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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    Boat
    SeaRay
    Details
    2005 420DA
    Engine(s)
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    Posts
    4,825

    Thinking About Boats

    Two years ago I moved up in size to a 420DA. The first season was a lot of learning about the boat. Looking out over the bow it seemed so long, so big. Prior to actually taking it out the first time I admit to being intimidated. I crawled around the boat a couple weekends checking things, did some minor fixing, ordered cases of filters, gathered up a tool kit, did a couple short test runs, and then we headed it for home….north up Lake Michigan, under the Mac bridge into Lake Huron, north up the St Mary’s river, through the Soo locks, then west on Lake Superior to the Keweenaw Peninsula.

    I had planned to split the trip up with 3 stops along the way finishing up on the 4th day. The boat was running good, I had two fuel stops already and had a feel for fuel usage so on day 3 we kept on going for home, 225 miles that day, 500 miles total trip. I never had radar or autopilot before so even though I read and re-read manuals things didn’t really fall into place until I started using them. The weather wasn’t the best, cool, some drizzle, some fog, but we had a great time.

    It’s been said many times at CSR that the handling is much improved on these larger boats with v or straight drives and even more so combined with diesel torque. Thankfully I found this to be true the very first time out.

    When I laid out the trip home I checked out the marinas I would be using on Google maps. I measured fairways, checked fuel docks and access, I pretty much knew ahead my options for approach that would be best for me and the new boat. The first time I went for fuel it was a breeze, just as I planned it,….then the attendant said a big boat is coming in, you gotta back around and I’ll fuel you on the other side. Whaaaat, I’m thinking dude this boat ain’t went backwards yet since I’ve owned it. I went from having a 100’ of dock all to myself to backing around along side the stub at the end….let’s see, straight rudders, check, don’t get nervous, fck you….phew, we made it.

    My second fuel stop went as planned also. This place had two hoses fueling both tanks at the same time so it didn’t take long. After fueling up I asked which slip they wanted me in and they said ‘just back around the end of the fuel dock’ and take one of the first two, which ever one you like. Well heck, ‘just back around’, I did it yesterday, I’m a pro now. I asked them to be on the finger in case I needed help, new boat and all. So I backed into the double well with no pilings in the middle and tied on the portside. They said I did good, they wouldn’t have known I had little experience with the boat. I didn’t tell them my original intentions were a strbd tie.

    The last day we pulled into ‘our’ marina at about 10:30pm, it was dark. First time coming into our new slip….nothing but net. I said to my wife ‘hey, how about that, dark too’, she said ‘what a man’.

    That first summer, what luxury, two heads, and all that room….who could ask for anything more. Well,…. After two seasons we still love the boat but we have the same opinion of it as we had of the 280DA, it’s a good 2 person boat. Man o’ man, how big does it have to get for that to stop.
    2005 420DA 6CTA8.3 V-Drive, current boat
    2005 280DA T-5.0MPI, 260hp, B3
    2004 270SD 496HO, 425hp, B3
    2004 200BR 5.0MPI, 260hp, Alpha 1


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Arizona
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    268 Sea Ray Sundancer 1988
    Engine(s)
    2X 4.3L 4bbl Mercs w/ Alphas
    Posts
    932

    Re: Thinking About Boats

    When you actually need a crew....its no longer a two person boat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
    That first summer, what luxury, two heads, and all that room….who could ask for anything more. Well,…. After two seasons we still love the boat but we have the same opinion of it as we had of the 280DA, it’s a good 2 person boat. Man o’ man, how big does it have to get for that to stop.
    Proud Member of: "HOLE IN THE WATER CLUB"

    1988 268 Sea Ray Sundancer - 1989 230 Sea Ray Weekender
    1984 210 Chris Craft Scorpion - 1984 187 SRV Monaco Open Bow
    1978 187 Beach Craft Open Bow Runabout

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    West Michigan
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1999 Sundancer 340
    Engine(s)
    454 Mercruiser's w/ V Drives, Westerbeke gen set
    Posts
    494

    Re: Thinking About Boats

    That's a great story. And a trip I'd like to take someday around this great state! Very cool.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Florida
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    Boatless
    Engine(s)
    Boatless
    Posts
    1,257

    Re: Thinking About Boats

    I agree, great story.

    So much of what you said resonated with me.

    That first time on a "new to me" bigger boat does have a pucker factor.

    My second time to pull away from a side tie, heavy wind wanting to pin me to the dock. Thank goodness couple of my NC boater friends happened to be in Bald Head, pushing as I was trying to get away. Only one pier bump getting off the dock.

    That's the fun and challenge of boating.

    Mark
    Previous Boats:

    Sea Ray 47DB
    Sea Ray 340DA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Hampstead NC
    Boat
    searay
    Details
    500 dancer, previous 420,390,300 dancers
    Engine(s)
    detriot 8v92
    Posts
    1,341

    Re: Thinking About Boats

    Who was that, Mark?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Florida
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    Boatless
    Engine(s)
    Boatless
    Posts
    1,257

    Re: Thinking About Boats

    LOL - You saw it... Remember you were running up the dock, trying to push us off. Good news was it only hit a float - left a white mark that buffed right out.

    The more impressive sight was you coming in the day before - down to one engine - I think it turned out you had a filter clog. You got that big boat turned around in the wind and to the dock with no problems. Now that made an impression on me. Not sure if you remember, probably just another day of boating for da captain...

    Mark
    Previous Boats:

    Sea Ray 47DB
    Sea Ray 340DA

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Wilson, NY
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    2001 380DA
    Engine(s)
    Twin 454 Horizons
    Posts
    187

    Re: Thinking About Boats

    Man, I know the feeling well, and don't feel bad about feeling intimidated. I stepped up from a 4-Winns 245 Sundowner (v8 I/O) to my 380DA in September last year. Same thoughts went through my mind when I first stepped up to the sticks. "Holy living F, there's no way I can deal with this bow". Few lessons from the broker, and we were out in it solo 3 days after closing. Freakout moments happened plenty of times over the next few weeks, but never shifted a stick wrong, even running the thing down 8 locks through the Welland Canal. I'm sure I'll still have plenty of freakout moments in the future, but so far, so good.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Hampstead NC
    Boat
    searay
    Details
    500 dancer, previous 420,390,300 dancers
    Engine(s)
    detriot 8v92
    Posts
    1,341

    Re: Thinking About Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by FootballFan View Post
    LOL - You saw it... Remember you were running up the dock, trying to push us off. Good news was it only hit a float - left a white mark that buffed right out.

    The more impressive sight was you coming in the day before - down to one engine - I think it turned out you had a filter clog. You got that big boat turned around in the wind and to the dock with no problems. Now that made an impression on me. Not sure if you remember, probably just another day of boating for da captain...

    Mark
    Wish I could forget that. Next time we went to Bald Head, my transmission linkage came off, same issue, all over the marina. Think I'm jinxed with Bald Head.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lake Lanier, GA
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    2004 550 Sundancer w/ MAN's - Unleashed
    Engine(s)
    T-800 MAN's
    Posts
    84

    Re: Thinking About Boats

    Great story. I had the same thoughts with my 410DA. Although it seemed huge initially, the teenage daughters and their friends made that boat feel really small. Especially if you wake up early and they sleep late. 1-2 kids aft, 1-2 kids on pullout couch. I don't remember inviting the friends but the daughters were much more willing to come if they could bring a friend. So, much less stress on the admiral and therefore me. I looked at the 460/48DA's, the 500/52DA's and the 550DA all while trying to find the perfect boat for 2-4-6 folks. The 500/52DA has many nice features but the 2nd state room w/ bunks is a bit tight for adults. So adults always seemed to choose the pullout couch. We were lucky enough to see each of these options most every weekend, as our friends (mostly couples) have them. Any of those options would have fit the bill for us but focused on 2nd state room that would get used prior to the couch. Never regreted choosing the 550DA although anything larger might be tough to handle if taking out alone. At the time (2012-2013), the larger boats were less in demand, so the prices were appealing. And, why make two steps if you can make one big one. To answer you question, if thinking about 2000-2009 era Sundancers, the 460/48DA is the smallest two stateroom layout that I would consider where two adult couples don't feel cramped for a long weekend. In my opinion, there is quite a bit of space for daytime socializing and nighttime privacy. My $0.02.
    Last edited by Brett H; 01-06-2017 at 10:52 AM. Reason: spelling


    1962 Correct Craft - Atom Skier - Sold
    1994 Sea Ray 330 Sundancer - "It'll Do" - Sold
    1988 Fountain 10 Meter - "Impulsive" - Sold
    2000 Sea Ray 410 Sundancer - "Offshore Adventure" - Sold
    2007 Nautica Rib 11DL - Current
    2004 Sea Ray 550 Sundancer - "Unleashed" - Current

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Lake Lanier, GA
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1997 Sea Ray 450 Sundancer
    Engine(s)
    Twin 3126 CATS
    Posts
    119

    Re: Thinking About Boats

    Brings back fond moments of butt pucker. First time I took the boat out on my own I had to pass by the Fort Lauderdale annual boat show. Every idiot with a paddle was on the water, including me, and nobody had any sense of what was around them. I especially liked the folks in the "little" boats that pulled in front of me and then dropped into neutral generally resulting in a one way mental conversation of - "Hello, I am a first time driver of a 450 and this is as slow as the diesels will idle so please get the heLL out of my way so I don't run over you on my first day".

    Made it to the marina relatively intact. Had the boat shipped to Lake Lanier and now I don't have to worry about being run over by Oprah's monster yacht. Still have those paddle carrying idiots (me) and the people in pontoon boats who want to inspect my anchor passing by in front of me while I am still underway on the lake but that's ok. I've found out how to drive my boat relatively well 60% of the time.

    And Brett's 550 is a gorgeous boat, thrice cursed because I now have boat envy.
    Christopher



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