Stingray Powerboats
Carefree Cuddy

Trailer Boats - October 1997

192RX ('97 model)

It would be nice if we could all fit our boats neatly into suburban garages, away from the effects of sun, rain, ice and snow. In the real world, though, most boats live at the side of the driveway, enduring whatever nature deals out, while the lawn mower and Nordic-Trac hog garage space next to the Explorer.

Sometimes you break out the mooring cover, sometimes you don't. Before long, your investment goes south.

That's where the Stingray 192RS cuddy will earn its keep and make the $16,620 sticker price even more appealing. This sporty 19-footer is built to survive the weather over the long term.

Check out the seats, for example. You won't find the raw plywood backing you would probably find on other similarly priced boats. Instead, the Stingray's seat bases are heavy composite castings that could sit submerged forever and not rot. The thick foam pads are covered in 36-ounce vinyl, some of the heaviest in the industry; and the colors are UV-resistant so they can stand the sun's rays for years without fading. The 20-ounce carpet also has UV- resistant dyes and rot-proof backing.

Of course, you don't care if a sportboat survives if it doesn't perform. Stingray's 192RS, however, delivers nicely.

Powered with a quiet little MerCruiser 3.0 that sips only 4.8 gph at 3000 rpm cruise, the boat tops out at a brisk 44.3 mph. It turns on a dime and delivers effortless, torque-free driving, thanks to the standard power steering.

With the modest 23-gallon fuel tank, the range is 128 miles at cruising speed - you won't have to visit the gas pumps more than once a weekend unless you plan on some extended cruising.

Stingray credits the performance to its patented Z-Plane bottom. Where most boats have V-shaped strakes, the Stingray 192 sports a series of steps that look like miniature flat chines. The company says these flats help get the boat on plane quickly and help deliver excellent fuel economy because they don't stick out into the water flow.

We'll certainly go along with the fuel economy. The test boat was not all that quick out of the hole, though, taking 5.3 seconds, on average, to plane and more than 10 seconds to reach 30 mph. However, these times could be attributed to the 21-inch-pitch prop, which may be a bit tall for 135 horses pushing more than a ton of metal and fiberglass.

The Z-Plane has no apparent effect on cornering or on the ride in bumpy water - both are good. The bottom does not extend all the way to the back of the swim platform, so the running surface is actually a couple feet shy of the listed LOA, as in most boats of this genre; but the boat still bridges a chop nicely.

Although the bottom has a 19-degree deadrise at the transom, this is not a "tender" boat in any way. You can jump on the gunwales without standing the hull on beam-ends, and it doesn't have the pronounced deep-vee lean-into-the-wind in strong winds from abeam.

192R model - inside Cabins in boats of this depth (35 inches at the bow) always lack for headroom, and this one is no exception. The space between the bunk and the cabin roof measures just 24 inches. It's cozy, but not so low you have to crawl to get inside. The sleeping pad is only 50 inches long, which means it's fine for a nap or for the youngsters, but not for overnights for adults.

Lighting is good, with a Bomar hatch overhead and a pair of bulkhead reading lights. A nice design touch is a mirror in the peak that makes the cuddy look bigger than it is.

Handling bow lines is easier in the Stingray than it is in some cuddy boats because the stainless-steel windshield has a pass-through and a stout, fold-out, stainless step to help you climb over the dash and onto the bow. Once you're there, you walk forward on a unobtrusive, but very grabby, nonskid; and there are low grabrails running down the center of the boat should you need them. The bow-peak anchor locker includes a hanger for the anchor.

The dash includes seven gauges, and all switches are lighted for easy operation after sundown. A Maxima Marine stereo/cassette is standard. Wind protection is excellent, even though the 13-inch-high windshield is not unusually tall.

Engine access is excellent once you remove the motor box; the motor sits high, with belts, hoses and oil filter above the sole and easy to reach. The underside of the box is foamed to reduce noise, a design feature that seems to work well. At 1000 rpm, we recorded only 60 dB, just about whispering level .

The swim platform has a sand-finish nonslip surface and includes an inset stainless-steel swim ladder. There's also a ski-tow eye and a pair of 6- inch stainless cleats. The stainless fuel fill is mounted at an angle to assure that any spillage does not fall inside the boat.

A nifty extra you don't see on many sterndrive rigs is the transom- mounted tilt switch, which makes it easy to raise and lower the drive with the boat on the trailer. Outboard builders clicked on this idea several years ago, but it's only now arriving among sterndrives. The switch, like everything else on the test boat, is standard - The RS comes only one way: loaded.

Layup is alternating layers of woven roving and chopped fiberglass, with Coremat, a think sheet of foam, in the hull sides to add stiffness. Klegecell high-density foam is used on all large horizontal areas to add strength to the fiberglass without adding excess weight. A computerized router cuts the plywood stringers to match the hull perfectly, and they're fiberglass- enclosed to keep water out.

The transom is a plywood and fiberglass laminate, except for the bottom 3 inches where the drain plug fits. That lower section is solid fiberglass to prevent water migration into the wood. Running the length of the boat along the inside of the keel is a PVC pipe, which will drain water out of the forward areas and into the bilge where the automatic pump can get rid of it.

While the Stingray 192RS wouldn't be the best choice for the extended overnight trips, it will serve the young family well. Cabin space is one consideration. A full-sized adult is likely to feel cramped in the cabin, and even the head is a sit-and-bend for over-six-footers.

For parents of young children who want the style and performance of more expensive boats but wish to stay within their means, though, this boat offers champagne tastes on a sparkling wine budget. The cabin is ideal for young children who may get tired and need to lie down during the day's activities. This Stingray is also perfect for children to ski behind, it will lift young skiers in no time. With five on board, even mom and dad can get some skiing in with the 192RS.

Overall, the Stingray 192RS is a handsome, well finished boat that provides good performance on modest power. Thanks to the durable construction, it's one that won't punish you when you're just too tired at the end of the day to break out the mooring cover. It's also a boat that will satisfy the craving for a stylish boat while keeping you within your budget. The carefree 192RS can help you get your family involved on the water and bring them into your world of trailerboating.

Frank Sargeant
Trailer Boats Magazine
October 1997


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