The Highs: Spacious, self-bailing, single-level cockpit is the key to this boat’s versatility. Folding aft bench is convenient and need not be removed to open the engine hatch. A four-step swim ladder and an octet of 8″ cleats.
The Lows: Helm seats need to be moved inboard several inches: My shoulder was rubbing the windshield’s side frame. Poor anchor locker access-a hatch in the V-berth would be a plus. Bonding and other wet location electrical terminals not sealed.
Toughest Competitor: Regal’s 2650 Cuddy offers similarly sleek looks and belowdecks accommodations for $66,251 with a single 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG Bravo Three stern drive. But its built-in cockpit lounges give it a different mission from the wide open 270 Amberjack. Pursuit’s 2670 Denali is more in line with this Sea Ray, offering comfortable digs below and a utilitarian cockpit topside, complete with transom bench and chaise lounge. Not a stern drive boat, it costs $123,520 with a pair of 225-hp Yamaha four-stroke outboards.
I’ve tested several 30′ cruisers recently that sported undersize deck hardware. But the octet of 8″-long cleats on the gunwales of Sea Ray’s 270 Amberjack are big enough to take a full turn and make a couple of half-hitches even if there’s another line already cleated off. Utility is a mission this boat fulfills very well.
There was a time when utility was a popular boat type. Boaters used them for touring, cruising, waterskiing, fishing, and ferrying goods or crew to the beach or their cottage. The 270 Amberjack is heir to that legacy, capable of performing the tasks required of it while providing accommodations that outshine its forebears.
Belowdecks I found a galley with a large counter, an enclosed head with a shower, and 6′-long V-berth. Hardwood cabinetry, a vinyl headliner, and such details as four opening ports make this space comfortable for a week-ending couple. The companionway steps open, revealing access to the shower sump and a trash can. There’s no aft cabin. Instead, a huge in-sole cockpit stowage box resides where other builders might shoehorn a berth.
Because of this, the 270 Amberjack’s cockpit lies on a single level from the windshield to the folding transom bench. It’s self-bailing, which enhances safety and makes washing away sand, scales, or spilled soda a breeze. A wonderful back-to-back lounge converts to a long bench or a chaise with headrest. The captain sits in a swivel bucket at the no-glare helm.
The insulated fishbox chills your catch as easily as it stows cold beverages. Rodracks are under each gunwale, but anglers may want to add the Fish Pack ($7,933), which includes an aluminum arch, four rodholders, a livewell, a carry-on cooler, and a sink with sprayer and cutting board. Powered by a single 320-hp MerCruiser 6.2 MPI Horizon Bravo Three stern drive, my test boat planed readily enough for family skiers. It cornered well, thanks to its transom deadrise, and provided pleasant cruising at 29 mph, where it netted nearly 2 mpg.
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Draft (max.): 3’8″
Displacement (lbs., approx.): 7,325
Transom deadrise: 21°
Bridge clearance: 6’5″
Max. cabin headroom: 6’0″
Fuel capacity: (gal.) 100
Water capacity: (gal.) 28
Price (w/standard power): $81,223
Price (w/test boat power): $88,356
STANDARD POWER: Single 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG Bravo Three V-8 gasoline stern drives.
OPTIONAL POWER: Single MerCruiser gasoline stern drive to a 375 hp; single Volvo Penta diesel stern drive to 298 bhp.
TEST BOAT POWER: Single 320-hp MerCruiser MX 6.2 MPI V-8 gasoline Bravo Three stern drive with 377 cid, swinging a 20″-pitch ss propset through a 2.2:1 reduction.
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (major items): Clarion AM/FM/CD/ satellite/MP3 stereo w/4 speakers and remote; Bimini top, front, side, aft curtains; 12v and 120v outlets; rodracks; SmartCraft diagnostic gauges; battery charger; dual batteries; 30a shorepower; galvanic isolator; VHF radio; microwave; refrigerator; enclosed head w/vacuum-flush commode, holding tank, shower wand.