Stingray's 220LX embodies the company's two decades of finely engineered, sleek and functional
watercraft. A recent visit to the Hartsville, South Carolina plant showed the attention to detail
and quality control that often isn't considered in boat tests. After several circuits around a
small, shallow lake near the company's plant, we were impressed by the boat's looks and handling,
Before we get into all the details of this big, stylish, family-oriented bowrider, we should
tell you about our meeting with Stingray founder and president Al Fink. Lakeland's associate
publisher Mark Conway and I met with Fink on a sultry spring morning and saw how he keeps his whole
operation tapped into the latest technology.
While we waited for the boat to be shined and gassed, Fink showed us how his company's website
lets potential customers design and price a boat, then find a dealership with that particular model
in stock. Even if you're not in the market for a boat, the site is worth checking out.
Fink is a friendly, no-nonsense sort of guy, who's much admired in the boating industry. One of
the fellows who helped with the logistics of the test noted that representatives from some other
boat companies—direct competitors—had recently toured Stingray's facility to see how
the operation ran.
As Fink guided us through his plant, it was plain to see that he demands perfection when it
comes to building the company's fiberglass sterndrives. Stingray offers a five-year hull warranty
and three years against any blistering of the gelcoat.
Just shy of 22 feet, the 220LX should be popular among boaters who want something roomy,
versatile and trailerable. A boat like this offers the option of heading out on the big water or
hitting an inland lake if the weather gets rough.
The 220LX is deceptively big. With sleek lines and a wraparound windshield, it manages to look
compact on the trailer, and you don't realize just how large it is until you're aboard. It can
seat eight people in comfort, with three in the bow area, one in the captain's chair, one in the
passenger chair and three more side by side on the aft sofa. All the seating goes beyond simple
comfort, with back supports right where they should be.
And once you're on the water, you'll find how much you can do with this boat, whether you want
to swim, ski or wakeboard. The wide swim platform features a telescoping ladder for easy access.
You could even fish from this boat with an optional package that allows a front deck and pedestal
seat to be temporarily installed in the bowrider area. People who want to be towed on skis or
watertoys will definitely find this boat has enough get-up-and-go for just about anything they'd
want to do. With half of the 39-gallon tank filled with gas, plus two of us aboard, the boat's
5.0L MPI from MerCruiser popped the rig right on plane with the briefest loss of vision over the
bow—vision lost only when seated deep in the helm seat. Converting this seat to something
of a leaning post by folding the outside part of the seat cushion against the seat back is simple.
And from this perch, there's no loss of vision. Plus, the 260-hp 5.0L is not even the highest
power option. Top power is the brutish 6.2L MPI. In between are four different 5.7-liter
powerplants and 4.3-liter models with electronic fuel injection from MerCruiser and Volvo
Our test boat with its 5.0-liter Merc topped out at 60.27 mph according to company statistics.
Stingray says that's actually a bit faster than last year's models with the bigger 5.7-liter
But high speed is only part of the reason to buy this boat. It's also a great place for
entertaining even when at anchor. Speaking of anchors, the 220LX has a compartment in the nose,
shaped to hold a fluke-style anchor so it won't rattle around. It's a nice touch that's not
always found on bowriders.
There are plenty of places to store other goodies, too. You can slip towels and other on-water
accessories into the roomy compartments under the bow seats; lifejackets and some other items can
be stowed next to the engine, under the cover, protected by barriers. These removable barriers
also give easy access to the sides of the powerplant when they're taken out. The optional
Sunbrella canvas set also can be stowed under the engine cover.
Holders for beverages can be found just about everywhere but the bow area, with two holders
on each side and just forward of the bench seat in back. The driver and passenger each have one,
too. The holders are all big enough to accommodate a can in a foam cooler. Keep some beverages
and a picnic lunch on ice in a floor compartment just aft of the roomy ski/wakeboard storage bin,
which runs between the captain and passenger seats.
For musical entertainment, you can crank up the Kenwood AM/FM CD player with two speakers,
which delivered big sound.
Our boat featured full instrumentation, including a Teleflex digital depth gauge (optional),
an oil pressure, temperature, trim fuel and battery gauge, a tachometer and a speedo.
This is a nice boat for skiing or slow cruising, one that many in the Lakeland area will find
worth looking into when shopping for a larger bowrider that performs like a champ.