What is the "sweet spot" for a used Sundancer for a family? (under 25k)

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by KnfMkr, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. KnfMkr

    KnfMkr New Member

    12
    Aug 21, 2013
    United States
    n/a
    n/a
    Budget is 25k
    I have 5 kids: Oldest is 13, youngest is 4
    This would be the first *family* boat. We are fairly active family. Would love to be able to have some longer outings on the lake.

    I have room/ability to store covered at home on a trailer. Also have an F250 able to tow...20 min from lake.

    I have the necessary mechanical skills to work on things (have restored a few classic autos) - don't mind doing maintenance, etc. I just can't take on a project boat at this time. Need plug-n-play.

    What would be the ideal year/size/model/value to meet our needs?


    Also, I am new to this kind of boating (overnight, long trips). I welcome any comments on challenges/difficulties I should expect to encounter.

    Please feel free to talk me out of it entirely....if needed.


    I live in NW Arkansas and frequently go to Beaver Lake in AR (20min away), and TenKiller Lake in OK (2 hrs away).

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  2. Ten Years Gone

    Ten Years Gone New Member

    415
    Mar 1, 2011
    US
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    Welcome to CSR!

    Given your criteria...I would offer that you are going to be hard pressed to strike a good balance between your wants and your budget. $25K is not nearly enough to get a cabin cruiser in a size that would be both comfortable for 7 people overnight AND trailerable with an F250. Boat ownership is ALWAYS a compromise and ALWAYS expensive. Your best bet is to start small (with a bowrider) and move up to a larger vessel after you have some experience behind you. Unless you pay a professional captain to teach you the skills necessary for navigating a large twin engine cruiser...I wouldn't risk your safety or wallet on a first-time large purchase.

    About the only Sundancer you can get for $25K that will be towable is a early 90's model 270/290. There is no way I personally would try to squeeze 7 people on board for an overnight...much less a weekend!
    You mentioned that you don't want the headaches of a project boat...every boat is a project. There will ALWAYS be problems, and those problems always cost boat bucks! Especially something in your price range.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  3. KnfMkr

    KnfMkr New Member

    12
    Aug 21, 2013
    United States
    n/a
    n/a
    I have boating experience - no worries there. And have connections with local marinas.
    Also, 7 sounds like a lot, but my kids are teeny-tiny...like their mom. ;-D

    I can go up a little in budget...but want to keep it in that range.

    I've seen early 90s 270/290s in that price range on craigslist in ready-to-go condition. Nicer than I need probably. :-D


    I guess what I'm trying to say is my compromises would be:
    1 - I don't need over 30'
    2 - I can do simple repairs/maintenance - willing to take on older boats (DIY)
    3 - I don't need a slip

    I just don't know enough about this type of boating, and these boats in particular, to know what to expect. And I can't exactly go out and rent one overnight. Hahaha

    Are there any particular years (or ranges of years) that are "better" than those before/after? ie. sweet spot for value (bang for buck)

    I'd hate to pick up an 91 only to find out later all the improvements happened in 92.

    Then again, I looked at an 85 that was very well maintained and at a good price....but I was chicken to pull the trigger on it...concerned I might be riding the pony's last mile with it. And so on.

    If that's not the case, and reliablity/tech has been steady along the years....then I'll just take whatever falls under my budget and passes inspection in the 290 size.

    Thanks for the reply!
     
  4. rcknecht

    rcknecht Active Member

    Mar 23, 2009
    toms river,nj
    340 Sundancer 2001
    T 454 MPI
    '80s 390 EC... Bigger the better, forget about towing, get a slip...
     
  5. JimG

    JimG Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2008
    Southern WV
    2007 310 DA
    Kohler 5ECD
    Twin 350 Mags
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drives
    A 290 will put you over the tow width limits (without a permit) in most states. This is true for most 270's also with the exception of the 99' 270SE, which has the legal 8'6" beam. Check your state's tow limits.
     
  6. Ten Years Gone

    Ten Years Gone New Member

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    Mar 1, 2011
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    It sounds like you have all of your priorities straight, which is a really good thing. I believed I was replying to a complete newbie. Glad you have your head on straight. So many people get into boating with unrealistic expectations, and find out it is really expensive and they are immediately disenfranchised by the whole experience. You really are looking at late eighties to early 90's models, and you are dead right about getting a potential basket case that will cost thousands in repairs. Even five year old boats that are mistreated by former owners can be money pits...so getting newer doesn't always prevent a B.O.A.T experience from occurring. Your situation is one that is shared among many others. Welcome to the club my friend Jim started. It's called the "Hole in the Water" club!

    http://clubsearay.com/showthread.php/48977-Hole-in-the-Water-Club
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  7. LTD.330

    LTD.330 Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 5, 2009
    Lake Erie
    1999 Sundancer 330
    7.4 MPI
    You will be hard pressed to fit 7 people for overnight trips on anything that is trailerable. Look at the boats and figure out where everyone will sit. Then look at how they will move around in the boat with everyone else on board. Now figure out where everyone will sleep. Your kids are tiny now, where will they be in three years?

    While it's doable, my 33' gets crowded with six peeps on board for a weekend. Something we only do occasionally.

    I like your enthusiasm, good luck.
     
  8. KnfMkr

    KnfMkr New Member

    12
    Aug 21, 2013
    United States
    n/a
    n/a
    Thank you for the warm welcome. I'm not as salty/crusty as some...but I've paid my dues and looking to turn boating into more of a "family" outing instead of, um, well...guys-only-leave-the-wife-n-kids-behind kinda thing it's been in the past. ;-D

    I have looked at early-mid 80s big boys....the state room sizes and amenities the extra space affords.....did I mention living in Arkansas? (onboard AC) - very tempting.

    I pulled up behind a 290 on the road....so, didn't think about it needing a permit. Will have to check into that.
    I *can* get a slip....but like the idea of splitting between the 2 lakes (and others too)....and having it home to take care of it between trips.

    I'm ok with getting another boat in 3-4 years. Also ok with annual costs, etc.

    I know for sure we wouldn't fit in a 240. But I saw a 270 we would fit in...which is what got the wheels turning....
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  9. TimTech

    TimTech Member

    73
    Aug 26, 2013
    Gibraltar, Michigan
    1997 330 Sundancer
    Mercruiser 7.4L MPI Blue Water V-drives
    We’ve just moved up from a ’98 SeaRay 260 Overnighter that I loved to a used 330 Sundancer. The 260 had a lot of open space for sun worshiping and entertaining. It was big enough for the great lakes yet small enough to trailer (even motored it from Lake Erie to Charlevoix Michigan). However, I added two kids to the mix and that 260 got awfully small. My wife and I were tripping over all the gear we had to bring with us for a day out on the boat with the kids. Overnights were out of the question.

    There is a heck of a lot of gear for two adults and five kids for a day out on the water. I would look at the larger sundeck type boats with a lot of open air room and stay away of the cabin types. The majority of time enjoying your boat will probably be swimming, tubing, and just enjoying a day out in the sun with your family. A full cabin leaves a lot less for room for being out in the sun and there might be too many compromises in your price range for the few times you may want to overnight.

    Good luck in your search!
     
  10. Ten Years Gone

    Ten Years Gone New Member

    415
    Mar 1, 2011
    US
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    +1 ^^^^^

    What he said! No truer a statement has been made about the lack of "breathing room"! It gets cramped VERY quickly. When it's just me and the Admiral on board, it is a hassle to walk around each other in the cabin. When four adults are in the cockpit...it's downright uncomfortable! I simply cannot imagine even having two children added to the mix on a boat our size. (25 foot x 8 foot beam)
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  11. KnfMkr

    KnfMkr New Member

    12
    Aug 21, 2013
    United States
    n/a
    n/a
    FWIW, we do family trips around the country in a Honda Pilot. All 7, all our stuff inside or on top. Have learned to do "more with less." Even take the dog sometimes.

    That said....you are making me rethink it for sure.

    I would love to justify a bigger boat...

    how much bigger....that is the question.


    ETA: I do remember reading a story here of a guy having an overnighter for one of his kids and group of friends and them fitting ok on something around 30'. I can't seem to find it right now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  12. KnfMkr

    KnfMkr New Member

    12
    Aug 21, 2013
    United States
    n/a
    n/a
    Is it really that much more cramped than being on a bowrider? We fit 7-8 just fine with food/gear for a long afternoon. Not looking to spend weeks on the water...just one night...maybe 2 max.
     
  13. rcknecht

    rcknecht Active Member

    Mar 23, 2009
    toms river,nj
    340 Sundancer 2001
    T 454 MPI
    With a $25 price limit, a larger boat means an older boat. You can sleep six on my 340. Plus the cockpit table doubles as an over flow bed. But for $25K you may be able to find a mid '90s 330 at best...
     
  14. Ten Years Gone

    Ten Years Gone New Member

    415
    Mar 1, 2011
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    That is the exact model I wanted to suggest...a 340...but a really well cared for late eighties model will break the bank for sure, and obviously be a slip boat only...unless you own a semi tractor and manage to get a road trailer with your purchase of the boat. Then you COULD pull it to a different destination with the correct permits $$$. Ultimately, I think that for what the OP wants to do, he really needs to decide on one lake, and slip a 340. Just to give the OP a sense of perspective; my living room walls are the same width across as the beam of a 340! So that is kind of my imagined test bench for the size of a true family cruiser. At LEAST a 12 foot beam!
     
  15. chpsk8

    chpsk8 New Member

    145
    Dec 1, 2012
    MN
    1990 310 Sundancer DA
    Twin 5.7 Mercruiser w/ Alpha One
    You should be able to find an early 90s 310/330 for that money.
    I bought a 90 310 that has an 11' beam. We have four in the family two of them under 6. It's the right size for us. I can't imagine too many more. Gets pretty cozy for four of us.
    Might be worth really sitting down and figuring out what exactly you will be doing on the boat. Is it overnights, or just day trips. Long rides or short. More time tubing or just lounging.
    A deck boat and a tent would satisfy your need for more deck space and a place to sleep if your lake has a place to camp.
    For us we can use ours as a cocktail cruiser one day, a long haul cruiser the next. Or we can beach and camp inside with four pretty easily.
    You are on the right trail, just need to nail down your end use so you can hit the target
     
  16. JimG

    JimG Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2008
    Southern WV
    2007 310 DA
    Kohler 5ECD
    Twin 350 Mags
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drives
    Another thing to weigh in your decision - when you get into the 290-340 range, you can forget about tubing... not practical. Huge wake and no nibble/tight u-turns, both of which make retrieving the thrown riders difficult if not dangerous (not mention the fuel cost).
     
  17. HUMPH

    HUMPH Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2009
    SF BAY AREA
    2003 410DA,
    2004 C14 Caribe
    CAT 3126TA's 350HP/
    50HP Honda
  18. HUMPH

    HUMPH Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2009
    SF BAY AREA
    2003 410DA,
    2004 C14 Caribe
    CAT 3126TA's 350HP/
    50HP Honda
    Hell, my 410 starts getting crowded with 4 adults! Hmmmmm, but a 560DB?????
     
  19. Fly'n Family

    Fly'n Family Active Member

    540
    Sep 19, 2013
    TX / CO
    2002 Cruisers Yachts 3870
    2003 Boston Whaler Sport 130 w/40 hp Merc
    Twin 425hp Crusaders
    If you look around, are patient, and have cash - good deals can be found. I got my 98' 310 DA with a high end custom trailer for not far from your budget. Fully loaded with 40 hours on fresh longblocks, and everything works perfect.

    That being said, no way our boat could support 7 folks without us losing our mind other than for an afternoon type of thing. We have two adults, a 7 and 9 yr old - and the occasional drop in of our 17 year old. A 310 is great for four for extended weekends, but if I was going to be doing 7 for more than a daytrip - I'd be looking for something much larger. Just my .02.
     

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