Stingray Powerboats
Red-Hot Stinger
Powerboat Magazine - December 1999

WITH A POTENT SMALL-BLOCK PROVIDING THE JUICE THE STINGRAY 220SX TURNED IN A SIZZLING PERFORMANCE.

Stingray 220SX

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 its capabilities.

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.

Stingray 220SX

Performance
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 production-boat companies.

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 stainless-steel propeller.

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 must.

Given its formidable top speed and size, the 220SX was, in all respects, a driver's boat.

Workmanship
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 appropriately mounted.

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.

Stingray 220SX

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.

Interior
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 necessary.

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 starboard gunwale.

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.

Stingray 220SX

Skiing
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.

Overall
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.

Powerboat Magazine Cover - December 1999

Powerboat Magazine
December 1999


Test Results

HULL INFORMATION
Deadrise at transom
Centerline
Beam
Hull weight
19 degrees
21'6"
8'1"
3,338 pounds

PRICING INFORMATION
Base Retail
Price as tested
$28,738
$43,331

ENGINE & PROPELLER
Engine
Cylinder type
Cubic-inch displacement/hp
Lower unit gear ratio
Propeller
Mercury Racing Scorpion 377
V-8
377/360
1.5:1
Merc Laser II 13 3/4"x23"

STANDARD EQUIPMENT

Z-plane hull, automatic/manual bilge pump, bilge power, stainless-steel hardware, electronic fuel sending unit, power trim and tilt with indicator, compass, sport Bimini top, integrated swim platform, ski-tow and ladder, lockable cabin doors, Porta Potti, deck hatch, insulated ice chest, alcohol stove and freshwater sink, adjustable vent wings, 12-volt accessory plug, cockpit lighting, custom lit steering wheel, hour meter, Sony CD stereo, sport bucket seats.


OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT

Upgrade to Mercury Racing Scorpion 377 engine ($11,261), Captains Call exhaust system ($1,719), solid color ($846), stainless-steel propeller ($377), digital depthfinder ($294), remote trim and tilt switch ($96).


ACCELERATION
3 seconds
5 seconds
10 seconds
15 seconds
18 mph
25 mph
43 mph
55 mph

MID-RANGE ACCELERATION
20-40 mph
30-50 mph
30-60 mph
6.1 seconds
6.9 seconds
13.3 seconds

RPM VS. MPH
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
4500
5000
7 mph
9 mph
19 mph
41 mph
45 mph
49 mph
57 mph
63 mph
68 mph

TOP SPEED AT RPM
Speedometer
Radar
78 mph
70.2 mph at 5000

PLANING
Time to Plane
Minimum planing speed
5.4 seconds
NA

FUEL ECONOMY
At 35 mph
At 45 mph
At 55 mph
At WOT
3.5 mpg
3.4 mpg
2.8 mpg
2.5 mpg

FUEL CAPACITY

39 gallons

TEST CONDUCTED AT

Sarasota, Fla.



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