MIAMI 2017: Sea Ray brings new boat to cruiser market

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Miami International Boat Show visitors check out Sea Ray’s new Sundancer 320.

Miami International Boat Show visitors check out Sea Ray’s new Sundancer 320.

MIAMI — Sea Ray Boats is hoping that its newest Sundancer will spur the industry’s lagging cruiser segment.

The Sundancer 320, which made its world debut at the Miami International Boat Show, is meant to reinvigorate a segment that has flailed since the Great Recession.

That’s according to Jason Turner, product development and engineering director of sport boats and sport cruisers, who was showing the press around some of the new Sea Ray models under 40 feet at the Miami show last Friday.

“Cruisers used to be the bread and butter for Sea Ray,” Turner said. “Because of that, there had been a lot of product in the used market. But it hasn’t evolved in a long time. That’s what the motivation was to bring something new to the cruiser market.

“The customer has been telling us they don’t use the conventional cabin the way they did in the past, so we shrunk it to expand the bow area,” he said.

“There are two different aft seating configurations, massive storage and a sunpad option,” Turner said.

There’s more living space than in the new SLX 400, for example, because the Sundancer is in the cruiser segment, Turner said. The new SLX, dubbed by Sea Ray as “The Entertainer,” has already generated huge interest.

“With the 400, you know it’s a hit. This one, [the Sundancer 320], we’re hoping it’s significant to the industry to recharge that cruiser market,” he said. “We’re not trying to take that market; it’s a different demographic we’re after.”

The SLX 400, introduced at the New York Boat Show before it came to Miami, was shown for the first time on the water, with its fold-down patio extended.

Water interaction and entertainment were the keys in designing the new Sea Ray SLX 400, Turner said.

“The platform swivels out,” said Sea Ray president and general manager of sport boats and sport cruisers Brad Anderson. “You can fit 22 people on this boat.”

“Water interaction is the key, with the articulating platform, and the paddle board storage,” Turner said, opening up a deep storage compartment. “A lot went into that 12 feet of storage space. We didn’t want it all on top; this is all hidden and out of the way.”

That would give boaters more space to enjoy when the toys were aboard, Turner said.

“That may be the biggest innovation of the whole boat,” he said.

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