I've been to literally hundreds of manufacturer press introductions and dealer meetings over the years,
but Stingray's annual 2005 model introduction held in Hartsville, South Carolina, was a first. With the
company's down-home southern hospitality, it felt more like a family reunion than a dealer meeting. It
was here that I tested the all-new 250CR, a 25-foot cuddy boasting a new, sleek profile and modern,
innovative appointments. Its design and unique features came as no surprise, however, after learning
Stingray is responsible for introducing many marine-industry firsts, including computer generated CNC
cut frames for master plugs, the ever-popular Z-plane V-bottom hull and environmentally-friendly low VOC
gelcoats and resins used for all the fibreglass parts in its models. This year Stingray is celebrating
its 25th anniversary and with a handful of new models added to its series, there's no doubt the company
will enjoy continued success.
Access to the cockpit is easy thanks to the rounded, integrated swim platform. It's large enough to
firmly attach wakeboards or tubes and a three-step stainless steel ladder is recessed under a fiberglass
cover. Just forward is Stingray's notable storage compartment that's perfect to stow lines, fenders or
towropes. It can also be used as a step to get over the transom. Another unique idea here was notching
the top centre of the transom to provide even easier access to the cockpit, where thoughtful features
abound. A large U-shaped lounge that converts to a large sun lounge can seat several passengers, and the
moulded wet bar to port incorporates pressure water, a sink and 25-quart Igloo cooler. Opposite is an
almost-matching moulded unit featuring a top-loading fixed cooler with a drain plus a storage cabinet
highlighting a built-in trash container. The self-draining fiberglass cockpit sole is covered with a
high quality snap-in carpet.
At the helm bulkhead, the driver and passenger are treated to attractive, comfortable, matching swivel
adjustable bucket seats with flip-up bolsters. On the centre of this bulkhead are four rounded, moulded
steps that lead up through the curved walk-through windshield to the foredeck. The centre stainless
steel supports for this windshield are designed as handholds for security when using the steps. A fine
pebble-grain non-skid path on the deck leads to a concealed bow anchor locker, featuring a stainless
steel anchor roller. Stainless steel pop-up style cleats are used throughout.
The helm is well organized and features an attractive Dino stainless steel-spoked, padded tilt-wheel.
The grey-toned brow over the instrument panel reduces glare and a vacant flat panel to the right of the
wheel is reserved for the optional marine electronics. Our test boat boasted a compass, digital depth
sounder and Lenco trim tabs with dash indicators.
Entry to the cabin is via an attractive, lockable, bi-folding fibreglass door with smoked plexi panels.
Once inside, you'll find a spacious berth with ample headroom and seating space. All cushions have
easily accessible storage underneath and the centre cushion hides a porta-potti. Under the steps, leading
from the cockpit to the foredeck, is a carpeted storage area with an upper shelf for essentials. Another
storage locker is found to port. Just above is a Kenwood AM/FM/CD stereo with two cabin speakers. Another
two speakers are in the cockpit. A remote control for the stereo is incorporated on the dash and even on
the swim platform. Gunnel-level storage netting is found on both sides of the cabin, while a deck-mounted
circular, screened hatch is overhead. Cross-ventilation is provided by hull-side screened stainless
steel-framed opening ports. Three adjustable lights offer additional interior lighting.
Our test boat was equipped with a Volvo Penta 320 hp Volvo 5.7L Gxi DP. Base power is 220 hp. With two
adults onboard and a full tank of fuel, the 250CR leaped onto plane in an average 3.7 seconds. Minimum
planing speed was at 2,200 rpm at 17 mph. Wide-open throttle produced 54 mph at 4,800 rpm. Official test
results from Volvo with approximately the same load and ambient temperature produced 53.6 mph at 5,000
A comfortable cruising speed for me was 2,500 rpm at 23 mph. Volvo's testing revealed the most
efficient planing speed (in terms of lowest fuel consumption) is between 2,500 and 3,000 rpm, 23 and 30
mph respectively). The 250 was extremely quiet at cruising speeds and easily allowed conversations.
Visibility was great from the helm. One annoyance, however, was the rattling of the cabin door when
crossing wakes. That could easily be corrected with a length of foam weather stripping.
I spoke at length to Al Fink, Stingray founder, owner, and president. He started Stingray in 1979 and
produced his first model, a 17-foot bowrider in 1980. He is passionate about the business, about his
This, if anything is an understatement. Stingray's innovation is quite evident in every model they
build, and the 250CR is no exception. While browsing the shows this winter, stop and take a look at this
newcomer. There's little doubt you'll like its style, creature comforts and utmost functionality.