Newbie considering 260 Sundancer

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by emlevins, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. emlevins

    emlevins New Member

    Sep 27, 2009
    Lake Erie
    2000 260DA
    7.4 w/Bravo III
    Hi Folks,
    First post! Thinking of upgrading from a 1994 220 Seaswirl (23') to a 2000 260 Sundancer with a 7.4 liter MPI and Bravo III with 450 hours (all freshwater). Thanks to Terri - who just purchased the same boat and who responded to many of my questions via pm (thanks Terri!!) - I've had many of my questions answered.

    However, I am concerned about the size upgrade and whether I will be able to handle the boat by myself. After having a very bad experience with our previous boat - a 1988 235 Sunrunner (supposedly 23' but alot larger in actuality than the SS) which I could not handle well - partly due to my lack of skill and partly due to the lack of the boat's responsiveness; OK - probably more me than the boat, I am concerned about my ability to maneuver the 260 for docking by myself.

    I have become very comfortable with the Sea Swirl and take it out all the time by myself. This is important as I will have alot of time alone with the boat while my wife is working.

    Do you think that with experience and time, that I would be able to handle the 260 by myself - particularly when docking? Do those of you that own one routinely handle the boat by yourself?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. K-9

    K-9 New Member

    Jul 4, 2009
    long island sound
    1980 sea ray sundancer 260 raymarine c120w radar/sonar+
    6.2mag 320hp
    B3 seacore ss props
    :smt001nice package the bravoIII should make life easy and give better control when docking... take it for a test ride and feel for yourself..let us know what you think???:thumbsup:
  3. Spot

    Spot New Member

    Jul 11, 2009
    Aloha, Oregon
    350 Mag EFI, B-3, Kohler gen, heat-AC, finally a windlass
    Yes a person can dock and manage a 260DA by themself... if they are experineced. If you have having trouble with the smaller boat you will have trouble with the bigger boat. Yes it gets easier, you need to have somebody with you and have your fenders out. Use the boat often and get yourself to the point that you only use the help when you need it, after a while you may not need them to help you dock. It also depends on your dock layout, the wind , current and position of the

    With such a great boat you should always have somebody with you to enjoy the boat and the time on the water however.

    I do think the 260DA is a great size to do it all!
  4. skibum

    skibum Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2007
    Perry Hall, MD
    2005 Sundancer 260
    496 Magnum HO
    The only time I ever have trouble is when docking on the downwind side of the dock. I can get it in position just fine, but sometimes the large side area helps the wind blow it back off of the dock before I can step off with a line. I just do it again until it sits long enough for me to step off easily with a line. If it looks like I have to jump to get off, I go back up front and do it again. When you are alone, missing the dock and ending up in the water with a boat floating away is not an option.

    Otherwise, no problems at all for a single person to handle. Make sure it has a windlass. Anchoring is a 2 person affair without one.
  5. emlevins

    emlevins New Member

    Sep 27, 2009
    Lake Erie
    2000 260DA
    7.4 w/Bravo III
    skibum - I have exactly the same experience with my SS and have found that I need to back out and come back in to the slip from the opposite direction - in to the wind - seems as if the stern goes easily toward the pier then. The issue I have is maneuvering the boat back out of the slip and in to position to come back at it from the other direction :smt017 but I have managed.

    btw - I should tell folks that my SS has an 8' 4" beam according to the NADA site so the DA beam is a mere 2" wider if that is to believed....

    Thanks for the replies - please keep them coming. My pursuit of this 260DA depends on whether I am convinced I can handle this boat alone.
  6. emlevins

    emlevins New Member

    Sep 27, 2009
    Lake Erie
    2000 260DA
    7.4 w/Bravo III
    Is it not possible to anchor this alone without windlass?
  7. Nehalennia

    Nehalennia Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    Marysville, WA
    2001 310DA twin 350 MAGs, Westerbeke 4.5KW
    Twin 350 MAG V-drives
    It's like anything, if you practice often you'll get the hang of it. Keep everything you do slow and again repetitive and you'll be fine.
  8. skibum

    skibum Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2007
    Perry Hall, MD
    2005 Sundancer 260
    496 Magnum HO
    Believe it or not, pulling the anchor back into the boat is not where I get the most use out of the windlass. When setting the anchor, I move the boat backwards as I pay out the rode. The water moving over the little wings on the plow anchor keeps the point facing down. I use the windlass control on the dash to lower it while driving the boat at the same time. I have always had better luck getting the anchor set well with the boat positioned where I want it doing it this way. If I just stop the boat and lower the anchor to the bottom, it seems to drag for a good bit before taking a set. I just don't get the same good results doing it that way.

    For pulling the anchor, I start the engine, get on the bow, and pull on the rode to get the boat moving towards the anchor. I use the bow controls to operate the windlass.

    It is possible to anchor alone without a windlass. I just wouldn't want to do it on a regular basis.
  9. ultratiger89

    ultratiger89 New Member

    May 25, 2009
    Planet Mars
    2003 260DA, Kohler 5E
    350 Mag BIII
    when docking into the wind, i get the bow secured first, then use the motor/outdrive to pull the stern around, if need be....otherwise, it's a pretty easy deal.
  10. emlevins

    emlevins New Member

    Sep 27, 2009
    Lake Erie
    2000 260DA
    7.4 w/Bravo III
    OK - so the consensus is that the 260 DA can be handled adequately by one person? I guess my other concern is the weight of the boat (6200lbs) vs my SS (3850lbs). While on the dock with my SS, I can easily pull the bow or stern back toward the pier should the wind or current cause it to drift. I am assuming this will not as easily be done with the DA...

    Other thoughts? I guess I just want some affirmation that - withexperience and practice - I'll be able to manage this size boat by myself.

    Thanks again.
  11. CKL

    CKL Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jul 9, 2009
    Little Rock, AR
    2008 290 Sundancer
    Gen, AC, SmartCraft VesselView display, GPS
    T 5.0 w/Bravo III drives & DTS
    As mentioned earlier, with practice and expeience you will be ok.

    The one hint I would add is to take the boat out a few times when there is not a large audience (typically sometime in the middle of the week) and go through the normal maneuvers you will encounter such as leaving and returning to your slip, tying up at the gas dock and pump out station, anchoring, etc.

    Normally, most people become nervous when handling a boat as people watch - practicing alone will allow you to captain your vessel with skill and confidence when other people and vessels are present.
  12. emlevins

    emlevins New Member

    Sep 27, 2009
    Lake Erie
    2000 260DA
    7.4 w/Bravo III
    THAT is very wise advice indeed CKL. I did that with my current boat and it made a world of difference. I very much plan to do it again with any new boat.
  13. Scotto97

    Scotto97 Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Las Vegas
    "Wench & Rum" 2007 260 Sundancer, Gen with A/C
    350 Mag
    I agree - people can be cruel - i'd rather practice without the pressure of curious eyes.

    As an example, several weeks ago my wife and I got caught in a freak windstorm that was pinning our boat against rocks. A family (including 5 grown men) that frequents a closeby spot on the beach relunctantly helped us out.

    A few weeks later they arrived at the same beach after we had anchored bow-in the night before. While I was backing off the beach it created waves that was hiting their campsite.(they chose to set up 10 feet from our bow). I cut the engine and asked for a push-off instead of flooding their campsite and afterwords I heard one of the ladies make a comment stating we always need their help and shouldn't own a boat.

    Next time I'll just hit the throttle and flood their damn campsite.
  14. emlevins

    emlevins New Member

    Sep 27, 2009
    Lake Erie
    2000 260DA
    7.4 w/Bravo III
    OK - thanks for all the comments. I am still considering this. However, the boat is in MN and I am in PA. Though there is an 06 260DA a few miles from me, he is asking 60K. I am not interested in it but have looked at it twice to get a feel for the size (same size as the 00 model year but 1200 lbs heavier). The size still gives me pause for some concern in regard to docking the boat alone. There are no other 260DAs close enough to take out for a sea trial (assuming it was permitted).

    However, My mechanic tells me that the handling issues associated with the increased size of the 260 over my current 230 are negated by the improved handling characteristics associated with the Bravo III - that is - he suspects I should be able to handle the 260 as well as my 230 SS despite the difference in size.

    Think that's true?

    I would know if I could take the boat out. I'd either be comfortable or not. I am considering flying to MN to do a sea trial which they are very willing to let me do. They are asking $27,500 which seems reasonable.

    Think I should consider it?
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  15. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    To be honest with you I doubt that you'll be comfortable if you go for the sea trial. I'm sure that you'll continue to question your ability to handle this boat. I did that with each boat I've owned but I now handle my 280DA by myself all the time. Docking, loading/unloading on the trailer. Take some comfort from the fact that most of us have been in your shoes and now we can comfortably handle a boat such as the 260DA by ourselves. We all had to learn. Goodluck.
  16. Bridog

    Bridog Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Oct 4, 2006
    Gulf Shores AL / Brick NJ
    2016 19SPX OB
    Mercury 150 4S OB
    When I got back into boating I started with a 220 Sundeck. After a year I wanted something bigger so I could spend some nights on it. The 260DA seemed so big to me at that time but I went ahead with it. Guess what? Easier to dock than the 220SD. Had that for 2 years and bought a 300DA. Guess what? Easier to dock than the 260DA. My advice? Go for it!
  17. JohnEGraham

    JohnEGraham Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    250 Sundancer 1998 5.7.
    350 Merc / Bravo 3
    I have a 25ft - 250 Sundancer and have only been boating for 1 year and when I use the boat by myself I try to get everything ready before pulling back into the slip.
    I have my line at the rear and the mid cleats so I jump on to my finger dock with the two lines and pull the boat in. I also have installed hooks on the out side poles with lines which I can also grab and pull myself in. I also take all the all canvass down to help with the wind. JG
  18. kbarrett

    kbarrett New Member

    May 25, 2009
    Apopka, FL
    260 Sundancer Navmann 5500 GPS
    erc 6.1 Bravo III
    Hey Ed, I went from a 1800 Regal to the 2006 260 Sundancer, and the first few times I felt like I was docking the Queen Mary without a playbook. After a few bumps and sailor words and extensive articles and a few online courses, we look pretty good now! Go for it it!!!
  19. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    $60K! Holy crap! Yeah, I think you made the right decision in not considering that one. But, who knows what he'd actually take.

    $27,500 is VERY reasonable. Get lot's of pictures before flying out there - have him email to you what is working, not working, recently replaced, needs to replaced soon, etc. Even if it needs a few small things, that price is VERY GOOD.
  20. skibum

    skibum Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2007
    Perry Hall, MD
    2005 Sundancer 260
    496 Magnum HO
    The weight is no problem if you aren't fighting any real momentum. If the boat is at rest or moving slowly, it is very easy to move by hand. Shoot, even the bimini poles are strong enough to use as a handle for moving it a small distance. It is suprising how easily and 8000+ pound boat can be moved when its floating.

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