Sea Ray 270 Sundancer

All to the good.

Sea Ray made its new 270 Sundancer 8" longer, 4" wider, 8" taller, and about 700 pounds heavier than the model it's replacing, the 260 Sundancer. Sea Ray also managed to make the boat a little faster-nearly 2 mph-with the same power. What's more, the new model's ride is more stable and its overall performance is smoother.

Naturally, Sea Ray's engineers won't give away their secrets, but they did reveal that they made changes to the hull's bottom, plus the boat's weight has been redistributed. As the boat is running it's not so much the speed that drivers will notice as its solid feel. Even with the extra height, the 270 Sundancer doesn't get tossed around in a crosswind, and it corners as confidently as a 20' runabout.

The flow of the 270 Sundancer's cockpit is smooth as well. From the transom entryway to starboard, you can move freely to the helm, not always easy in a sub- 30' cruiser. Up front, the tan dash upholstery ($583), amps up the standard bright white gel coat, and there's a cluster gauge that puts all engine functions in a single 4" instrument. The helm seat has a pivoting backrest and swiveling base. When you're in port, adjust the lounge so people seated on it can sit facing the other passengers instead of having to hang over the top of the backrest.

The aft lounge includes the engine hatch, which raises electronically to provide good access. Frequently checked items are easy to reach and rigging is properly routed and supported. One item that's well positioned is the genset, which is forward beneath the cockpit decking. One of the heaviest accessories, the genset is centrally placed and kept low in the hull for better balance.

Speaking of belowdecks, the forward V-lounge is a great place for kids to hang out, or it can convert easily to a berth. There's ample seated space in the head, and the galley can be equipped for comfortable overnighting. The midcabin can easily sleep two adults. That's another bonus that you get from a bigger boat. ****

Contact: 800-772-6287, www.searayboats.com