With the recent introduction of a new model line of yachts, including the L650 and the L590, you might not expect Sea Ray to continue developing its older line-up, with new boats like the 470 Sundancer. I know I wondered whether the wildly successful but rather aged Sundancer line was destined to fade away. Fortunately, the 470 makes it clear that Sea Ray is still dedicated to investing in this line—and to improving it.
You can tell at a glance that the 470 Sundancer has evolved quite a bit from the older Sea Ray models. Like many modern designs in this class, it has a lot more glass in both the bridgedeck and belowdecks. There’s a monsterous sunroof in the hard-top. And the cockpit and saloon are on the same level for easy entertaining. That’s all nice, for sure, but the bigger leap forward lies beneath the waterline.
The 470 can be had with Zeus pod drives, which were on our test boat. You can still order the 470 with V-drives if you insist, but you’ll be giving up some of the best advancements in marine propulsion we’ve seen in decades. For starters, pods reduce draft by three inches and weight by 600 pounds. They get you joystick control—utterly miraculous for docking and close-quarters maneuvering—along with features like the position-holding Skyhook.
And the boat’s performance with pods is pretty dang impressive. We hit a top-end of 37.6 MPH, and cruised at about 32-mph while burning under 40 GPH. Handling is improved as well, and while I could use the old “like a sportscar” line, the fact of the matter is that you just have to crank the wheel over and feel the 470’s hull carve out a turn for yourself to really understand just how tight the handling is. Tuck that away in your brain until you can line up a sea trial, and when you do, you'll understand why the cliché is so tempting.
In the cabin, again, the 470 Sundancer has been brought up to modern design. There’s an atrium over the galley and what amounts to a mini lower-saloon, so you get plenty of air and natural light during meal preps. Both the mid and forward cabins are nicely finished and appointed, and there’s more headroom than expected in the mid cabin, which presents a case-study in boat design trade-offs. They created that headroom by expanding up into the base of the passenger’s side settee in the main cabin. That means you lose the expected stowage compartments under the settee cushions, but hey—I’ll take useable space over stowage space any day of the week. One annoyance: the stateroom doors don’t secure in the open position. The hinges sort of hold them in place, but I’d like to see some kind of locking or latching mechanism to prevent unexpected slams in a seaway.
MSRP is right in line with what you’d expect for a boat of this size and nature, at a hair over a million (though our test boat, which was fitted out to the nines, just topped $1.2 million). A few options you’ll want: the cockpit sunshade and the cockpit grill. Once you’ve enjoyed boating with them, you’ll never want to leave the dock without them again. You get a standard wet bar, table, and seating in the cockpit, and Sea Ray even throws in a pair of rod holders, in case you want to wet a line now and again.
What about construction? This boat is standard Sea Ray, with fiberglass stringers, stainless-steel through-hulls, color-coded and chafe-protected wiring, and heavy-duty outdoor vinyl upholstery.
You can’t build boats for as long as Sea Ray has, and maintain a reputation as good as Sea Ray’s, without building a stout boat. But after spending some time on the 470 Sundancer, I still found a few unexpected details. Each rail station, for example, had four fittings securing it in place. Good boats usually have three, fair boats have two, and cheap boats might have only one. Four is over-built, which is just how serious boaters like it.
Same goes for the anchoring system. Everything that comes in contact with the rode is stainless-steel, the hatch over the locker is sturdy and fixed to beefy hinges, and there’s even a washdown up there to keep bottom muck from marring the gel coat.
|Draft||4'0" (pod) 4'3" (V-drive)|
|Fuel capacity||350 gal.|
|Water capacity||100 gal.|
After sea trials ons the L650 and L590 and hopping aboard this 470 Sundancer, one thing is clear: Sea Ray’s move into the yacht category doesn’t mean they’re neglecting the sport cruiser segment. If anything, it’s allowed them take some of the latest and greatest technology designed for larger, more expensive boats, and bring it to the Sundancer line. I have a feeling we’ll be sea-trialing new Sundancers for many years to come.
Other Choices: The Cruisers Cantius 48 is a model many buyers will look at when considering the 470 Sundancer. A competitor that brackets the 470 is Tiara, with their 44 Coupe and 50 Coupe. Those who are looking for a similar size boat but are willing to sacrifice some space to get a garage in the transom might want to check out the Fairline Targa 48.
See Sea Ray 470 Sundancer listings.
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