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Review: Sea Ray 260 Sundancer

This Tennessee builder has introduced a lot of new models in the past two years, like the 240 Sundeck OB (August 2013), the 370 Venture (January 2013) and the 510 Fly (September/October 2013). And while these boats range from small runabout to large motor yacht, there are certain features that tie them all together. Things like graceful lines, natural traffic pathways, ergonomic social areas and big hull windows for bright interiors.

The 260 Sundancer, unveiled in October at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, fits right in with its latest Sea Ray siblings. It isn't completely new — it's an upgrade of a model that's been in the line for more than a decade — but this has its advantages. The boat has been water-tested and fine-tuned to the point that you know what you're getting: a precision-built, performance-enhanced pocket cruiser.

So, what exactly is new about the 260 Sundancer? Essentially, everything above the waterline has been rethought and retooled.

Starting in the cockpit, the boat has a portside lounge that allows multiple passengers to sit facing the captain, or one person to stretch out facing aft. To starboard, there's a doublewide helm seat (it reverses to face aft when the engines are powered down), plus an L-shaped lounge that converts to a sun pad.

Because the transom door and cockpit pathway both line up to port, it's a straight shot from the swim platform to the cabin entry door and integrated steps to the foredeck. This streamlines traffic flow, which you'll appreciate when trying to work the lines or entertain a crowd on board. By the way, that aforementioned swim platform is much larger than on the previous 260 Sundancer.

The convertible helm and transom seats provide flexibility for social gatherings, and this can be further enhanced with the availability of an optional a wet bar with sink and faucet (though it replaces the aft-facing portside lounge).  

At the helm, SmartCraft diagnostic instrumentation, power-assisted steering, a wood-accented tilt wheel, and smooth shift and throttle provide confident control of the standard 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0L MPI ECT Bravo III sterndrive. Power options include a 300-hp gas sterndrive or 260-hp diesel sterndrive, so you can equip your boat depending on how and where you intend to use it. The 260 Sundancer is trailerable, opening up all new horizons for owners.

Inside, the sport cruiser offers a clean and beautifully refined cabin with new linen wall materials and lighter ceiling materials to brighten the space — and that's in addition to the horizontal hull windows, overhead hatch and two skylights.  

The layout itself is characteristic of the class, with a convertible dinette/V-berth forward and a mid-berth aft. A galley to port comes with a microwave and refrigerator, and you can add a single-burner alcohol/electric stovetop. The head compartment to starboard includes a vanity with sink, faucet and pullout shower sprayer, as well as a portable toilet. Or, you can opt up to a pump-out or VacuFlush unit.

Speaking of options, the 260 Sundancer has just about everything the globetrotting boater could want and more: air conditioning/heating, bow thruster, chartplotter/GPS, inverter, split bow rail, fiberglass spoiler with canvas top, spotlight, VHF radio, windlass and starboard windshield wiper. If you're in it for the looks, consider the wood interior package and colored hull, either full or two-tone, in Onyx, Mojave Tan or Sea Ray Blue.

Sea Ray continues to introduce models that carry on its commitment to creating powerful, idyllic boating experiences. The 260 Sundancer does the brand proud — same as it will do for your family. www.searay.com

Sea Ray 260 Sundancer
Length Overall: 26 feet, 7 inches
Beam: 8 feet, 6 inches
Draft (drive up): 2 feet, 1 inch
Dry Weight: 5,550 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 69 gallons
Water Capacity: 20 gallons
Base Price: $101,853

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