You'd expect a manufacturer to brag about the top end of a new sportboat. After all, speed
sells. But when I asked Bruce Hawkins, vice president of sales and marketing for Stingray
Powerboats, about the 200MS, his idea of a noteworthy feature was the boat's low-end capability.
"You can stay on plane down to about 18 mph," he said. "That's ideal for wakeboarding."
It's this type of out-of-the-box thinking that led to the design of Stingray's latest fish/ski
boat. Intended for a range of activities, the 200MS is the builder's second center console and
its first vessel with jack-shafted propulsion in 21 years.
Concealed beneath an insulated engine box abaft twin bucket seats at the console, a 210-hp
MerCruiser 4.3L EFI connects to a jackshaft that works like the crankshaft on a car, extending
through a coupler to meet the stern drive. A type of propulsion sometimes seen in ski boat, this
arrangement shifts engine weight forward for quicker planing and for planing at lower speeds.
I had a chance to test this boat, which Hawkins terms a "sport utility", at Stingray's recent
2001 new model presentation in Hartsville, SC. As I sped away from the testing facility on Lake
Robinson, one of my companions commented, "I'm impressed by how quiet this boat is. That's unusual
for a mid-engine." Case in point: I could hear him without having to back off the throttle.
Running the boat in choppy waters with three adults on board, it took 8.3 seconds for the
Stingray to get on plane, and we were able to stay on plane down to about 20 mph. Top end was a
respectable 50 mph. Tight tracking and quick course corrections affirmed the ability of the boat's
power steering, as well as its patented Z-plane hull. This running bottom boasts a 2'6" draft,
making the 200MS suitable for shallow-water fishing. A sharp bow entry kept us bone dry.
Standard items include two fish boxes forward that create a raised casting platform protected
by a high rail. The transom doubles as a rigging station, with a 14-gallon livewell and two more
fish boxes. The gunwales feature flushmounted rod holders on top and built-in rod storage
beneath. Additional equipment include tackle drawers, an anchor locker, a telescoping stainless
steel boarding ladder and a 25-quart ice chest with dedicated storage.
The 200MS that I drove was armed for angling, with an optional T-top perfect for mounting
electronics; a radar/ski arch is also offered as an option. Whether you decide to rig this
Stingray for fishing, skiing, diving, or other water sports, the 200MS is one "sport ute" fit
for marine use.
Motor Boating Magazine