By Capt. Steve
The Sea Ray 260 Sundancer was designed as a pocket cruiser that can be trailered to extend the cruising grounds and areas of exploration. She can easily accommodate 2 adults and with modifications to the dinette can sleep four in relative comfort.
SmartCraft instrumentation standard.
This includes a digital display inside an analog gauge allow you to customize the information you'd like to see at a glance.•
Standard shore power.
Typically an option on boats in this class, and a great feature to have if you plan on camping out at the dock.
Features We Like
• Dual-voltage drawer-style refrigerator in galley.• Double-wide helm seat that swivels to face aft.• Gel coated engine room.• Standard trim tabs.• 19-degree deadrise at the transom. Cruising different places every long weekend is an exciting prospect for most boaters, and it sure beats having to go back to the same lake all the time. With a “pocket cruiser” such as the Sea Ray 260 Sundancer, you don’t really need a big, expensive cruising boat to get you to some of the world’s best cruising grounds. I think trailerable cruisers are one of the best values in boating where most people are only limited by their time off and imagination.
The cabin of the 260 Sundancer may be considered Spartan by some, but I think that's part of the appeal of a boat this size. For cruising couple it's an ideal arrangement where you can be relaxing and chatting up the night in the forward settee, and then turn in for the night in the mid cabin without having to "convert" anything. To me, on a rainy night it's even better.
There is not a lot any builder can do in just 26’(7.92 m) other than execute the basic layout with style and as much utility as possible. We think Sea Ray has done that in the 260. Her wraparound seating forward is comfortable and the table is large enough to have four for dinner. The galley is well styled and is equipped with everything you need.
The cockpit deck has the usual layout for boats in this class with L-shaped seating opposing a wet bar. I like the feature that Sea Ray has been adding as of late where the double-wide helm seat is able to swivel around to face the action. This is so much more effective than having a reversible helm seat especially with the proximity of the wet bar just behind.
A refreshment center is standard and consists of a counter with a designated storage space for carry-on cooler underneath. If you want to go one step better, the wet bar is an option ($650) that includes the stainless steel sink, faucet, stainless steel handrail, plus the trash receptacle and storage.
Power and Performance
The 260 Sundancer is small and handy enough to take out for a spin on a nice afternoon. In fact, most owners will use her as a day boat for cruising and entertaining. With 23" (58 cm) draft with the drives up, she can sneak into shallow coves or nuzzle up to a secluded sandy beach. Her modified-V hull (19-deg. deadrise aft) will keep her comfortable while running fast in choppy waters. With a 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0L MPI ECT Bravo III as standard power, she should have enough top and cruising speed for most folks, although I haven't tested the boat with standard power.
I have, however, tested the 260 with an optional 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI, also with Bravo III (adds $3,750). Top speed was 42.7 mph (68.7 kph), burning 23.5 gph (88.95 lph). Best cruise was 30.7 mph (49.4 kph) – at that speed the 260 Sundancer managed 2.60 mpg (1.11 kpl), for a cruising range of 176 miles (283.24 km).
Base price for the 260 Sundancer is $101,853. With an engine upgrade and loaded up with options, you'll easily bump the price to the $166,000 range. And you'll need a trailer if you want to tow the 'Dancer to new cruising grounds.
Perhaps the most compelling thing of all is the fact that a cruiser with an 8'6" (2.59 m) beam can be trailered without a special permit. That means people with only two weeks vacation can explore some of the best cruising grounds in North America or Europe. That 8'6" beam is also the major drawback to a pocket cruiser -- space is limited in the cockpit and below. All boats are a compromise and this is the one on the 260 Sundancer or any other pocket cruiser with 8'6" beam. For people thinking about the cruising lifestyle but are not quite sure, then a pocket cruiser is a good first step. At around $100,000 you can get started and if you like what you find, trade on up. If you don't cruising, then your financial exposure has been minimized.For those who live on a tight budget but are sure they would like to enhance the quality of life by cruising, then I can't think of a better way to do it. Dollar-for-dollar, in my opinion, a pocket cruiser will pay the best dividends in on-the-water cruising fun for a couple or a young family.Sea Ray has been making pocket cruisers for a long time so they have ironed out most of the wrinkles. If you are in the market for a pocket cruiser, then I suggest you use the Sea Ray 260 Sundancer as your benchmark.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Sea Ray 260 Sundancer (2013-) is 42.7 mph (68.7 kph), burning 23.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 88.95 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Sea Ray 260 Sundancer (2013-) is 30.7 mph (49.4 kph), and the boat gets 2.60 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.11 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 176 miles (283.24 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet