Dancing with Waves
Recently I found myself beelining a brand-new, shiny-blue Sea Ray 410 Sundancer across a creamily whitecapped stretch of the Indian River on Florida’s Space Coast. I was in for a treat, as the 410 proved to be a fun boat with a very usable layout.
Scott Nault, Sea Ray’s sales manager for sport yachts, grinned indulgently from the 410’s aft-facing, chaise-lounge-style passenger’s seat and tightened his grip on the armrest. What can I say—the young fellow’s known me and my fun-loving persona for a very long time.
But hey! We’d already completed the data-collection part of our sea trial, having officially chalked up an average top end of 36.1 mph, and now we were doing what you might rightly describe as the fun stuff.
I pulled the throttles back enough to settle the 410 into a cruise speed of 26 knots or so. Then, using the rocker switches mounted just abaft the SmartCraft DTS engine control on the shelf along the starboard inwale, I overrode the auto-trim feature of our 375-horsepower Cummins Mercruiser QSB5.9-380 Zeus pod powerplants and lowered our running attitude slightly. With interest, I eased the boat into a starboard turn and began tightening, corkscrew-fashion.
The result was both instructive and enjoyable. Despite the 410’s relatively heavy, running-attitude-altering powerplant (our pod-equipped test boat weighed approximately 2,200 pounds more than a standard-issue version with V-drive-inboards), she kept her nose perfectly poised above her element. I noted not the slightest tendency to bow-hop as the turn progressed—just the steady thrum of an inboard-heeling momentum. Cool!
“Dang, Nault,” I chortled after straightening out for one final, long, exhilarating Indian River run. “This baby’s freakin’ fun to drive!”
And yeah, docking was enjoyable as well, though it would have been easier had the joystick been to port instead of starboard, so I could use my right hand to toggle it while facing aft.
Once dockside, we discussed the two options she offers in terms of interior layout. For starters, there’s the standard single-stateroom setup I toured on our test boat, complete with a forward stateroom (with shower-stall-equipped en suite head), a lounge-surrounded conversation pit aft (with curtain, convertible sleeping arrangements, and an adjoining head), and a galley/dinette area in between. Should this arrangement not satisfy, however, there’s an optional layout that closes off the pit with a bulkhead, thereby turning it into a second stateroom with an adjoining head.
“So whataya think?” Nault asked when it came time for us to part company.
“Well,” I replied, taking one last appraising look, “Besides being a solid performer with two real sensible layouts, she drives like a banshee—I mean, dang Scott, she’s fun.”
: 25,875 lb.
: 255 gal.
: 60 gal.
: 2/380-hp Cummins Mercruiser QSB5.9-380s w/ Zeus pods
: 2/425-hp Cummins Mercruiser QSB5.9-425
: 9 kW Onan
Raymarine DSM 300 Fishfinder, SmartPilot autopilot (for V-drive model only); E120 GPS chartplotter, Kenyon cockpit grill, Cruisair reverse-cycle cockpit A/C.
air temperature: 54ºF; humidity: 66%; seas: 1 foot or less; load: 130 gal. fuel, 60 gal. water, 2 persons, 40 lb. gear. Speeds are two-way averages measured w/ Stalker radar gun. GPH taken via SmartCraft display. Range is 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels measured at the helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.