Stingray Powerboats
Boat Test - Stingray 220LX

Lakeland Boating - June 2002

It's no surprise such a sleek performer should come
out of such a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant.

Stingray 220LX

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, too.

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 Penta.

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 MerCruiser.

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.


Lakeland Boating Performance Chart - June 2002

Boat Specifications
Length: 21'6"
Beam: 8'1"
Draft: 2'9"
Weight: 2,883lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 39 gals.
Power as tested: M 5.0 MPI A1 S/D(260hp)
Price as tested: $27,104
Standard Equipment Includes
5-year hull protection plan • 3-year hull blister protection plan • Z-plane hull • high-output bilge blower • insulated ice/storage box • bow anchor storage • bow storage • safety glass windshield side shields • fully integrated nonskid swim platform • stainless steel welded bowrails • stainless steel hardware package • stainless steel stern, bow & spring line cleats • stainless steel multi-step boarding ladder • all-weather 20-ounce marine carpet • indirect cockpit lighting • backlit instrumentation & switches • ergonomic four-spoke steering wheel • integrated electric horn • premium 32-ounce vinyl w/ foam backing • molded helm seats w/ fore & aft adjustments • woodgrain trim package • oversized cup holders • power trim & tilt w/ indicator • remote oil change system • power steering

Optional Equipment Includes
Sunbrella canvas set • side curtains • mooring cover • Sunbrella cockpit cover w/ support pole • Sunbrella bow cover w/ support pole • walk-through flap • digital depthfinder w/ depth alarm • automatic fire-extinguishing system • battery on/off switch w/ safety key • remote trim & tilt switch

Dave Mull
Lakeland Boating


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