John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
DECEMBER 2011
 
   
Length overall   45' 5"
Beam 13' 2"  Draft 3' 10"
Displacement 27,205 lb
Fuel 292 gal  Water 70 gal
Dead Rise 19 degress
Price as Tested  $649,000


The Sea Ray 450 Sundancer is just one model in a line of sport yachts that are focused not only on style but also something I call cruisability. Cruisability is a measure of the boat's sea keeping ability combined with how livable the accommodations are. While it's true that you can cruise on just about anything, most of us have a level of comfort we have become accustomed to, and the 450 Sundancer is definitely comfortable.

Sea Ray is generally regarded as the leader in the world of express cruisers--boats that offer the convenience and styling of sport boats along with the space for cruising accommodations. For many years this type of boat leaned much more toward the express side of the coin, with exposed helms and elaborate canvas and isinglass enclosures. The 450 Sundancer embraces a whole new approach. The bridge deck is surrounded by windshield and windows on three sides and is open to the cockpit aft. There is a large opening sunroof overhead for those perfect weather days. Its hard-top bridge enclosure offers good visibility and natural light but provides the protection from the elements that is necessary for more serious cruising.

Down below, the 450 is spacious with an open and stylish interior. Below the bridge deck is an area Sea Ray calls the media room (traditionally this would be the mid-cabin). The media room is behind the companionway ladder and down one step from the galley. With its flat steel rails, large teak treads and stainless steel handrail, the ladder becomes an aesthetically pleasing room partition. The media room is equipped with a 40-inch flat screen TV and a Bose 3-2-1 surround sound entertainment system.The galley/saloon has plenty of natural light from hull windows and an overhead skylight. The galley is to starboard and offers enough counter space for real liveaboard cruising. All the way forward is the master stateroom with a center-line queen bed and 22-inch flat screen TV. Just aft of the stateroom are separate head and shower compartments to port and starboard.

For propulsion, our test boat was equipped with twin Cummins 380 QSB Diesels coupled to Mercruiser's Zeus pod drive system. This was my first time driving the Zeus. Pod drives eliminate the need for propeller shafts, struts and rudders. Instead two independently turning pods protrude from the bottom of the boat. For close quarters and docking the skipper uses a joystick to maneuver the boat. The Zeus system makes it simple to edge this boat in and out of tight spaces and even offers a dynamic positioning system called Sky Hook that will hold the boat in one place while you're in open water—over your favorite fishing ground, for example, or watching kids race around the buoys.

The Sea Ray 450 Sundancer along with its siblings in the sport yacht line are setting a new trend in express cruisers that significantly enhances cruising comfort whether you're on the Bay or heading south.