plane--i.e., a nanosecond or two--my curly locks have been straightened out by the apparent breeze. These boats are quick.

Al Fink is right about one other thing: "This is a real sensitive boat," he said. "It's like a fighter plane: it goes where you point, right now."

Does it ever!

This little hotshot is the end product of what has to be the most technologically advanced boat company in the world. Al Fink, the ultimate tech head, was using computers, high-pressure water jets to cut parts, and five-axis routers to perfect hull shapes before most folks ever heard about them. He was the first boat company on the World Wide Web and by, 1999, he will have expanded his database so that every buyer of Stingray boats--model years 1997 forward--will have their boats listed by serial number. Punch it in and call up complete construction data on your boat. All parts and builder history are listed.

230SX Meanwhile, out on the lake, I'm admiring his handiwork from several different angles, not the least of which are comfort and style.

The 230SX has a handsome, functional helm station with a black dash and very fighter-plane-looking gauges. Two bolster seats drop down (an option) so you can stand, if you like. Under the console is a swing-out step for getting up and through the walk-through, although you can only use it when the cabin door is closed. There also is a rear bench seat for three diminutive lovelies or two people who've just feasted on tomatoes, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and biscuits, which I just had. (Al is the consummate host.) Handholds on both sides. Necessary item.

Below, there is an ingenious V-berth with three cushions on the after end. Under the one on the far left is a sink; the center one lifts to reveal a Porta Potti, and the one on the right conceals a one-burner Origo 2000 alcohol stove. Nice round hatch over the berth. You could live on this boat. Sort of. Neat for overnighting, though.

Power on the 230SX is a single 300-hp Merc Mag MPI with Bravo I outdrive. In the engine room, flanking the engine, are two carpeted panels that swing up to form storage spaces.

Back on the dock, the laconic Al Fink watches as I reinvent my coif.

"They're good on handling a load," he says. (Am I supposed to take this personally?) "If you like to drive a ten-year-old station wagon, you won't like our boats. If you like the sensitivity and response of a Porsche, you'll love them."

Al Fink is right about that, too. Al Fink is right about a lot of things.

Roy Attaway
Motor Boating & Sailing
October 1998




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