By Brad Roberts
Many consider the centre console design to be the ultimate layout for a fishing boat because of the ability to walk around on a single plane and work your fish in to the net unrestricted. Of course the full fiberglass liner and self-bailing cockpit easily washes out at the end of a day and that doesn’t hurt either.
Recently, deck boats have increased dramatically in popularity among North American boat buyers, largely because of the incredible deck space they afford families combined with a real boat hull to run on. Deck boats are a unique blend of pontoon boat space on deck and sport boat performance underneath.
Stingray’s all-new for 2017 206CC deck boat combines the best of both of those designs – it’s a centre console deck boat. Now, I admit that I was a little skeptical when I first heard of it. I’m wary of combinations – sort of like the so called toaster oven that usually isn’t a great oven and is typically a worse toaster. But the more I looked at the 206CC, the more impressed I became with how the Stingray design team pulled off a real winner.
Let’s start with a 20 foot long hull that features Stingray’s patented Z-plane hull. The design of the full length strakes on this hull deliver undisturbed water to the prop, allowing it to bite into clean water and thus deliver every ounce of horsepower from the engine into forward motion. The result is that a Stingray boat hull delivers a faster top end speed with a smaller engine than the competition – resulting in both engine savings at the time of purchase, and fuel savings for years to come, to you the buyer. In terms of practical on-water advantages of the Z-plane hull, the 206CC won’t cavitate in hard over turns resulting in full control at all times even as you power around a tight turn. Go ahead, take a close look at this hull versus other manufacturers and you’ll notice a marked difference in the design and contour of the strakes.
That hull is mated with your choice of outboards from Suzuki, Yamaha, or Mercury from 115 to 200hp, and drafts only 31 inches with the engine down – which means it can get into the shallowest fishing holes and docks with ease.
On deck you’ll find a dual pod swim platform bracketing the outboard, with a folding stainless reboarding ladder to starboard. Step through the transom, and you enter the large cockpit – it’s over 18 feet long and uses the full 100” wide beam. Using every bit of space available, you’ll find a double-wide centre helm seat for two – this is important if you want to go out for an evening cruise with your sweetheart! Flip the helm seatback forward, and you’ll find that there is a 26-gallon livewell under the seat base. The tall design of the console hides a convenient changing room accessed by the port side door. Just in front of the console – or the optional deluxe console – you’ll find a forward facing seat with an 18-gallon cooler underneath that can be upgraded to a second livewell.
Forward in the bow, you’ll find two forward facing lounges with seat backs and fully fiberglass lined storage spaces underneath, a large anchor locker in between the seats, a convenient centreline bow cleat and a moulded-in trolling motor mounting base. The requisite navigation lights are mounted well away from the anchor line and cleat so they can’t get broken by a tight line – it’s a small thing but it shows that the Stingray designers are real boaters who actually use the boats they design. There’s also an in-deck mount base for the casting chair.
Moving back aft, along either side you’ll find well-padded gunwales to lean up against in comfort while you work that fish into the net. Underneath you’ll find convenient and easily accessible rod storage for two rods on either side. The four stereo speakers are well protected in under the gunwale as well.
At the stern of the 206CC, you’ll find a centre bench seat for two, that is flanked by twin single jump seats that fold up for seating, or down for easy step over access to the swim platform. That brings the capacity of this model up to 9 passengers.
To truly customize your 206CC, you can choose from five in-gel hull colours (black , green, blue, dove and ice blue) in addition to white, two interior upholstery colours (onyx or tan), and two canvas colours (black or latte). For full enjoyment in any weather, I’d suggest adding the bimini option in any case.
Performance wise, you can expect an attention-grabbing exciting hole shot of less than 3 seconds no matter which engine you equip your 206CC with, and a top speed of just over 50mph when you choose the maximum horsepower of a 200 outboard. Plenty of power without being dangerously overpowered, thanks to the Z-plane hull design. The 20 degree deadrise of the Z-plane hull is a lot more than competitors’ models which allows the 206CC to give you and your passengers a very comfortable and dry ride even in a good chop. The Stingray hull is both NMMA and USCG rated and is also one of the quietest hulls I’ve ever had the chance to pilot.
Based out of Hartsville, South Carolina, Stingray Boats was founded in 1979 by Al Fink. Today, they are one of the few remaining truly independent boat builders. The team prides itself on pushing the envelope and producing cutting edge innovations. Their 225,000 square feet of manufacturing space, is one of the most technologically advanced facilities in the marine industry – complete with an in-house design department and a robotic-driven production line that currently produces over 20 models of boats that are shipped to a large international dealer base. You can see the live webcam of the shipping department on their website.
The 206CC, and it’s smaller cousin the 186CC that’s also all-new for 2017, manage to pack a lot of fishing amenities – including 10 stainless steel rod holders and 2 integrated tackle compartments – into a very trailerable 20 footer, that is much more than a fishing boat. Options include a portable toilet, a removable ski pylon or a wakeboard tower to transform your fishing boat into a multi-purpose family-friendly deck boat.
Length Overall: 20’1″ / 6.1 m
Beam: 100 in / 254 cm
Average Dry Weight: 2,700 lb / 1,227 kgs
Fuel Capacity: 46 gal / 174 liter
Water Capacity: 9 gal / 34 liter
Ice Box / Cooler Capacity: 48+68 qt / 45+64 liter
Livewell Capacity: 104+68 qt / 98+64 liter
Max Capacity: 9
Max HP: 200
Max Draft: 31 in / 79 cm
Deadrise: 20 degrees
MSRP: from $36,290 US
For more information:
625 Railroad Ave.
Hartsville, SC 29551
By Brad Roberts