Review: Sea Ray 270 Sundeck

By: John Ford, Photography by: John Ford

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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The Sea Ray 270 Sundeck comes in two varieties. One has a Verado outboard motor, the other a MerCruiser sterndrive.

It is hard to imagine two boats with essentially the same hull and deck layout as being so different. But giant American boat builder Sea Ray has managed that with its 270 Sundeck by shoehorning a big block V8 into the sterndrive version and strapping a 300hp Mercury Verado outboard onto the other.

 

SEA RAY SUNDECK

Sea Ray 270 Sundeck

Sydney Sea Ray agent Mark Chapman has differentiated the inboard tesreviewt boat even further by blinging it in fine style with inclusions from the factory options list of bigger boats in the range, as well as adding bespoke features that set it apart.

Right from the outset the Sea Ray 270 Sundeck inboard announced its macho persona with a hull of glaring Sunset Red under tribal-themed hull graphics. The Sea Ray 270 Sundeck outboard version has a more subtle white finish with fastidiously-applied black and sand accents imbued into the gelcoat during the lay-up.

 

LAYOUT AND DESIGN

Sea Ray 270 Sundeck inboard layout

Capable of ferrying up to 12 passengers, and with seating for 15 people, no-one is going to be cramped for space on these Sea Ray 270 Sundeck. As well as generous bow areas the cockpit has very accommodating arena seating and a huge transom sunlounge. And with biminis extending over the cockpit, there are loads of shady seating.

Aft of the sunlounge are full-width swimplatforms – both are teak clad and equipped with concealed swimladders. Introducing a full-width swimplatform on the outboard version is something of a design coup for Sea Ray. It has done away with the space-wasting engine well and hung the Verado outboard right off the back, at the same time cleverly concealing its control lines into the deck. The inboard goes a step further with a swimstep section that can be dropped down into the water for a spa-like experience.

 

DIFFERENCES

Sea Ray 270 Sundeck outboard

While layout on each of the Sea Ray 270 Sundeck boats is pretty similar, differences start right in the bow where the inboard sports a neatly concealed stainless steel boarding ladder under the bow step, in contrast to the inboard’s winch and underslung anchor. Both options get a freshwater shower – great for cleaning off sandy shoes – and speakers for the Rockford Fosgate boat stereo sound system.

Both boats share sumptuous caramel and tan upholstery throughout, with graphite accents on some of the hard surfaces. Quilted diamond pleating on the main backrests and colour-coded piping imbue a rich quality.

The Sea Ray 270 Sundeck outboard’s circular fibreglass table fits into a bracket in the seat moulding and creates a roomy entertaining space for up to seven adults. It looks neat and well-designed, until you see the folding teak table Mark has conjured for the muscly V8. Along with the table, teak flooring through the whole boat manages to turn the bow into something you could expect on a much larger craft. The more standard outboard version gets well-crafted clip-out carpet, which is fine but lacking oomph in comparison.

Sea Ray 270 Sundeck outboard head

As you’d expect the seats lift for storage and the spaces are neatly moulded bins suitable for use as coolers that drain into the bilge. What is surprising is the size of the hinges. They are made to last a lifetime of abuse and designed to keep the seat bases securely upright for loading the ice and cocktail ingredients.

Infills that convert the bow into a giant sunlounge are stored in a cavernous hold in the floor and in the driver-side console. Side sections have comfortable back support and armrests for stretching out full length and in easy reach of holders for the pina colada.

A starboard door and a centre screen can close off the walkthrough to the cockpit from the bow. This eliminates the breeze when underway, the screen diverting the airflow well overhead. Closing off the bow section might also add the benefit of segregating children to their own play area on those occasions when parents prefer a bit of quiet time.

 

STORAGE

Sea Ray 270 Sundeck inboard storage

The boats aren’t short of storage space. The L-shaped lounge to port has an insulated hold underneath, there’s another large floor locker and a cooler in the walkway from the swimladder, while the moulded hold under the starboard lounge is refrigerated. If storage is high on your list opt for the outboard version as under the rear sunpad is monster stowage space where otherwise the inboard lives.

A couple of funky features have been included at the rear walkway. Firstly, a wetbar with cupholders and a covered sink and secondly, a step that folds from the sidedeck to facilitate access to a dock over a non-skid pad on the gunwale.

The large sunlounge at the stern teams with the full-width swimplatform to make a very desirable place for enjoying the sunshine and water. It also makes a third separate space for guests to gather at anchor although for obvious safety reasons it’s not the place to hang out when the boat is underway.

Keen observers may notice tabs in the sunpad cushions that are included to lift the centre section for a natural incline for your knees when seated. The four-section ladder and handrail make reboarding easy, there’s a freshwater transom shower to wash the salt off and the stereo remote means you don’t have to move far to turn the sound up when your favourite song comes round.

 

HELM

Helm on Sea Ray 270 Sundeck inboard

The seats are wide enough to squeeze in with your best friend and certainly big enough for one person to spread out in total comfort. It’s great to share all the onboard space with family and friends, but for my money it’s sometimes great to just head off with your partner and experience the joy of cruising these boats around your local waterway. I’d add enjoy the peace and quiet but give me the rumble of the big block MerCruiser any day.

Your passenger gets a big stainless steel grabrail, a pair of drinkholders and a small glove box. Open the wide door into the bulkhead and step down into a roomy head. Height is limited but it’s wide and airy with its own opening porthole, vanity with stainless steel sink, Vacuflush toilet and 37lt holding tank.

You have to love the look of the skipper’s domain. The two-tone vinyl from the rest of the boat gets a charcoal grey addition in a brow over the instruments to blend with the grey fibreglass dash and black leather-clad steering wheel. Instruments are simplified to an analogue speedo and Mercury SmartCraft gauge flanking a 6in Raymarine navigation screen. The SmartCraft has a tacho dial and a small digital readout that can be configured to give all relevant engine information. On a lower panel are switches for lights and pumps as well as a sound system remote, and on the inboard version an anchor rode counter.

 

HANDLING AND RIDE: VERADO vs MERCRUISER

Sea Ray Sundeck 270 boats

The Verado outboard version loses 80hp in comparison to the MerCruiser but it’s also 215kg lighter so the comparison was going to be interesting. At 8kts and 2500rpm it was incredibly quick onto the plane with hardly any transition over the hump and little bow rise. We lined up a drag race and in straight line performance the big block led all the way, so my perception that it was slower off the mark was wrong.

In comparison the inboard Sea Ray 270 Sundeck seems to drag its bum a little and lingers a while before lifting its skirts and surging forward after hitting planing speed at around 15kts. It’s comparative, mind you – the big block really pulls but there’s no mistaking the extra bulk down the back.

Both boats feel comfortable cruising at mid 20kts but will run in the mid-30s all day if you like. As the speed rises over chop – we had about 300 to 400mm of turbulence – the extra weight of the inboard gives the impression it powers through any bumps in comparison to the lighter boat that seems to ride higher and over waves. Either way it’s a smooth ride. We didn’t encounter much on the harbour in the way of big swells. The best we could do was to find some ferry wake and the hulls handled these without fuss or rattles.

Into turns the inboard powered its weight and the beefy bows around with the assistance of the very efficient counter rotating duoprops of the Bravo 3 leg. On the other hand the outboard struggled for bite in some full power, tighter turns but excelled in wider manoeuvres, while neither showed any sign of pitching or digging in a chine.

After spirited driving in both boats their personalities showed significant differences. The outboard felt subtle and finessed with a whisper-quiet engine and plenty of performance. The other one was the brute of the family, a prizefighter punching though the sea, its sibling sister a ballerina dancing across the surface. The inboard 270 Sundeck is noisier, heavier and more powerful and drives through corners more aggressively.

 

THE TRADE-A-BOAT VERDICT

Sea Ray 270 Sundeck outboard model

The outboard version of the Sea Ray 270 Sundeck has a base price of $151,800 (250hp Verado outboard motor). The sterndrive version of the Sea Ray 270 Sundeck is $145,870 (300hp MerCruiser 350 MAG Bravo 3 DTS).

Both are loads of fun and pack a crowd onboard with somewhere to put all their belongings. They are consummate entertainers with separate areas to spread out while the head makes them popular with the family.

 

HIGHS

• Premium finish and appealing looks

• Superb ergonomics, roomy and comfortable

• Transom layout of the outboard

 

LOWS

• Big block fuel usage might worry some

 

SEA RAY 270 SUNDECK SEA TRIALS

Single 300hp Mercury Verado outboard

RPM

SPEED (KTS)

1000

4

1500

6

2000

7

2500 (on the plane)

8

3000

13

3500

22

4000

25

4500

28

5000

33

5500

36

6000 (WOT)

40

 

SEA RAY 270 SUNDECK SEA TRIALS

Single 380hp MerCruiser 8.2L MPI

RPM

SPEED (KTS)

1000

5

1500

7

2000

9

2500

14

2700 (on the plane)

16

3000

21

3500

28

4000

34

4500

40

5000 (WOT)

44

*Sea-trial data supplied by the author.

 

SEA RAY 270 SUNDECK SPECS

Sea Ray 270 Sundeck price: $179,750 w/ MerCruiser 8.2L MPI (price as tested)

Sea Ray 270 Sundeck price: $177,890 w/ Mercury Verado 300 (price as tested)

 

PRICED FROM

$145,870 Sea Ray 270 Sundeck w/ 300hp MerCruiser 350 MAG

$151,580 Sea Ray 270 Sundeck w/ Mercury Verado 250

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL GRP

TYPE Monohull

LENGTH 8.3m

BEAM 2.59m

WEIGHT 2472kg (outboard motor); 2687kg (inboard)

DEADRISE 21°

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 12

REC. HP RANGE 250 to 330 (outboard); 300 to 380 (inboard)

FUEL 344lt

WATER 79lt

HOLDING TANK 37lt

 

ENGINES

MAKE/MODEL Mercury Verado 300 outboard motor

TYPE Supercharged inline six-cylinder four-stroke petrol outboard motor

RATED HP 300

DISPLACEMENT 2600cc

WEIGHT 288kg

GEAR RATIO 1.85:1

PROPELLER 19in Enertia

 

MAKE/MODEL MerCruiser 8.2L MPI

TYPE Fuel injected V8 petrol sterndrive

RATED HP 380

DISPLACEMENT 8200cc

WEIGHT 567kg

GEAR RATIO 2.0:1

PROPELLER Duoprop: 14in x 24in and 15.5in x 24in

 

SUPPLIED BY

Chapman Marine Group

Suit 2, Sydney Boathouse,

2 Waterways Court, Rozelle, NSW, 2039

Phone 1300 852 441

Email mark@chapmanmarinegroup.com.au

Web chapmanmarinegroup.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #466, June / July 2015. Why not subscribe today?

 


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