It’s no secret that Sea Ray practically invented the express cruiser in its ever-popular Sundancer line. All Sundancers feature sleeping accommodations for two in the forepeak, two more in the pull-out saloon sofa, and two more in the mid-cabin located directly beneath the raised bridge-deck helm, and the new 280 is no exception. It fills an important niche between the 240 and 300 Sundancers with the option to have single- or twin-screw power.
The 280 shows it’s a real cruiser right in the transom, where a small trunk has shore-tie connections for phone, TV, and city water. Though the swim platform is not integral with the hull, it is 2 ½’ long—plenty big to handle swimmers, skiers, and wakeboarders of any age.
Once you walk forward through the transom door, you’re greeted with a nearly full-beam aft bench seat, and a neat rear-facing seat that flattens down manually yet easily to create a big sunpad for two. Across to starboard there’s a compact wetbar with sink and hidden Igloo cooler, and fully forward an L-shaped lounge sits across from the starboard side helm. While this lounge is only 3’6” long, if you extend the sunpad out even Shaq could stretch out his legs with no problem.
As you’d expect on a cruiser this size there are no sidedecks leading forward, but rather two wide steps molded into the companionway door that lead through the windshield and on up to the foredeck and standard Martin electric anchor windlass ( a big plus). Like many pocket cruisers, however, the 280 Sundancer does have a sunken footwell cut into the bridge deck that guests need to pay attention to while walking about.
Once they do come through the companionway, they’ll be impressed by the sheer luxury of the 280’s interior. The forward berth is easily big enough for Mom and Dad, while the dinette has a drop-down table that creates a 5’2”-long berth for a youngster. Another child or even adult can sack out in the midcabin aft, which is 6’9” long by 4’0” wide.
Out on the test track, we found the 280DA had very sensitive power steering that requires almost no pressure to make big carving turns. When you’re running hard with the drive trimmed out there’s very little hull in the water which means she’s fast—better than 46 mph at WOT—but also tender. Against that, throttle back to best cruise of 3500 RPM and you’re still skimming along at 33.3 mph but with a lot more tracking hull in the water. You also get 31.1% better fuel economy at this throttle setting for a range of nearly 140 miles—plenty for long weekends aboard with family and friends.
For more information call David Whidden@ 305-394-4266
1177 Ave. C
Riviera Beach, FL 33404