330 express or Amberjack

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by semperfido, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. semperfido

    semperfido New Member

    54
    Sep 5, 2012
    Sneads Ferry NC
    1999 Sea Ray 330 Express (Knot on Duty)
    1998 Sea Pro 180CC
    1998 Yamaha 1100 Wave Venture x2
    T 7.4l Merc (310)
    Evinrude 90 SPL
    I was looking to buy a Carolina Classic or something along those lines but the Admiral likes her conveniences. I wanted something we could both enjoy so "we" would be spend more time on it. So I started looking and came up with the Sea Ray 1998-2000 330 express or various years of the Amberjack. We would be using the boat to fish(off shore and Inshore), cruise, anchor out and spend the day with friends on the beach as well as just spending the day on the water with friends and maybe a few over-nighters a couple of times a season. We live in Sneads Ferry NC so we do have some skinny water but i use the 180 CC for that. The family includes me, the wife and our 8 year old son. I would like some opinions from some owners to help narrow down to which one or if there is another model out there that I missed I should focus on. Good and bad info would be nice. Also the boat would be kept in the water. My budget is 35,000 to 65,000. Thanks in advance for any advice or ideas.
     
  2. moparlvr4406

    moparlvr4406 Active Member

    Jun 29, 2011
    Lake Monroe Indiana Fourwinds H31
    1985 340DA
    1966 SRV180
    1960 Sea Ray 600
    (2) 1963 808 Cruise-a-bouts
    twin 350hp Crusaders 4.0 Onan /
    Merc 950 SS
    Merc 650
    Merc 1100
    twin Johnson 40
    the AJ is more of a fishing rig
    the express is more comfort and entertaining oriented
    both excellent choices but depends on if you fish more than boat for pleasure IMO
    Good Luck in your decision
     
  3. Zorba

    Zorba Active Member

    May 21, 2008
    East Harbor, Lake Erie
    2006 340 Sundancer
    Twin 8.1 Mercruiser
    1998-2002 330 Express/340 Amberjack are the same boat. Just changed names. That being said i think you will find that boat to suit your needs perfectly. Huge beam, props are i believe in tunnels for skinny water, and ample room in the cabin for a family of three. Something even closer would be the 2005-2006 340 Sundancer Sportsman. Open arrangement on deck (removes rear seat, adds livwell, fishbox, rod holders, and dual entry) and sundacer amenities in the cabin. May be a little above your price range, as most i see are 100-120K
     
  4. Xplicitlnck

    Xplicitlnck New Member

    Jan 2, 2012
    Long island ny
    330ec
    Twin 7.4 straight drive
    I am looking at a 330 ec 97 very large beam huge cabin space minus the aft berth for her large cockpit for her relaxing and your fishing. A comparments that can be used for bait or coolers and a live well. My big selling point for the ec was the strait drives and engine room. Straight drives put the engine mid ship making it a lot more stable and the entire floor lifts up to access the bilge making maitanence very easy.
     
  5. moparlvr4406

    moparlvr4406 Active Member

    Jun 29, 2011
    Lake Monroe Indiana Fourwinds H31
    1985 340DA
    1966 SRV180
    1960 Sea Ray 600
    (2) 1963 808 Cruise-a-bouts
    twin 350hp Crusaders 4.0 Onan /
    Merc 950 SS
    Merc 650
    Merc 1100
    twin Johnson 40
    all of the AJs I have seen have very minimal aft lounge style seating arrangements
    and the express has more seating...maybe I am seeing modified individuals :huh:
     
  6. Zorba

    Zorba Active Member

    May 21, 2008
    East Harbor, Lake Erie
    2006 340 Sundancer
    Twin 8.1 Mercruiser
    After re-redeang the post i see that he is looking as "various years of Amberjacks" if that is the case you are correct the late 80's amberjacks are more fishing oriented. I was refering to the 2001-2002 340 Amberjacks that are the exact same boat as the Late 97-2000 330 Express.

    And those are nothing like the 80s Amberjacks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  7. semperfido

    semperfido New Member

    54
    Sep 5, 2012
    Sneads Ferry NC
    1999 Sea Ray 330 Express (Knot on Duty)
    1998 Sea Pro 180CC
    1998 Yamaha 1100 Wave Venture x2
    T 7.4l Merc (310)
    Evinrude 90 SPL
    Thanks for the info. I thought the Amberjack had a little more deadrise. Is that not the case?
     
  8. Zorba

    Zorba Active Member

    May 21, 2008
    East Harbor, Lake Erie
    2006 340 Sundancer
    Twin 8.1 Mercruiser
    You are correct, there is 21 degree deadrise in the Amberjacks as opposed to 19.5 on the Express. layout is exactly the same though.

    Either way you cant go wrong. In my opinion one of Sea ray's prettiest boats. I wish i could get my wife on board but she refuses to give up the aft cabin area.
     
  9. semperfido

    semperfido New Member

    54
    Sep 5, 2012
    Sneads Ferry NC
    1999 Sea Ray 330 Express (Knot on Duty)
    1998 Sea Pro 180CC
    1998 Yamaha 1100 Wave Venture x2
    T 7.4l Merc (310)
    Evinrude 90 SPL
    On other boats I usually see people use it(aft berth) for storage. Do you really use it as berth? I have to agree with you I really like the look of these boats. Has anyone here taken them out and dealt with bad weather/sea state? How did they handle?
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  10. Zorba

    Zorba Active Member

    May 21, 2008
    East Harbor, Lake Erie
    2006 340 Sundancer
    Twin 8.1 Mercruiser
    It just depends on how you use it.

    The advantage of the express/amberjack is that you have a door to separate you from your son/guests. The disadvantage is that you don't have a dedicated guest birth. You're always going to be putting up and taking down the table to convert the couch into a bed. With an aft you essentially have a dedicated birth while being able to leave up the couch and table in the cabin but in this size range all you have is curtains for privacy.

    We have always used the aft as a berth. Our son has been sleeping back there since he was 2 months old. Plus you can cram stuff under the bed.
     
  11. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    The wide body 330EC and 340AJ handle exactly alike. The have a little 1/2 keel that makes them track like they are on rails. They are reasonably dry, but the short length and 14 ft beam make them rock and roll in a beam sea. I've run both gas and diesel versions and the diesel 340AJ is a dream to dive or fish from. The interior is going to be pretty cramped though.................

    If you can handle the added cost, the 370EC is an even better fit that fixes all the space and handling issues in the AJ.
     
  12. semperfido

    semperfido New Member

    54
    Sep 5, 2012
    Sneads Ferry NC
    1999 Sea Ray 330 Express (Knot on Duty)
    1998 Sea Pro 180CC
    1998 Yamaha 1100 Wave Venture x2
    T 7.4l Merc (310)
    Evinrude 90 SPL
    Thanks for the info guys. I found a 330 ec that I like and am getting the wife to go take a look at it. I will be getting it surveyed if all goes well but wanted to know if anyone has any specifics of what to look for in this model. Also are there any owners out there that have fuel burn numbers etc... on this model. T7.4 310 V drive. I was told about 20gph in the low 20's for cruise and WOT about 30 MPH. Boat test has only done the I/O model.
     
  13. Xplicitlnck

    Xplicitlnck New Member

    Jan 2, 2012
    Long island ny
    330ec
    Twin 7.4 straight drive
    If I'm not mistaken the 330 ec is a straight drive I put a post up a couple weeks back if you look up my recent posts you can get a little more info on the boat. Some owners chimed in but I think I remeber sombody saying between both engines at cruise about 34 gph at around 25 mph about .84 mpg
     
  14. Jls3546

    Jls3546 New Member

    4
    Sep 21, 2012
    Miami, FL
    1997 330EC (Amberjack)
    Twin 2005 8.1S Mercruisers, ZF63A straight drives
    My wife and I bought our first big boat a couple months ago, a 1997 330EC. Th boat is perfect for the two of us (no kids), with ample space below decks for weekending. We're avid scuba divers, and the wide beam and big cockpit of the EC (Amberjack) was a huge advantage. We're not much into fishing, but the live well provides plenty of below-deck storage for tanks and gear for up to 4 divers, and we use the circulating baitwell to store lobsters that we catch while diving. We've had 8 people (including 4 divers with gear) on the boat a few times, without feeling crowded. Try that on a 33' or 34' sundancer...

    We like the interior layout of the 330EC better than the otherwise similar 340 Amberjack. The EC has a u-shaped convertible dinette forward, with a 7' long sofa to starboard opposite the galley. The sofa slides out (electrically) and lays flat, providing a second full-sized bunk. On the Amberjack, the forward berth is dedicated (not convertible), limiting seating space below, with a dinette to starboard that converts to a berth. The trouble is, the dinette/berth isn't as wide/long as the sofa, so anyone close to 6' tall will be cramped sleeping in it. The EC's layout is more versatile and functional, at least for us.

    Our boat was repowered in 2005 with 8.1's, which really move her. We cruise at 3200rpm at about 24kts, though I don't have fuel consumption figures yet. Boat tracks well, jumps on plane, and handles 4' seas easily (wife won't go out in anything worse). Very easy handling around the dock, even for a beginner. Excellent access in the engine room, the extra beam makes a huge difference in accessibility and ease of movement around the engines and systems compared to a Sundancer.

    We looked at a few different boats (340DA, Formula 34PC, 370DA) befor we found our EC. It was the perfect combination of amenities, space (above and below decks), power, and price; we got ours for $50k, with a full tank of gas. I you're looking for a versatile do-anything, go-anywhere boat, you won't be disappointed with either the EC or Amberjack... Hope this helps!


     
  15. techmitch

    techmitch Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    May 1, 2008
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River/Frog Mortar Creek MD.
    1999 270 DA
    Twin 4.3s W/Alpa I Gen II's
    Good post and welcome to C.S.R.
     
  16. 33ec

    33ec New Member

    86
    Mar 31, 2010
    mid chesapeake
    twin detroit 671 TI Westerbeke 11kw 1987/2002. full tower. Saturn 11' inflatable
    Detroit 2 strokes. rebuilt
    good morning. if you are looking for the crossover, you cannot go wrong with the 330 ec or AJ 97-2002. they are solid boats that are good at a lot of things but not great at anything. I had a 2000' model for 3 years and loved it. I will handle any weather I ever wanted to be in and was easy to handle with one person if you want to. I had 380hp fi big blocks and burned about 30 gph at 25 mph. not the most efficient but it is a wide heavy boat and as you know, boating is about comprimise. As for price, you should be able to pick up a nice unit for $55-$75k depending upon the options you want, hours, condiiton and how motivated the seller is. it is a buyers market. I moved up to a 48 ocean super sport simply to have more room for family and friends . I was able to get the ocean for less than what I was expecting to spend so I sold my sear ray for less than what I would have normally asked simply so that I did not have to maintain 2 boats. Find a good one that has been well maintained and make an offer, you never know what might happen. If you are comparing to carolina classic or any other dedicated off shore boat, you will find that the sea ray build quality is not as stout as they are in area's such as railings . The carolina classic, albemarerle and other dedicated offshore express boats are a different beast. You will find the sea ray is capable in most sea conditions and is a more comfortable boat for your family. For me, the hardcore offshore capabilities was not a factor and the sea ray was an outstanding boat.
     
  17. semperfido

    semperfido New Member

    54
    Sep 5, 2012
    Sneads Ferry NC
    1999 Sea Ray 330 Express (Knot on Duty)
    1998 Sea Pro 180CC
    1998 Yamaha 1100 Wave Venture x2
    T 7.4l Merc (310)
    Evinrude 90 SPL
    Thanks everyone for all of the helpful information. I agree that the Sea Ray will never be the battle wagon that the Carolina Classic are but as you said boating is about compromise. I would rather spend more days on the water with the family and a classic would not facilitate that with the Admiral. This way we will all get to spend more time on the water together. I found a boat I like but I am waiting on some information back from the broker about some not so good compression numbers. I still think the boat was well maintained but need to take repower into consideration if that is the case when I make an offer. I will be getting a survey but I am waiting to make an offer until I know if I will have to pay for engine work. Wish me luck.

    33ec, I fell in love with the Ocean yachts when I saw a 48 cruise up to Vera's White Sands while we were there a few years ago. Beautiful boats.
     
  18. Jimmy Buoy

    Jimmy Buoy Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2008
    Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
    340 Amberjack
    twin 8.1S 370 Hp + 4.5 Westerbeke Genset
    We've had our 340 Amberjack for 5yrs now and just love her! Normally, it's just me and the Admiral but on occassion one of our sons joins us overnight. We prefer the changed layout in the 340 vs 330 with our dedicated V Birth along with a single piece mattress (no more piecing together various cushions that end up being uncomfortable at 3AM) and the 4 person dinette that ends up as a 2 person birth (you simply have to lift the back cushions off either end of the birth to make it 7' long!). It took me a year to figure out how to make the dinette birth usable! The 340's interiors usually have the upgraded cherrywood woodwork too & 3 shorter steps down from the deck instead of 2 tall steps into the cabin - nice!

    With the 8.1's we cruise at a fast 30mph GPS SOG @3750 RPM while WOT is 37mph GPS SOG @ 4450 RPM. Because of the midship engines placement the boat is better balanced and more able to accept more weight in the cockpit (ie passengers) without hampering the performance nearly as much as V-Drive or Stern Drive boats. This along with the 13'5" beam allows the boat to plane at 14mph/2100rpm while maintaining a reasonable bow down attitude. in heavier seas it sure is nice to be able to slow down yet remain on plane for better control and plow through the waves. Other similar sized boats won't usually plane at such low speeds so they either have to pound through the waves (not as comfortable + it's hard on the boat) or slow down, drop off plane, and wallow around at 5mph until the passengers puke from the violent tossing motion. This boat is no lightweight racer though and it needs some room for turning!

    Part of boating for me is tackling my own maintenance issues and this is one of the features that sold me on this boat. Everytime I hit the ER hatch button and those dual rams start to raise the entire forward cockpit floor (seats and all) it always draws a small crowd. The access to the engines and systems this provides is awsome. Even the day hatch is easy to access.

    The number one question I get is "Wow - that's really wide... What's the beam?" or, "what size is it?". 34' "Really, it looks so much bigger than the other guy's 34 (a sundancer)". I've even had some SeaRay haters say that this model is the only SeaRay they would ever agree to own (if they had to).

    So far, it's a keeper!! (but according to some, I'm just a Tiara wannabee - who knows??)
     
  19. Xplicitlnck

    Xplicitlnck New Member

    Jan 2, 2012
    Long island ny
    330ec
    Twin 7.4 straight drive
    I'm currently looking at a 97 330ec and it has twin 7.4 's. Is this enough power for the 16k pound boat?
     
  20. Jimmy Buoy

    Jimmy Buoy Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2008
    Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
    340 Amberjack
    twin 8.1S 370 Hp + 4.5 Westerbeke Genset
    I had a 330 EC owner dock two slips from us in July and we got to check each other's boats out. He had the 7.4's and we compared performance. We figured that he ran about 4-5mph slower at the same rpm's vs the 8.1's. As far a fuel usage, I really don't get too worked up about it (ignorance is bliss), but it goes to reason that even though the 8.1's turn slower to get the same speed the bigger displacement will also burn more fuel/revolution. It's probably a wash, but the 8.1's will have more torque and it's torque that turns larger props. He said his top end was more like 31mph vs my 37mph too.

    Really, it's not that big a difference. He never indicated that he felt that his 330 was underpowered - he liked the performance and loved his boat! His wife really liked some of the interior upgrades, mostly the permanent V birth, cupboards, and rich looking glossy cherrywood on my 340. He was missing the L shaped couch for the stern seating area, but unlike me used the boat for fishing - the couch would just be in the way.

    I've never met a 330 EC or 340 AJ owner that didn't love and admire their boat.
     

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