DOLLARS AND SALTS
So far the V-drives weren't coming off as well, but they took the edge in terms of initial price. With the 260-hp 5.7L EFI Bravo Three stern drives, and no options, the 290 Amberjack retails for $125,347. With the 260-hp 5.7 L V-drives, the 290 comes in at $124,080 - a $1,267 savings. The 300-hp 350 MAG MPI V-drives bring it back up to $131,247. But also remember that the stern drive is more economical to run.
So why would anyone opt for the V-drives? The primary reason, and the one motivating Sea Ray to offer them on the 290 Amberjack, is corrosion. Assuming that routine maintenance guidelines are followed, the stainless-steel shafts and Nibral (short for nickel-bronze-aluminum alloy) propellers and rudders will outlive the painted-aluminum stern drive in salt water.
On the other hand, you could keep your boat on a lift such as a Hydro-Hoist and flush religiously after each run. You'd defeat the ravages of salt water while still getting the performance edge of a stern drive. But it will cost you about $10,000.
So which system should you buy? If you're planning to run primarily in fresh water and need to make good time getting to your lakefront home or favorite faraway fishing spot, or if you boat in salt water and have a lift, go with the stern drive. If your boat is going to remain in metal-eating brine and you want to have hassle-free recreation, the V-drive is likely the better choice.
For more information, contact: Sea Ray Boats, Dept B, 2600 Sea Ray Blvd., Knoxville, TN 37914, 800/772-6287, www.searay.com.