Captain's Report by Captain Steve
Sea Ray says that they created the 450 Sundancer to provide a cruiser with an enclosed bridge with a large, retractable sunroof while also incorporating all the key features that have taken their express cruisers to the next level. Features such as luxury accommodations and a unique room for enjoying some good movies at the end of the day.
Some of the areas of the 450 Sundancer that set her apart from the crowd include the following:•
Axius Joystick Is Standard.
Recognizing that one of the most prohibitive factors in owning a yacht of this size is that the owner/operator has apprehensions about whether it can be handled without embarrassment at the dock. Joystick controls are here to stay and with good reason. On the 450 the Axius joystick controlling the standard Bravo III drives is standard. •
Sterndrives or Pod Drives.
Very few builders offer consumers a choice of basic propulsion systems, but with the Sea Ray 450 you can select MerCruiser sterndrives or ZF pod drives. The pod drives cost more and weigh more but are more likely to be specified if diesel engines are installed. •
Gas or Diesel Power.
Many builders in this size and class of boat only install diesel engines. Because the Sea Ray 450 is at the light end of the weight spectrum in this size range it offers consumers a choice.•
Relatively Light Displacement.
Because the 450 has one of the most narrow beams in this size range the builder is able to keep weight down. These two basic aspects of the boat make it faster and more fuel efficient, all other things being equal. The optional pod drives add about 2,843 lbs. (1,292 kgs.) which puts the 450 into the mid range in displacement compared to other boats in class.
I may be a bit old-fashioned, but I can't think of one time that I've watched TV on a boat, or even wanted to. But others, including my daughter, would vehemently disagree. This new 450 Sundancer not only has TVs in the stateroom, and in the cockpit, but an entire room dedicated to the enhancement of audio/video entertainment in the mid-cabin/media room.•
Extendable Master Berth.
The foot of the berth retracts to allow for more room in this stateroom for dressing and moving about. When it's time to turn in, extend the berth to its full length, and you can even bring the head of the berth up to lounge position should you find it necessary to enjoy the 22” (55.9 cm) flatscreen TV with DVD player -- or to read!•
Four Forward-facing Bridge Deck Seats.
Not only is there a double wide helm seat, but double wide companion seats as well. This is a rarity in any class boat and not only allows for more people to enjoy the ride from the captain's vantage point, it ensures is that there are more eyes looking forward.•
CO-safe Gas Generator.
We add this item to our "distinguishing features list" because it is so important that only such a gas generator should be installed and Sea Ray quite correctly gives consumers no choice even though it is more expensive than a standard gas generator. The standard unit is a 10 kW Kohler.
Most Notable Departure
The biggest standout feature of this 450 Sundancer is by far, the mid-stateroom. Traditionally, in this size boat mid-cabins are only good for sleeping or sitting. On most boats you can convert the berth into a sofa and back again but not much else.
Kids will love it.
Sea Ray has turned this mid cabin into a media room with a large screen TV, great Bose sound system, and even two coffee tables/ottomans for snacks and drinks. Now the Sea Ray 450 has become a weekend cottage for the family or friends. Kids will love it…and parents will love that the kids love it.So while the adults take the tender to a shore side bistro they can leave the kids aboard to watch the large-screen TV. (Let ’em eat hot dogs!)
Or, in another scenario, the weather has you holed up in that remote anchorage for another evening and sitting on deck is out of the question. Enter the media room for the whole family. And lest you be worried that you’ll be losing the ability to bring another couple to the cruise with you, fear not, the sofa converts to a double bed easily enough and the cabin has a privacy curtain..
Ambient light from the oversized hull windows and skylight gives a natural glow to the entire salon. All the cabinet work inside is made at Sea Ray's Cape Canaveral Woodworking and Finishing Facility. The sofa is covered in UltraLeather, which most people prefer to the real thing. The standard salon deck is covered in 55-oz. Stainmaster BFC nylon carpet with DuPont's Teflon repel coating. Hardwood decking is optional and I recommend it. The sofa makes into a double bed and Sea Ray is a master at making the conversion user-friendly.There is storage in the deck which I like because there is never enough storage space on a boat. There is also storage behind the sofa. A high-gloss wooden dining table is standard and there is a place dedicated to store it when its time to get it out of the way. The 450 comes standard with 24,000 BTUs of AC / heat which is zone controlled in the cabins.
The 450 has a well-equipped galley. It has a two-burner electric stove top, a below the counter refrigerator/freezer, microwave, large sink and even a standard coffee maker. There is a dedicated trash container, storage for pots and pans and flat wear below the counter, and cabinets above for dry goods, plates, glasses and mugs. Best of all, perhaps, is the large amount of counter space for food prep.
The Master Stateroom
The forward stateroom features a full-size island V-berth with an electric extension, to provide more room when changing. This design innovation provides the most utility in a small space and I'm glad to see that Sea Ray uses it. The berth is made of memory foam with a Posturepedic backrest.The cabin sole is hardwood as standard. A Shoji-style sliding door for privacy is also standard. I like Shoji screens because not only are they lightweight, but they also let light in the forward cabin. Since it is a pocket door it makes movement easier when the door is opened and closed.The main cabin houses a spacious galley with stainless-steel appliances and loads of storage along the port side; to starboard, a dining area with folding table easily coverts to a sleeper. The Sony stereo located here comes fully outfitted with an iPod docking station, CD player, Sirius satellite receiver, amplifier, subwoofer, and more.
Wet Head Be Gone.
Sick of those wet heads that combine the shower, toilet, and sink into one compartment (aka wet head) that gets soaked and can get moldy? Yeah, me too. And so, apparently, are the owner focus groups at Sea Ray. Now they have the single head to starboard and the shower to port. By splitting up the head, two people can use the facilities at the same time, which makes for more efficiency all around
The Bridge Deck
At the helm, not only will the joystick controls add 10 years of experience to any newbie skipper, a comfortable and functional helm station awaits. The helm seat is a fully adjustable double- wide seat with flip-up bolster, and there is a double-wide companion seat to port.
The latter attribute is something that I feel is important, and most builders do not build a bridge deck this way because they need headroom below to get into the mid-cabin. Therefore, they build in a "lounger" bench seat that faces to starboard. As far as I'm concerned, this is letting the design tail wag the dog. When considering boats in this class, notice whether there is a companion seat facing forward on the port side of the boat or a fore and aft bench seat with a recliner forward. Full marks to Sea Ray for this design.
The standard electronics package includes VHF, autopilot, and the SmartCraft Vessel View monitoring system. Options include a Raymarine package with E120 monitors combining radar, GPS, chart plotter, and fishfinder.A fiberglass hardtop with a huge retractable sunroof covers the cockpit and you can add optional air conditioning and/or heat to the cockpit. One thing I don’t care for is the twin remote-controlled opening panels in the windshield. While they allow for more air to flow through, there’s a lot of blocked visibility, and the same function can be had by opening less obtrusive side windows, or having those vents at the top of the windshield on the centerline.
Leisure possibilities abound at the large, U-shaped cockpit lounge with removable table. The aft-most backrest of this seat is split, and the two sections pivot open to create an extension of the sun pad, which has abundant storage below for lines, fenders, and other necessary items. On the starboard side of the cockpit, a big, L-shaped wet bar with icemaker will keep everyone hydrated, and owners can choose to add an optional grill, refrigerator to create an “outdoor galley” atmosphere. A removable 19” flat screen TV is optional.
The Sea Ray 450 Sundancer has a LOA (including the swim platform extension) of 45’5" (13.85 m), a beam of 13'2" (4.01 m), and a draft of 46” (117 cm) with Zeus pods, and 38” (97 cm) with Bravo III drives controlled by Axius. Her dry weight (with sterndrives) is 24,362 lbs. (11,050 kgs.) or (with Zeus pods) 27,205 lbs. (12,340 kgs.). Fuel capacity is 292 gallons (1,106 L), and water capacity is 70 gallons (265 L).
The standard power in the 450 is MerCruiser 8.2 L MAG ECT 375-hp gas engines drive through Bravo III drives. As noted, the Axius joystick system is standard. Optional gas engines are 8.2s putting out 425-hp. Optional are twin diesels with Zeus pod drives, either the Cummins MerCruiser QSB 280 or QSB 480, developing 380-hp and 480-hp, respectively.
This is just scratching the surface of the long list of features, both standard and optional, on the 450 Sundancer. She's a good example of Sea Ray taking a tried and true design, and making enough improvements and refinements that add utility and joy to the boat.Because the 450 has a single head, I think she makes an excellent family cruiser for extended cruising or just long weekends. Kids will love the large swim platform as there seems to be nothing quite as much fun as jumping off a boat into the water. In this regard the helm and companion seats can have four family members participating in the piloting and navigation and having fun working together.The large cockpit makes the 450 ideal for a day boat for entertaining. With the wet bar and icemaker, all that needs to be added is a charcoal grill on the transom for an evening cookout. And don't forget, while the adults are topside, the kids can be in the media room watching Batman. The hard decision, I think, with this boat might possibly be in whether to select the gas or diesel propulsion package. For people staying close to home and who are trying to keep the price of the boat down, obviously the gas option deserves serious consideration. Those planning long trips to the islands or annual north/south migrations should consider the diesel option for extended range, if nothing else.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Sea Ray 450 Sundancer (2013-) is 36.8 mph (59.2 kph), burning 40.3 gallons per hour (gph) or 152.54 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Sea Ray 450 Sundancer (2013-) is 25.9 mph (41.7 kph), and the boat gets 0.93 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.4 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 244 miles (392.68 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 380-hp Cummins QSB5.9.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
|Carpet: Cockpit||Standard Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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