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Sea Ray 510 Sundancer

The 510 Sundancer is a big, beautiful express with an abundance of livable space.

April 9, 2013
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Sea Ray 510 Sundancer

LOA: 50’10”
Beam: 14’8″
Draft (max): 4’1″
Displacement (approx.): 43,700 lb.
Transom Deadrise: 19 degrees
Bridge Clearance: 14′ 3/4″ (top of mast)
Max Cabin Headroom: 12’0″
Fuel Capacity: 400 gal.
Max Horsepower: 1,186
Available Power: Twin Cummins QSC diesel V-drives up to 1,186 hp; twin Zeus pod drives up to 1,086 hp

Sea Ray 510 Sundancer

BTG0513_FUL_Full Boat Test

Sea Ray 510 Sundancer

BTG0513_FUL_Full Boat Test

Sea Ray 510 Sundancer

BTG0513_FUL_Full Boat Test

Sea Ray 510 Sundancer

BTG0513_FUL_Full Boat Test

Sea Ray 510 Sundancer

BTG0513_FUL_Full Boat Test

Sea Ray 510 Sundancer

Sea Ray 510 Sundancer

Sea Ray 510 Sundancer

Sea Ray 510 Sundancer

There’s six feet of space between the helm of Sea Ray‘s 510 Sundancer and the base of its windshield. Space allowing sunlight to pour belowdecks. Coupled with the cozy lounge at the bottom of the companionway steps and hull windows, this creates an atrium at the nexus of galley, staterooms and salon. The light, coupled with the sense of limitless headroom, delivers one of the freshest sport yacht designs we’ve yet tested. It proved to be one of numerous reasons those desiring a big cruiser should sea-trial this new ‘Dancer.

Our test boat housed twin 593 hp Cummins QSC 8.3-600 diesel V-drives with digital throttle and shift (DTS). These are an upcharge from the base 543 hp QSC 550s with DTS, but not necessarily an upgrade in my view, since the torque curves for both engines are identical and it is torque, not power, that turns propellers.

Engine-room access is via a large hatch. I noted excellent serviceability and robust rigging: filters and dipsticks mounted on the inboard sides of both engines, unobstructed access to seacocks, rugged engine mounts and secure support of wires and hoses. The entire cockpit sole is removable should a repower be required. My only gripe concerned the lack of labels on the fuel return and supply valves.

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I tested the 510 Sundancer loaded with full tanks and a crew of nine. The DTS controls offer effortless shifting, protection against high-rpm gear reversals and single-lever operation. Clearing the no-wake zone, I put the lever down. The boat responded briskly, attaining plane without undue inclination, and delivered a satisfying surge as the turbos kicked in.

Visibility from the helm is outstanding, even close aboard the starboard side aft, where the hardtops of many coupes create a blind spot. The 510 maneuvers with no detectable lag between input at the wheel and the bow coming around. Back at the dock, I spun and backed the 510 ’Dancer into her slip, the large props providing the torque required for confident control. Pod drives get loads of accolades but a shaft-driven boat like the 510 Sundancer I tested proves for certain that inboards are far from dead.

The 510 Sundancer is available with twin 543 hp Zeus pods for an additional $75,000, which may net you a faster, more efficient boat and joystick control, and cost you an inch more draft. The boat weighs 400 pounds less with Zeus.

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The 510 Sundancer’s layout pleased me as much as its handling. It delivers unimpeded pedestrian traffic paths from the cockpit to the helm deck thanks to the sole being a single level. Lines of conversation are also unimpeded fore and aft and down into the sunroom created by the atrium and the multitude of hull-side windows, thanks to the wide, glass aft sliding door. Another boat with a sociable layout and atrium is Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius ($1,022,150 with twin 435 hp Volvo Penta IPS 600 diesel pods). Also check Beneteau’s Gran Turismo 49 ($792,710, also with IPS 600s).

In fact, though it’s three steps down to the hydraulic swim platform, I was tall enough to make eye contact from there with a crewmate standing in the companionway. Up into the cockpit, I discovered a six-person lounge and stowable table allowing for alfresco entertaining. These convert to a sun pad lickety-split. Stowage within is accessed via hinged cushions riding on gas struts for hands-free access.

Going forward, I noted sturdy grab rails along the side decks. It also warmed this captain’s heart to see a proper chain stop securing the anchor rode. Too many boatbuilders rely on the windlass alone to hold the ground tackle.

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Through the slider and under the hardtop you enter what Sea Ray terms “the sunroom.” This enclosed helm deck offers plush Ultraleather seating, a wet bar with ice maker, and a table for dining. With the sunroof and integral glass windshield with venting wing glass, it also offers climate control and a panoramic seascape. I took note of the multitude of stowage cubbies worked into the furnishings.

Step through a centerline companionway down into the cabin. To starboard is the atrium lounge, which slides open and creates a berth. Opposite is the galley, with its bull-nose, faux-stone, L-shaped counter and all the accouterments including a vent fan.

There’s walk-in access to the full-beam master stateroom aft. It’s luxuriously appointed with a private head en suite, cedar-lined lockers, end tables, a full-length mirror and room to mill about.

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Forward, the guest stateroom boasts an electrically reclining island berth, private access to the day head and plenty of stowage. The lattice-style headboard is indicative of the designer decor.

If you’re shopping for a big, coupe-style express boat, you owe yourself a look at the new Sea Ray 510 Sundancer.

Comparable models: Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius, Beneteau Gran Turismo 49

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