The Stingray designers who crafted the company's patented Z-Plane
hull and worked scores of ergonomically engineered elements into the
design of the new Stingray 240LS probably would have had a seizure if
they'd heard my first question. "Where's the head?" I ask, momentarily
dismissing the 240LS's sexy lines, plush upholstery and spirited
However, the question is not actually as flippant as it might sound
at first. The 240LS, with a built-in freshwater system, transom shower
and cockpit sink/bar, as well as plush cockpit seating that looks like
something out of a nice studio apartment, is a bowrider designed to
address serious creature comforts. And, as my spouse has made me
compellingly aware in boat-buying ventures in the past, a good potty,
while anything but glamorous, is at the top of any reasonable list of
And so it speaks well for the 240LS when I flip open a door in the
passageway between the bow and the main cockpit and find a generous
sized head compartment with an overhead light and a small hatch for
It's not, of course, as if the Stingray 240LS is the only bowrider
that incorporates a head these days. Enclosed heads, and a host of
other civilizing elements, have worked their way into a lot of sport
boats recently, even some bowriders. But what impresses me about the
240LS is the way Stingray has worked in elements such as the sink,
potty, shower and a host of other markedly non-sporty features, and
still kept this boat feeling like the hot sportcraft its typical
buyer is seeking.
Stepping aboard the 240LS is an invigorating experience. It has a
sense of style, carried out not just by the overall silhouette of
its racy-looking hull, but basically involving every line of the boat
you see from any vantage point inside the craft. The designers used
an ergonomic dummy, created from specs supplied by the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT), which they fit into all the various
spots that humans would be fitting into when they are aboard the
boat. The result is a boat interior that feels right in every place
you stand, lie or sit.
The test boat is equipped with the 280-hp, 5.7L Volvo Penta
Gsi/SX, which snaps us up on plane in the 3-second range every time,
maxing out at just more than 51 mph (at 5200 rpm), and giving us a
dandy cruising speed of 32.2 mph at 3200 rpm. And all this is done
relatively quietly. We don't have the decibel meter cranked up at
the time of this test, but one good indicator of the Stingray's
quiet performance is this: It's easy to carry on a conversation with
other people in the boat without having to yell, even when clipping
along in Biscayne Bay at speeds of more than 40 mph.
A good portion of the 240LS's performance — even its quiet ride
— must be attributed to the carefully designed hull features.
Stingray's approach to the high-tech hull design competition that's
been going on among manufacturers for the past few years is called
the Z-Plane hull.
In this design, which was first introduced in 1988, the strakes
are cut to face the keel instead of facing out to the chines.
Although originally intended to enhance handling, which it did, the
Z-Plane's patented running surface has also proven to boost speed.
The combination of the Z-Plane design and reverse chines along the
outside edges of the hull give the boat a nice, sure-footed ride,
almost as if it were riding on a steel rail under the water — no
sliding out in turns.
This doesn't make the 240LS unique. I've tested other boats that
hang in there on the turns as well as the 240LS, but I haven't run
across any that do it better or smoother — so this boat would go in
the upper echelon of hull performance.
Another hull design element that enhances performance is the
notched transom. It allows the outdrive to ride higher in the
water, reducing drag in the same way that you do when you trim up
when you're on a plane. The 240LS outdrive simply starts out higher
in the water, and can of course be trimmed up from there. This
notched transom is also not a unique Stingray feature, but when
combined with the other hull design elements, it delivers a
Notable storage features include a stowage locker built into
the floor of the swim platform. There's no need to drag that long,
wet ski rope into the cockpit when the skier comes aboard just
stow it in the swim platform. Too bad that the locker is not big
enough to stick in a pair of skis. Alas, I know of no boat that has
that feature. Like most sport boats manufactured on the planet, the
240LS has a ski locker in the cabin floor; just ahead of the center
of the boat.
The 240LS offers another good storage spot in what basically
amounts to a small closet in the bulk-head area in front of the
helm console. It's the corresponding half of the bulkhead to where
the enclosed head is found, located in front of the passenger seat.
Inside this storage closet there's enough room for the table top
that can be set up in the stern of the boat, as well as the two
cushions that will turn the area into a gunwale-to-gunwale
bed/playpen. When you don't want to use the table or the cushions,
it's easy to stow them away in this locker and still have room for
an assortment of your own personal junk, which will stay nice and
dry once you shut the door.
Symmetry was clearly important to the designers of the 240LS.
Just as they offset the head compartment with a corresponding
locker on the opposite side of the boat, they've also offset the
cockpit sink with a corresponding built-in cooler on the opposite
side of the cockpit. What adds to the look of both the sink and
the built-in cooler is that they are molded into the body of the
boat itself, giving them smooth, seamless lines.
However, the boat violates one of my minor pet peeves — like
most sport boats, it's difficult to get from the swim platform to
the cockpit without stepping on upholstered surfaces — so you
better use that transom shower nozzle on your feet or you'll have
footprints all over. You can, however, go from the bow into the
cockpit without hitting upholstery, stepping on a non-skid surface
that covers a forward, built-in cooler.
One of the redeeming qualities of this boat, if you are one of
those neat freaks who doesn't like dirty carpeting, is that the
entire interior has a tidy-looking, fiberglass, non-skid liner
that's easy to clean with a sponge.
Another important standard feature, if you happen to live in
warmer climates, is a Sunbrella Bimini top. Get that top up, open
the little butterfly windows in the wraparound windshield, and
you've got an instant, natural air conditioner.
The more you use the 240LS, the more you will discover little
ergonomic surprises fashioned with the use of that dummy from MIT
(which is a contradiction in terms). There's a nice little armrest
for the helmsman's left arm, set just at the level of the throttle.
The helm and passenger seats pivot and slide back and forth, so
it's almost impossible not to find a position that fits your
Even though there are options for a full cockpit canvas, you
won't necessarily want to overnight aboard the 240LS. But the level
of comfort that Stingray has designed into the boat makes it more
than a worthy place to spend long days on the water.