Its Z-plane hull and computer-controlled production have always let Stingray take an
aggressive approach to the small sportboat market. The patented Z-plane hull offers the
kind of control, enhanced handling and inherent stability you need in a small, fast boat
and building to carefully controlled specs ensures light, strong construction.
But teaming Stingray's 220SX with a Mercury Racing Scorpion 377 sterndrive gives the
combination even more bite.
With 350 horsepower on demand, the Scorpion sterndrive is one hot powerplant. It
pushed the Stingray I tested in Miami's Government Cut to a top speed of close to 70 mph
(69.3 in Today's Boating's radar tests, to be exact).
Driving the 220SX is arm-stretching fun, but with any 22-foot boat, that kind of power
requires a careful hand on the steering wheel and a liberal application of good judgment.
On calm water, the boat is perfectly well-behaved. It would probably perform at its best
in a one- to two-foot chop; that would let the hull break free of the water surface to
produce optimum speeds. In the steeper waves, ferry wakes and ocean swells I encountered
during testing in Miami, handling at top speeds required the utmost concentration. A
22-footer gets airborne easily at 70 mph in waves over two feet. Still plenty of fun, but
requiring concentration at the helm.
Realistically speaking, the Stingray 220SX, powered with the Scorpion 377 sterndrive,
is a boat that will cruise effortlessly between 3,500 and 4,000 rpm, at speeds ranging
from 45 to 55 mph. At these speeds, the Z-plane hull helps the 220 track straight and
true. The Z-plane hull (including Z-shaped strakes) helps the boat plane quickly —
I reached 30 mph in just over eight seconds and 40 mph in 8.63 seconds. It also provides
great cornering and truer tracking at higher speeds.
I recorded speeds of 46.1 mph at 3,500 rpm and 56.8 mph at 4,000 rpm during radar
testing. Top speed (achieved in a calmer corner of Miami's outer ship harbor) was 69.3
mph, just under the 70-mph benchmark.
The 220SX, with its all-red hull and deck looks sleek and hot, but the Scorpion has to
take much of the credit for those speeds. Merc Racing takes a small-block V-8, strokes it
to 377 cubic inches, adds lightweight aluminum pistons, balanced crankshaft, a high-lift
camshaft and large flame arrestor. The Scorpion started life as a high-performance
ski-boat engine and is now being offered for use in sterndrive applications for 22- to
35-footers with single and twin installations. Balanced and blueprinted, it's a lovely
piece of machinery.
Rated at 350 hp, the Scorpion has much more bite than the 210-hp 4.3 EFI listed as
the 220SX standard engine, or even the Mercury MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI, a powerplant
likely to be found on many of these boats. The 350 MAG MPI is still likely to push the
boat past 60 mph. That's plenty fast for a 22-foot pleasure boat.
The 220SX has other charms, outside of the neatly rigged engine compartment. With
swiveling helm and companion seats and a three-place bench aft, the cockpit is
comfortable. The red and white upholstery is well-made while the black dashboard (with
white gauges) and padded black Dino steering wheel add high-performance touches.
The off-white fiberglass cockpit liner will make cleanup easy while helping to keep
folks cool in summer weather. There's storage space under the aft seat, an insulated
cooler in the cockpit floor and a locking glovebox. The engine compartment is carpeted,
with partitions alongside the engine that drop down to allow easier servicing (or just
to let you admire the engine at work) but flip up to create useful storage space.
There's an opening windscreen to allow easier access to the foredeck, plus a convenient
stainless-steel step that swings out of the way under the helmside dashboard when not
The cabin is a compact area designed for comfortable overnight stays. A pair of
transverse facing seats aft lift up to form a large V-berth. Forward, under the cushions,
there's a small sink to port, a single-burner alcohol stove to starboard and a chemical
head in the middle. There's more storage further toward under the V-berth cushion.
While the "galley and head" allow Americans to claim a second-home tax deduction
for the boat, they are likely to see occasional rather than frequent use in a boat such
as this. If the accommodations ever get too cramped, however, or the facilities seem
inadequate, the Scorpion will ensure a fast ride home.