John page williams
The following review was written by John Page Williams, Editor-at-large, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. John, senior naturalist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, has been a regular contributor to Chesapeake Bay Magazine for 30 years, specializing in environmental issues, nature, wildlife, fishing and boats. He has been testing new and used boats for the magazine's Time-Tested and New Boat News departments since 1998.

MAY 2012
 
   
Length overall  19' 6"
Beam  7' 7"
Draft 18" (drive up)
Weight 2,290 lb  
Transom Deadrise 19 deg.
Persons Capacity 8/1,470lb
Max. Power 130 hp

A20-foot bow rider with inboard/outboard drive for family use is nothing new. What is new, though, is one with an up-to-date clean engine (a catalyst-equipped 135-hp MerCruiser 3.0 MPI ECT with Alpha sterndrive), heavy-gauge marine vinyl upholstery, a Bimini top, a marine audio system, a remote oil change system, an upgraded bilge pump, a transom-mounted trim switch, and a trailer. The complete package: $20,000. Stingray's 195RX Bowrider does just that. Two options worth considering are an automatic fire extinguishing system ($472) and a cockpit and bow cover with support poles ($692).

The boat's layout is standard for bow riders of this size: an open bow cockpit with storage under the seats (including a cooler), helm and companion swivel chairs, a full-width stern seat with storage under, a sunpad over the engine box, and a stern deck over the outdrive, with a three-step, folding, stainless-steel boarding ladder. Details matter, though. For example, the bow seats allow two passengers to face forward or, in rough water, sit sideways with feet planted on the cockpit sole. For either position, there is a cushioned grab handle nearby.

The well proven four-cylinder MerCruiser pushes the 195RX to top speeds in the mid-40s, with economical cruise in the 20s and low 30s, which are realistic speeds for navigating boats of this size in the Chesapeake. Stingray's "Z-Plane" hull soaks up moderate seas while providing a wide range of usable speeds for safe, efficient cruising.

The advertised "no-haggle price" is $19,995. Stingray Boats, Hartsville, S.C. 843-383-4507; www.stingrayboats.com