There is a flaw among boating nuts that gets all of us in trouble sooner or later. It usually results in a perturbed wife or girlfriend saying something like, "If you're going to talk about boats all night, I'll be in here, then leaving the room. The sure sign a boater has deteriorated to an incurable level is when the response is a simple, "Okay, honey."
I'm ashamed to say I recently succumbed at a 7-year-old girl's birthday party. Ignoring the festivities, I focused on a discussion with a guest looking to buy a new boat for his family. On top of his list was a Sea Ray Sundancer.
This detail usually would not be worth mentioning, except that during my "boating nut moments, I have often found myself discussing Sea Ray with people looking to buy their first or second cruising boat. The company appeals to these types because it has incentive programs, an Owners Club and a line that allows for trading up from bowriders to 68-foot motoryachts.
The new Sea Ray 320 Sundancer is a good example of a logical step up for a young family. She has an LOA of 35 feet, 6 inches, with good cockpit space and a roomy interior.
Cockpit highlights include a bench-style helm seat with flip-up bolsters and an aft-facing seat with a table. The table stows and a filler cushion turns the seat into a sunpad. Also in the cockpit are a built-in ice chest, a full wet bar and space for an optional refrigerator. Stowage is in the cockpit side panels, beneath the seats and in a deep transom compartment.
An electrically actuated engine hatch raises the entire cockpit sole for engineroom access. Standard power is twin 260 hp 5.0L MPI Bravo III MCM sterndrives. Optional packages range from twin VD-350 Magnum MPI MerCruisers to twin 320 hp VD-MX6.2L MPI MerCruisers. Sea Ray also offers diesel sterndrive packages, which are becoming increasingly popular as the technology improves.
Although a bow thruster may seem like a bit of overkill, Sea Ray offers it as an option.
The 320's interior has curves and rounded corners that help create the kind of space not usually found on a boat this size. Finish is high-gloss cherry with mirror accents. The settee converts to a double, there is an island berth forward and a stateroom abaft the saloon, and a conversation area converts to yet another double.
The 320 comes with a TV/VCR, a CD player, six speakers and a digital cockpit remote control.
Sea Ray Boats, (800) SR-Boats; www.searay.com.