Sea Ray 410 Sundancer

A cruiser with cockpit choices to match how you boat.

Catching its profile from the dock, I thought Sea Ray’s 410 Sundancer looked European, with its curving sheer line, raked windshield and sleek hardtop. Upon closer inspection, I discovered the 410 embodies something quintessentially American: freedom of choice.

The 410 expands on the old 390 model and offers all kinds of options based on how you want to boat. Sea Ray calls it “flexible architecture.” Start with the stylish enclosed hardtop on our test boat. Sea Ray also offers an open hardtop, for which the windshield does not mate with the top, and a standard arch configuration with an open cockpit.

Our enclosed version would be great for moderate to cooler climes, since it’s enclosed on three sides and can be fully protected with canvas. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t boat anywhere. The manually retractable canvas sunroof above opens to bathe the cockpit in sunlight. The windshield has electronic vents that open to either side of the center mullion, and the side windows open too. Various heat and air-conditioning options provide climate control.

No matter what overhead configuration you choose, the cockpit is made to entertain. To port resides an L-shape wet bar with a solid surface countertop, a stainless-steel sink, a slide-out cooler and a standard ice maker. Swap out that for a refrigerator and add a grill if you like. The plush settee to starboard wraps in a “U” behind the helm and around the transom, which consists of gated doors that swing open to the aft sun pad. These “sun gate” doors can be opened to create opposing backrests, or open just one, or leave them closed for a traditional tanning bed. The sun pad lifts on stainless-steel gas struts to reveal cavernous stowage, including dedicated spots for the cockpit table and the canvas.

The lounge opposite the helm works either as a couch facing the skipper or as a rear-facing recliner. The helm is another place of options, and not just in the layout. Sure, the truly double-wide helm seating (some competitors claim double-wide helms that in reality fit 1½ people) has flip-up bolsters for standing operation. And the seats adjust with levers on the side, a mechanism that’s incredibly intuitive for anyone who’s ever owned a car. The dash has dual Raymarine E210 widescreen displays, as well as the SmartCraft diagnostics and Vessel View display.

Sea Ray offers the 410 standard with twin Cummins MerCruiser QSB 425 diesels mated with V-drives, aimed at boaters who prefer rudder control. But for those who embrace pod technology, a pair of QSB 380s with Zeus drives is available. Maneuvering the boat on test day made it easy to see the lure of pods.

Working against a 3-knot current, we engaged the Skyhook feature and let the drives hold the boat in place with no help from us. In docking mode we used the joystick for some close-quarters dancing.

On plane, the 410 Sundancer performed nimbly, carving tight, stable turns at wide-open throttle. We kept a level attitude thanks to the automatic trim tabs built into the Zeus system. We reached a top end of almost 36 mph. At 2,400 rpm, the 410 settled into a comfortable 25 mph cruise.

The Tiara 3900 ($680,500 with a twin 370 hp Volvo Penta diesel IPS package) is a comparable cruiser with pods, in this case Volvo’s IPS tractor drives, for similar close-quarters handling. Cruisers Yachts will put IPS in its 41 Cantius, a boat we recently tested with Volvo diesel sterndrives and joystick controls ($663,370 with the base engine).

Cruising in comfort is an easy feat aboard the 410 Sundancer. Belowdecks there’s a luxe master stateroom forward. Sea Ray changed the layout compared with the 39, combining the separate shower and commode compartments into one complete head, separated by a glass shower partition. This arrangement allows for a day-head, located amidships.

The styling belowdecks has been updated for 2012, showing off the elongated hull-side windows and the new walnut finish for the cabinetry. The furniture is covered with stylish and contemporary Ultraleather upholstery.

The standard cabin layout calls for a dinette amidships, aft of the raised salon that includes a well-equipped galley. The dinette can be converted to a guest berth, partitioned off with a privacy curtain. Buyers can opt for a two-stateroom layout of a guest quarters with opposing twin beds. Got kids? Frequent guests? Like with everything else aboard the boat, it’s great to have choices.