Stingray Boats of Hartsville, South Carolina has been building boats since 1979. Today their 225,000 sq. foot plant
features a robotic driven production line that is responsible for some of the most award winning designs available on the
All-new-for-2008, is their unique 205 series of bowriders and cuddies, replacing the company's popular 200 series.
This new series is longer at almost 21 feet overall and comes in five different configurations: three bowriders, and two
cuddy cabins. I had the opportunity last November to test the new 205's at Stingray's comfortable lakeside test facility
located just outside Hartsville.
The 205L designates the bowrider series. All three bowrider configurations offer a standard driver-side adjustable (and
most comfortable!) bucket seat set at just the right height for looking through, not over, the windshield. The LS offers a
passenger-side, back-to-back, fold-down sleeper seat plus a motor box with jump seats that raise-up to form a sunpad. The
LX and LR both have a passenger-side matching bucket seat with a rear, full-width bench seat on the LX, or a U-shaped
lounge on the LR. Both also have a full double sundeck over the engine compartment.
Both bowriders offer integrated storage in the cockpit sole for wakeboards, skis, tubes, etc., a built-in 32 qt. cooler,
dedicated bow anchor locker, and molded "anti-drip lips" on all under seat storage areas. The cockpit has 20-oz. marine
carpeting as standard with a full fiberglass cockpit floor liner with snap-in carpet optionally available.
The 205C designates the two cuddy cabins, both with matching bucket seats at the helm. The CS offers a motor box with the
jump seats and the CX has the rear bench seat with full sundeck. A bi-fold door with smoked Lexan inserts provides access to
the cuddy on both models. Inside is a unique and handy molded-in compartment beneath the V-berth cushions housing a
fresh-water sink, a butane stove in a stainless case, and a port-a-potti—all neatly stowed out of the way 'til needed. A 46
qt. insulated cooler/storage box is built into the cockpit floor. Both cuddies allow access to the foredeck via an opening
windshield and twin safety stainless grabrails run the full length of the deck.
All "sundeck" equipped models incorporate a companionway between the extended swim platform and the cockpit via a section
of removable sundeck cushion with non-skid fiberglass under foot for safe and easy boarding access. All swim platforms offer
a 3-step, recessed, folding stainless steel boarding ladder and two non-toe-stubbing pull-up stainless steel cleats along
with a stainless grab handle. In fact, all 205 models are equipped with the pull-up style cleats all-round as standard. The
205 series dash is all new, functional, and well laid out with a Dino tilting wheel, full complement of the normal gauges, a
handy and seldom seen "Accessory" position on the ignition switch, and an effective "eyebrow" over the instruments to
effectively reduce glare.
Also improved on this new 205 Series is the refinement of Stingray's patented Z-Plane hull bottom design. Engineers have
extended the outer surfaces of the hull bottom beneath both sides of the integrated swim platform thus lengthening the
running surface. The result is to reduce the time required to get up onto plane and to lower the minimum planing speed. My
test results indicate that this design change seems to work just fine. The Volvo Penta 5.0GXi powered LR bowrider I tested
jumped instantly onto plane in an average of only 4 seconds. Minimum planing speed seemed to be accomplished at an
indicated 22 mph at 2400 RPM. Comfortable cruising was achieved at an indicated 35 mph at 3200 RPM, and a full throttle run
at 5500 RPM produced a most credible 61-mph indicated. All this with an aluminum propeller no less!
I have found over the years of testing many Stingray models that the Z-Plane design requires very little drive trim to
achieve optimum running characteristics. This is even more true of this new revised design. On both the bowrider and the
cuddy that I ran very hard that day, I found that only very minimal trim is required and even slight over-trimming simply
produces unwanted ventilation and less full-throttle stability, especially in turns.
Given the relative value pricing of the 205 series, you would be forgiven if you assumed a lot of what would be
considered normal standard equipment had been eliminated. That is certainly not the case. The list of standard equipment,
plus what Stingray confusingly calls a "No Charge Convenience Package", is as complete as most manufacturers offer in the
base price. The option list consists mainly of the normal upgrades for canvas, stereos, graphics packages, etc. And you
can select the power of your choice from a range of Volvo Penta sterndrives to suit your boating and loading
Stingray claims to redefine the 20-foot boat market with this new 205 series. The only comment I have is that the 205
is essentially a 21-foot boat! However you measure it, if choice and versatility is what you seek, Stingray has created
a winner that will more than satisfy your cravings.