Captain's Report by Capt. Steve--
The Sea Ray 310 Sundancer is built specifically for the boater who wants to entertain friends and take the family on short weekend cruises. She also lends herself to the possibility of one or two longer cruises each season. In this regard, she makes a fine "proof-of-concept" vessel to people thinking about moving up into far larger cruising boats.
Availability of Yanmar diesels.
Sea Ray is now offering the option of powering 310 Sundancer with twin 248-hp Yanmar diesels driving through MerCruiser Bravo III outdrives. For Europeans particularly, this is a good option as it provides the efficiency of diesel engines with that of sterndrive propulsion.• Standard radar arch. Sea Ray calls it a "molded fiberglass sport spoiler with LED lighting," but I would call it simply a radar arch, even though with this boat radar will probably not be necessary. Most builders charge extra for it. •
Dual dining areas.
Normally a boat in this class and size range we see a dedicated forward berth that can convert into a cozy forward dining banquette…OR, we sea a forward berth that can not be converted but there is a table with a bench settee amidships. In the 310 Sea Ray designers have given owners the option of one or the other…OR, possibly if there is a family aboard or a crowd, both could be used at the same time.•
Rotating helm seat.
Sea Ray caught onto this trend long time ago and were surprised it hasn't taken root in other companies. Normally there is a reversible helm seat which does little good due to the proximity of an entertainment/refreshment center just behind. Sea Ray has taken its double wide helm seat, and allowed it to rotate to join the crowd in the cockpit or sit and watch the action off the stern.•
Well-done hull-side storage.
It is not often that we put storage on the distinguishing list, but the 310 deserves the recognition. Forward, in the V-berth area, Sea Ray has fitted overhead cabinets in the bow flare along the sides. This is expensive to do, which is why most builders in class avoid it. Second, amidships at the booth dinette, Sea Ray has built in cabinets fore, aft and above the portlight. Again, this is the sort of important detail usually seen only in larger or far higher-priced boats. •
A Single Boat and Engine OEM.
The Brunswick Corp. owns both Sea Ray and MerCruiser, so consumers selecting the standard power or one of the MerCruiser options will have both the drive train and boat built by two divisions owned by the same company. At one time this circumstance did not make much difference when there was trouble involving the drive train and there was often finger-pointing as to which division was responsible. Today, we are told those problems are a thing of the past.
The Sea Ray 310 Sundancer is a feature-rich vessel. In addition to its "distinctive features" it also has as standard equipment many items that are not included by some, or in a few cases a very few, other builders. Here they are--• Stainless steel trimmed windshield frame.• Electrically actuated engine hatch.• Maple wood lower deck.• Extensive use of wood cabinetry• Canvas curtains for the cockpit.• Engine room automatic fire suppression system with manual over-ride.
Features We Like
There is yet a third category of features on this boat that that are not necessarily "distinctive" or even "major", but nevertheless I think they are noteworthy. They are--• Sony brand stereo.• Cockpit snap-in carpet liner.• All tables come standard.• Wood accent on steering wheel• Battery charger/Converter, 120V.• Shore power connection with 50' of cable.• VHF radio with antenna.• High-water bilge pump.• Gel-coated engine room.• 8 thru-bolted 10" ss cleats• Dedicated storage for fenders and lines.• Swim ladder with 4 steps.• Hydraulic trim tabs• Shower sump with automatic pump.• 6 gallon (22.8 L) hot water heater with exchanger.
The Mid Cabin.
At this size range, the mid berth takes on a more permanent role of being a berth, rather than the occasional sitting room that converts to a berth that we see in the larger “Dancers”. Like all boats in this size range it is the "crawl-in" variety nestled under the bridge deck. I think Sea Ray has done a good job of making what could otherwise be a gloomy storage compartment some that is actually livable.First, the 310 has wood cabinetry that doubles as a headboard. Second, there are two reading lights, and finally there is an overhead, opening hatch above the head of the berth. This not only lets in light but also provides much needed ventilation.
As noted above the accommodations layout of the 310 Sundancer is versatile. Let's take it function at time. First, dining or cocktails: With both tables up eight people can be seated -- six in the wraparound banquette forward and two in the both to starboard. While eight people might be stretching the limitations of the 310's galley a bit, certainly that many could be seated for drinks or to get out of rainy weather. More likely dining below will be limited to a couple, two couples or a family. Here the 310's two galleys should certainly be adequate for any creative chef. Remember, there is an optional gas grill in the cockpit in addition to the single-burner stove top below. There is also a small microwave oven in the galley. With these three cooking devices, two refers and a small freezer a Julia Childs should have no trouble. With four people sitting around the table forward, the starboard dinette table is opened up to use as a food prep counter.
In Sleep Mode.
The booth dinette across from the galley converts to a large single berth and the banquette in the bow makes into a large double or queen. These two beds along with the mid cabin means the boat can easily sleep five adults, and possibly a family of six. Not bad for a 31-footer. The head is to starboard and features a Vacuflush toilet with holding tank and pump out as standard. It is a wet head with a shower wand-type faucet and a
The helm instrument panel and functions are well-placed. Since there is a double wide helm seat, the nav display is off to port so the observer can do a fair share of the navigational workload, leaving the helmsman to keep his or her eyes focused outside the boat. Gauges are across the top of the dash with sunshades above to keep glare down. The dash is a dark color to reduce glare on the windscreen. Multiple SmartCraft displays are standard so the information stream is as customizable. Digital throttles are mounted at an angle, and while I’d always like to see them mounted on the horizontal, their smooth operation still makes this workable. Steering is power assisted with a wood accent, tilting steering wheel. As is typical of boats in this size range, the windshield frame could be a little higher, thus aiding in visibility in the no-wake range, but at speed, it’s of little to no hindrance because of the 5-degree running angle which will have the skipper looking through the glass.
The helm seat is clever.
Something rarely seen in a double wide helm seat is the rotating base that Sea Ray installs as standard on the 310 Sundancer. It allows the seat to be swung around to enjoy the company in the cockpit, or to watch the swimmers aft. Often, builders will settle for a flip back seat, something not possible in this boat because of the entertainment center right behind. This is a smart feature, and Sea Ray gets high marks for it.
Every boat is a compromise and the 310 Sundancer is no exception. There are no side decks on her for going forward to anchor, tie up, or to sun bath. The reason, of course, is so there can be more room in the cockpit. By eliminating the sidedecks Sea Ray designers are able to get a lot of functionality into the cockpit, making possible the double-wide swiveling helm seat I like so much and a rear-facing seat to port. Moreover, most boat builders have discovered that many owners prefer the security of walking through the windshield to access the bow.Sea Ray has done a good job of making wide steps up to the windshield, but there is nothing to grab hold of except the windshield frame. I would like to see the placement of a hand-hold of some sort on to the left of the steps.
The 310 Sundancer cockpit layout is a bit unusual in that to port is an aft-facing single seat/lounger that creates a booth dinette arrangement with the aft bench seat. Add a filler piece and it becomes a full lounger where someone can stretch and sun bath or snooze at anchor. This, together with the fold-down aft seat, provides room for two or three people to stretch out under the sun or stars.
While this design is good for entertaining and sunning, it is not so good for looking forward while underway (not that most kids or passengers would care). Nevertheless, I like to have as many eyes facing forward as possible when I'm blasting along at 35 knots. Why not have a seat back that swings fore and aft so the seat could face either way? A small fold-down foot rest could easily be nestled in for this solution.
Have a Party.
The 310's primary mission is day-boat entertaining and her huge, well-equipped cockpit is made to order for that function. Counting the aft-facing transom seat, eight people can sit in this cockpit while at anchor. The pedestal-mounted table can be removed for more walk-around room, if that is needed. To starboard is an entertainment center, with sink and storage below, which is one of the largest and most functional I have seen in class. It has an optional 120v electric grill and dual voltage refrigerator below.
The 310 Sundancer has a LOA of 31' (9.45 m), a beam of 10' (3 m), and a draft of 41" (104 cm). She has a dry weight of 11,630 lbs. (5,275 kgs), and carries 125 gallons (473.2 L) of fuel and 28 gallons (106 L) of water. When I compare the Sea Ray 310 with other boats in class I find that she is about in the middle when it comes to beam and displacement. She carries less fuel and water than most, but not all, other boats in class, which is probably because Sea Ray has discovered that all that most of its owners need for a weekend outing.
Standard propulsion is via a pair of 220-hp 4.3L MPI MerCruiser gas engines attached to Bravo III outdrives with stainless steel props. You can opt for 260-hp or 300-hp MerCruisers. Mercury's Axius joystick system is available as an option, as is a bow thruster, so take your pick if you are concerned about docking with twin screws. The MerCruiser Seacore anti-corrosion system is an option. For buyers who plan to use their boats in saltwater and not dry sail the boat, I would recommend this alternative. As mentioned above, twin 248-hp Yanmar 6BY-260Z diesels are available as an option. They drive through Bravo III lower units which can also have the Sea Core system, if desired.
The MSRP on this model ranges anywhere from about $200k to $275k depending on the options. Load her up and she could be more. It’s little wonder that this model has reached the popularity level that it has. Simply put: the 310 Sundancer comes loaded at its base price.But there is more to this boat's popularity than just a plethora of amenities and features. For example, Sea Ray's extensive use of wood below helps make the 310 look like a real yacht. Wood veneers have been placed on bulkheads and in other areas where some builders would put carpet or vinyl. Further, the finishes and fit-and-finish of the joiner work is quite good. For another thing, I found that virtually everything on the boat was done right. Where I though there was room for improvement, I mentioned it, and there were precious few suggestions. Of course, with Sea Ray's army of engineers and decades of experience there is no excuse for everything not being done right, yet that could be said of a lot of builders. These days the marketplace is demanding high quality, good customer service, and a reasonable price. No longer can builders get away with delivering two of those three, and Sea Ray knows it.The 310 can be used any number of ways -- as a day boat for watersports, for entertaining friends and clients, weekending, or extended family cruising. The boat has an extensive option list -- not because necessary items were left out -- but rather so owners could outfit the boat for their specific purpose.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
|Carpet: Cockpit||Standard Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
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