Decision Dilema Moving to Sundancer from Sundeck

Discussion in 'Sport Cruisers' started by PeteL, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. PeteL

    PeteL Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    Apollo Beach, FL
    2003 280 DA
    Twin 5.0
    Bravo III
    "Viva la Vida"
    Twin 5.0, bravo 3 drives
    Hello Wise Sport Cruiser People -
    We will be moving from a 240 Sundeck. We are empty nesters and the thrill of dayboating, tubing and entertaining kids/teens is over. We want to spend a day and or a night on the boat, and I want to pee standing up (Can't do that on Sundeck). Also want the dogs to join us more frequently. And we want a more stable/drier ride than the sundeck. We want to stay at our Marina, good location, great service, great tiki bar.
    Here is the dilema:
    I really like the 310 Size and amenities. But it would have to stay in the water, as they cannot lift this size boat. That forces me to V-drive and associated bottom work etc.

    290's are probably out. They cannot be lifted and I have not found one with V's. Not sure that was even an option.

    280's - They can be put in the high and dry. But I am concerned that the ride will not be a significant upgrade from the sundeck. I should mention we had a 225 weekender prior to the sundeck.

    So the question is will I be kicking myself up one side and down the other if I buy a used 280? Or will it be big enough to keep us happy? We are on the water at least twice a month year round, I expect we would go perhaps 60 miles away at the most on a "journey". We like to entertain, and we like to hang out on the boat after we get back to the marina. They do have slips available for the night if we wanted.... With these constraints will the 280 fit the bill?
    Thanks in advance
    Tampa FL
  2. b_arrington

    b_arrington Active Member

    Feb 21, 2007
    Setauket, NY
    270 Amberjack (2006)
    AB Ventus 9 VL RIB
    350 Mag MPI Horizon w/ BIII
    1998 Envinrude 15 HP 2-stroke
    280 DA is a pretty roomy for 2 people. Especially if you have a camper back. I've taken plenty of 60+ mile trips on my 270 AJ with 4 people (2 adults, 2 kids) and it's been fine.

    All else equal you always want a bigger boat. But you have constraints to consider vis-a-vis what you marina can handle for dry stacking. If you want the bigger size you night have to consider in-water storage.
  3. KevinC

    KevinC Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2011
    Long Island, NY
    2004 340 Sundancer
    1988 Proline Center Console - 90hp Mariner/Mercury
    1969 Boston Whaler
    Twin 8.1 V-drives
    Couple of things to think about. The early 2000 Sundancers are much different in size from the early 2010s. My old 2003 260DA is roughly the same size and a newer 280DA. The change over was around 2009 for most styles.

    Also think about your use - both short and long term. My 260DA suited my needs when my kids were younger but as they got older we outgrew the 260DA and moved to my current 340SDA. Even if it's just going to be two of you think about the times you may want to have others visit and how that time will be spent.

    Also for two people that want to do a lot of overnight cruising think about the use of the cabin. With my 260DA we had a large v-berth sleeping area and a pocket mid-cabin. After cruising for several years we got tired of converting the v-berth every night to have access to our storage during the day. Now on our 340SDA we have a fixed bed and the storage underneath is for long term storage only. The mid cabin sleeping area and sofa supply ample sleeping room for my two bigger sons. The larger galley also makes food prep easier (most cooking is done off the boat) and the head/shower gives me standing room and then some.

    As far as keeping it in the water if you are going to be in salt water and have the v-drive option I highly recommend it for the reduced maintenance.

    potis likes this.
  4. Little Ducky

    Little Ducky Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2017
    Chattanooga TN/Dickson TN
    1998 SeaRay 290 Sundancer
    Twin EFI 5.0L w/Alpha 1 drives
    I had a 2011 260DA and found it a bit tight and most of the time it was just me on board. I moved up to a 1998 290DA and love every bit of it. The 2 feet wider made all the difference.
  5. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    There are dry stack facilities that will handle boats up in the 40 ft range I believe.

    At one point we considered moving a 340 DA we had to salt water, I talked to a couple of dry stack places that could handle it.

    There are a lot of dry stack places in Tampa and over in Pinellas county. Would not let that hold you back.

    While anytime you can get a boat out of the water that is good, leaving a boat with v drives in the water is not the end of the world.
  6. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    That is also my vote. Check with other marinas.

    Our marina regularly lifts 34-36 ft DA's and store them in dry stacks. They also lift gas powered 380DA's for service, but their dry stacks won't handle the 38ft length. The marina next door has a new storage barn and a 50,000lb forklift and they regularly lift and store 40 ft center consoles with 4 outboards.
  7. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    If you're going to start looking at 340's I happen to know a guy selling one, fresh water, in Michigan :)
  8. importmonkey

    importmonkey Opinionated Member

    Jul 9, 2015
    Middle River, MD
    2007 44 Sundancer
    QSC 500s
    I'm 6' and could not stand up to pee on my 260DA. I would always curse when getting in and out of the head. Take a look them all and see what feels comfortable. I always tell the sales guys that I'm going to be there a while. I try to pretend I'm living on the boat and go through the motions of everything. Again - pretend. I wouldn't drop a deuce on someone else's boat. Have fun with the search! I thunk it's the best part of buying a boat. We traveled the whole east coast looking at them.
  9. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    I had a 300 Sundancer for years that served us well. Although a different boat than what you’re looking at, it is in that size class and has the same basic amenities.
    The main reason we decided to move up in size was to get a separate shower stall so we could do more overnights and longer trips more comfortably.
    My wife absolutely hated getting the whole head wet to take a shower on my old boat, and although I was okay with it for a night here and there, it wasn’t really that comfortable.
    For the kind of use you are considering I highly recommend that you look at boats with separate shower stalls. You’ll get a lot more overnights in.
    potis likes this.
  10. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    The mid 2000's 280DA ride will be like night/day compared to your 240 Sundeck. I went from the 270 Sundeck which is a bit more boat than the 240, to a 280DA. The 240 and 270 Sundecks are great boats. I put my 270 Sundeck too it's limits a few times(now I know better), it really isn't fair to compare them, the 280DA beats them hands down.

    Yes the that era 280DA can handle your journeys, it's all subject to sea conditions of course, every boat has it's limit to what it comfortably can handle. The 280DA is roomy enough for two, we found the aft berth to be the most comfortable, more room. But......

    IMHO, the minute you add chillin' on the boat, entertaining back at the marina, I'll say get a mid 2000's 340DA. You'll get a lot more of everything with one of them, room, stability, handling around the docks.

    When I purchased my 280DA from the showroom floor, it was sooooo big, sitting in the cabin it was soooo roomy, I could stand up in the head....what more could we ask for. We put it in the water and cruised Lake Superior for a week, when it was over I knew I made a mistake. Should have bought the 340DA instead.
    Ezsteps and FootballFan like this.
  11. Todd320

    Todd320 Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jul 21, 2016
    St. Petersburg, FL
    2007 Sea Ray 320DA
    Twin V-drive 5.7L 350 Horizon
    I have my 320 at Harborage Marina dry stack in downtown st pete, they have no issue lifting my size boat, but a 340 would probably need a slip. I have v-drives and could store it in the water. I went from a 23’ deck boat with a 200 Yamaha, to a 320 with v-drives and 300 twin Mercruisers. I like the 320 because I can either store in Water or out, and the almost 12’ Beam makes it really not cramped when just the 2 of us. My recommendation, buy the biggest boat you can afford (and that includes maintenance, storage, purchase, repairs, and usage). A broker told me to expect to pay $24k (for everything) per year for a boat in the 320/340 range, and that is pretty much where we are at.
  12. A-Div

    A-Div Member

    Oct 22, 2017
    Sarasota, FL
    320 Sundancer 2006
    Twin Merc 6.2 III I/O
    I am presuming you plan to have your boat at a particular marina - perhaps in your development. In that case, you certainly have a point. You may be getting inexpensive dockage. Also, depending upon where one lives in Tampa, a marina that hauls out 30+ footers can be a long way drive-wise.

    If, however, you can deal with the inconvenience and prefer I/O's, a 30+ Dancer is by far more comfortable for 2-3 day sorjourns up and down the Gulf Coast. As some have pointed out, the boat gets smaller after you buy it once you begin to overnight in it. I have a 320, but my wife and I almost bought a Regal 2860 and now realize that would have been a mistake for us. Good luck and have fun in whatever you buy!
  13. PeteL

    PeteL Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    Apollo Beach, FL
    2003 280 DA
    Twin 5.0
    Bravo III
    "Viva la Vida"
    Twin 5.0, bravo 3 drives
    Guys keep the comments coming. We love our Marina, location, service etc. They are just limited in how big a boat they can dry-store. The ST Pete Marinas that can pull bigger boats are too far of a drive.
    I keep bouncing back and forth about this.
    Bigger boat, v drive wet storage.
    Smaller boat high and dry, peace of mind on the longer breaks between usage.
    But will a smaller boat come with bigger regrets??
    Still curious to comments on rides between the 240 sundeck and 280 dancer.
    Thanks again
  14. Ezsteps

    Ezsteps Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 14, 2015
    Lake St. Clair-- Michigan (MacRay Harbor)
    1999 400 Sundancer, YL310 Zodiac
    7.4 Mercuisers Horizons 380 hp ea., 9.9 hp Mercury
    Each person has different likes and needs. We bought our 310 and said let's see if we like living at the marina on weekends and we love it. We said when we bought it " my goodness I can't believe we have a boat this big". 3 years later we said "we have to do something with this little boat, it's just to small to live the weekends on". Now we have the 400 and I keep teasing the wife about the 540. Anyway my point is you might like being in the water and spending weekends at the marina. Just something to think about.
  15. Todd320

    Todd320 Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jul 21, 2016
    St. Petersburg, FL
    2007 Sea Ray 320DA
    Twin V-drive 5.7L 350 Horizon
    I live on the Tampa side of st pete, near Dade City, I drive an hour to get to my boat. When we initially started looking for boats, I was aiming for the 300/310, then looked at 280s, put a down payment on a 35’ regal. Ended up with a 320. Since we only boat on weekends, and typically every other weekend, the hour drive is no big deal in the scheme of things (for me, of course). For you, staying put, going with the larger boat, v-drives, wet slip option would be my recommendation. Even if you end up feeling like you are not using it enough after a year, by then the marina might have upgraded the lift and now you can put it on the rack? Remember, even if you can’t use the boat (ona given weekend, for a day or a ride) when it is in a wet slip, you can always stop by for the evening and enjoy drinks on the dock, so maybe you can justify it that way??
    On the flip side, go the 280 route, and if the size works for you, now you are good, don’t have the extra expense, etc.
    Handling will be a pain with a single engine, unless you have a bow thruster, but you will probably have no issues, see below for me.
    Regarding handling, i will compare my old hurricane deck boat 232, to 320, twin v drives.
    So much easier to maneuver with twin engines and a bow thruster. Literally, no one needs to help when I dock. I just ask they sit still until the boat is in position, and I ask they don’t try to move the boat by pulling/pushing on the dock. The hurricane? I was all over the place. Impossible to control for me. In the open water, the 320 slices through chop and 2 footers like nothing. The hurrican3? I would have a really hard day when there were 2 foot swells on the way home. Would make it safely. But hard day.
  16. THJeff

    THJeff Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 4, 2012
    Rochester Hills, MI/Belle Maer Harbor/Club Island
    2000 410 Sundancer
    CAT 3126 Diesels
    I didn't know a bow thruster was available on a 320. Not much bow to thrust.
  17. Todd320

    Todd320 Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jul 21, 2016
    St. Petersburg, FL
    2007 Sea Ray 320DA
    Twin V-drive 5.7L 350 Horizon
    The first time I stood behind the helm, and looked out over the bow in the small creek heading out for the day, I was petrified by the huge bow of my 320! Now I feel like I can get behind the wheel of a 48DA and feel comfortable. The bow thruster is not needed, but sure makes it easy to slide sideways.
  18. PeteL

    PeteL Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    Apollo Beach, FL
    2003 280 DA
    Twin 5.0
    Bravo III
    "Viva la Vida"
    Twin 5.0, bravo 3 drives
    If we go the 280 route, we will have twin outdrives, which I am sure will be an improvement over the single engine. The 280 is about twice as heavy as the sundeck, so I am assuming that will help with the ride.
  19. Blkbird

    Blkbird Active Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Lake Lanier, GA
    1997 Sea Ray 450 Sundancer
    Twin 3126 CATS

    We went from a 2001 240 SunDeck to a 1997 450 SunDancer. Obviously a much more comfortable boat with more ammenities but like you, we are empty nesters and our boating goals changed. I have to admit those hot water showers in the mornings make me glad we made the transition.

    To be honest, I don't know that a 280 will give you a big enough reward for what you want. Around here the 340 SunDancer is the most popular boat and it's certainly roomy enough. Then there is the 380... and the 410... and... well you get the idea. Big is never big enough.
  20. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    I would go for the bigger boat with V drives and wet slip it. You’ll use the boat a lot more, even times when you don’t have the time to go out or weather isn’t conducive to going out you can still spend time on the boat at the dock.
    I spend more of my free time during the season at my boat than I do at home.
    My daughter’s boyfriends family has a smaller boat that they rack store. I think they wind up using and spending a lot less time on it because it’s rack stored.
    That might be okay for smaller day boats, but once you get in to the cruiser size your going to be using it differently than you used your old boat.
    I agree with others that the 340 is a great boat for you to move up to. My only problem with it is the lack of a separate shower stall.

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