Forty-five years ago, Sea Ray’s Sundancer line birthed a lifestyle and redefined cruising for many boaters. Today the Sundancer 370 Outboard sets a course for an evolving boating segment that may also prove standard-setting. Read on and see if you agree.
Now, defining what constitutes a dayboat proves as simple as tying a bowline behind your back one-handed. Center-console fishing boats with extra seats, detuned high-performance boats, bowriders, dual consoles, and boats with various sorts of cabins all claim the title. Some are 50 feet in length overall, and others get trailered behind an SUV. Most boast outboard power, which delivers corrosion resistance; excellent power-to-weight ratios; quiet, efficient performance; the ability to trim clear of the water; and the latest maneuverability, monitoring and connected technologies. In all, outboards, like the trio of Mercury Verado 300s that powered our test boat, provide an ownership experience that’s exciting, easy and satisfying, all of which is perfect for time-pressed boaters seeking to engage in a broad spectrum of waterborne pursuits.
The Sundancer 370′s 50-50 cabin-cockpit accommodations, especially when considering the Coupe version with its hardtop and glass enclosure ($6,597), make it more than a dayboat. It delivers a dayboat’s promise of entertaining a crowd while simultaneously providing couples or small families true weekend cruising amenities. Maybe we should call it a day cruiser? For now, compare the Sundancer 370 Outboard with the one other outboard-powered coupe possessing a cockpit-expanding foldout beach door and berths for four belowdecks: Cruisers Yachts’ 38 GLS (seen advertised for $710,000).
This Sundancer 370 OB harnesses the latest in technology from its keel to its helm. The optional Dynamic Running Surface ($3,723) is a trim system, utilizing highly shaped trim tabs that automatically adjust trim and list in response to changing loads, wind direction and course. An optional Seakeeper 3 ($54,123) gyrostabilizer won’t calm rough seas, but it will calm your boat’s roll in rough water. At the dock or waiting for a bridge, or in any close-maneuvering situation, Joystick Piloting eases the task of maintaining control. The helm is equipped with a Digital Dash, which includes two standard 16-inch Simrad NSO Evo3 touchscreen displays. The Sundancer 370 OB also includes CZone digital switching, providing full lighting control and excellent monitoring of ships systems. An optional integrated premium audio system with Fusion Apollo RA770 ($6,077) lets the music play.
Running? With the triple 300 Merc V-8s, we raced across the Gulf of Mexico at over 51 mph with full fuel and a crew of five. Visibility is great from the helm. The boat impressed me with its ability to maintain plane at just 15 mph (3,500 rpm, full tabs and full negative engine trim), an important attribute to safety and comfort should you get caught out. While docking, the big props swung by the big Mercs move a lot of water with little throttle. Even without Joystick Piloting, and considering the windage added by the coupe top, dockside control is ensured.
Interior and Accessories
You’ll command all this from the starboard-side helm, arrayed thusly to allow for the portside walkway to the bow. Attractive diamond fritting on the sunroof’s glass helps anchor a recurring design theme throughout the Sundancer 370 OB. Enjoy the electric sunroof, complemented by fixed skylights overhead. Notice the diamond pattern on the speaker grilles and the upholstery. With flat-white counter surfaces, dark upholstery, matte-silver switches and more, the helm boasts a mélange of colors and texture, delivering a rich, architectural look.
While you’re at the helm, perhaps with the kids, your partner might be with guests in the expansive bow lounge, with its deep seating and armrests. (Order the teak table and cushions that convert this to a sun pad.) Back aft, your brother-in-law mans the grill. Once at anchor, swing the backrest of the transom seat in the cockpit forward to create an aft-facing lounge. A filler makes it a sun pad. There’s easy water access off both corners of the swim platform, and space here to gather or change the engine oil. These multiple social zones make enjoying your crew—and your crew’s enjoyment—that much better.
Let’s not forget the cabin, which sleeps four and impressed this boat tester. There’s more of that designer mojo here, and the woodgrain cabinet bases, teak companionway steps, light-colored cabin sole and bulkhead coverings, and spalike head with shower stall combine for a decor tour de force. Practicality? The forward lounge converts to a double sleeper, and the midcabin’s U-shaped settee also converts to a double berth. The galley counter is broad, perfect for a buffet, and there’s a microwave and fridge. Big hullside windows allow sunlight to flood in.
I’d go on, but I’ve run out of space. For a cruiser that doesn’t force you to cram into a small aft cockpit or for a dayboat for weekend getaways in luxury, sea-trial Sea Ray’s Sundancer 370 OB.
How We Tested
- Engines: Triple 300 hp Mercury Verados (black) with Joystick Piloting
- Test Drive/Prop: Outboard/Enertia Eco 16″ x 18″ 3-blade stainless steel
- Gear Ratio: 1.85:1 Fuel Load: 200 gal. Water on Board: 30 gal. Crew Weight: 790 lb.
- Bow lounge is luxurious, but also makes line and anchor handling easier and safer than aboard most 40-footers.
- Contrasting colors, textures and materials, repeating décor themes, and great balance and proportion combine to provide a designer experience when aboard.
- With triple outboards, it provides a sporty, good-handling, quiet and smoke-free ride.
- Even with standard twin 16-inch touchscreen MFDs, we still want a compass.
- We wish the double helm seat had two separate flip bolsters instead of a full-length one.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$782,800 (base with test power)|
|Displacement (approx.):||25,567 lb.|
|Transom Deadrise:||20 degrees|
|Bridge Clearance:||10’8″; 12’4″ with radar|
|Fuel Capacity:||250 gal.|
|Water Capacity:||46 gal.|
|Available Power:||Triple Mercury Marine Verados (black; white is optional) to 900 hp total|
Speed, Operation, Efficiency
Sea Ray Boats – Knoxville, Tennessee; searay.com