Boat Test Videos
Content courtesy ofThe Sea Ray 470 Sundancer carries twin Zeus drives linked to Cummins MerCruiser Diesels. At 28,500 lbs. (12,928 kg.) dry weight, but with just over 900-hp on tap even with optional power, will the 470 dance the kind of tune we like? We sent our captain to run some numbers.
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.
Sea Ray 470 Sundancer (2011-) Line Drawing
Technology Takes Commitment
When the age of pod drives and joysticks arrived on the boating scene several years ago Sea Ray was one builder into testing the concept. A sea change was underway in the competitive diesel-powered class of boats that ran roughtly from 35'- 45'. Converting to pods takes more than just changing the drivetrain: it necessitates a completely new hull drawn specifically for the different engine placement, and, usually, an accompanying change in the center of gravity.
And a new hull means new tooling (expensive) and new engineering (also expensive); since the pod-based drivetrain takes slightly less room than V-drives (used in earlier Sundancers), it also allows larger accommodations down below. In short, switching to pods isn't something a boatbuilder takes lightly, and the company has to be willing to make a serious investment in time, money and manpower.
In creating the 470 Sundancer, Sea Ray designers drew a deep-V hull with tunnels in the afterbody for mounting the Zeus pods vertically, despite the hull's deadrise. (The top of the tunnel has zero deadrise; this is Zeus recommended practice.) This increases efficiency and performance, according to Sea Ray, while reducing draft and protecting the pods by the hull deflecting debris down and away from the drives. (At least, you hope so.) Zeus pods use aft-facing props, which are further shielded from debris by the gearcase and skeg, adding a bit more protection. But whacking something hard will damage any running gear.
Sea Ray stuck to the classic express-cruiser layout, with a master cabin forward, a guest cabin aft and an open salon and galley in-between. The 470 Sundancer's length makes room for each cabin to have its own head – both are cleverly designed to take advantage of the space available. The forward head, just abaft the master cabin, is split, with the toilet and sink in a compartment to port, the shower to starboard. As we always say, it allows two people to see to their ablutions simultaneously, and the person showering doesn't tie up the head for the other person.
New, Higher Level of Joiner Work
The joinery is cherry, available in either dark or light, glossy or matte; light oak is also optional. A Sea Ray spokesman said the glossy cherry was most popular, about evenly split between dark and light. Even the master head has attractive joinery, made possible by isolating the shower in a compartment on the other side of the boat. Otherwise it would be ruined by overspray.We recently saw a new 470 at the New York Boat Show with an interior finished in dark cherry -- so dark, in fact, that it looked like walnut. The fit-and-finish and the elegant, high-gloss wood made this the best-looking Sea Ray interior we have ever seen. To us, it signals a fresh, new approach.
Standard power for the Sea Ray 470 Sundancer is twin 407-hp Zeus CMD QSB 425 diesels, but we think most buyers will upgrade to the 459-hp QSB 480s. The bigger engines add only $16,250 to the price, a pittance compared to the 470's MSRP of nearly $1M. Both power options include the Zeus autopilot and Skyhook station-keeping. A 11.5-kW Onan genset is also standard.
Our captain tested the 470 Sundancer with the optional, bigger diesels; the test boat carried half-tanks of fuel, minimal fresh water and two crew. He measured a top speed of 34.4 kts, and calculated best cruise to be 28.7 kts. with 247 n.m. of range at that speed, including a 10% reserve. The Sundancer planed in 12 seconds with, he reported, minimal bowrise and no loss of forward visibility.Best cruise was at 2500 rpm where the boat made 20.9 knots in flat conditions burning 27.2 gph, giving her a range of 242 nm.
Starting from an MSRP of $949,688 (includes $25,610 inland freight), we expect most buyers will break the million-dollar mark fitting out their 470 Sundancer, especially if upgrade the engines. The hydraulic swim platform adds $46,667, you can spend $30,000 on electronics and more than $38,000.00 on teak decking if you choose – and there are lots more options, many of them very attractive.
In our opinion the new 470 Sundancer is a big step in the right direction. While she has a strong family resemblance to earlier models and her stable mates, we think her lines are much more refined. It is a hard thing to describe, but to our eye she is a sporty-looking yacht. Below, as mentioned, her look is classy.
When you play in this sandbox, you expect to spend some cash, and Sea Ray traditionally gives you an appealing balance of quality and value. You can spend less and you can spend more. Sea Ray has loaded the boat with some rquipment that would be optional on other brands, so when comparing, take note. Add the Zeus advantages and you've got a package that we think deserves your attention.
Test Result Highlights
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Pricing Range: $924,078.00Prices, 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.
Test Results - Change Measurement Unit
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.