- While a great many debut brands are to some degree a speculative venture into the unknown, this new Polish-built Norwegian cuddy is a very convincing leisure package.
- It offers plenty of pace, considerably more quality than the market’s most affordable options and exactly the kind of ease of use that makes the Nordic approach to boat design so effective.
- … right from the off, it feels gratifyingly mature.
Sting 610 DC
Is Sting’s affordable new sports cuddy as special as their Norwegian designer suggests? Alex Smith finds out.
I first heard about the new Sting fleet during an extended boating trip in the Finnish Lake District. I was speaking to Espen Thorup, the Norwegian designer renowned for his excellent work in the reinvention of the Bella, Flipper, Nordkapp and Aquador fleets, and he was particularly excited about a new range of boats that had yet to be released to public scrutiny. Now of course, given that he had been hard at work designing this new fleet from the ground up, his keenness was natural, but even then, its merit was beyond doubt.
The idea was to create a fun, practical and uncompromising line of high-quality Nordic powerboats that could be offered to the public at genuinely affordable prices. The initial target was apparently a package price of around £1,000 per foot – and in a bid to make that concept a reality, the Sting fleet was being built in Poland, at the same factory responsible for the construction of the multi-award-winning XO fleet. It seemed like a very auspicious start, and since the fleet’s official launch, some of that conceptual promise appears to have been borne out. In fact, the 610 BR has already been named 2017 European Powerboat of the Year, so given that our test boat shares the same hull, it’s reasonable to approach this new day cruiser with all our initial optimism fully intact.
Calibre Beyond the Budget?
For a boat of such modest scale, the cockpit is a very impressive size. From the back end of the aft bench to the forward edge of the windscreen, it occupies nearly 60% of the overall length – and when you factor in the big swim platforms, which themselves occupy 15% of the boat’s length, that leaves little more than 25% for the foredeck. Now I’m no great fan of data for its own sake, but when you compare that to other compact cuddies, which tend to allocate between 30 and 35 % to the foredeck, you get a good idea of the way the design team has allocated this boat’s priorities …
Plainly, the outside spaces have been given the lion’s share of attention, and down in the forward cuddy cabin that truth makes itself fairly evident. When I lie down as a six-footer with my head in the V and my body on a slight diagonal, I find my inside foot resting gently on the sliding access door. However, to help compensate for the limited length (as well as to pare back the costs, the weight and the complications), the fit-out is sensibly sparse. There are no windows, shelves, cupboards, mirrors, TV or stereo, just a very compact space that operates in its entirety as a double berth – and with the blunt, squared-off stem generating some useful room at the head of the bed, it feels just about big enough to do the job without any major discomfort.
Back outside, the cockpit space is much more accommodating. It uses a rotating bucket seat at the helm, alongside an unbroken C-shaped orbit of bench seating around the entire periphery of the space. This means there’s easily enough seating here for a family of five with space to spare for a friend or two. To help add extra practicality to the arrangement, the corner cushions hinge neatly aside to offer a sturdy non-slip disembarkation point, there’s a bracket for a central dining table in the centre of the deck, and the overhead canvas is tucked neatly out of the way behind the aft bench, in readiness for rapid rigging.
Further aft, the big swim platforms are also made all the more usable by the fact that the G2’s steering cylinder is integrated into the swivel bracket alongside the power steering unit. In place of ungainly cables and sliding bars cluttering the space in your engine well, a single umbilical keeps everything neat and clean. And better still, the design in the aft part of the 610 means you can lean over the aft bench and reach the cavernous storage spaces beneath the swim platform lids without having to leave the comfort and security of the cockpit.
However, it’s not all perfect. For instance, I don’t see the logic of the narrow stand-alone storage box beneath the central part of the aft bench, when an integrated full-width compartment would have been both tidier and more spacious. And the convertible arrangement at the full-length port lounger seems equally odd. It features a co-pilot backrest that hinges forwards and down to the deck, ahead of the forward cushion. The front part of the seat base can then be elevated by means of a steel bracket in one of two positions to give you a sloped, aft-facing lounge seat above the now open storage space. But given the position of the cuddy’s sliding door ahead of the seat on the port side, it would have made more sense to keep this region clear by using the simple swing-over backrest so common on various other compact dayboats. Even so, the 610 doesn’t come across as a budget boat. In fact, notwithstanding the absence of hull and foredeck windows, it has the feel of a mid-range platform from a quality yard that has been honing its craft over a good few decades.
The 610 is the hardest-worked hull in the Sting fleet, providing the underpinnings for no fewer than three of the 10 boats currently available – and right from the off, it feels gratifyingly mature. With Evinrude’s G2 150 on the transom, the low-end grunt is superb, driving us flat and fast onto the plane within 2 seconds and pushing on with rewarding urgency at every tweak of the throttle. Not only does this increase the fun quotient at the helm, but it also improves the boat’s usefulness for those keen to participate in skiing or wakeboarding.
However, in spite of the prodigious pickup provided by the torque-rich outboard, there’s nothing at all lightweight or flighty about this boat. On the contrary, it feels like quite a substantial and grown-up platform, and its refined mid-range cruise certainly bears that out. With three men on board and the 100-litre fuel tank full to the brim, a 30-knot cruise at 4000rpm with a fuel flow rate of around 30 litres per hour is very sustainable for the recreational family. And the ideal thing about a cruise like this is that when you come off a swell, turn to avoid a buoy or even throw the boat through a 180-degree arc, such is the drive on tap from the G2 outboard that it can all be achieved without any throttle adjustment at all. Instead, the prodigious torque pushes hard, preserves the revs and, in the absence of any perceptible aeration or cavitation, retains virtually all of your pace despite the varying load.
The low-rev throttle control is also outstanding. When you’re pottering about just in gear to preserve directional control, you can do so at a steady 500rpm without the threat of momentary surges – and with a fuel flow rate of just 0.8 of a litre per hour, you can spend an entire day on the water virtually free of both fumes and expense. In short, the combination of Evinrude’s outstanding G2 150, the Sting’s flaw-free hull and the secure, deep-set internals makes this a very effective family boat indeed.
While a great many debut brands are to some degree a speculative venture into the unknown, this new Polish-built Norwegian cuddy is a very convincing leisure package. It offers plenty of pace, considerably more quality than the market’s most affordable options and exactly the kind of ease of use that makes the Nordic approach to boat design so effective. It feels more solid, more mature, more grown up than a compact cuddy from one of the American budget brands. However, despite their early intentions, it’s simply not as affordable to UK buyers as originally hoped.
The UK’s recent currency fluctuations haven’t helped in that regard, but even when you put it into market context, it’s still not as affordable as the Bayliners, Quicksilvers and Beneteaus of this world. Instead it finds itself among boats from the likes of AMT, Nordkapp, Clear and Ranieri, and that leaves us with no option but to reconfigure the way we think and feel about this 20ft day cruiser. The mild foibles suddenly become a touch more irksome and the many assets a touch less generous. It’s certainly still a very good boat, but given that its mid-range quality is now evenly matched by a mid-range price tag, it’s not quite the special one my initial discussions with Espen Thorup had led me to anticipate.
- Immense torque
- Reassuring dynamic balance
- Large, secure cockpit
- Generous pace
- Basic cuddy
- Strange seating solution to port
- Disappointingly ‘realistic’ price
Notable Standard Features
- Swim ladder
- Swim platform
- Integrated fuel tank
- Cockpit table
- Garmin 721 XS GPS
RPM Speed Fuel flow Range
500 2.1 0.8 236.3
1000 4.5 2.2 184.1
1500 6.1 4.7 116.8
2000 7.3 9.6 68.4
2500 11.0 14.2 69.7
3000 18.4 17.4 95.2
3500 24.4 21.6 101.7
4000 29.5 28.7 92.5
4500 34.0 35.2 86.9
5000 38.4 42.9 80.6
5350 42.8 46.8 82.3
- LOA: 6.10m
- Beam: 2.37m
- Weight: 900kg
- Power: 150hp
- Fuel capacity: 100 litres
- People capacity: 7
- Engine: Evinrude G2 C 150
C 150: £35,285
C 150 HO: £35,695