The latest model in the Sea Ray Boats Sundancer series, one of the most successful model lines on the planet, has one thing in common with the 370 Venture that Sea Ray also introduced this year: both are shockingly different from their predecessors. In the case of the 370 the difference comes in the form of its power package, a pair of outboards hidden under the sunpads. But on the new 510 Sundancer, there’s a serious attitude adjustment underway.
Walk through the salon of the 510 and the difference is immediately noticeable. Whichever way you turn, you’re greeted by glass. Windows wrap 360 degrees around the cabin, and an electric retracting sunroof allows a huge dose of vitamin D to beam down from above. In fact, Sea Ray doesn’t even call it a salon; they’ve dubbed this part of the boat the “sunroom”. The illuminated atmosphere remains even when you walk down into the lower cabin, where you’ll find the galley and a settee (the named “salon” on the 510). There is no overhead separating this lower cabin from the sunroom and helm-deck, so sunlight streams in via the atrium-like overhead. More natural lighting enhances the lower cabin thanks to oversized side windows with ports. Remember when the hullsides of all the boats on the water were uninterrupted fiberglass? And how being in the cabin on these boats made you feel like you were trapped in a cave? That’s a thing of the past, thanks to new models like the 510 Sundancer.
Bringing the light and air indoors is a great thing, but naturally, most of us will still spend a lot of our sea time in the outdoors. Fortunately, Sea Ray spent plenty of time and effort to make this area of the boat attractive as well. The swim platform with a four-step boarding ladder is downright huge, and the cockpit features a lounge where several people can stretch out or a half-dozen can sit. IMHO, it would be criminal to order this boat without the optional built-in cockpit grill, icemaker, and retractable overhead sunshade.
Something else that would be scandalous to forgo on the 510 Sundancer: the Zeus pod drive option. Sure, you can get this boat with V-drives. But, why would you take a step backwards, in a boat that’s so forward-looking? With the pods you can literally push the 510 sideways, spin it on a dime, and inch it in any direction with an intuitive joystick control. And don’t forget about the Skyhook “electronic anchor” feature, which uses the pods and GPS to hold your boat in position, at the press of a button. Nice.
The bow is another area of the boat you’ll use for recharging your human-solar batteries, with the giant sunpad front and center. It’s ringed by a sturdy bowrail, and although the sidedecks are a bit tight for my taste, widening them would eat into that voluminous sunroom’s space.
This is the part of the review where you probably expect to read a walk-through of the rest of the boat’s cabin. Places like the forward stateroom (with its posturepedic backrest berth and mirrored hanging lockers) and the master cabin (with its queen berth and flat-screen TV). But that’s so old-school. Why spend a bunch of time down there? It’s time for an attitude adjustment—because on the new 510 Sundancer, the old ways of boating in a cave have given way to a new wave of soaking in the sunshine, whether you’re indoors or out.
For more information, visit Sea Ray Boats.
Other choices: The Cruisers Cantius 48 and the Sealine C48 are two other boats with a sunny disposition both inside and outside.