Sea Ray Quality - Ups and Downs of the BRAND and the Rise and Fall...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Maybe A Dancer, Jun 29, 2022.

  1. Maybe A Dancer

    Maybe A Dancer Became a Dancer 12/23/21 GOLD Sponsor

    543
    Aug 20, 2021
    Florida West Coast
    Started out as MAYBE A DANCER
    Became a Dancer - 12/23/21
    450 DA Sundancer running CAT 3126
    No insult intended.

    Could someone, anyone please comment on Sea Ray's highs and lows in engineering, design, build and overall quality?

    I was a 21 year, 1983 Trojan 10 Meter International owner who admittedly scoffed out loud at those Sea Rays of compatible years.

    After delving into the mid 1990's 450 series and now as an owner, I have come to find that this particular series has very significant improvements over the Trojan.

    Admittedly there are 15 years between the two which saw numerous engineering and technological industry wide advancements, however I should note the following areas of significant improvement:

    • efficient channeling of rain/washdown cockpit water overboard, resulting in amazingly dry bilges
    • superiorly well thought out, designed and executed electrical system
    • superior plumbing system
    • superior portlights and all hatch hardware
    • superior gel-coat quality, durability and thickness

    IMHO deficient areas are limited to the sealing practices where hatches/hardware go through balsa cored areas, cleats, which are less accommodating than those on my '83 ten meter and a galley sink that dumps into a collection box sump.

    These are very minor issues as the overall result is far superior to what I was anticipating, exceeding expectations by a longshot.

    As far as the 450 DA is concerned:

    maintenance will be a breeze compared to the 10 meter with the twin Yanmar turbodiesels

    Her intelligent layout, tremendous storage, smooth, dry ride and lack of bowrise make her a very sweet and versatile dream to use, operate and own.

    As compared to the mostly aluminum Yanmar components, the 3126 CATS have heavy, HEAVY (yes I know how heavy, I dropped one on the engine room floor, taking out a chunk of glass) ..... bronze, YES BRONZE risers/elbows.

    At my current age of 65, I can for the forseeable future handle my own maintenance, this engine room is big enough to have a party in and the components are all easily accessible (except for the port side turbo, which I'll leave to professionals when the time comes. Other than aftercoolers and the 250 hour service I have now brought her mechanicals up to baseline standards. Genset is next :)

    So having stated my own findings, was there a high point, a low point a timeframe of greatness for the production of the larger Sea Rays?

    I am aware that Brunswick attempted to sell off the brand, then almost killed it before the latest revival.

    I'm new to the BRAND and would like to learn something about it.

    BEST !

    RWS
     
  2. spikedaddy99

    spikedaddy99 Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Prentice, Wi
    2005 500 DB
    QSM-11
    If you get lucky, Capt Rusty will write you a book on here.
     
    Chris-380 likes this.
  3. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    You're calling their current lineup of outboard powered cruisers a revival of the brand? I tend to think it's the start of the death spiral :)
     
  4. paulswagelock

    paulswagelock Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2010
    pa
    2018 SDX 270 OB 300 Verado
    Verado 300
    I think the design ideas are strong albeit polarizing, but the execution lately seems to have faltered deeply. Almost every inch of these new boats construction is rough.
     
    Henry Boyd, WV 320 Dancer and indeep like this.
  5. firecadet613

    firecadet613 Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2007
    Indiana
    2007 Four Winns V358
    Twin VP 5.7GXi V-Drive / ZF63s
    Agreed. They gave the cruiser market to Regal, Formula and others...
     
    WV 320 Dancer and MonacoMike like this.
  6. copb8tx

    copb8tx Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 26, 2008
    Highland Village, TX/Port Richey, FL
    SOLD 2005 420 DA w/T-8.1S Horizons
    2018 Sea Hunt 255se w/Yamaha 300hp
    Last year we went and looked at the 320 Sundancer, Formula 330cbr and Tiara 34LX all on the same day. It was astounding the quality difference in the hulls. The 320 was in the showroom and had a dark hull that showed the waves in the hul lsides around every bulkhead. The mechanism for flipping the cockpit seats was so flimsy and if not done right would twist and catch. Neither the Tiara nor the Formula had a ripple and the fit and finish was a work of art. You would've thought the price point would have been vastly different between the boats but it wasn't close to wide enough to justify the quality compromise.

    Even before SR dumped the big boats they ruined them with the Zeus pods so now there's a whole slew of really cool boats that were built with decent quality but are ruined by their propulsion systems. 450 & 470 sundancers come to mind. Then in 2016 they went to the new enclosed Sundancers and the love was gone.
     
    WV 320 Dancer likes this.
  7. mrsrobinson

    mrsrobinson Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 9, 2006
    Virginia, USA
    2001 Sea Ray 380DA
    3126 purring CATs
    I love my old girl, 2001. Liked the 1995 one as well, minus the lack of engine room access.
     
    dtfeld likes this.
  8. Shaps

    Shaps Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2019
    Long Island,NY
    2010 Sundancer 500
    2015 Brig Falcon 330T
    Twin Cummins QSC550 DTS w Zeus
    Sorry @copb8tx , you are entitled to your opinion however I love my cummins powered zeus boat. As do many of us who own them.
    I'm sure your extensive personal history with this propulsion system has led you to your conclusions.
     
    Stee6043 likes this.
  9. El Capitan

    El Capitan Well-Known Member

    Jul 9, 2014
    Chicago IL./Vero Beach, Fl
    1970 SRV 180 w 2.5L Mercruiser.
    2000 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer
    120HP Mercruiser
    Once the bean counters took over companies all manufacturing went to shyt. We no longer look to build quality and longevity. We build based on cost, environment, efficiency, which is all code for cutting quality. Wonder why they don't use wood anymore in hulls? Go check the price of wood. They automate vs using skilled craftsman. Shoot, they killed the labor market and made skilled craftsman go by way of the dinosaurs.

    I grew up in Miami during the days when Bertram built their boats by Miami International Airport by the Miami River. Formula and Cigarettes were manufactured in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale. Those shops were crawling with guys hand laying glass. Today, its sprayed on and the materials are all composites.

    Boats are lighter and require smaller power which means more "fuel efficient". They bob like a cork in the water.

    Yes, there are some improvements in electronics, and CAD designed blueprints that allow them to be slick, but in terms of quality of the hull and seaworthiness....its old school for me. Ive had too many experiences out there in rough seas in an old Sea Ray or old Mako, or old Dusky along with new plastic boats that couldn't keep up and were pounding.

    Boats today commonly suffer from stress cracks in the gelcoat, delamination, and lots of other manufacturing ailments.

    Nope, I'll take a 70's or 80's vintage Sea Ray any day.
     
    Pirate Lady likes this.
  10. sb in gp

    sb in gp Active Member

    838
    Oct 10, 2006
    Grosse Pointe, MI
    2017 460 Sundancer
    Cummins QSB-550 w/Zeus Pod Drives
    I'm also pleased with my Zeus propulsion system. 3 years in. More maintenance for sure, but they move the boat nicely. I know all the arguments, and I'm not interested in rehashing the pod debate here, but I think its important for people to know that there are people that are happy with them.
     
    Shaps likes this.
  11. copb8tx

    copb8tx Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 26, 2008
    Highland Village, TX/Port Richey, FL
    SOLD 2005 420 DA w/T-8.1S Horizons
    2018 Sea Hunt 255se w/Yamaha 300hp
    I knew when I wrote my 'opinion' you'd drop in, as always. Always appreciate the requisite snarky 'extensive personal history' jab as well.

    And yes, this thread is about 'opinions' and mine is based on years of following their introduction, challenges, owner reviews and experiences. My only 'extensive personal history' has been that of my dock-mate who had them in fresh water and couldn't wait to get out from underneath them. Educated consumers don't have to own something to know what they're getting into. And maybe my opinion is based on I'm not a cost-is-no-object boater.
     
  12. El Capitan

    El Capitan Well-Known Member

    Jul 9, 2014
    Chicago IL./Vero Beach, Fl
    1970 SRV 180 w 2.5L Mercruiser.
    2000 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer
    120HP Mercruiser
    ^^I agree. I don’t have to own something to know it sucks. That’s why I don’t own it. :cool:
     
  13. JB MARSHALL

    JB MARSHALL Active Member

    373
    Aug 1, 2015
    Mystic CT
    2009-48 Sundancer
    Cummins QSC 8.3
    I think pods are slick, more efficient and of course makes handling a boat so much easier. I loved driving boats with pods however I have been scared off from owning a pod boat due to the negativity and high cost of ownership that has been expressed so many times on this site and others. Especially with the issues on earlier SeaRays with Zeus pods and the finger pointing between Cummins and Mercruiser.

    looking for our next boat has been very difficult since so many manufacturer newer models seem to be predominantly built with pods vs straight shafts.
     
  14. Shaps

    Shaps Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2019
    Long Island,NY
    2010 Sundancer 500
    2015 Brig Falcon 330T
    Twin Cummins QSC550 DTS w Zeus
    I'm sure that's the ONLY reason... Don't buy it.


    @copb8tx, not looking to get into a pissing match and won't rehash the costs & benefits of pods here.
    Please feel free to have your dock-mate join the discussion. I do maintain you have no 'personal history' with these.

    We agree to disagree.
     
  15. Maybe A Dancer

    Maybe A Dancer Became a Dancer 12/23/21 GOLD Sponsor

    543
    Aug 20, 2021
    Florida West Coast
    Started out as MAYBE A DANCER
    Became a Dancer - 12/23/21
    450 DA Sundancer running CAT 3126
    anyhow,

    OP here

    We're all aware of the positives and negative issues regarding the POD designs, which are not unique to SEA RAY and apply to NUMEROUS BRANDS of vessels including Tiara, among others.

    30 years of boating, but relatively little knowledge of the Sea Ray BRAND

    One of the things I have learned and was quite surprised by is the apparent and obvious BRAND LOYALTY where owners move from one Sea Ray to another - its all over the majority of signature pages here on this forum.

    If we were to separate the POD issue from the BRAND, and keeping in mind that the SEA RAY is a PRODUCTION BOAT, would it be safe to say that engineering, design and construction techniques were at their best for the 20-25 year period that started AFTER the death of the LUXURY TAX through the 2009 death spiral of the industry as a whole?

    You may recall that many brands got into trouble then, including GENMAR (It owned the Aquasport, Carver Yachts, Champion Boats, Crestliner, Glastron, Hatteras Yachts, Larson Boats, Lowe Boats, Scarab Boats, Trojan Yachts, and, Wellcraft brands)

    BEST!

    RWS
     
  16. Shaps

    Shaps Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2019
    Long Island,NY
    2010 Sundancer 500
    2015 Brig Falcon 330T
    Twin Cummins QSC550 DTS w Zeus
  17. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    Well then aren’t you an “expert” from all the advise you sought out here?

    That is an ignorant statement. So research is nothing?
     
    firecadet613 likes this.
  18. swaterhouse

    swaterhouse Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    969
    Jan 7, 2015
    Mattapoisett, MA
    2008 58 DB
    MAN CRM 900
    I only personally looked at a couple for 2010-2013 model boats (one a 52 DB and one a 58DB), both matched the quality of the 2007 44DA we owned and the 2008 58DB we currently own. When we were shopping for the 44 Sea Ray was low on the list due to perceived "lack of quality", but after actually seeing several we were very impressed. We ended up staying brand loyal somewhat because of that.

    The systems layout/design and execution is quite well done. The materials and parts are of above average quality. There is at least an attempt to allow access to just about every bolt or screw on the boat (although many you need to have 6 foot arms the size of a pencil to actually do anything with!).

    I will say the 2014+ boats I have been on (at boat shows only) there was a downturn in quality from what I saw. One had a step crack right off - 2 hours after the show opened on day 1. All have way cheaper cabinet construction and hardware. The materials don't seem as high quality.

    That said as mentioned I have spent a whopping 30 minutes tops on 2014+ boats, so I may be way off base.
     
  19. Pirate Lady

    Pirate Lady Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2020
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River
    '91 250 Sundancer
    7.4 Bravo 1
    Brand loyalty is me. 6th SR. Wouldn’t get anything else. Reason? We love the layout of SeaRay boats. And the fact that I can take one out on the Bay, get caught in horrible weather and know it’s going to get me home. Has happened a lot.
    Frankly I considered a walk around with outboard when in the market before this one. Wife said Sundancer or no boat. Cant argue with that.
     
    royalpiper and El Capitan like this.
  20. copb8tx

    copb8tx Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 26, 2008
    Highland Village, TX/Port Richey, FL
    SOLD 2005 420 DA w/T-8.1S Horizons
    2018 Sea Hunt 255se w/Yamaha 300hp
    We'll leave it at that.

    On the flip side your killer boat makes up for the crappy pods! :D
    (just a joke!)
     

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