Playing With a Full Deck
Stingray 235DR

The 235DR separates itself from the deckboat pack with the sleek styling you usually find on sporty runabouts. Youíd never guess from the profile that you are packing all that extra room up front. But by having the bow taper just a bit rather than having a rectangular shoebox front end, Stingray avoids the family station wagon look.

Unique Factor
The bow section is a study in function with an ultra-wide walkthrough for easy boarding. We flipped open the forward hatch and found a four-step stainless steel boarding ladder along with a Danforth anchor cradle. Wisely, Stingray included a standard shower for rinsing off feet before traipsing about the cockpit with muddy footprints. Fenders get pretty gnarly after being in service for a while, so under the second hatch in the forward walk-through is dedicated storage for a pair of them. If that wasnít enough, going farther back thereís yet a third hatch that uncovers a large built-in cooler that drains overboard.

The 235DR is the second in a new style of deckboat for Stingray. The first was the 220DR, and the main difference is in the stern. On the 220DR, you can construct a sunpad in the cockpit using filler cushions adjacent to the stern bench seat bottom. The larger 235DR has a giant sunpad in the stern with a starboard-side 15-inch-wide walk-through that makes boarding easy on both the passengers and the premium 36- ounce upholstery that features PreFixx coating. This outer armor makes the pristine white upholstery easy to clean no matter what sort of horrors you subject it to. Welchís grape juice that manages to escape the sippy-cup? No problem. Crayon rendition of Mom preparing lunch at the starboard entertainment center? Donít make me laugh.

Performance
You canít talk about a Stingray without a long section on its performance. The Z-Plane hull tends to extract more speed with less power than the competition. Our test boat is equipped with Volvo Pentaís small-block V-8, the 320 hp 5.7L GXi, which has ample room in the engine compartment for maintenance and a fiberglass tub on the port side for storage - an area often wasted. Stingray boats took a page from go-fast boats with a notched transom that allows the outdrive to be mounted higher for less drag. ZP-Strakes help generate lift and create a zone of undisturbed water, which helped us reach plane in less than three seconds with minimal bowrise. That was without using our test boatís optional Bennett trim tabs, which are a must-have addition on a boat thatís an inch shy of 24 feet and weighs 4,175 pounds. You have a choice of hydraulic or electric Lenco tabs. Our test boat has the hydraulic version, probably the better choice for boats seeing saltwater duty.

Stingray boats use Volvo Penta engines exclusively, favoring their smooth-engaging cone clutch. Zero to 30 mph was an impressive 5.1 seconds, accompanied by a satisfying growl as we accelerated. At 3000 rpm we were running 34 mph and this felt like a good econo-cruise speed for this boat. The engine runs very quiet at this velocity - measuring just 82 dBA - and felt like it was just loafing along with little strain. That being said, most people I see running Stingray boats canít resist showing off their speed.

Our top speed was a super-sized lunch away from 60 mph (59.4 mph) with minimal fuel on board. We also learned a valuable tip from Stingray CEO Al Fink, who said you can tell when you are about to run out of gas when the fuel gauge needle stops bouncing. It stopped bouncing just as we approached the dock. Hey, we just didnít want our time on the boat to end.

Handling
The same ZP-Strakes that help the Stingray achieve its speed also help the 235DR turn by not disturbing the water flow with unpredictable vortices. Midsize and smaller I/Os can sometimes be prone to porpoising when trimmed up to reduce wetted surface. This wasnít an issue on our test boat and we were able to air it out without any problems. Trimming down a bit we executed hard turns easily and smoothly without any changes in feel that sometimes can happen with ill-designed chines.

A frequently overlooked aspect of a boatís handling occurs when it is at anchor. Often, deckboats with bow boarding ladders have a pair of bow cleats to either side, and unless the owner fashions a bridle, the result is an uneven pull. Any wave will then cause it to slosh back and forth - something you donít want when guests are trying to sip their tasty beverages. The 235DR has seven standard pull-up cleats, including one at the bowís centerline.

Best Uses
The 235DR is designed to be an all-around performer that doesnít limit your fun. With a bow filler cushion option, in addition to the stern sunpad, relaxing and working on your tan is easy. Like many other boats, the rear sunpad on our test boat has a pair of dark accent panels, which look stylish but can get pretty hot in the summer, but nothing a towel or handful of ice from the rear cooler canít fix.

The 235DR is well designed for skiing with a large centerline ski locker that opens from back to front for easy use and has a pair of hydraulic dams to keep it open.

Preferred Setup
Stingray gives owners a head start with the Convenience Package, which is offered at no charge and includes $3,659 of value-added items. Some of the notable freebies are dual showers, a Porta Potti with pumpout, tilt power steering, a 140-watt MB Quart sound system and a cockpit table, just to name a few.

In fact, itís so well equipped the gotta-have option list is a short one. Our 320 hp Volvo Penta 5.7L GXi is the perfect engine for the 235DR and, as mentioned, only trim tabs and front filler cushions are needed to complete the package.

Boating World
February 2010





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