Is it Really "all about the beam"?

Discussion in 'Sport Cruisers' started by L&L, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. L&L

    L&L New Member

    17
    Aug 11, 2017
    2004 Sea Ray 225 Weekender with Standard Horizon CP 180 plotter and SH VHF radio
    5.0 Mercruiser with Bravo 3 drive
    A fellow boater once told me that enjoyment of your boat is all about maximum beam width (among other things of course). In this regard, we are looking to upgrade from our 225 Weekender to a 280 DA. Looking through the archives, in 2010 it looks like Sea Ray put the 280 on a diet and the beam width dropped from 9'5" to 8"10". From a trailering perspective I like the slimmer 280 but wondering if it makes that much of a difference when on the water?

    Thanks in advance for all thoughts/input/advice.

    John (Vancouver, BC)
     
  2. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    IMG_4230.JPG Beam offers more design options and therefore possibly more style and features. However, a planning hull needs to have a fine entry and a decent deadrise to achieve a sea kindly ride on big water. Long water lines and mass help as well. Many SR models stress interior design above sea keeping capability on blue water lakes and oceans. So it depends on your definition of comfort. Living space or ride? The larger SR boats may offer both but I have no experience on SRs longer than 45 feet.
     
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  3. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Yes, Beam matters.
     
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  4. Ididntdoit

    Ididntdoit Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 5, 2007
    New England & South Florida
    Boatless
    Boatless
    the '09 up 270/280 DA is more comparable to an '05-'08 260, not the '01-'08 280
     
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  5. Getaway

    Getaway Active Member

    919
    Oct 13, 2010
    Bay City, Michigan
    1998 290DA Sundancer
    Lowrance electronics, Fishhawk, Scotty Downriggers
    BoatWheels Tri-Axle Trailer
    Single big block 454 MPI Mercruiser engine and Bravo III outdrive.
    I've owned 8.5 beam boats my whole boating life (25 years). Last boat was a 268DA I had for 9 years and I just moved into a 10'2" beam 290 (my first 10 beam).

    My perspective, oh, hell yes it matters hugely!

    -Fishing in choppy-beam seas this past weekend is a totally different experience and more tolerable.
    -Moving about the cockpit and cabin areas are easy with multiple people on board.
    -Boating and fishing are now a completely different and more enjoyable experience.
    -People moving about the cockpit while the boat is underway does not require constant trim tab adjustments.

    Negatives:
    -Trailering is slightly more challenging, but very do-able with a good trailer.
    -Need wide-load permit
     
  6. PMC

    PMC Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    2001 40 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins 6CTA
    Comparing the 2 "280 models", you will notice a big difference. Sea Ray started representing LOA into the models numbers when they molded the swim platforms with the hull design. Not only is the older 280 wider, but it is longer at 31'. As previously stated, the new 280 is comparable to the older 260

    what he said!
     
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  7. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    Once upon a time a "270" had a 10 foot beam

    MM
     
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  8. Little Ducky

    Little Ducky Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2017
    Dickson, TN / Chattanooga, TN
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin EFI 5.0L w/Alphas
    Kohler 4kW
    Went from 260 DA to 290 DA the feel was dramatically different. So much more room and breathability.
     
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  9. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    1 foot of beam on a 30 ft boat is 30 sqft of space. 1 foot of LOA adds nothing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
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  10. Espos4

    Espos4 Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2017
    Long Island NY
    2007 240 Sundeck
    350 MAG Bravo 3 W/DTS
    Still amazed Every time I see one of those late 80’s 340’s,......looks like you could play volleyball on that thing!
     
  11. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    I had a late 80s 350DA share a twin slip with no piling between for a few weeks. They are WIDE. My fenders rolled between us as I backed in. Nerve wracking
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  12. stephens013

    stephens013 Active Member

    290
    Oct 8, 2009
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    2001 510 Sundancer
    1997 400DA Sundancer
    1994 Chalarral 310 Signature
    3196 Cat; 660 PHP
    3116 Cat; 340 PHP
    Wife and I bought our first 40 Sundancer because it was a " big butt girl". Made all the difference living on the vessel for weeks on end.
    Went on a friends sail boat; convinced me that narrow ain't my thing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
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  13. Jeff42899

    Jeff42899 Member

    84
    Jun 23, 2018
    Lake Erie Islands
    1999 340 Sundancer
    Twin 7.4 Horizon
    I'm going to add something to this, especially if you're looking for 33'-40'. I've owned my share of boats (two separate boat lives) and within the last year went from a 330EC to a 340DA to get the midcabin. The 330 had straight drive inboards. Our 340 is V drives. The 330 ran so much better. The center of gravity being forward made a huge difference. I also owned a 400EC with straight drive inboards which ran amazing. If you don't need extra space in the cabin, the expresses run very, very well. I'm extremely pleased with my 340 Sundancer but if the quality of ride is most important to you, straight drives are excellent.
     
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  14. SrtThis

    SrtThis Member

    72
    Feb 20, 2019
    Maryland
    270 SE sundancer
    7.4 MPI w/bravo III
    i tell my wife the beam matters all the time...


    wait... what are we talking about again???
     
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  15. MiLoII

    MiLoII Member

    61
    Jul 14, 2017
    Southern Lake Michigan
    320 Sundancer 2005
    Previously 300 Doral 1999
    350 Mag MPI Inboard V Drives
    Beam is one part of the equation only. Length is the other (pertinent to this conversation), rather it is the ratio between the two that will significantly drive how your boat will perform . The real answer to your question boils down to how you boat and what you want out of your boat. If livability outweighs overall performance and fuel economy, you likely want a beamier boat. As sbw1 noted above, If you like to go fast and expect a seakindly fuel efficient ride you will want a narrower boat. If you boat in calm protected waters you may be ok going with a beamier boat without really feeling any sacrifice of performance.
     
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  16. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    I sorta agree - if you increase or decrease beam holding length constant.

    Would think that's taken into effect by the designer when they were designing the parameters. House boat versus sun dancer.

    "As sbw1 noted above, If you like to go fast and expect a seakindly fuel efficient ride you will want a narrower boat". If you like to go fast, sea kindly ride, and you want to extra room of the beamier boat - then make sure you have the length to support the beam.... Does that make sense?
     
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  17. MiLoII

    MiLoII Member

    61
    Jul 14, 2017
    Southern Lake Michigan
    320 Sundancer 2005
    Previously 300 Doral 1999
    350 Mag MPI Inboard V Drives
    Yes that is on point. As you increase length you can also increase beam without conceivably changing the ratio between the two. So bigger boat overall, more livability and if properly designed seakindly ride. The OP is looking between various years of the 280 model and mentions a significant beam change at some point. I dont know what the corresponding waterline length was with the design change, so the beam change could be impactful or not depending that.
     
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  18. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    That sounds reasonable.
     
  19. mquiet

    mquiet Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2009
    North carolina
    1999 480 Sedan Bridge
    Caterpillar 3196
    The when beam on a planing hull increases, the cost is ability to carry deadrise throughtout the hull, fuel, and increases the danger lev l in a following sea. The upside is stability withl as rolling due to flattening of hull toward transom. So it is all about risk/benefit and, where and how you will use boat.
     
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  20. Pilot

    Pilot Member

    207
    May 7, 2009
    Chesapeake Bay
    2009 370 Searay DA
    V Drives
    Twin 8.1's
    Had a 2005 260 with a 8'6'' beam. It was the most topsy turvy boat I ever owned, scary even. Always felt like to was going to roll over. Searay really botched the design on that one and so, I sold it after 2 years. My opinion,, always go up 10 feet when upgrading, bigger is better, beam is bigger and so, I'd recommend a 300 or 310, you won't regret it.
     
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