A full windshield & an impressive range of amenities brings true three-season versatility to deck boats.
By Craig Ritchie
The great thing about deck boats is the way their wide-open layout allows for such incredible versatility. The bad thing about deck boats is the way that same wide-open layout offers little protection from the elements, making them less popular here in the northern part of the world – especially among families who like to extend their boating season early and late in the season.
Stingray Boats want to change all that. By adding a full walk-through windshield to its proven deck boat platform, the Hartsville, South Carolina-based company might just succeed in making deck boats as popular here in Canada as they are in the south.
The result of this innovative thinking is Stingray’s all-new 191 DC, a versatile 19-foot day boat that seems to do everything well.
What’s more, it allows the company’s boat designers to plant little scaled 3D human models into the seats and up on the decks during the design phase, allowing Stingray to actually form the inner hull around the driver and passengers. It sounds pretty cool, but to truly appreciate the benefit of this you have to step aboard and spend some time on the boat.
The interior layout of the 191 DC follows the same basic layout of other deck boat models in the Stingray lineup. The difference is the passenger console on the port side, allowing the addition of that big protective windshield. There’s a comfy stern seat across the transom with storage beneath, which wraps past a starboard-side transom walk-through leading to the rear swim plat-form and continues up the starboard gunnel. Amidships, the driver and companion ride on matching pedestal-mount bucket seats finished an attractive two-tone vinyl upholstery that provides just the right balance of comfort and support. In the bow, a matched pair of lounge seats with forward-facing seat backs on the console face make the ideal spot to sprawl out and enjoy the ride. There’s cavernous storage in the seat bases, allowing the 191 DC to accommodate a vast amount of bulky gear.
Up front, a pair of stereo speakers in the bow flank the lid of an integrated cooler/ice box, complete with an overboard drain. A pair of grab handles up front provide a little extra comfort when traveling at speed.
The cockpit liner in the main cockpit is fibreglass, with a self-draining design for easy end-of-day cleanups. Snap-in carpeting, or Sea Weave flooring are also available as upgrades.
A large ski locker in the main cockpit floor opens to port on two stainless hinges, making short work of yet more bulky gear. The storage space in the 191 DC is excellent, not only in its volume but also in its design. The oversized door and generous compartment proportions were clearly designed by people who actually take the boats out onto the water with the family.
There’s a locking glove box in the passenger console, with an adjacent grab handle and an oversized beverage holder – one of at least nine on board, meaning a cool drink is never out of reach. The safety glass windshield is large enough to provide real protection from the breeze while under-way, yet elegantly styles, curving gracefully back along each gunnel. A pair of stainless steel spring line cleats (for six in total) is a thoughtful touch, as is the provision of grab handles throughout.
The helm is cleanly designed, with a back-lit combination speedometer and fuel gauge to left of the chrome-on-black sport steering wheel, and a tach to the right. The console includes a comfortable step in its base, zero-torque steering, the stereo control head, and backlit circuit breakers. Our test boat came with Stingray’s Convenience Package, including a 24 L (25-quart) Igloo removable cooler, upgraded Italian steering wheel, 12-volt dash plug-in and indirect LED cock-pit lighting, all at no charge.
There are several options for this boat, many grouped into convenient packages. The Preferred Equipment Group includes a bilge pump, helm seat with forward/aft adjustment, LED cockpit lighting, a marine stereo and a Sunbrella Bimini top. The Stainless Hardware package adds stainless horn cover, cup holders, windshield supports and grab handles, while the available Fishing Package includes a removable trolling motor mount, trolling motor harness and plug, a bow fishing seat and two additional stainless rod holders in the stern.
Our test boat was rigged with Mercury’s four-cylinder, 90 horsepower four-stroke with the Command Thrust high torque lower unit. Surrounding it was a large swim platform, with a three-step stainless steel boarding ladder on the starboard side. While it was tempting to jump in for a refreshing dip on the scorching hot day of our sea trial, I was more interested in finding out how the 191 DC drove. While rated to han-dle up to 115 horsepower, I was confident the 90 would work well with the 191 DC’s 19-degree deadrise Z-plane hull.
Beam: 7’6” / 2.25 m
Weight: 2,000 lbs. / 909 kgs
Passenger capacity: 9
Fuel capacity: 20 gals / 79 L
Maximum power: 115 hp
Power as tested: Mercury 90 hp
625 Railroad Ave.
Hartsville, SC 29550
With just me riding solo and three-quarters of a tank of fuel, the Stingray popped onto plane in about 2.5 seconds and was climbing past 20 mph just a second and a half later. The speedometer passed the 30 mph only six seconds after pushing the throttle down. Wide open, the boat notched 42 mph on the GPS while turning a smooth 6,000 rpm.
Between the efficiency of the Stingray’s Z-plane hull and the Merc 90, you can cruise nicely at about 30 mph and 4,000 rpm while enjoying excellent fuel economy, burning around 3.5 gallons per hour.
It should be noted that our test boat was running the stock three-blade, 19-inch aluminum prop. While moving to a four-blade design would provide even faster planing (especially under a full load) there’s really no point, as the basic propeller works so well.
Similarly, I’d argue the point in maxing out this boat with a 115 when the 90 horsepower engine works so well. While you might gain another couple of mph in top-end speed, one has to question whether that is really worth the additional expense.
With its versatile layout, great performance, excellent fuel economy and the protection of that walk-through windshield providing real three-season utility, Stingray’s 191 DC is an attractive package that should be well received by Canadian families.