Stingray Powerboats
King of the Lake

Motor Boating & Sailing - August 1999

Stingray’s peppy 230LX establishes a new benchmark for summer thrills.

by Roy Attaway

230LX - King of the Lake

Aficionados of the breed know Stingray boats well. These hot, flashy little runabouts have put Hartsville, S.C., on the map as the home of speed-plus-panache. It does not surprise me, then, when the speedo on a brand new 230LX wraps around past 65 mph at 4900 rpm. I don't know how accurate that was, but the shoreline was a blur.

What really amazes me, though, is how secure the ride feels at this ear-flattening scream across the pine-pollen flecked waters of Lake Robinson. Chad Fink, younger son of Stingray founder and chairman Al Fink, is grinning. I think he's pleased with my reaction. It could be, however, it just could be he's contemplating the new batch of barbecue sauce he's planning to make. Mustard-based, please. South Carolina style. Chad and I are kindred spirits and when the talk doesn't center around boats and fishing, it's southern food. Maybe that's what they use for a fiberglass catalyst in these boats: mustard. Might help explain their explosive acceleration.

230LX Sundeck

Chad's father said it best last summer when I came here for a ride (and a plate of fried chicken): "It's like a fighter plane," he said. "Just point it where you want to go and it'll do it instantly."

The muscle in this classy waterborne Deuce Coupe is a 300-hp 350 MAG MPI Alpha. Mated to Stingray's Z-Plane hull, it is a thrill-a-minute ego booster. The hull itself is the product of Al Fink's long-standing romance with technology and a determination to produce the perfect hull shape. This is done through constant testing, using a five-axis router to tweak the bottom.

Stingray, in fact, has a long list of "firsts" in the boating industry, including the first company to use a CAD-driven CNC flat bed router to cut production parts precisely.

Back at the dock at the Finks' lakeside summer cottage, I examined the 230LX a little more closely. The seats are all very comfortable, helm and companion, and a rear bench that could accommodate three or four, depending on the size of the bathing suit you're filling out (watch the fried chicken). And stowage is remarkable, including excellent dry space under the front seats. A rope locker doubles as a cooler and there is a 36-quart cooler in the center of the cockpit. (The rear bench flips up for ski stowage.)

The sunpad lifts quite easily on hydraulic rams and reveals a roomy compartment for even such a hairy engine. There is more stowage outboard of the block, separated from it by padded dividers.

230LX Bow

The walk-through to the bow is comfortably wide, as well.

The helm is as handsome as they come, with dark, faux burl and stainless steel bezels around the instruments: oil, temp, rpm, mph, trim, fuel, and engine hour meter. A Sony cassette player is one of the standard items, as is a tilt steering wheel and a compass. Engine control is the classic Quicksilver 3000 throttle/gear shift. Switches, for a blower, nav and cockpit lights, et al., are easily at hand.

An integrated swim platform has a stainless steel boarding ladder and there is an ss ski tow ring, too. Really good, useful stainless grabrails abound, in case you hit a wave or a big wake. It's OK to muss a Sweet Thang's coif, you just don't want to get it wet.

Among other considerations, Stingray's five-year owner protection plan is good reason to give this boat a serious look. Also, with Al's new database, you can order any part for this boat right over the Internet. In fact, you should visit their web site and see what this company is all about:

I've said it before, I'll repeat myself: If you want to be king of the lake this summer, here's your boat.

Roy Attaway
Motor Boating & Sailing
August 1999


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