Sea Ray is celebrating its 45th anniversary in style with the introduction of an outboard version of its iconic staple, the Sundancer 370. The Sundancer line has been the main identifier of the brand since its inception, and indeed it has even come to define the brand. It literally started the Express Cruiser market that has been copied by nearly every builder in class, but none can match the distinctive traits that define a Sundancer. And now it’s been re-defined.
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||5.7 seconds|
|0 to 30||14.4 seconds|
|Props||16 x 18 Eco Enertia|
|Load||3 persons; 177 gallons fuel; 34 gallons water; 50 lbs. gear|
|Climate||65 deg.; 100 humid.; winds: 0-5; seas: 0|
3 x 300-hp Mercury Verado JPS
3 x 300-hp Mercury Verado JPS
Sea Ray Sundancer 370 Outboard: A Reinvented Icon Becomes the New Flagship
By Capt. Steve
We conducted an early inspection of this new Sundancer 370 Outboard and came away with the opinion that she’s not only a game-changer, but she may also be the most well-thought-out boat we’ve seen. Ever.
One of the key reasons for her creative design is that she’s the first boat to evolve from the newly formed Brunswick Boat Group Technology Center. This is the think tank that is going to take the Brunswick-owned manufacturers to new levels. If there were any doubts about that lofty goal, this 370 should put them to rest. She’s completely new from the keel up and represents Sea Ray’s new design language with terms such as S-Sheer Line, Jaw Line, Center Crease and Integrated logo while also maintaining the design stylings that are consistent with the Sundancer family.
Outwardly, the most striking design change with this boat, aside from the obvious outboard power, is the glass going all the way up to the hardtop. Typically, Sundancers had the half glass and the rest was, in nearly all cases, filled in with isinglass. This has much more of a Coupe characteristic design with the full glass. The side windows going up to the hardtop is an option with the standard being half-glass. That said, every 370 ordered to date, most sight-unseen, are with the full glass allowing for climate controlling the interior.
One other departure from the usual Sundancer that we’ve seen to date… this one takes more advantage of the bow space. Previous Sundancers had a walkthrough windshield that provided access to a solid foredeck, with perhaps a sunpad on top of the deck. This is a fully functional bow, with multiple uses and the ability to reconfigure on the fly.
The Sundancer 370 Outboard was designed to provide the best of what Sea Ray can deliver based on everything it has learned in the last 45 years. She excels at her roles as a day cruiser, an onboard entertainment platform and an overnighter. With her outboard power she meets the demands of a growing market segment and offers new versatility for operating in shallow water, and dare we say… even beaching.
- The optional electrically actuated opening glass hardtop with black panoramic sunroof and extended sunshade options.
- Hull-side windows and a skylight infuse the interior in natural light.
- The spacious head is equipped with a separate shower and spa-like finishes.
- Forward V-berth lounge area with a plush L-shaped couch and flat- screen TV.
- Helm features a custom user interface with digital switching.
- Bow access is via a port walkthrough. Deep bow lounge seats and optional bow shade and bow audio system.
- C-Zone digital switching
- Fusion integrated audio system
- Integrated Mercury features include VesselView link, VesselView mobile, Autopilot, Skyhook, JPO, Sport Exhaust and Active Trim.
- Pre-rigging for optional SeaKeeper gyro stabilizer.
- SIMRAD Evo 3S displays with full integration of vessel systems.
The Sea Ray Sundancer has an LOA of 39’9” (12.11 m), a beam of 12’ (3.66 m) and a draft of 43” (109.22 cm). With an empty weight of 21,008 lbs. (9,529.06 kg), 70% fuel and three people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 22,947 lbs. (10,408.58 kg).
With triple 300-hp Mercury Verados with JPS turning 16 x 18 Eco Enertia props and wound up to 5900 RPM, our speed topped out at 50.8 MPH. Best economic cruise was reached at 4500 RPM and 38.2 MPH. It was at that speed that the 42.8 GPH fuel burn translated into.9 MPG and a range of 201 statute miles, all while still holding back a 10% reserve of the boat's 250-gallon (946.35 L) total fuel capacity.
With the throttles pinned, we reached planing speed in an average of 5.7 seconds, continued through 20 MPH in 9 seconds and 30 MPH came and went in 14.4 seconds. Reducing the throttle showed her staying on plane right on down to 16.1 MPH. Don’t be shy about pushing those throttles to get her up on plane. If the throttle is eased forward, the 370 will hang in that ugly zone, between being bow high and getting up on plane, for an extended time. Put the throttles to the stops, get her up on plane, and then pull back to cruise speed.
This is, not surprisingly, a very fun boat to drive. She has sportboat handling so I was just having my fun doing a lot of cranking and banking on it. Obviously, this isn’t how the typical owner will be handling her, but the point being is that she can take it if there’s a desire to dish it out. Never once did I get any ventilation from the props. Yes, I had auto trim activated the whole time, so it was continually adjusting the outboard trim and it seems to do it very well. That said, when she came up on plane if you want to get top speed out of her, then override and give it a little bit of additional up trim to get that bow up just a little bit higher and you'll feel a little bit of boost of speed. Other than that, I let the auto trim do its thing.
On an otherwise flat calm day, I only noticed some hull slap if I was crossing the wake of the camera boat at top speed. Slowed down to cruise speed 4000 RPM or so, she will then have a clean penetration right through the waves, throwing water out to the side for dry ride. No matter how hard I tried to get water on the windshield, it wasn't happening. So, a very comfortable ride, a nice dry ride and it's a blast to drive.
There’s only one choice for the outboards and that would be the triple 300-hp Mercury Verados. During our testing, we found them to be a good match for this boat. Mostly because these are the new V-8 technology from Mercury. They put out more power and run quieter than the larger models. Now that they are V8 instead of straight 6s, the difference and advantages are clear.
The gatherings will begin in the cockpit that features opposing seating in the form of J-shaped to the starboard side and L-shaped to port. Both are separated at the stern by the gate to the swim platform, and that gate is mounted slightly offset to starboard. Sockets in the deck will accommodate two removable pedestal tables. Storage is underneath the seats.
There’s a distinctly elevated comfort level with softer padding on these seats. It is here that we also start to notice the elevated level of attention to detail in the upholstery. The design styling has waves that morph into a diamond pattern, and we’ll be seeing that theme repeated throughout the boat both in the decking and up in the overhead.
Ahead and to port is a refreshment center. It includes all Corian counters with a White Onyx finish. Opening the covers reveals an electric grill and then a sink in the corner with a flip-up faucet. The sink has a removable cover and there's dedicated storage for it underneath, and right next to, the trash receptacle. To the side, there is a pull-out refrigerated drawer. A removable TV can mount to this area via a pedestal and socket. There’s a black contrast panel running underneath the white counter that is repeated to the opposite side and elsewhere on the boat.
Overhead is a newly designed hardtop 6’8” (2.03 m) off the deck. The standard version has no glass. This one has a fixed glass skylight aft, a center Webasto 80-Series electrically actuated sunroof, and forward are three separate glass units with the center being able to open manually to create ventilation. Both the center and aft pieces have a continuation of the diamond-patterned theme.
There’s a deck hatch that leads to a mechanical room and the attention to detail continues even here. Maintenance was top of mind in planning this area, so looking port there’s the override for the remote battery switching that shares space with the container for the shore power. To the starboard side is where the DC main breaker panel is, so everything is laid out to be easy to get to and easy to service. This is also where we find all the water strainers and through-hulls, the generator and the optional Seakeeper gyrostabilizer.
There are so many thoughtful touches throughout the 370, and one of them is the gate leading out to the swim platform, which opens both inward and outward. When it's in the outward position, it drops down into a lower position so that it's covered by the bulwarks to the side and won’t be seen when looking at the profile of the boat. Right alongside is a stereo remote.
The aft platform is down two steps. It comes out 21” (53.34 cm) from the transom to the end of the platform in front of the engines, so even though we have outboard power we're not sacrificing platform space. There are two extensions off to the sides and the SeaDek matting features the diamond pattern that was reflected in the upholstery that we talked about earlier. To starboard and under a hatch, there's a four-step reboarding ladder that can be deployed with the hatch closed. I also notice that it's at an angle so it's getting a little bit further away from the sharp edges of the running gear.
We can further enjoy this aft area by converting cockpit seating into a sun pad. That can be further extended by dropping a cockpit table down and adding a filler cushion. Plus, we can get even more creative by bringing the cockpit seat base up and making it into aft-facing seating. If the sun gets to be too much in this aft area, a ShureSHADE extendable awning can be deployed all the way aft to the limit of the seating.
Back in the cockpit, as we move to the forward area, this space features what is probably the biggest departure from the Sundancers of the past. Here, there’s all glass surrounding this entire area. The previous versions of the Sundancers would have the glass coming up part way and then owners would put isinglass between the windshield frame and the overhead. Now Sea Ray just cut to the chase, glass goes all the way around and there's even full glass on the sides as an option. Standard will have half glass, but we really like this fully enclosed version. It’s weather protected, it's much more comfortable, and now we can take advantage of the standard heat and air conditioning.
The portside observer’s seat is 39” (99.06 cm) wide and in a fixed position. It includes the diamond-patterned stitching, a single flip-up bolster and a teak flip footrest underneath. There’s a 110-v outlet to the starboard side. To port, and in the bulwarks, there's phone connectivity and then beverage holders recessed into teak, so now we're bringing a little more trim work into play. The cover on the speaker has the diamond pattern repeated yet again.
Things we (and by “we” we mean Capt. Steve) hate and how Sea Ray fixed them.
As we make our way forward, there are a few more significant thoughtful design features. First, the companionway is offset to the side, so we still have plenty of room to get into the cabin. More on that later. In the bulwarks to port, there’s storage for the optional TV that can go into the cockpit.
Secondly, something that we see from some other builders, and really makes no sense, is that there’s always a remarkably heavy walk-through section of the windshield that needs to be muscled open and then requires care to not slam it in the open position. Then it'll be latched over to the far side so it takes two hands, maybe even three, to get it back into the closed position. Sea Ray’s solution to this is so elegant it’s ridiculous. It opens down and inward on two gas struts then latches in the open position with a single handle that is interconnected to two latches. Release the latch and the struts lift the hefty window into the closed position. It’s an absolutely brilliant solution and one I guarantee we’ll see copied.
My next pet peeve is… there’s always an air dam at the bottom of the windshield section that closes from the inside. Add throttle to the boat and, just like that, the wind blows it open again. On the 370, there’s a much more elegant solution. The door opens from the outside in. Now the wind simply keeps it closed instead of blowing it open. Again, brilliant.
And my most critical pet peeve is the fact that because the bow area has to be elevated to add room to the sitting area down below, there’s the need for two, or worse, one large step in the companionway. This isn’t a problem when heading forward, but when coming aft, I never see the step and I end up dropping down hard on the deck past the step and the pain shoots right up my back. Yes, it will only happen once and then you’ll get used to it, but your guests will not. Sea Ray again comes up with an elegant solution of simply making the deck into a slight inclining ramp. No steps, no hard landing, no swearing. It’s so brilliant that it boggles the mind that no one else came up with it first. But Sea Ray did.
Now we come to the bow through this 20” (50.80 cm) wide walkthrough. Rails on top of the bulwarks come up 24” (60.96 cm). In the bulwarks, more beverage holders are nestled into teak and the diamond plating on the speakers is ever-present. There’s a stereo remote just behind.
As for the social zone, there’s a lot to like. It starts with three-across lounge seating. Two flip-down armrests are to the insides and fixed armrests are to the outboard sides. The seating then wraps all the way around to the front where it becomes aft-facing seating. There's a base in the deck, between the fore and aft seats, so we can add a pedestal table. That can also be lowered to form a larger sun pad. When using that table for dining, it’s admittedly a little bit uncomfortable with no seatback to the aft seating, but that’s taken care of with the center section of the triple-wide lounge seat lifting to form a forward-facing bench seat right at the table. Again, another brilliant solution. Lastly, we can add a sunshade that gets supported by carbon-fiber poles meaning that, in effect, we can have shade for the entire length of the 370.
The cabin is the most indicative representation that the Sundancer series is moving away from being an overnighter and more into the realm of being a weekender. The access door to the cabin is offset to the left side of center, leaving plenty of room for the helm as well as the port-side walkthrough to the bow. The door slides to starboard and recesses into the helm console, and there’s no need for the flip-down latch in the deck that we usually see to hold the door open. This one drops down into a catch to hold it open. The companionway is a full 23” (58.42 cm) wide. In the cabin, there's plenty of room thanks to the overhead being 7’ (2.13 m) off the deck. There's a skylight pouring natural light into the area plus there are two hull side windows.
The galley is over to the port hand side and includes more of the White Onyx Corian that we saw up on the main deck. There's a covered single basin stainless steel sink and we’re happy to see that there is dedicated storage for that cover right underneath and next to the trash receptacle. There’s a big storage cubby that’s more of a coffeemaker garage. And of course, there’s a microwave along with a refrigerator.
Continuing forward, there’s L-shaped seating that is extremely comfortable and it makes a nice social area. Bulkheads are all Ultraleather. There's a 32” (81.28 cm) TV on the bulkhead just across to starboard plus a full-length hanging locker.
We can easily convert this area to a berth. Lift a small cushion, push a button and the seatback lifts to become the foot of the berth. The mechanism works quite quickly and, unlike with some other manufacturers, this mechanism is sufficiently strong enough to support plenty of weight without needing to insert additional supports. It’s rock solid. The result is a berth that measures 71” x 81” (180.34 cm x 205.74 cm).
Moving back into the mid-cabin, what a wonderful sitting area this is. In fact, when we were going over the details of the 370 with the design team, this is where we all sat and gathered. It features a 43” (109.22 cm) overhead clearance, of which 33” (83.82 cm) is from the seat to the overhead. There’s more Ultraleather and hull-side windows. To both sides, there's a small storage area with a lift top. Beneath the starboard top is a 32” (81.28 cm) TV and at the base of this compartment, there are panels that can be removed to expose the amplifiers. Now continuing with the thoughtful touches throughout this boat, when these lower panels are in the closed position, there are air openings around the perimeter. When the top lid holding the TV is closed, it remains just a bit open thanks to a small rubber bumper, and this combination allows ventilation to the amplifiers. Nice touch. Across to port is the same type of compartment, but this time it’s dedicated completely to storage.
This area easily converts to a berth and the good news is that it doesn’t take pulling supports and filler cushions out of storage to do so. Simply remove the aft seatbacks, place them into the footwells and just like that, an 81” x 53” (205.74 cm x 134.62 cm) berth is created.
Across from the galley and to starboard is the head. It surprisingly includes a separate walk-in shower with a teak seat. The vanity counter is Black Onyx Corian. There's a vessel sink and a hull side window in both the shower and in the main section of the head. Storage is both above and below.
The helm is nicely laid out. It starts with a soft-touch panel with two beverage holders to each side and the three engine start/stop buttons. Up above are twin 16” (40.64 cm) Simrad displays. These are the EVO-3S displays so if we want to, we can get up to six panels showing on each screen. They also have C-Zone switching integrated into them with a custom-made user interface, so we can control all the lighting, the tank controls and all the electrical right from the panel. We also have manual switches for critical components just underneath.
Now if the push buttons fail, we're not just left with the touch control for the switches. With no tools, we can pull the entire display panel aft to access the back of the panel. Now we've got access to the C-Zone control box. Open that up to simply jump the fuses. In other words, we have manual switching as well.
At the lower panel, there’s a Fusion 770 series stereo. The steering wheel is mounted to a tilt base and it's recessed to give a little more room behind. To the right is a sub-panel with the DTS (Digital Throttle And Shift), the JPS joystick, Lenco’s automatic trim tabs are just behind and then there's a remote control for the forward displays. All too often we see a manufacturer that will mount the remote control right next to the displays for some reason. Here it’s nicely in reach of the seated position.
The 370 is an excellent step-up from the brand’s 320 Sundancer for those looking to increase their time onboard with plans for distant locations because she’s so inviting for spending entire weekends, if not longer periods, onboard. It’s also ideal for those that want to move on from a large bowrider without losing the functionality of that design style. More importantly, this is such a well-thought-out boat that it leaves so little to be desired. At the beginning of this report, we said it may be the most well-thought-out ever and we stand behind that. Sea Ray simply did an excellent job on this new Sundancer 370 Outboard. One problem though… it’s so popular that there is an immediate waitlist to get one. But we guarantee, it’s worth the wait.