Years ago, Sea Ray seemed like an unlikely participant in the battle for Sundeck Supremacy but the fact is its efforts in this arena have made it a serious contender. Certainly the SDX 270 OB (formerly known as the 270 Sundeck OB) is among the top of the list in the premium category and she’s the only sundeck on the planet with Verado power, at least for now. But aside from her roominess and upscale fit-and-finish, there’s something else that adds a bit of “wow” factor to this model, and we’re surprised we haven’t seen it before.
- Comfortably seats 15 people while underway
- Open floor plan with expanded beam and convertible seating, including aft-facing transom loungers
- Quiet and smooth Mercury Verado outboard power with options up to 300-hp
- Enclosed head compartment with portable head, vanity and sink
- Stereo with wireless Bluetooth for easy control of audio devices onboard
- Available shade, via the Bimini top or optional watersports tower
- Carry-on cooler with designated storage
- Magnetic, drop-in ski tow
- Port/aft L-shaped lounger with hinged port cushions and storage below
|Length Overall||27' 2'' / 8.3 m|
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||4.5 sec.|
|0 to 30||11.0 sec.|
|Props||19 Pitch Enertia|
|Load||3 persons, full fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||64 deg., 48 humid.; wind: 5-10 mph; seas: light chop|
1 x 300-hp Mercury 300 XL Verado Pro
1 x 250-hp Mercury 250XL Verado 4-stroke
1 x 300-hp Mercury 300XL Verado 4-stroke
Watch Our Video
Certainly the size and upscale finish of the SDX 270 OB make for a level of uniqueness in the deckboat arena, but there’s a bigger difference that sets this boat apart from all others. Her swim platform.
Sea Ray did away with the concept that an outboard powered boat had to have a large engine well cutting into the usable space in the aft seating. Instead, it went with a full beam swim platform with an outboard bolted right to the center. In this manner, the SDX 270 OB features a fully usable platform with storage to one side and a concealed reboarding ladder to the other. Sure, we may not be able to jump off the center of the platform, but one step to the side isn’t going to kill anyone and it still has more usability than virtually any other outboard boat we’ve seen. It’s a distinguishing feature that we are surprised we haven’t seen before, but we won’t be surprised when we see it from now on. And the smart money says we surely will be seeing it a lot more.
The Sea Ray SDX 270 OB has a LOA of 27’2’ (8.28 m), a beam of 8’6" (2.59 m) and a draft of 38” (96 cm). With an empty weight of 5,450 lbs. (2,472 kg), 3 people and full fuel onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 6,445 lbs. (2,923 kg).
With a single 300 Mercury Verado XL Pro outboard turning a 19-pitch Enertia prop, we reached a top speed of 47.5 mph at 6000 rpm. At that speed we were burning 29.8 gph giving us a range of 93 miles. Best economic cruise was measured at 3500 rpm and 27 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 9.4 gph, which increased the range to 168 miles while still holding back a 10% reserve.
We had a time to plane of 4.5 seconds, reached 20 mph in 7.9 seconds, and continued accelerating through 30 mph in 11 seconds.
This is a strong handling boat that has the feel of a much larger boat. While she’s neither the heaviest nor the lightest in class she does feel like a heavy boat providing a solid ride with none of the bounce of a lighter classed vessel. She accelerates with a mild bow rise and docile feel that will have no one forced back into their seat or tossed to the aft section of the boat.
We did have some chop
on test day and found that if we poured on the power we could create some pounding, but pulled back to a more comfortable cruise and found her plodding through the oncoming waves with a marked level of comfort that we have come to expect from the brand. Frankly, this type of performance convinced us that if someone were on the fence about purchasing this boat, the ride would close the deal.
Turns were equally comfortable
with just a hint of prop ventilation at the top-end, but for the most part, she maintained her bite upon entering the turns. She does lose speed during the turns so if towing, be prepared to add a touch of throttle, and then back off when returning to straight and level. Maximum bank angle was 18-degrees which we did not find to be uncomfortable at all.
Trim does not seem to be a concern
unless top speed is needed. We played around with it at different speeds and barely noticed a difference. Of course when on our test runs we did fiddle with it a bit to get the peak speed, but other than that, even an uneven distribution of weight didn’t seem to generate the need to reach for even the tab controls.
There are really two main themes of this boat… hosting a lot of people and holding all the items they tend to bring aboard. Let’s touch on these two points first.
Bring all the Friends Aboard
Having the ability to hold more people means that they all have to have a seat. Now we can’t just make the seats smaller and add more of them, we have to have more space for actual seats. What Sea Ray has done is to keep the beam at the standard 8’6" (2.59 m) but narrow the gunwales to provide more interior space. By dong this Sea Ray has been able to increase the interior cockpit space a full 7” (17.8 cm) going up from 83” (211 cm) to 90” (229 cm). Now we not only have increased seating capacity, but the occupants are not knocking knees when sitting across from one another.
Bring the Stuff Aboard Too
Storage is a theme we really need to touch on because any boat that’s designed to hold as many people as this one will surely need the storage room to accommodate their stuff. As stated earlier, the transom area is the most distinguishing feature on the SDX 270 OB. In fact, here there is a distinct advantage as the area that is usually filled with a sterndrive is now cavernous storage.
We stated that this is a premium level deckboat and we meant it. There are several carry-overs from the upscale SLX line that can be seen here. At first glance, there’s the fact that all the vinyl is color-matched with fields that bring out the color choices of the boat itself. Then there are the diamond-stitched patterns that Sea Ray became so proud of in the SLXs. And of course, there’s the sheer volume of stainless steel everywhere we look.
The bow is always the most popular area anytime a boat is underway and this one is made exceptionally comfortable. The seats are wide at the aft ends making for an open feeling area. As the seats move forward, the layout elongates to allow occupants facing each other to not have to be concerned with knocking knees together. Both aft seats have armrests that flip down, and we prefer this method over flip-up types as they don’t have to be released from a latched position to stow.
Fully forward there is a concealed beach-reboarding ladder and a freshwater shower is just alongside for rinsing off the sand before coming aboard. The forward most cushion lifts to expose a non-skid step to the bow ladder.
The cockpit is sure to be the main social area as it’s just so roomy and can easily accommodate a large number of people. An offset entry from the swim platform is angled to allow the seats to be placed in an opposing fashion, which we’ve shown time and again provides a welcome conversational atmosphere.
L-shaped seating to port leads forward to a doublewide observer’s seat that includes a seat back that converts from forward facing to aft. The helm seat also converts in the same manner, greatly expanding the capacity of the seating as a whole. Behind the helm is a two-across bench seat. Drink holders are conveniently located, a snap in carpet is standard and a standard cockpit table makes the area even more enjoyable. An optional sink can be added to the aft starboard area at the entry.
Of course, no premium level boat would be complete without an enclosed head compartment. On the 270 SDX 270 OB, it’s large enough to serve as a changing room. The Porta-Potti is standard. Upgrades include a pump-out head, a VacuFlush head with a 10-gallon (37.8 L) holding tank, and an upgrade that includes a sink with a pull-out showerhead. We did notice that the latching mechanism on our test boat needed an adjustment to latch properly.
The tower is standard
and it should not be mistaken for a watersports tower. There’s certainly an option for one but this model has no towpoint and serves more to provide added protection to the cockpit from both a grab point and a support base for the huge Bimini (removed for our press event) that covers the entire cockpit area in shade.
This aft area is demonstrating that we don’t have to make transom trade-offs when we switch to outboard power. We not only have a fully functional swim platform but an aft facing set of loungers as well.
Certainly neither we, nor Sea Ray, recommend ever using this area on any boat while underway, but while coving or at anchor it’s an ideal area to relax and watch the kids swimming off the stern. Three-across seating in this area is not only comfortable but can be made more so by lifting the center of the leg supports to form a contoured chaise. Add a pedestal table and the area becomes even more inviting.
Three things stand out on this boat. First, the placement of the engine and the impact that it makes on the buying decision. Second, is the space and storage built into the boat with a particular focus on interior volume and seating comfort. Lastly, there are several clever little features throughout the boat... The removable saddlebag next to the helm, the flip-down step that allows disembarking from a fixed pier, all little touches that make a difference to the overall picture, and certainly in a positive way.
Of course, the model we tested was outboard powered, but the SDX 270 OB is also available with sterndrive propulsion. That decision right there is only one of many facing the buyer as Sea Ray offers this as one of the most customizable deckboats on the market.