Stingray Boats has built a solid reputation on their sterndrive powered runabouts, deck boats and cuddy cabins. They haven't
had an outboard powered model in their lineup since 1997, but for 2012 they introduce two! I flew down to Hartsville, South
Carolina to test all the new offerings and got an extended run with the new 214LR sport deck.
Dockside, the 214LR is the larger of the two new outboards — about 15 inches longer and 2 inches wider that the 204LR
— but that's not the noticeable part really. The big difference between these two is....well it depends on who you are.
Ask Mom and she'll say that the 214LR has a fully enclosed head. Dad would say it's that the 214LR has an extra 35hp hanging
off the back! (Both are correct.)
I was curious to see what Stingray had done to their Z-plane hull to accommodate an outboard. So I took a moment starting
at the transom from the dock. There are two large v-shaped decks on either side of the outboard — and an area about the
width of a shoe (that Stingray promises will be done in non-skid in production models) to step between them. The outboard
motor well is notched out in such a way that the two v-shaped swim platform(s) are still an integral part of the hull. The
joint where the deck joins the hull is continued all the way around the swim platform. It looks solid, and it is. A three-step
ladder is mounted off the outside of the starboard platform. Overall, it's an ingenious way to still provide a useable sized
swim platform on an outboard powered boat.
Climbing aboard, the entry to the cockpit is via a step over-transom on the starboard side. There's a single-width sun pad
that is integral into the back of the rear bench seat — that flips up to reveal a simply massive storage area. While
it's not the two person wide sun pad we're used to on an i/o, it is at least there. The resulting massive storage area
underneath solves the biggest problem i/o models suffered from: a lack of storage. Honestly, you could hide a huge tent,
cooler, duffel bags and cook set in there and you'd be set for boat camping for a week!
The rear bench seat curves part way up the port side, and both the companion and helm mid-back bucket seats have flip up
bolsters. The enclosed head with a removable porta-pottie is forward of the companion seat and is accessed by a door that
swings inboard. Forward, the bow seating is plush with padded seatbacks all around and there are two stereo speakers recessed
out of the way. A forward anchor locker also hides a bow ladder.
Our test boat had Yamaha's F150 outboard, and in speaking with company president Al Fink, they are already well down the
road of being able to offer Mercury's all-new 150 outboard as part of a pre-rigged package. I recorded a time to plane of
3.2 seconds, and in just over 5 seconds I was doing 30 mph. The slightly tweaked-for-outboard-power Z-plane hull jumped up
onto plane with little bow rise. My top speed, trimmed right out was 49 mph at 6000 rpm using 15.8 gph. The Yamaha and the
214LR perform best at around 3500 rpm where fuel consumption drops to just 4.9 gph while still maintaining 25 mph. At that
speed the wind noise is louder at the helm than the outboard. The 214LR delivers a solid ride, no squeaks, no rattles, and
you can barely detect the water hitting the hull at speed, and it is especially quiet just floating.
Overall Stingray has a winner on their hands with their new 214LR. It's a trailerable family-friendly sport deck that
will deliver some exciting performance well into the extended season thanks to the versatility and simplicity of outboard
power. To make it fit your family, remember to order the optional ski pylon or the wakeboard tower.