By: Rick Huckstepp, Photography by: Rick Huckstepp

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Rick Huckstepp had a good look at the finished product of the vacuum moulding process Sea Ray utilises in constructing the 210 Sundeck and liked what he saw



Vacuum moulding as part of the fibreglass boatbuilding process is relatively young in Australia. A couple of companies here have picked up on this new technology and are producing small items like baitboards, hatches and the like, and one has a small trailerboat hull turned out with this process.
Vacuum moulding in the USA is well advanced due to heavy pressure being exerted by the various environmental departments, one of which is their version of our EPA.
The well entrenched style of laying up hulls and decks with chopper guns and rollers with mats of fibreglass cloth have an inherent problem associated with it and that is it releases excessive styrene into the atmosphere. There are other issues, such as flammable gasses in the workplace as well as being a labour intensive process that need to be dealt with. And eventually, boatbuilders in this country will be forced by authorities to follow suit.
The vacuum process is one where two moulds are put together, with the necessary amount of specialised cloth inserted between, and the void vacuumed while resin is pumped in. This negates wet resin flying though the air emitting vapours, but also ensures that there are no air pockets anywhere in the finished product. The other advantage is the first-class finish that results, to both sides of the product.




It is this first-class finish that we noticed on first look at the Sea Ray 210 Sundeck, a fully imported boat from the USA. But looking closer, there was more than that to be appreciated. If there was a boat industry award for the vessel with the most hatches, nooks and crannies, the Sundeck would take it out!
The bow section is quite blunt and broad and a hatch opening to the side exposes a telescopic ladder, folded away. The bottom of this hatch has an aperture leading to the bilge so a small amount of ground tackle may be stowed in here.
Sitting atop the gunwale on the starboard side is a vent mounted to allow air into the hull so when the engine box blower is activated any fumes trapped internally and forward, are exhausted astern.
The step up to access the bow ladder has a fibre board covering a wet stowage area and a retracted freshwater shower forward of the port lounge is handy for rinsing off or cooling down.
Drinkholders in this boat are oversized to cater for container insulators and they are everywhere, as are gas struts, throughout the boat under all large hatches - and there are plenty of them as we have said!
The portside lounge base in the bow riding area is hinged to expose stowage and both liners are fully upholstered with a well thought out handhold sitting in the opening.




The matching lounge on the starboard side has a fixed base, but the backrest folds forward to give access to two round tables and their bases stowed there. One may be erected in the bow riding section and the other in the aft cockpit.
The deck of this area has a long hatch which is moulded with a gutter to drain water away keeping the compartment relatively dry for stowage of items that also need to stay that way.
Between the bulkhead in front of the skipper and passenger the windscreen opens to allow passage. The inside edge of that in front of the skipper opens to access the stereo and key start for the engine as well as the back section of where the tables are stowed. There is a removable rubbish bin in here as well. This door swings over and locks across the opening as a draught stopper under the windscreen.
The bulkhead in front of the passenger looks bland but when opened, one steps down into the head which consists of a portable toilet. The wall linings here are fully upholstered.
The seating in the cockpit is as opulent as one could find and the forward section of the base cushion hinges up to provide a bum seat so one may stand and lean, looking over the top of the windscreen.
Side stowage compartments are behind padded fascias in the cockpit liner, and behind the passenger seat another lift-up hatch accesses a void next to the engine box which is under the rear lounge.
Inside this engine box, there is plenty of room around the 5lt MPI V8 MerCruiser, and the two batteries are tucked under the forward section, low down to reduce the centre of gravity but still within reach for easy maintenance.
A heat-activated dry powder fire extinguisher is installed in the box and there is a nozzle port for emptying a portable extinguisher into the box without the need to lift the engine box lid.
On the starboard side of the cockpit behind the helm seat, a ledge comes out from the gunwale. It would be wide enough to make a sandwich on and a couple of drinkholders are recessed here. Another recess underneath holds a portable icebox retained by a swinging arm so that refreshments may be kept cold on the beach.
A drain in the aft corner of the cockpit empties any water out through the hull.
The step-up for the walkthrough transom is blocked off by a swinging tubular gate which is effective. The next level up in this bulkhead holds an insulated icebox and then one steps down onto the expansive swimout platform liberally covered with a nonslip material. A hatch in the swimout hides the foldaway telescopic ladder and a rear facing lounge oversees the swimout platform.
The port side of this lounge opens up to a stowage area next to the engine box which would be a good place to dry wet clothing with the heat of the engine.  Another freshwater retractable hose is situated here to rinse down.




Jumping back into the helm seat you would have to think you were about to fire up the latest Audi!
A smart looking dash complements this smart looking boat with stereo controls built into the helm wheel. A flick of a switch kills the engine negating the need to lean around to the side compartment to access the key start/stop.
Well as you could imagine, with a V8 under the lounge this is one punchy little machine.
Ambient noise in the cockpit at full throttle is acceptable and steering is a one finger affair with the power/hydraulic combination.
Holeshot is typical for an inboard engine. They don't snap out of a hole like a big two-stroke outboard, but there is plenty of torque to get skiers up and even more throughout the rev range.
We wound it out to WOT of 5400rpm and realised 70.4kmh on the Lowrance handheld GPS at which time the engine was consuming 73.81lt/h offering  a potential range of 185km over 2.64 hours. 
Back to cruise speed of 25.5kmh the tacho registered 3000rpm and fuel consumption was logging at 21.5lt/h giving the 210 a range of 231km over nine hours.
To say that the design and finish on this boat is superlative is an understatement. It has to be seen to be appreciated.




Practical design
Excellent finish




With all the mod cons it didn't have a kitchen sink!




Specifications: Sea Ray 210 Sundeck




Price as tested:    $83,500
Options fitted:  Bimini and covers, trailer, fire suppression, bow ladder, cockpit tables, transom and forward retractable shower hose, dual batteries and switch, and pump-out head
Priced from:   $ 75,000




Material:    Fibreglass
Type:    Bowrider inboard
Length overall:  6.71m
Beam:   2.56m
Deadrise:   21°
Weight:   2166kg




Water:    20lt
Fuel:    195lt
People:   8 totalling 499kg
Max. allowable weight: 635kg (people and gear)
Rec. max. HP:  300 




Make/model:   MerCruiser 5lt MPI
Type:    V8 petrol
Rated HP:   260
Displacement:  5lt
Weight:   463kg
Leg type:   Bravo Three
Propeller:    21in polished stainless steel Vengeance




Queensland Marine Centre,
1 Bailey Crescent,
Southport, Qld, 4115

Originally published in TrailerBoat #237

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