It's been a long day. You awoke at the crack of dawn, only to hit the road and be greeted by rush-hour
traffic and a subsequent 4-hour car drive. So you're relieved when you finally get the chance to relax, and
seize the opportunity to stretch out on a soft mattress. Dimming the lights, you close your eyes and feel
yourself being lulled to sleep by the soft motion of the water rolling back and forth. But just as you're
nodding off, you're abruptly awakened by the sound of the cabin door being opened and a ray of sunlight
shining rudely into your face. A Stingray representative peers at you through the light, a bit embarrassed,
and asks, "Uh...would you like to drive the boat now?"
Bolting upright, you make a quick mental note of the headroom that allows you to sit up without crushing
your skull, and then assure him that you were just testing out the leg room in the cabin area. Before he has
time to notice your nose growing Pinocchio-style, you bound past him and head to the cockpit to put the new
Stingray 250CR—the company's flagship cuddy cabin—through the paces.
Stepping up to the captain's seat, you take a quick glance at the well-laid-out console before grabbing
the wheel and pushing the throttle forward. Acceleration from 0 to 30 mph is achieved in a solid 8.1 seconds
with the optional 280-hp, 5.7L Volvo Penta MPI DP engine (standard power is a 220-hp Volvo Penta). At a
cruising speed in the 30- to 40-mph range, the handling is excellent. Putting the 250CR through an array of
twists, turns and figure 8s at this speed, the hull never fails to feel solid underneath you. As an added
bonus, the windshield provides a nice modicum of protection from the elements.
Feeling invigorated by the rush of fresh air, all thoughts of your recent slumber trail away, and you jam
the throttle forward to see how the boat runs at wide-open throttle. The 250CR tops out at 53.5 mph and feels
solid as you air it out in a straightaway. Feeling your oats, you whip the 250CR into some high-speed turns.
As expected, the boat feels a little more skittish in tight turns at this speed. But of course, your typical
boater won't be executing these sort of maneuvers during a leisurely day on the water. All in all, the 250CR
gets high marks for handling.
Turning over the wheel to the Stingray rep, you stretch out in the U-shaped stern seating (which also
converts to an aft sunpad by adding some filler cushions). Underneath the seats, you'll find additional
storage space. From this comfy position, you spy a couple of oversized cupholders starboard, as well as a
compartment you later discover houses a trash can. Shifting your gaze to port, you notice a sink and Igloo
cooler, from which you extract a large water bottle in an effort to "beat the heat."
As the driver slows the 250CR to a stop, a better idea comes to mind: getting your feet wet...literally.
It's the perfect chance to see what the 250CR's integrated extended platform is all about. Scampering to
the back, you're impressed with the platform's spaciousness, and the water feels so good that an all-out
swim seems in order. Unfortunately, you didn't bring a bathing suit today, so there won't be an opportunity
to hop in and reboard via the three-step boarding ladder.
All this sun is making you tired, so another trip to the cuddy cabin to escape the elements seem like a
good idea. After assuring your co-pilot that you won't be doing any more slumbering (uh...boat testing), you
can head in for a closer look at the cabin. Your first impression is that it's a good size for this genre
of boat. One of the key questions a buyer should consider when purchasing a cuddy is whether you're
interested in overnighting on your boat, and if so, if the model you're considering is roomy enough to allow
you to spend the night on it. In the case of the 250CR, there's definitely room for two to sleep comfortably
without feeling overly claustrophobic. As a matter of fact, if you put up the Bimini top and add some optional
curtains, you can even sleep two kids in the aft berth (by adding the filler cushions).
The cuddy area is well laid out, with all sorts of goodies underneath the seat cushions. On the port side,
lifting the seat reveals a portable gas cooker, a nice touch if you want to whip up a little treat during an
overnight jaunt or long day on the water. Underneath the center seat closest to the cockpit is a pump-out
head. It's utilitarian, but it'll do the trick. Lifting up the cushions further toward the bow and to
starboard, you'll find a little extra storage space. Other notable cabin features include a freshwater sink,
two speakers for enjoying some tunes and plenty of ventilation. All in all, it's a stellar cabin for a boat
of this size.
Emerging from "below decks" before any thoughts of sleep can tempt you again, you're told that it's time
to head back to shore. Already? En route, you notice some onlookers admiring the 250CR from their vantage
point on other boats. You can't blame them, as this model boasts some crisp new styling, from the graphics
on the side to the more subtle touches like the stainless steel pop-up cleats.
Pulling up to the dock provides an unexpected opportunity to test out the integrated steps leading from
the cockpit up to the bow. When a burst of wind pushes your co-pilot toward a nearby boat, you're forced to
make a mad dash up top to make sure no contact is made. As it turns out, the steps are as functional as they
are nicely worked into the boat's design. And some nifty steering by your co-pilot gets you back on track,
so all's well.
So, brass tacks aside, what will Stingray's new 250CR set you back? The answer is just $37,329 (base
price), a reasonable amount for a 25-footer that offers a solid cruising performance, amenities that allow
you to spend a full day on the water in comfort, and even overnighting capabilities. With the test engine,
the price rises to a still-modest $42,577. As an added bonus, with a beam of 8 feet 6 inches, the 250CR is
trailerable. Sure, after some time out on the water socializing, sunning and swimming, it may put you to
sleep. But in this case, that's a good thing.
by Ryan McNally