Looking to get my first boat

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by Knotayat, Jul 27, 2018.

  1. Knotayat

    Knotayat New Member

    Jul 27, 2018
    98 Trojan 440 Express
    Cummins QSM-11's

    New here, but not new to boating. Although, I've never owned my own boat, I've grown up on them, from 6' inflatables, to 58' Hatteras.

    Being the first mate (child), my duty was cleaning and light maintenance. I swore I'd never own my own boat!

    Now, sitting at 40 years old with a first mate of my own, I'm starting to get the bug.
    I started my search on used boats, looking in the 30' range, now, I'm really interested in the Dancer 450/460's. I really don't need the luxury's and room below deck that it offers, but I really like the ample space and seating in the cockpit area.

    I'm probably a year away from purchasing, but just wanted feedback. Is there something smaller I should be looking at to entertain 8-10 guests aboard? I know thats a very open ended question, but my price range has been putting me in the 1998-2002 model year range (100,000-150,000).

    It will probably be used mostly for day trips and weekend getaways.

  2. JimG

    JimG Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2008
    Southern WV
    2007 310 DA
    Kohler 5ECD
    Twin 350 Mags
    Raw Water Cooled
    With 8-10 guests you are correct for looking at the 450/460.

    Good luck with your search and welcome to CSR!
  3. Boater420

    Boater420 Well-Known Member

    Mar 11, 2015
    Clearwater, FL
    '97 330 Sundancer
    Westerbeke 4.5BCG
    Twin Merc 454's
    Welcome to CSR!

    I agree, if only day trips a deck boat might be an option, but for weekend get away you need quarters, and for 10 people I wouldn't go anything less than a 450/460.
  4. yobub

    yobub Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jul 29, 2016
    1998 400 Sundancer
    Cat 3116's
    After 30+ years of owning boats we just bought a 1998 40' Sundancer, so we are a little smaller than you are looking at and at the bottom end of your price range. We are also on Lake Michigan, up near the Wisconsin state line.

    We have only owned this boat for a few months so my experience is short with this boat but deep on Lake Michigan boating.

    You said you were interested in entertaining. The cockpit space on our boat is great for 4-6 people eating or drinking, and we are smaller than you are looking at. We can do 8-10 if they are good friends or if some people are standing up. We had 15 on the boat for the fireworks and didn’t feel crowded at anchor, but people were all over the boat. There is enough room in the cockpit for a small table (appetizers/ chips/drinks) without making it difficult to get in and out of the seating. We stopped using the built-in table and started using a couple of small folding tables to make the space a little more flexible. We have camper canvas and cockpit AC, and it makes to cockpit comfortable under all conditions. If it's cold out we just open the cabin door and let the heat up from the cabin heat.

    We have the icemaker in the cockpit instead of the fridge. It's nice to have all that ice, but we end up going in and out of the cabin to get food and drinks. That's not too much of an inconvenience, but it does create some traffic up and down the cabin stairs. At our next big gathering in a couple weeks I think I am going to put a cooler on the swim platform for drinks, and then lay out a buffet on the kitchen counter.

    On the water our size boat is great on Lake Michigan – stable, comfortable, without feeling overwhelming. You still feel waves when you are running, but you have so much weight that everyone can stay comfortable. I’ve had 8 people sitting in back when I’m driving with a couple people sitting up at the helm with me, and it is a good arrangement. I didn’t have any experience with a twin-screw boat or docking such a large boat, but it came very easily.

    As you go through the buying process please post more specific questions and the group here is very willing to help. Just don’t ask about gas vs. diesel.

    If you are ever in the mood for a drive up north I would be happy to show you around our boat - again, smaller than you are looking at, but it might give you frame of reference. We also have a great group of boaters on the dock with years of experience who would be happy to share their thoughts.

    Best of luck on your search!
  5. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Active Member

    Sep 12, 2009
    If you don't need all the sundancer frills, take a look at the late 90s Sea Ray 33 express. A little shorter length wise but it's got the same big a$$ 13 foot beam.
  6. Knotayat

    Knotayat New Member

    Jul 27, 2018
    98 Trojan 440 Express
    Cummins QSM-11's
    Thanks for the replies!

    Yobub, I may take you up on that. I have no experience at all with Sea Ray's, but I always thought they were sharp looking boats.
  7. yobub

    yobub Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jul 29, 2016
    1998 400 Sundancer
    Cat 3116's
    We are up in Winthrop so feel free to reach out. We are up on the boat most weekends, but will be downtown the weekend of the Air and Water show (Aug 18 and 19). At our dock there are some 37's / 38's, our 400, and a 420 within a few slips of each other, all in your age range so you can take a look at the variations with that size boat pretty easily. Also, there is a 400 Sedan Bridge the same age as my Sundancer, so you could take a look at the sedan bridge layout to see if that is appealing. We also have a crowd on the dock most weekend days (and nights) and can fill up the boat with people and drinks, so you can really get a feel for how many people it will hold before it gets crowded.

    There are also some Cruisers that you could look at in comparison, but obviously that would just sell you on the Sea Rays. ;)

    Feel free to connect, and good luck.
  8. Steve S

    Steve S Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 5, 2007
    Northern IL.
    2000 400 Sedan Bridge with twin CAT 3116's

    2000 340 Sundancer - SOLD!
    210 Monaco 1987 - SOLD!
    Twin Caterpillar 3116's 350 HP straight drives
    I am at Winthrop Harbor - Northpoint Marina with a SeaRay 400 Sedan Bridge. You could check it out also.
  9. dpvandy01

    dpvandy01 Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 6, 2007
    Cincinnati, Ohio/Ohio River
    2003 320 Sundancer
    2012 185 Sport
    2014 Sea Fox 256 Commander
    Twin 6.2L Close Cooled V-Drives & 3.0L Alpha 1, 300 Yamaha OB
    and if cockpit entertaining space is what you seek, consider an Amberjack
    Jean Garrison likes this.
  10. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    We have a 460, neighbor has a 450... ask anything you want. Both are great boats truly have tons of entertaining space and 2 private Berths. The 2 head option is also very appealing if you have that many guests.

    Just remember this, you are buying a boat for you not the guests so get what you want first.
    JC3 likes this.
  11. Knotayat

    Knotayat New Member

    Jul 27, 2018
    98 Trojan 440 Express
    Cummins QSM-11's
    Thanks again,

    Sent you a PM yobub, really appreciate the offers and advise from everyone.
  12. Knotayat

    Knotayat New Member

    Jul 27, 2018
    98 Trojan 440 Express
    Cummins QSM-11's
    I haven't been on the site for a while. Been too busy boat shopping.

    I know I said I was a year out from purchasing, but, we found a boat we really liked.

    It's a Trojan 440 express.

    I just wanted to thank everyone for the feedback and offers to come check out your boats. Sorry the timing never worked out, but I did spend a good amount of time on a few different boats.

    We were able to use the new boat over labor day in the St Paul area, then had it shipped to Milwaukee for storage.

    April can't come soon enough!

    Hope to see some of you out on the lake next summer.

    Edit - not sure why the pic is upside down...

    Attached Files:

    yobub likes this.
  13. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    A Trojan???!!! No wonder the picture is inverted :)

    Why storage already? Shoot we have another 4 weeks of boating if you're up for some cold nights...
  14. Knotayat

    Knotayat New Member

    Jul 27, 2018
    98 Trojan 440 Express
    Cummins QSM-11's
    Ha! Yeah, I fully expected to buy a searay, but, the 15' beam on this boat, the storage trunk in the back, the 3 bedrooms, and the service records and receipts the seller had won me over. Oh, and I'm sure there's mixed reviews on these motors, and I know all the down sides to them as well, but it has the Cummins QSM-11'S 635's. I was really impressed with the power to move it.

    Well, the marina here in Chicago wanted to charge me a full season to get the slip, they don't prorate. Or, I could get a transient slip for somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 a day.

    I thought that would be an expensive, and possibly cold 4 weeks. So, I had the seller change the oil, and made the hard choice to store it. I know this hobby, or lifestyle, is expensive overall, I'm just trying to delay some of that expense till next season.

    My original plan wasn't to purchase till this time next year anyway, so I look at it as I do get an extra season out of it now.
  15. douglee25

    douglee25 Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    Cruisers 3575
    Twin 7.4l
    Twin 7.4l
    Trojan makes a badass yacht. It's a shame they went under. Look up the history of Trojan if you want some good reading material. The 440 is a beamy boat for sure!

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