By Capt. Rob Smith
Building performance runabouts and being a budget-friendly boat often cannot go hand-in-hand, but Stingray does it with the 185. I traveled to Hartsville, SC and tested both versions of the 185 to see just how well they actually fill that bill. My results were convincing to me and I believe you will also agree. Stingray’s Z-planing hull and attention to details mean you will have a boat that will last the family for many years and hold its value when you trade up.
Even though there are differences at the stern, the bow of the 185 is the same for both versions. You have comfortable lounger style seats for two or bench seats for more with conveniences like cup holders, stainless grab rails, pop-up anchor cleat and a bow integral insulated cooler to stay relaxed and comfortable along the way and at anchor. Oversize drink holders keep your favorite beverages at hand. The bench seats have tons of space inside for the beach towels, a change of clothes and other gear for the day.
A full framed safety glass windshield with generous walk-through area makes it easy to get up front but lacks a lower air dam to protect the cockpit from chilly morning air.
From the Helm
The helm is well laid out so you can keep an eye on the instruments as well as keep a keen eye on the road. The dash top has a low glare cover with brow over the gauges. The instruments are above the 12 volt connection, depth gauge and rocker control switches. The Dino Italian tilt wheel adjusts to your comfort and the molded bucket seat has swivel and slide adjustments. Woodgrain trim on the dash matches the insert on the wheel and add a more executive look to the helm.
Across to the port side you either have the back-to-back seating of the LS version or a matching bucket seat in the LX version. The dash over here has the stereo mounted high with a tinted cover. The oversized glove box is in the top and a stainless steel grab rail is across the front lower edge for safety and security in rough water. Leg room under the helm and companion dashes is good. Between the helm and port side is a large sole locker with room for skis or wakeboards and other water sports gear.
Your family and guests will enjoy room in the aft cockpit. The floor is covered with a comfortable 20 ounce marine grade carpet that is easy to clean. There is storage in the side pockets for small items like lotions and sunglasses. With the LS version, you have jump seats in the port and starboard quarters. The engine box makes a good armrest with drink holders in the front. With the LX version you have a full bench seat so three can sit back here comfortably as well as a sunpad on top for one to relax and soak up some rays. In both cases the engine cover allows good access to the check points before you launch. Off the back you have an integral swim platform with room to strap on the boards or just relax and take a cooling dip in the lake. A recessed three step swim platform is in the starboard corner and a center ski tow ring makes it easy to hook up to your favorite aqua toys.
The Stingray 1895LX/LS measures 18’5” length overall with a beam width of 85”. This model has an average dry weight of 2155 lbs and a fuel capacity of 21 gallons. Maximum capacity for this model is rated at 7 people or 1070 lbs. people and gear. She has about 23 inches of freeboard and a maximum draft of about 29” with the drive down. The transom angle measures 15 degrees while the deadrise measures 19 degrees.
I tested the 185 on an inland lake near the plant in Hartsville, SC. Although it was cold, it was a beautiful day for a ride.
I tested the 3.0L 185LX version with the Volvo 135-hp GL with just myself on board. This version was running a SX drive with a 14 ¾ x 21 stainless steel prop. With this combination, I found she was on plane in 3.7 seconds and up to 30 mph in only 7.4 seconds. With this prop, I got a maximum speed of 49.4 mph at 4614 rpm and a cruise speed of about 29.7 mph at 3000 rpm. At cruise with the 21 gallon tank, you can expect about 107 miles on a full tank of fuel.
I then tested the same engine on the 185LS version with a Laser 23 prop. The 3.0L Volvo now reached plane in 3.3 seconds and made 30 mph in 7.5 seconds. She cruised comfortably at 3000 rpm and 28.9 mph for a full tank range of 101 miles. She reached a top speed of 48 mph at 4614 rpm.
While this is an entry level boat for Stingray, I was satisfied with the performance given its 3.0 L engine given that only one person was aboard. I believe this model will provide years of thrills for the active family and has the capability for just about any watersports. Having tested many other entry level boats, the Stingray has the feel and performance of much more. She handles well and delivers top notch speed and agility without quirky turns. At the dock, she slips up to the finger pier or the ramp with ease.