You Can Stay Out All Night – Or Not
Twenty-four foot boats don't have much room to spare when the designers fit in usable belowdecks accommodations and a cockpit big enough for daytime boating. Is it better to sacrifice the cabin for a bigger cockpit, or vice-versa? Sea Ray handles this dilemma as well as any company we think: In the 240 Sundancer, they've combined a comfortable cockpit with a cabin adequate for weekending – or longer, with an adventurous crew. And there's a mid-cabin with a double berth; yes, it's roll-in, roll-out, but we prefer that to sleeping on the V-berths.
Builders of boats like the 240 Sundancer often trim items from the standard equipment list – the cabin table, for example – since many people buying these boats don't intend to cruise aboard: The cabin will be used primarily to catch a nap after lunch, change out of wet bathing suits, or maybe brew a pot of coffee before heading out on a brisk morning. Why should folks have to pay for cruising gear they'll never use?
But with a full options list, Sea Ray lets buyers who want more accommodations add them. A table, microwave oven, VacuFlush head, shore power – even air conditioning is available. We think that, really tricked out, she'd make a neat pocket cruiser for two people, and at reasonable cost.
This Cockpit's Made for Sitting
On deck, the 240 'Dancer's cockpit has a lounge/companion helm seat and an aft bench seat – swivel the helm seat to face aft and the whole cockpit turns into a conversation pit. There is no sunpad, a feature we've come to expect on almost every boat, but the portside lounge will let one tan-aholic stretch out for browning. Sunpads take up a lot of space -- space that, in a boat this size, can be put to better use. Regular readers know that we always like two seats facing forward on all boats so there is an extra pair of eyes facing forward, and for companionship for the skipper. This, however, is problematic in most express cruisers under 40’ with a mid cabin. In 24’ with an 8’ 6’’ (2.59 m) beam it is almost impossible. Every boat has a compromise, and here it is in the 240.
Standard power is a single 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0L MPI ECT with Bravo I sterndrive – a good, reliable package, but we'd spend the extra $1,250 to upgrade to a twin-prop Bravo III drive. Other choices are the popular 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG ECT Bravo III ($3,667) or a 248-hp Yanmar 6BY-260Z Bravo Three diesel, for an extra $39,583. Either gas engine is available with MerCruiser's SeaCore upgrade for added corrosion resistance, important for saltwater service if you don't flush out your engine after each use, and store her on a rack or trailer.
We haven't tested the 240 Sundancer, and don't have definite performance data. However, we did test her bigger sister, the 260 Sundancer, with the 350 MAG MPI; she ran 42.7 mph (68.7 kph) top end. The 240 has a similar hull but is 1,357 lbs. (615 kg.) lighter, so would be faster with the same power. With the standard 260-hp MerCruiser, we couldn't say for sure – but, off the record, we expect she'd be plenty fast for the kind of people who'd be interested in a boat like this.
Whether you want to set her up as a dayboat with a cabin that's more a refuge than a home, or add options to create a mini-cruiser that will take you and a companion far and wide, the 240 Sundancer is, in our opinion, a boat that should be on your short list if you are looking for a boat in this size range. Base price is $77,506 FOB the factory – not the cheapest boat in a crowded field of competitors, but you get the Sea Ray reputation for no extra charge.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Sea Ray 240 Sundancer (2011-) is 46.9 mph (75.5 kph), burning 16.4 gallons per hour (gph) or 62.07 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Sea Ray 240 Sundancer (2011-) is 30.8 mph (49.6 kph), and the boat gets 3.31 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.41 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 224 miles (360.49 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 L.
Standard and Optional Features
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