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Test#1002051076

The all-new 290 Sundancer for 2006 is unlike any express cruiser we've seen before. Fast and very smooth riding, Sea Ray's designers really started from a clean sheet of paper here, totally opening up the cockpit and creating a "living room" type arrangement in the cabin.

Key Features

  • Choice of single or twin engines.
  • Diesel power also available
  • Wide-open cockpit layout
  • Portside companionway door with 2nd screen door
  • Electric-lift engine hatch
  • Convertible sofa/double berth in forepeak
Length Overall 31' 1''
Beam 9' 6''
Dry Weight 9,250 lbs.
Tested Weight N/A
Draft 45'' drive down
- Draft Up N/A
- Draft Down N/A
- Air Draft N/A
Deadrise/Transom 21 deg.
Max Headroom 6'2''
Bridge Clearance N/A
Weight Capacity N/A
Person Capacity N/A
Fuel Capacity 125 gal.
Water Capacity 28 gal.
Length on Trailer N/A
Height on Trailer N/A
Trailer Weight N/A
Total Weight
(Trailer, Boat, & Engine)
N/A

Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

Std. Power 2 x 220-hp MerCruiser 4.3L MPI Bravo III MCM
Tested Power 2 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 MPI
Opt. Power 2 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 MPI Bravo III MCM
1 x 298-hp Volvo Penta D6
Sea Ray just introduced the new 290 Sundancer for 2006 at its International Dealer meeting in Sandestin, Florida, and as far as I can tell the designers only changed one thing on the boat...EVERYTHING.
I don't know if they hired new designers, but the fresh thinking that went into the layout of this boat certainly suggests that--or they REALLY started with a clean sheet of paper--since this Sundancer is unlike any you've ever seen before.
I'll cut right to the chase. The three biggest changes have to do with the cockpit layout, the companionway door, and the forward berth. For 2006 Sea Ray is stressing maximum movability in the cockpit, so they've removed the older athwartships L-lounges all together. This makes it a snap to walk from the transom door forward to the helm and companionway.Unlike the earlier version, this curved companionway door is fully over to port, freeing up room below. And since its off to the side now (the helm is still to starboard) the companionway door(s) (the inner one has fixed screens) are flat and vertical, without the molded-in steps we've been so used to seeing on Sundancers in this size. Now, you access the foredeck on the centerline as before, but your first step is into a recessed area and then on up to the foredeck. This boat also had what Sea Ray is a calling an optional "arch top," which takes the traditional radar arch and adds a flare fore and aft for better coverage from the elements. I also appreciated the Lofrans Marlin windlass hidden under a cover up on the bow, and the grab rail on the top of the arch top for a secure feel when returning to the cockpit (you will have to duck a little as you come back down, but its not a big deal). Another nice touch is the putty-colored helm, which greatly reduces glare on the rugged, powder-coated windshield (also a new look for 2006).But perhaps the biggest change is in the cabin. Gone is the traditional V-berth with filler cushion up forward. That's been replaced with an innovative full beam bed mattress that can be pulled aft easily to convert the berth into a sofa. That sits right next to another fixed sofa to port, giving instant seating for four, AND in a wider part of the boat than trying to cram everyone up to the bow. Well done!Meanwhile, access to the midcabin beneath the helm is about the same (good for one little one, tight for two), and the head also pretty much the same. Two other changes are found way aft at the swim platform. The aft storage trunk now has only one latch. This is much better than two because you can open it with one hand while holding cleaning products in the other prior to putting them away. That is a plus. A minus in my opinion, is the switch to these stainless steel ladders that telescope out from UNDER the swim platform. I'd much prefer to have the ladder recessed into the platform so I don't have to hang my head way off the platform to reach the thing. But overall--and in relation to all the other great changes about the boat--that's a minor detail.Performance & HandlingIn terms of performance, the 260 used to be the biggest Sundancer you could get with a single engine since the older version always came with two MerCruiser sterndrives. But now the 290 is offered with a single 375-hp MerCruiser 496 for those who don't mind giving up a little top end in exchange for lower routine engine & outdrive service bills.Our test boat had the twin 5.0 MPIs with SmartCraft technology at the helm, and I can tell you that makes for an awesome power package. In 20 knots of wind and 2-3 foot seas, we recorded a top end of 44.2 mph and found her best cruise right where it should be at 3500 RPM doing 30.3 mph for a range of 163 miles.Even though it was pretty nasty out on the bay, the 290 split the short chop and rode smoothly at all angles to the sea with no pounding. Yes, we did take some spray over the windwhield, but that's to be expected when you're running 40 mph into a 20-knot headwind. In short, the ride was terrific.So all in all, my hats off to Sea Ray's designers once again who never pay attention to the Billy Joel tune "Don't Go Changing."

Test Result Highlights

  • Top speed for the Sea Ray 290 Sundancer (2006- ) is 44.2 mph (71.1 kph), burning 35.6 gallons per hour (gph) or 134.75 liters per hour (lph).
  • Best cruise for the Sea Ray 290 Sundancer (2006- ) is 35.6 mph (57.3 kph), and the boat gets 1.39 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.59 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 157 miles (252.67 kilometers).
  • Tested power is 2 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 MPI.

Marine Electronics

GPS/Chart Optional
VHF Radio Standard

Systems

Air Cond./Heat Optional
Battery Charger/Converter Standard
CD Stereo Standard Clarion 6-CD with Sirius satellite radio
Head: Fixed Standard Vacuflush
Power Steering Standard
Shore Power Standard
Trim Tabs Standard
TV/DVD Optional
Washdown: Fresh Water Standard
Water Heater Standard
Windlass Optional

Galley

Microwave Standard
Refrigerator Standard
Stove Standard

Exterior Features

Carpet: Cockpit Standard
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc Standard
Swim Ladder Standard
Swim Platform Standard
Transom Door Standard
Transom Shower Standard
Wet bar Standard

Canvas

Camper Back Optional
Cockpit Cover Optional

Boats More Than 30 Feet

Generator Optional

Warranty

Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!

Test Results - Change Measurement Unit

RPM MPH Knots GPH MPG NMPG Stat. Mile NM dBa
600 4.5 3.9 2.1 2.1 1.8 238 207 67
1000 6.3 5.5 3.3 1.9 1.7 218 190 68
1500 7.8 6.8 5.0 1.6 1.4 176 153 72
2000 9.2 8.0 9.1 1.0 0.9 114 99 77
2500 16.4 14.2 14.7 1.1 1.0 125 109 81
3000 23.8 20.7 17.2 1.4 1.2 156 135 82
3500 30.3 26.3 20.9 1.5 1.3 163 142 87
4000 35.6 30.9 25.5 1.4 1.2 157 136 89
4500 44.2 38.4 35.6 1.2 1.1 140 122 91
RPMNMKMKPHLPHKPLdBA
600 207 383 7.20 7.95 0.90 67
1000 190 351 10.10 12.49 0.82 68
1500 153 283 12.60 18.93 0.66 72
2000 99 183 14.80 34.45 0.43 77
2500 109 201 26.40 55.65 0.47 81
3000 135 251 38.30 65.11 0.59 82
3500 142 262 48.80 79.11 0.62 87
4000 136 253 57.30 96.53 0.59 89
4500 122 225 71.10 134.76 0.53 91

All fuel consumption numbers are the total for all engines in the boat. Speeds are measured with Stalker ProSports radar gun or GPS. Fuel consumption (gallons per hour) measured with Floscan digital fuel-flow meter or by on-board factory-installed diagnostic instruments. Range is based on 90% of published fuel capacity. Sound levels determined using Radio Shack digital decibel meter on A scale. 68 dBA is the level of normal conversation. Time to plane is measured from start of acceleration to formation of rooster tail behind boat.