Got lots of friends? Sea Ray’s 290 Sundeck can accommodate 17 passengers and doesn’t sandwich them in like sardines. Its design offers 27 percent more interior volume than the 280 and 300 Sundeck models that it replaces, thanks in part to an additional 7 inches of interior beam width. Use the space to put part of your crew in the squared-off bow. It narrows to a mere 18 inches over its 4-foot-6-inch length, maintaining nearly the entire beam width forward. The majority of space, however, has been saved for the aft cockpit. There, a large L-shaped bench begins adjacent to the double-wide helm seat and spans nearly 13 feet as it traverses the port side and stern. More seating space is located directly behind the helm. Pivoting backrests on both seats focus attention forward or aft, depending on whether you’re underway or socializing. The coolest seats in the house, however, are arguably the transom loungers. Facing the swim platform, they extend an additional 5 inches when you want to stretch out, and flank a cooler and storage nook with a 12-volt receptacle.
The overall feel is contemporary and sleek. Cockpit seats feature leathery two-tone vinyl with diamond-pattern insets, a look that carries over to the stylish helm. Hidden below, however, is function reminiscent of an old-school deck boat. You’ll find a full 4 feet 2 inches of headroom in the 4-foot-2-inch by 2-foot-10-inch port console head, complete with a molded fiberglass liner, portable toilet, solid-surface countertop, pullout sprayer and openable 12-inch port light. A clever shelf folds out from the wall when you’re using the space as storage. Additional storage is found below nearly every seat, in addition to two in-floor ski lockers and wet stowage below the starboard transom walk-through.
High performance isn’t a deck-boat design priority, but don’t think this crowd-friendly craft is a slug. Its deep, 21-degree deadrise hull handled a windswept Pine Island Sound with ease while nimbly negotiating hard over turns. Equipped with a MerCruiser 350 MAG Bravo Three, digital throttle and shift, and standard hydraulic trim tabs, our test boat smoothly accelerated onto plane in just over six seconds and topped out above 42 mph. Should you have an unquenchable need for more speed, an optional 8.2 MAG is available.
Comparable Model: Chaparral 284 Sunesta