31 Jul 2015

When Sea Ray popularized express-style boats with the launch of the first Sundancers, no one knew that they would come to completely dominate the cruiser market. Sundancers greatly increased the outdoor aspect of boating in this category, bringing the nature-embracing ethos of sport boats to larger boats that had always seemed as much inside as out.

Of course, back in those early Sundancer days, no one saw just how versatile these boats would be either. Smaller Sundancers charm boaters as comfortable pocket cruisers, while larger ’Dancers have stretched to full yacht size with all the attendant amenities. They’ve also proven quite flexible in terms of usage, with some models now offering different indoor-outdoor ratios than in the past, allowing buyers to choose where they’d like to spend most of their time. The latest example is the new 470 Sundancer, with all of the performance and feel of a typical express model but with the increased interior luxury of a sedan.

“The 470 was designed to provide the customer with improved comfort features for daytime and nighttime usage,” explains Ron Berman, Sea Ray vice president of product portfolio. “It builds upon the layout and features of our highly successful 510 Sundancer in layout and design, expanding the full-beam aft stateroom, with upper and lower sitting areas inside, the SkyFlow atrium design and an enclosed sunroom on the main deck level.”

So no matter the weather—too hot, too cold, too wet, whatever—owners can still enjoy their boats in total comfort. The large sunroom with huge skylight and sunroof allows for larger gatherings under cover above deck, heated or air-conditioned and on indoor-quality furniture and finishes. Because this extended upper salon is so much larger, your whole crew can gather together and keep the captain company underway. Open the skylight, vents and windows and you’re nearly as outdoors as on a runabout. And if, say, the kids need some non-adult time (or vice versa), the lower salon under a broad atrium offers an easy division of the social scene without anyone feeling cramped or stuck down in a cave.

“The charter philosophy of this boat was to increase indoor space and comfort but without losing the fantastic interaction with the natural world that draws so many of us to boating,” Ron says. Through clever adjustment of the deck profile and the ergonomics of the furnishings, Sea Ray’s product development team was able to add both square and cubic footage to all interior spaces. And by enlarging and carefully placing windows, skylights and sunroofs, the sun makes itself at home throughout the boat.

Of course, sometimes the weather demands we be outside, and the 470 accommodates that. Full-beam sliding doors from the sunroom to the cockpit open wide for seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces. With the triple-pane door fully opened, the effect is like that of a lanai on a house, one of those covered and partially enclosed outdoor rooms that work as living rooms in Hawaii and similar tropical locales. The cockpit’s ease is maximized with a large L-shaped bench, full-featured but compact wetbar and available SureShade retractable sunshade that disappears into the roofline when not needed. The foredeck adds more room for lounging (on the huge sunpad with backrests that recline) or even dancing if you are in the mood.

One of the new design directions that launched with the 510 and 470 Sundancers is the expansion of the mid-cabin stateroom to make it the master suite. Full-beam width, impressive headroom, large windows and a generous master head combine with rich materials and impeccable finishes to create a true escape. This is a stateroom so nice that it may encourage you to reduce your outside time. The other stateroom is nearly as grand, with an en-suite head, and your family or friends will feel spoiled here. And who doesn’t like to spoil their family and friends?

Just outside both staterooms, the galley and lower salon are spacious and convenient. A sofa that converts to another berth increases overnight capacity, and a secondary entertainment center allows for split media consumption from the sunroom system. The generous galley can host a team of cooks, and everything tastes better when you prepare it together. The broad atrium overhead (essentially the front windshield with no disruption by a bulkhead) makes this spot as brilliantly bright as anywhere on the boat.

“The 470 Sundancer balances perfectly between indoor and outdoor space, and allows you to adjust that ratio based upon your preference or the weather,” Ron concludes. “The mantra is ‘comfort,’ and we’ve built a boat that truly honors that goal, whether your moment-to-moment need is in or out, rain or shine, day or night. It’s a no-compromises boat that way, no matter the weather or your particular mood.”