Speed-seeking buyers of sport boats in the 22' or 26' range traditionally
have had two power choices: a stock big-block, often a little on the hefty
side for the boat; or a built-up small-block, often on the temperamental,
prone-to-breakdown side. To give them another alternative for 2000, the
folks at Mercury Racing in Fond du Lac, Wis., reworked their Scorpion Ski
motor into a stern-drive package.
The result is the 360-hp Scorpion 377, which we came to love in the
Stingray 220SX we tested in Sarasota, Fla. The 21'6"-long, 8'1"-wide hot
rod proved an ideal platform for the still scarcely available engine. In
turn, the engine provided the wallop needed for the nifty boat to show off
Base price for the 220SX with a tame MerCruiser 5.7L EFI engine is
$28,738. The exotic small-block, solid-color graphics and other options
upped the price to $43,331.
In the world of powerboating, that's actually a reasonable price for
a high-performance 22-footer.
We weren't surprised when Stingray, based in Hartsville, SC brought a
boat to us with what is arguably the hardest motor to get in the Mercury
Racing Hi-Performance line. (At this writing, there were only 12 on the
market.) Stingray is among the most technologically aggressive
The 220SX boasted the company's patented Z-plane hull, which had
strakes cut into—rather than built onto—the running surface.
The variable-dead-rise (19 degrees at the transom) bottom also
incorporated a negative chine and a notched transom.
Handling the power from the small-block was a Bravo One Performance
drive with a low-water pickup and a 1.5:1 reduction. At the business
end of the package was a Mercury Laser II 13 3/4" x 23" three-blade
A company representative estimated that the boat would run 70.5
mph. It came impressively close, reaching 70.2 mph in seriously sloppy
1' to 2' wind chop.
The 220SX was somewhat soft in standing-start acceleration drills.
Its mediocre time to plane of 5.4 seconds didn't bother us, but the
skyward attitude of the boat's nose during the process did. However,
in a battery of mid-range acceleration tests the boat proved strong
and consistent, running from 20 to 40 mph in 6.1 seconds and 30 to
50 mph in 6.9 seconds.
Time and again, the Z-plane hull has proven efficient in our tests.
Without question, it is fast and agile, and that showed in the way
our Z-plane-equipped 220SX carved cleanly through slalom and circle
turns up to 40mph without a slip. At speeds from 50 to 60 mph, the
boat still handled cleanly, yet felt light. Constant attention to
trim, and the adjustment of it, especially in rougher water, was a
Given its formidable top speed and size, the 220SX was, in all
respects, a driver's boat.
Stingray did a fine job with out test boat's unforgiving red gelcoat,
as well as its mold work. According to the manufacturer, the boat was
laid up with multiple layers of woven roving, Klegecell and Coremat.
A black plastic rubrail with a stainless-steel insert protected the
boat from scratches and dings, and no major gaps or seams were
evident in the installation.
For a small sport boat, the 220SX featured an impressive array
of hardware starting with a nav light on the nose and circular hatch
with an aluminum bezel in the center of the deck. There was a cleat
on each side of the walk-through windshield and another cleat on
each side of the transom. A two-step ladder folded into a molded
recess in the nonskid swim platform, and a handle and ski tow were
All the way aft, a small section of the sunlounge was hinged.
Under this section were bilge vents, a remote drive-trim switch and
a fuel fill.
The manual engine hatch/sunpad opened on two gas shocks. Inside,
the high-performance small-block was lag-bolted to the stringers and
further secured with the standard transom assembly. While the
installation seemed secure, mounting the engine with L-angles
thru-bolted to the stringers would be ideal. To further improve the
rigging, the manufacturer might consider better supporting the wiring
and applying flotation foam on the transom more evenly—both
were acceptable for a production model but, frankly, the boat as
priced deserved better.
You don't find many 22' cuddy runabouts, much less sport boats,
with a galley and a head in the cabin, but the 220SX had both.
Under a V-berth cushion to port was a sink, at center was a portable
head and all the way to starboard was an alcohol stove. At the very
least, these amenities plus the V-berth would fill the bill for a
second-home tax deduction.
The cockpit layout included two swiveling bucket seats and a
three-person bench seat. The co-pilot's bucket to port, within easy
reach of a Sony CD stereo and a locking glove box, was average for
the breed. To starboard, the driver's bucket had a flip-up bottom
cushion to give vertically challenged pilots extra elevation when
A complete set of backlit Teleflex gauges, as well as a
Humminbird depth-sounder, was at the helm. None of the gauges was
blocked from view by the Dino tilt steering wheel, and the
Quicksilver 3000 Classic throttle/shifter was mounted on the
Fold-out steps were mounted on the port side of the driver's
console. Combined with the walk-through windshield, they made for
good foredeck access.
Cockpit stowage options included small gunwale trays with
cupholders and a long compartment under the bench-seat bottom,
which opened on a two-position hinge. Items too large to fit in
this area, such as wakeboards, would likely go in the cabin.
In water-skiing and wakeboaring, the 220SX came up a little bit
short—even for a sport boat. Both our drivers had to
constantly correct their course with a skier or boarder in tow.
Our boarder had no trouble coming up and found the wakes
acceptable for beginners. Our skier was dragged underwater until
the boat came on plane and found the wakes too large for anything
more than recreational slalom runs.
Bottom line: You can tow a skier or boarder with the 220SX. It
has enough power to do the job, a tow eye and a boarding ladder.
But that's not what the boat was designed for.
While we'd like to see a couple of workmanship items addressed on
the 220SX, its spunky performance made it a blast to drive. The
upgrade to a Scorpion 377 motor accounts for roughly 10 percent
of the as-tested price, but for speed lovers the small-block is
the perfect match for this 22' hot rod.