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POWER-SEARAY270250Sundancer is the model name given to express cruiser models made by Sea Ray and you might be surprised to learn that for 2008 there are 15 Sundancer models ranging from the 240 up to the flagship 60. In virtually any size and price range, Sea Ray has a boat for you but in 2008; however,  there was no 270 Sundancer.

We traveled to the Tellico plant outside of Knoxville, Tennessee where many of Sea Ray’s sport models are built and where the new 2009 Sea Ray 270 Sundancer was in the water for a brochure shoot.

The boat actually measures 28’ 8” (including swim platform) on an 8’ 10” beam. That makes it trailerable in many areas. You'll need a permit– usually about $100 a year. With a full-size SUV or diesel pickup to handle the 8,200 lbs. dry weight you could go exploring all sorts of new areas.

The 270 Sundancer also has appeal for experienced yachtsman who may have owned larger vessels in the past. The big boat features and amenities in the 28-foot size makes this boat easy to keep in a dry stack or indoor facility.

Like all Sundancer models, this is basically an express cruiser with a mid cabin. The 270 is powered by a single stern drive and engines options range up to the 375 hp 496 Magnum DTS Bravo III or alternatively, a Yanmar 301 hp diesel. Sea Ray makes all of the engines available with the corrosion resistant new Mercury Seacore drive.

Starting at the stern, the swim platform is nearly 2 feet wide making it comfortable for swimming without being overly large. You can get the ladder out from the water but it's better if you put it down before you dive in. The boat does come equipped with a ski tow eye but the wake will be pretty big for slalom skiing. Think of it more for boarding or tubing.

Sea Ray has applied a nonskid finish where it’s needed; in the transom is an access panel for the shore power cables as well as stern storage for lines and fenders in the transom.

A really neat new feature is the mechanism that allows the aft seat to flip out flat, creating an aft sun lounge where you can tan or watch the kids swimming.

A lot of living happens in the cockpit. Sea Ray has used an acrylic transom door from the swim platform on the starboard side. Overhead are lights mounted on a radar arch that is more like a hardtop; footlights near the floor add nighttime safety.

The 270 Sundancer has a refreshment area that includes a small sink, removable cooler, and drink holders. A grill is also available to create almost a second galley outdoors. We liked the grab rails under the seats where there is also generous storage.

A cool new feature is that the double-helm seat has a four-position flip back that converts the helm into more cockpit seating when moored. This creates a much larger than expected entertainment area.

The helm seat also slides fore and aft. We also like the snap out carpet for easy cleaning. Sea Ray has included shore power outlets in the cockpit too.

Other features at the helm include a tilt steering wheel for standing or seated operation. My six-foot frame had me looking right through the center of the windshield, not staring at the windshield frame. The engine control is on the side and there are useful trim tabs but no indicators.

The test boat helm had a Northstar VHF radio, compass, SmartCraft instruments with digital engine readout as well as analog tach, speedometer and a multi-gauge that includes oil, temperature, trim and volts. The fuel gauge is separate. There is space to install navigation electronics ahead of the companion seat that is ideal and the wood grain trim looks rich.

Typically, express cruisers push the cabin and cockpit to the sides and eliminate side decks. This requires a center windshield walk-through to reach the deck for anchoring and mooring. The 270 Sundancer has three steps up the dashboard centre with stainless steel handholds leading through a swing-open section in the windshield. Where some express cruisers place sun lounges on the deck, the 270 Sundancer deck is dominated by a huge section of tinted glass bringing more light into the cabin.

The huge deck panel and an opening hatch, amounts to 54" x 23" of sunlight, making the cabin feel remarkably bright and spacious. To make the air-conditioning's job a little easier, Sea Ray includes attractive sunshades. It's a really neat feature.

Under this glass panel, the convertible vee berth/dinette has side storage, lights and attractive beige hopsack upholstery. You get more storage under the seats and with the satin cherry high/low table down and the filler cushion in place, this area could sleep two adults.

The compact galley has a molded-in sink that will be a bit small for washing pots or dinner plates but we liked the single burner Kenyon KISS stove that has adjustable potholders to keep your pot from sliding off. There is a Sharp microwave, a small Norcold refrigerator and reasonable storage space including a handy trash locker. We measured 6'2" of headroom throughout the cabin.

Height is less in the head that I would find low for a shower. For tall folks, you can always use the shower on the swim platform. The head has a stainless steel sink, vanity, a shower curtain, mirror and a large opening porthole.

Also low for adults but fine for kids is the aft cabin area. With the filler cushions in place, it measures 4' x 6’ and has an opening porthole to help with ventilation. There is more storage here but one of the lockers is home to the air-conditioning compressor and that could interfere with sleeping.

One of the great pleasures with an express cruiser this size is the performance. The 270 Sundancer feels especially solid with very nice handling, accurate steering and the kind of ‘tossable’ and accurate handling that makes it feel more like a sport boat than a cruiser. With no load and half a tank of fuel, we measured 7.55 seconds to plane and hit a flying top speed of 39.7 mph at 5,500 rpm. The test boat had the standard 300 hp MerCruiser 350 Mag MPI; arguably one of the best V-8 Marine engines ever. The way the boat was propped, it needed 3,800-4,000 rpm to stay planed without using tabs. We suspect that once an owner has moved all the things onboard that they are going to want to take with them, the boat might benefit from a different propeller.

Still, you get tight turning, great handling and performance suitable for tubing and wake boarding as well.

Sea Ray has packed a ton of value into this boat because they wisely recognized the importance of brand retention. The owner who picks up a 270 Sundancer as their first boat is likely to fall in love with both cruising and with Sea Ray. Then, if they move up to a larger boat, they'll probably be looking at a Sea Ray first.

PERFORMANCE

TEST BOAT ENGINE

MerCruiser 350 Mag MPI, 350 ci / 5.7 liter gasoline V8, electronic multipoint fuel injection, 300 hp with Bravo III drive and three blade aluminum prop.

ENGINE (RPM) SPEED (MPH) 

Idle            2.7

1,000            5.3

1,500            7.2

2,000            8.9

2,500            10.7

3,000            15.0

3,500            22.0

4,000            28.8*

4,500            33.1

5,000             38.7

5,500             39.7

*Cruising Speed

Speed testing provided by Garmin GPS.

SPECIFICATIONS

LENGTH OA 28’8”/8.74 m

BEAM 8’10”/2.69 m

WEIGHT DRY 8211 lbs./3,724 kg

FUEL CAPACITY:            84 gal./318 L

WATER CAPACITY 28 gal ./106 L

HOLDING CAPACITY 28 gal ./106 L

PRICE Not announced yet for 2009 model year

Test boat provided by

Sea Ray Boats

www.searay.com

To see if this boat is available, go to http://www.boatcan.com to check listings!

By Andy Adams