Trailer Boats Magazine Cover
Stingray Powerboats
Balancing Act

Trailer Boats

Stingray's new 240LR shows fresh thinking
in transom and cockpit design

Stingray 240LR Bowrider

There is a homogenous look to bowriders today. Many seem to share the same layouts and features. Each year, however, one or two builders break from the pack to offer something different. This year, it is Stingray's turn.

Enter the new 240LR. This Stingray is not a radical departure. It is a fairly conservative-looking boat, and in fact, from a distance, it does not appear much different than other bowriders, aside from comparatively high freeboard. Yet as you draw closer, the unique qualities emerge, particularly in the cockpit and around the transom.

Our chance to draw close to the 240LR came on Lake Robinson, near Stingray's manufacturing facility in Hartsville, South Carolina, where the company was previewing its 2002 lineup to dealers. Also there was company president and design chief, Al Fink. He is a hands-on executive, and was anxious to give us a tour of the 23 1/2-footer and reflect on the thought processes behind the fiberglass. He focused on the transom.

"Transom walkthroughs are popular today, but they tend to cut down on seating space in the cockpit," Fink explained. "So we decided to dispense with this feature, and incorporate a smaller, step-over cutout in the middle of the transom. That gave us more room to work with."

Stingray used the full transom and additional seating room to create an interesting study in symmetry with the fiberglass liner. For example, rather than offset, L-shaped cockpit seating found in many larger runabouts, the 240LR has symmetrical, U-shaped seating that spans the stern, as well as both sides of the cockpit. Filler cushions (which stow in the voluminous helm console) allow owners to create at 74x50-inch-long sunpad. Put away the filler cushions and get out the pedestal-mounted cocktail table (which also stows in the helm console), and you are ready for a meal.

A great, yet rarely acknowledged advantage of symmetrical cockpit seating is that you can easily balance the passenger load, particularly while dining. Such is not the case with asymmetrical L-shaped seating, and this often results in a disconcerting list (usually to port) while the boat is at rest.

Below the stern is a wide-open engine bay with some of the best service access we have seen in a bowrider — once you remove the seat cushions and tilt the engine cover forward. The cover can also be removed, further improving access. On a negative note, there is no provision for storing a Bimini top here — an accommodation we have seen on many other bowriders.

FOOD AND DRINK CENTERS
Stingray 240LR table The 240LR's symmetrical treatment is carried forward with two similarly shaped structures on each side of the cockpit, just behind the twin bucket seats. To port is a sink and pressurized faucet, supplied by a 17-gallon water tank. Three drink holders surround the sink, and there is a 25-quart, removable ice chest recessed below.

On many runabouts, a cutting board/snack center is next to the sink, but Stingray decided to position this on the opposite (starboard) side of the boat. The snack center is a mirror image of the portside structure, but instead of a sink, there is a built-in cooler with a cover/cutting board made of King Starboard high-density plastic. The cooler can be used to ice drinks or store snacks and other food.

In a curious twist, Stingray has chosen not to hinge the cutting board/cover. This makes it awkward to use, and it could fly off while trailering or in choppy seas. At first, we were critical of this, but Fink was quick to demonstrate the rationale for not using hinges. He flipped the cutting board and set it back down over the cooler. There, on the backside, were four, round indentations forming a square.

"These were created to match the footprint of a portable Kenyon single-burner, butane range," Fink explained, "so the stove is less likely to slide around while you are cooking." Suddenly, we were not so critical. To the contrary, we admired the ingenuity. The portable range is standard equipment.

OVER THE TRANSOM
Before moving farther forward, let's step back and look at the uniquely designed transom area. As mentioned earlier, the Stingray 240LR does not have a transom walkthrough to the swim platform. Instead, there is a 5x14-inch recess in the center of the transom, allowing you to step over and onto the full-width, integral, Euro-style swim platform. The center cushion of the stern bench seat can be removed, so that you are not walking on the upholstery as you step in or out.

To help ease the climb to the swim platform, there is a secondary step on the outboard side. This step also forms the hinged cover to a drained lazarette. Measuring 34x9x7 inches, this compartment is designed for stowing fenders and ski ropes.

We like the nonskid on the swim platform — it is easy on bare feet, yet very slip resistant. However, we cannot say the same for the lazarette cover. Formed from King Starboard, it sheds water nicely thanks to special channeling, but this plastic material does not make for the best nonskid.

On the other hand, we loved all the stainless steel grabrails on the transom. There are two flanking the step-over recess and a third on the starboard Euro-style bulkhead, adjacent to the telescoping, stainless boarding ladder. A stainless ski-tow eye is also recessed at mid-transom.

We asked Fink if he planned to offer an extended swim platform as an option for the 240LR, since these seem to be all the rage lately. He just shook his head and answered with a simple, "No."

One concession to the "me, too" mentality is an enclosed head. The 240LR's is located in the port console, has 48 inches of headroom, and occupies a 33-inch-square footprint, part of which is taken up by a standard, portable marine head and molded shelf along the port bulkhead. The walls are carpeted, and a porthole offers both ventilation and light. Also housed in the head is a Kenwood AM/FM/CD stereo with a helm-mounted remote control and four speakers — two in the bow and two in the cockpit.

The acrylic door to the head is at a 45-degree angle. While this reduces the space inside, it eases going in and out, and creates more legroom for anyone using the bucket seat on the port side.

Both bucket seats are adjustable, swivel and have flip-up bolsters. The seats are well padded, have integral armrests and offer excellent lateral support. On the driver's side, there is also a molded-in, angled footrest under the helm that allows the pilot to stretch out and brace himself at the same time. On the downside, we found that the flip-up on the seat did not add enough elevation to significantly improve forward vision.

FORWARD THINKING
The bowrider area is very comfortable, thanks to twin, thickly upholstered, 43-inch-long loungers with 21-inch-tall, angled backrests. Molded armrests, recessed drink holders and vinyl covered grab handles are sweet touches. With a built-in 9x16x14-inch cooler just aft of the 26-inch-deep anchor locker, you may have a difficult time prying occupants out of the front.

Under both of the bow lounges is a terrific volume of carpeted dry storage, and it will be a great temptation to pack these full of gear. However, we would reserve these compartments for relatively lightweight stuff such as life jackets and canvas.

For heavier items, you may want to use the in-sole ski locker, which measures 70x35x14 inches. A heavy-duty, hinged hatch made of King Starboard covers the locker, but we would like to see a gas-assist strut supporting it while open, so that it does not accidentally slam shut on someone's toes or fingers.

Snap-in Berber carpet is available on the 240LR, and it is worth considering. Yet, we like the bare nonskid sole just fine. Like that on the swim platform, it is gentle on bare feet, but you are not likely to slide, even when it's wet.

To help keep the deck dry, the 240LR has four scuppers, each draining overboard and featuring a polished stainless steel grate. There is one in each aft corner of the cockpit and one in the guttered rim of the ski locker. There is yet another in the foredeck to drain water that may collect in the bow while the boat is on the trailer.

FROM THE DRIVER'S SIDE
A bulbous instrument pod at the helm contains gauges for oil pressure, engine temperature, fuel, voltage and drive trim angles as well as the tach and speedo. Our test boat also had an optional digital depthfinder. While the woodgrain-enhanced dash is aesthetically pleasing, we found that the instrument pod partially obstructs the driver's field of vision while seated. Increasing the height of the driver's seat should help alleviate this problem. We spent most of our time driving from a standing position, and this was comfortable (aside from the wind blast), thanks to the tilt-helm wheel.

The accessory switches and ignition switch are located in a panel to the left of the wheel. However, it is the panel to the right of the wheel that really got our attention. It was blank, something you rarely see in a runabout. This leaves an owner plenty of space to flush-mount his choice of marine electronics, such as a fishfinder and GPS/chartplotter. Kudos to Stingray. Our boat was powered by a 300 hp MerCruiser 350 Mag MPI with a Bravo 3 drive turning a 24-inch-pitch, stainless dual prop set.

Carrying nearly a full load of fuel, two adult males, test gear and safety equipment, this combo propelled the 240LR from 0 to 30 mph in 8 seconds flat. Top speed was 54 mph at 4950 rpm.

We can't say we were bowled over by the speed. Our 240LR felt like a heavy, solid boat, perhaps owing to its 68-gallon fuel capacity, and the extra material required to give the boat its remarkably high freeboard. In addition, the 240LR has a deep-V hull with 21 degrees of deadrise at the transom. This kind of hull knifes through choppy seas, but also soaks up speed. Stingray's patented Z-Plane hull rode exceptionally well.

Stingray's manufacturing facility makes heavy use of robotics to maintain consistency between hulls and minimize unnecessary fiberglass. In fact, the published weight is 3894 pounds with a base 5.0L V-8 from either MerCruiser or Volvo Penta. The hull carries a five-year overall protection plan and a three-year warranty against blistering.

HARDWARE CHANGES
Being hardware gear-heads, we also noticed some changes in the hardware used in the 2002 Stingray models, including the 240LR. For example, in previous years, Stingray had used high-impact white plastic through-hull fittings. Now, the 240LR and others used Delrin fittings with thin stainless steel face caps. This offers the classy look of stainless steel with the corrosion resistance of plastic.

The 240LR uses a pull-up cleat in the bow, with standard stainless, four-bolt cleats in the stern and amidships.

In the end, however, it was not the hardware, nor the powerplant, nor the hull of the 240LR that stands out most in our minds. Rather it was the symmetry of the interior layout that we remember as a fresh and remarkable balancing act.

Stingray 240 wraparound seating
Stingray 240 step-through transom Stingray 240 step-through transom
STINGRAY 240LR
Hull Material: Fiberglass
Length: 23' 6"
Beam: 8' 6"
Deadrise at Transom: 21 degrees
Weight (w/base power): 3894 lbs.
Draft (drive down): 34"
Fuel Capacity: 68 gals.
Std Power: 220hp Merc 5.0L Alpha 1
Max. Horsepower: 320
Notable Standard Equipment:
Portable marine toilet, transom shower, cockpit table, portable butane stove, Bimini top, indirect cockpit lighting, compass, remote oil-change system, AM/FM/CD four-speaker stereo with remote

ENGINE AS TESTED
Model: Merc 350 MAG MPI/Bravo 3
Propshaft Horsepower: 300
Number of Cylinders: V-8
Displacement: 5.7L/350 cid
Weight: 1046 lbs.
Gear Ratio: 2.00:1
Wide-open RPM Range: 4600-5000
Prop: 24" pitch SS 3-blade prop set
Notable Optional Equipment:
Snap-in carpeting, digital depthfinder, battery on/off switch, transom mounted remote trim/tilt switch, full camper canvas, walk-through canvas flap, automatic fire suppression system

TEST RESULTS
Optimum Cruising Speed: 30.3 mph | 3000 rpm | 7.5 gph |
                                         4.0 mpg | 245 miles
Top Speed: 54.0 mph
EngineSpeed
Fuel
Range1
(rpm)(mph)(gph)(mpg)(miles)
10006.12.42.5153
15008.53.22.6159
200014.54.92.9177
250023.26.53.6220
3000230.37.5 4.0245
350035.69.43.8232
400043.215.12.9177
450048.017.12.8171
495054.022.52.4147
1 Based on 90% fuel capacity
2 Optimum cruising speed

Acceleration
0 to 30 mph:8.0 seconds

Sound Measurements (dBa)
Idle at Helm (700 rpm):62
Idle at Transom (700 rpm):70
Cruise at Helm (3000 rpm):83
WOT at Helm (4950 rpm):98

Story and photos in magazine by Jim Hendricks
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