Sea Ray continues to pump out innovative boats in the express cruiser category, and three new-from-the-keel-up models — 350 and 510 Sundancers and the 370 Venture — are making the rounds at the boat shows.
The 370 Venture is a good example of Sea Ray innovation. Instead of sterndrives, the boat is powered with a pair of 300-hp Mercury Verados hidden in two compartments that double as padded sun lounges. “Sea Ray has had outboard boats in the past, but certainly not on a boat of this size,” says Dan Robinson, Brunswick Boat Group director of program management.
The 4-strokes sit in well-ventilated fiberglass compartments, and a hose attached to each engine cowling funnels exhaust outside. “The outboard installation allows us to double the space of the midcabin and include large port lights to illuminate the space naturally,” Robinson says. “It also opens up the cockpit and stern. It makes the whole platform bigger and more spacious.”
Sea Ray is designing its cabins with smaller galleys in response to customer feedback. “People just aren’t using the galley as a full-fledged kitchen,” says Erin Schwarz, a design manager for the Brunswick Boat Group. “They’d rather have the extra space for seating so they can socialize and relax.”
Changes to the helm and dash have increased headroom in the midcabin, Schwarz adds. “Someone sitting in the midcabin can carry out a conversation with someone sitting on the V-berth,” Schwarz says.
I had a chance to drive the boat, and the outboards packed enough punch to pop it on plane quickly and with little bow rise. She displayed nice acceleration in the midrange, and steering ease and maneuverability were comparable to a similar sterndrive model. The 300s pushed the boat to a top speed of about 41 mph. The boat gets about 1 mpg at 32 mph — good mileage for this size and type of boat. I was without my decibel meter, but after years of testing boats I can confidently say the ride was quieter than that of some conventionally powered express cruisers.
You can see the new boats at the New York Boat Show (Jan. 3-6) and the Miami International Boat Show (Feb. 14-18).
LOA: 37 feet, 2 inches
BEAM: 11 feet, 3 inches
DRAFT: 2 feet, 5 inches
DISPLACEMENT: 15,432 pounds
DEADRISE: 18 degrees
TANKAGE: 200 gallons fuel, 31 gallons water, 28 gallons waste
POWER: twin 300-hp Mercury Verados
SPEED: 41 mph top, 32 mph cruise
CONTACT: Sea Ray, Knoxville, Tenn.
PHONE: (865) 522-4181.
January 2013 issue