What's more fun than shooting through turns like a marble rolled
through a curved pipe at hyperspeed? When you're at the helm of
Stingray's new 240LS bowrider,the answer is, not much. Thanks to its
patented Z-Plane hull design, the 240LS cuts corners sharply enough to
make waterbikers idle down and stare.
How does this boat make those chatter-free U-turns and still stay
easy to drive? Stingray says it's because the hull has no vertical
surfaces below the waterline. On other boats, the sides of the strakes
or chines are often straight up and down. If not designed properly
these can grip in a hard turn, or worse, let go at the wrong time and
cause a spinout. On the 240LS, the parts of the hull that act as strakes
have sides that angle outward to prevent this. When I straight-armed the
throttle with the helm hard-over, we switched ends like a surfer pulling
a backside 180. We barely slowed at all, dropping only 300 rpm at the
turn's apex. So Stingray's theory does hold water (with a death grip)
The hull also helps achieve higher speeds with a notched transom
that raises the drive slightly to reduce drag. In addition, the Z-Plane
reduces air bubbles along the strakes, which can be carried aft and
cause prop cavitation.
If you're worried that the more conservative members of your crew may
balk when you run the 240LS to its potential, don't be. Its cockpit is
comfortably safe, with a minimum depth of 2'7". Bolted grabrails are
properly placed and the standard fiberglass liner (snap-in carpet is a
$392 option) is self-bailing and surfaced with non slip. Even dockside
boarding is made more secure with a wet stowage box/transom step that's
molded onto the aft platform.
What didn't I like? While standing, my thighs rubbed the wheel and
my calves hit the seat cushion. A seat that could be adjusted farther
aft would be nice. Also, the bilge pump's discharge hose was merely
slipped over the end of its through-hull. I'd prefer to see a pair of
clamps securing this hose.
Bayliner's 2350 Capri LS is as comparable a boat as you'll find. At
$26,795 with the same 300 hp as our test boat, it is a good performer,
although it doesn't pull hairpins like the Stingray. It would take a
waterbike to do that. But then again, you wouldn't be able to enjoy the
fun with seven of your friends.