Sea Ray‘s 270 Sundeck OB melds a sport boat’s handling and style with several layout elements of a deck boat. Powered by a single outboard, it offers shallower draft and enhanced corrosion resistance versus sterndrive power and lower sound levels underway compared with a jet. Big enough to transit open stretches of water, the 270 Sundeck OB remains trailerable. In all, it just may be the perfect runabout.
Or is it?
The broad bow of the Sea Ray 270 Sundeck OB indicates its deck boat DNA, and delivers oodles more lounging room than the V-shaped space of a bowrider. In fact, close inspection shows that this boat has less taper aft than most runabouts as well, and so provides extra roominess throughout. Aft of the deep, draining cockpit a broad platform fulfills the deck boat promise of maximized and unfettered access to the water. In contrast to the “soap dish with a sterndrive” profile of some classic deck boats, the 270 Sundeck OB exhibits a reverse sheer that falls subtly from the helm toward the bow, and this couples with the protective windshield and artful hull graphics to give this boat a sporty, interesting and attractive stance.
Beamy boats often suffer a harsher ride than their slimmer counterparts, but in the Sea Ray’s case, the bow remains sharp forward, the squared-off shape achieved by a combination of bow flare and freeboard height rather than a blunt entry. The hull transitions to a transom sporting 21 degrees of deadrise. So while the extra height and flare might require some extra attention to the helm in strong crosswinds, on balance the boat rode dry and smooth up to 25 mph in a stiff chop. The single 300 hp Mercury Verado outboard installed on our tester propelled us to 49 mph with full fuel, full water and the optional folding aluminum water-sports tower ($5,662) erected. Time to plane was 5.8 seconds, and we hit 30 mph in 8.7 seconds. We noted a light, responsive feel with the motor trimmed out and running across the waves at high rpm. Sound levels are hushed, and at idle speeds, you have to look at the tach or the engine’s cooling water discharge to know that it is running. As sporty as the 270 Sundeck OB is, it’s also an ideal platform for quiet lakeshore tours on any evening you care to pack the fine cheese and charcuterie.
One feature of Sea Ray’s 270 Sundeck OB is its uniqueness. Builders like Chaparral, Cobalt and Four Winns offer deck boats this size with sterndrives, but not with outboards. (Though, Chaparral offers the 24’10” 250 SunCoast with a single 300-hp Yamaha outboard for a starting price of $64,998) Shoppers might look at the Starcraft 250 OB SCX EXT. Like the Sea Ray, this is not a pure deck boat, but rather a runabout with deck boat proportions. At 26 feet length overall by 8 feet 6 inches wide, the Starcraft is smaller, but you have a choice of outboard makes with which to power it, whereas the Sea Ray comes with Mercury outboards only. Its styling is more flamboyant than that of the Sea Ray. With a 300 hp Yamaha outboard, the Starcraft tops 50 mph and retails for $73,699.
UPDATE November 11, 2015 Four Winns now offers the HD 270 Outboard. Its 26’6″ x 8’5″ and displaces 4,900 pounds. With a single Mercury Verado 300-hp outboard it’s offered at $75,128
Perhaps the comparison to make is between the boat’s sister ship, the sterndrive-powered Sea Ray 270 Sundeck ($93,645 powered by a 300 hp MerCruiser 350 MAG Bravo Three). Outboard power should be appealing to coastal boaters for the enhanced corrosion resistance it offers. Unlike a sterndrive, an outboard can be tilted completely clear of the water. Additionally, the outboard takes up no room inside the boat, resulting in the “OB” possessing an aft cockpit akin to a yacht tender’s, with a fold-down lounge that results in converting your boat to a “teak beach” at the sandbar or cove. The sterndrive boat offers a well-executed but conventional layout with seating on the transom creating a hard boundary between platform and cockpit. Of course the outboard bisects the platform, whereas the sterndrive provides an expanse the full width of the boat. And while the outboard will perform in stellar fashion for most boaters, if you load the boat with its maximum crew all the time, the sterndrive’s bigger displacement and larger props may prove sportier to run.
In the bow, with the table erect, a wondrous space is created, wherein six big people can socialize. There is a four-step bow ladder mounted atop the deck, delivering a deck boat’s promise of bow or stern water access. The anchor locker is below the centerline seat. Now, because the cleats are mounted port and starboard, when the rode runs out from the cushion, it must cross the seats. Perhaps a pop-up cleat beside the ladder hatch could be installed?
In the main cockpit, the helm and companion seat backrests flip-flop to turn the aft lounges into chaises. Inside the portside console is a head with sink and shower sprayer. A removable cooler hides beneath a lounge, and one of two massive, lockable, in-sole lockers swallows your gear. In all, this boat provides the best of many worlds.
Comparable Model: Starcraft 250 OB SCX EXT