Sea Ray 340 Sundancer SPLIT DECISION

Sea Ray 340 Sundancer SPLIT DECISION
BoatTest2302
Sea Ray 340 Sundancer
SPLIT DECISION
Stern drive or V-drive? Hmmm… BY KEVIN FALVEY
W
DRIVE THIS. Where the river paralleled the
Alcoa Highway, I got a thumbs-up from travelers who noted I was making better time
than they were. Plus, they couldn’t lean their
vehicles over into a series of linked S-turns
and leave a furrow of glistening asphalt in
their wake. With stern drive power, the 340
Sundancer is not only fast—it’s fun. The trimmable drives provide greater control during
maneuvers, a flatter shaft angle, and minimized drag for maximized speed. And it’s
quick out of the hole. You’ll need to warn
your crew before pushing the levers forward.
Water conditions during my test were flat
calm, so I can only surmise how this boat will
perform when the bay or lake is percolating
with wakes. The 340 Sundancer’s new hullform features a deep-V that terminates in 21
degrees of deadrise at the transom. The hull’s
entry is also sharp and steeply raked. These
features are indicative of a boat that enters
waves more smoothly and re-enters the water
after cresting a wave more softly than boats
with fuller entries and flatter aft sections. So
I wouldn’t be too concerned about whether
the boat slammed in rough water. Instead, I’d
focus on the degree to which the boat
pitched—moved up and down longitudinally—and what effect trimming the drives and
applying the trim tabs had on that pitching
motion. Any boat’s tendency to pitch can be
exacerbated by higher speeds. In the conditions tested, I had a blast, though at full
throttle and trimmed out fully, the boat wobbled almost imperceptibly on its “keel.” But
no sensible owner is going to be redlining the
tachs in the rough stuff.
Instead, if the wind is kicking up, that
owner would want to stay on plane at a speed
that would provide control and stability without slamming and pounding. I kept the 340
Sundancer planing at just 13 mph, the drives
READY TO ROCK WITH A SOUND SYSTEM THAT WOULD
MAKE METALLICA JEALOUS. TOP END: 46.1 MPH.
and tabs at full negative and the engines
turning 2300 rpm. Of the boats I’ve tested
that could stay on step at 15 mph or slower,
the 340 Sundancer earned the highest mark
in terms of comfort.
I had expected to see trim gauges, but the
test boat lacked them. They prove helpful
when operating stern drives. Also, the windshield wipers leave a 6" swath of glass
uncleared throughout their sweep. Now that
completely clear, curved glass windshields are
the norm, someone needs to invent a wiper
that can keep them clear of spray and rain.
SEE THIS. The 340 Sundancer is one of the
JANUARY 2004
BOATING MAGAZINE 9 5
PHOTO FOREST JOHNSON
ith the throttle levers
mashed into the helm and
the drives trimmed high,
I’m humming along at better than 46 mph as Bad
Company thumps from the Polk Audio sound
system. For me, this is just another day on
the job. But what a job! Look at this boat: It’s
37'6" long, sleeps six, displaces seven tons
loaded, and is 12' wide. What rocks me more
than the subwoofers’ kick is that this boat is
an express cruiser, not a go-fast or high-powered runabout. I’m tearing up the water
aboard Sea Ray’s new 340 Sundancer powered with a pair of 375-hp MerCruiser Bravo
Three stern drives. V-drives typically power
express cruisers, although Chaparral’s 350
Signature ($229,654 powered like our test
boat) and Formula’s 37PC ($293,590 powered like our test boat) are two other switch
hitters. A stern drive express cruiser: Is this a
marriage made in heaven or hell? Let’s see.
BOATING
Certified Test Results
Sea Ray 340
THE HIGHS Wide-open arrangement both topside and
belowdecks is refreshing. Love the fiddle rail, the skylight, and the
classy island berth. Fuel fills port and starboard.
THE LOWS Needs trim gauges when stern drives are chosen.
Add a step to the boarding ladder, please. Windshield wipers fall
short of complete coverage.
SPEED
rpm
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
4500
4840
knots
5.2
7.8
9.5
12.3
21.3
26.3
31.7
37.5
40.1
mph
6.0
9.0
10.9
14.1
24.5
30.3
36.5
43.1
46.1
EFFICIENCY
gph
4.1
6.4
11.4
17.4
23.6
25.9
33.5
46.9
59.1
naut.
mpg
1.3
1.2
0.8
0.7
0.9
1.0
0.9
0.8
0.7
stat.
mpg
1.5
1.4
1.0
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.1
0.9
0.8
OPERATION
n. mi.
range
258
247
168
143
183
206
192
162
137
s. mi. run sound
range angle
level
296
0
69
285
1
71
194
3
74
164
5
78
210
4
78
237
3
81
221
3
81
186
2
82
158
2
85
Advertised fuel capacity 225 gallons. Range based on 90 percent of that
figure. Performance measured with two persons aboard, three-quarters
fuel, full water. Sound levels taken at helm, in dB-A.
LOA
37'6"
Beam
12'0"
Draft
3'1"
Displacement (lbs., approx.) 14,600
21o
Transom deadrise
Bridge clearance
10'2"
Minimum cockpit depth
2'2"
Max. cabin headroom
6'7"
Fuel capacity (gal.)
225
Water capacity (gal.)
45
Price (w/standard power) $176,000
Price (w/test power)
$187,500
STANDARD POWER Twin 320-hp
MerCruiser 6.2 MPI V-8 gasoline Vdrive inboards.
OPTIONAL POWER Twin
MerCruiser gasoline stern drives
to 750 hp total; twin MerCruiser
gasoline V-drive inboards to 740
hp total; twin Volvo Penta diesel
stern drives to 564 bhp total; twin
Yanmar diesel V-drive inboards
to 630 bhp total.
TEST BOAT POWER Twin 375-hp
MerCruiser 496 MAG HO Bravo
Three V-8 gasoline stern drives
with 496 cid, 4.25" bore x 4.38"
stroke, swinging 22" pitch ss
propsets through 2:1 reductions.
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (major
items) Electric windshield vent;
Bimini top; front, side, aft curtains;
aft sunshade; windlass; snap-in
carpet; cockpit shower; icemaker;
12v outlet; radar arch; AM/FM
stereo w/6-disc changer, 8 speakers, remote; flat-screen TV/DVD;
microwave; refrigerator/freezer;
2-burner recessed cooktop; head
w/vacuum-flush commode; SmartCraft engine-monitoring system;
VHF radio; Tridata instrument;
12,000-Btu a/c/heat; battery charger; 2 galvanic isolators; dual 30a
shorepower w/50' cords and
adapters; 6-gal. water heater; 11⁄2"
ss propshafts (V-drives); Nibral
props (V-drives); ss props (stern
drives); trim tabs.
CONTACT Sea Ray Boats, Dept. B, 2600 Sea Ray Dr., Knoxville, TN 37914,
888/772-2628, www.searay.com.
new breed from Sea Ray, set apart by sexier lines, colored
hulls, and the aforementioned hullform. This model features a reverse sheer, a high forward-curving radar arch
(Sea Ray calls it a Sport Spoiler), and engine air intakes
that are not only integral but, with their elliptical shape
96
BOATING MAGAZINE J A N U A R Y 2 0 0 4
punctuated by vertical baffles, provide a punchy visual
accent. Oohs and aahs from passersby are guaranteed.
Also integral is the large extended swim platform that
stretches the boat visually, making it look racier. It also
features a three-step ladder, but I prefer four.
The 340 Sundancer’s cockpit arrangement is remarkable. Rather than a split bench at the helm, there’s a pair
of sliding fiberglass-shelled bucket seats with flip-up bolsters. To port is a similar companion seat beneath which
is a neat sliding stowage unit.
By opting for a companion bucket seat instead of the
longer companion lounge common to many express cruisers, Sea Ray didn’t have to use a shoehorn when positioning the wetbar. The module housing the sink, carryon cooler, and stowage is directly abaft the portside bucket seat,
yet there’s still about six feet between it and the boarding
door. Enter the cockpit from the platform and you won’t
have to sidle past someone using the wetbar. And besides,
if you’re going to recline while underway aboard a midsize
boat, you’ll be more comfortable farther aft. So kick back in
the U-lounge—be sure to use the table and filler cushions
to create a sunpad for maximum comfort.
Two deck-fitting innovations grabbed my attention.
One is the telescopic canvas support poles. Push the
button and slide the tube until it locks into the next
hole. Voilà! The wrinkles are gone from your connector
curtains. What’s more, fuel fill plates are installed port
and starboard, eliminating the need to drag a greasy
hose over your boat, regardless of which side you’re tied
to. It’s also a tricky bit of plumbing, given the size of
the boat and the amount of standard mechanical equipment installed.
Belowdecks, the 340 Sundancer features the best of
the trendy and the traditional. The floor plan is open, yet
the fiberglass faux-granite galley counter has a fiddle rail.
There’s a vent fan in the galley plus a large, stainless-steel
opening port. A fixed portlight above adds natural light.
The head is large for this size boat, but it’s spare. It
won’t win any decorator accolades, but this completely
fiberglass module will be easy to keep clean. Throughout
the interior, the air-conditioning vent grates are wood.
There’s a flat-screen TV in the salon that’s viewable from
anywhere in the forward cabin. And a flip-down, airlinestyle TV/DVD player graces the midcabin’s headliner.
Sleeping accommodations are provided by the forward island berth, which is privatized by a curtain, and
the midcabin, which doubles as a conversation pit during
waking hours. The dinette also converts to a berth for an
unexpected guest. Frankly, the layout is best suited for the
cruising couple or those who entertain, rather than for six
people spending the weekend together.
WHY V? If you have a shallow slip behind your house,
then the 5" difference in draft between the V-drives and
stern drives will make your powering decision that much
easier. Ditto if you love exploring backwater creeks and
coves. If top speed is your hot button, the stern drive wins
by 10 mph. With stern drives, you’ll also jump out of the
hole, be able to maintain a flatter running angle, and
enjoy a sportier feel at the helm.
W W W. B O A T I N G M A G . C O M
Efficiency? Compare the boats at
similar speeds rather than rpm to rpm.
They use the same hull after all and
everything else is pretty much equal, so
boat speed is going to be the factor that
determines your level of comfort on
any given day, not rpm. You’re going to
run at higher cruising speeds on calm
days and slower speeds on rough days.
Plus, since the propping, gearing, and
coefficients of drag of the two disparate
drive systems are different, rpm is an
irrelevant comparison in this case.
As an example, the stern drive–
powered 340 Sundancer at 3500 rpm
runs 30.3 mph; the V-drive at 4000
rpm runs 31.1 mph (0.8 mph means
diddly unless you’re racing). With stern
drives, the engines burn 12.7 gph less.
Even taking different loads, conditions,
and drivers into account, the trimmable drives beat the shafts hands down.
Close-quarters manueverability
should also be considered. Although I
didn’t run both boats on the same day,
my experience is that boats with rudders, like the V-drive-powered 340
Sundancer, are easier to twist into a
tight slip. Of course, a bow thruster can
be added to either boat.
Then there’s price. With the Bravo
Threes, the 340 Sundancer costs
$187,500 compared to $176,000 for
the same boat with V-drives—not a big
difference if you’re financing the deal
instead of paying cash.
Finally, V-drives have a better
record of reliability in salt water than
stern drives. Big chunks of aluminum
don’t fare as well as bronze, stainless
steel, or Nibral in an electrolyte, especially if the boat is plugged into shorepower at a marina instead of swinging
on a mooring or docked at a private
residence. Plugged in at the yacht club,
your boat is subject to corrosion from
flaws in the electrical systems of the
other boats.
So what’s the right choice? Stern
drive or V-drive? The only person who
knows the answer to that is you. A
!
EXTRA POINT
Note that Sea Ray didn’t
simply “plug in” stern drives. One
easy-to-see bit of redesign is the
difference in the aft bilge pump
location. Aboard the stern drive boat,
it’s mounted all the way aft. On the
V-drive boat, it’s mounted forward,
near the engine bulkhead, due to the
difference in weight distribution
between the powerplants.
JANUARY 2004
BOATING MAGAZINE 9 9
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF

advertising