Ray 320 Sundancer — By George L. Petrie — October 2002
|Just a foot longer than her predecessor, Sea Ray’s 320 Sundancer nevertheless offers big-time living space.|
Introduced earlier this year, the 320 Sundancer will replace Sea Ray's popular 310 model, and in my view she's destined to win the hearts of even more cruising families. Responding to input from focus groups across the country, Sea Ray has made changes in her layout that achieve the seemingly contradictory goals of increased living space and greater stowage capacity. And she's not just a stretched version of the 310; Sea Ray has given the 320 a new hull form, redesigned for better fore-and-aft balance and a smoother ride in rough seas.
Part of the extra space comes from a modest increase in size, an addition of about 20 inches to her overall length and three inches to the beam. Although three inches doesn't seem like much, added along a length of 30-some feet, it adds nearly eight square feet of area to the interior and deck spaces, while the additional length adds about 20 square feet to her layout.
Just as important as size, however, is how Sea Ray uses that extra space. In the saloon there's a big, crescent-shape settee along the starboard side that is far less intrusive than the fixed dinette that was used in the 310 model. In the 320 a removable table makes the saloon a cozy dining area, but when mealtime is over, the table can be stashed in its stowage cuddy, converting the entire saloon into an open entertainment space. At bedtime the settee serves as a berth for an extra guest or two little ones.
To make the saloon seem even larger and more open, there's a wide mirrored panel above the back of the settee. A similar mirrored panel above the midcabin's U-shape settee serves as a unifying element that makes the entire saloon/midcabin seem like a single open space. To enhance the illusion, the stairway up to the bridge deck is comprised of open steps cantilevered from a slender center pillar that barely disrupts the visual field between the saloon and midcabin.
With all the spaciousness, I wondered where all the stowage was. Sure, I could see that there were three big eye-level cabinets above the saloon's settee, flanked by two even larger ones, all faced with an attractive, low-maintenance cherry veneer-like Formica, and the galley had several big cabinets, both above and below the countertops. But Sea Ray's marketing specialist, Gary McCloud, told me the 320 had more than 132 cubic feet of enclosed stowage space. "Where is it?" I asked.
Beneath the saloon sole, there are two stowage bins, one 15"x20" and another 46"x20". Behind the starboard settee, there's a 12"Dx18"Hx42"W hidden stowage cabinet that is accessed by pulling the back of the settee towards the centerline. Then there's the cavernous space beneath the island berth forward, the large hanging locker to starboard, and another big cabinet beneath the TV on the port side. You get the idea. Sea Ray made other changes as well. One I especially like is the centerline island berth, offering access on all three sides, instead of the angled berth on the 310 and some other models.
About the only thing I didn't care for was the shower setup in the head. The head itself is spacious enough, about 41⁄2'x3' with four mirrored cabinets at eye level and a large under-sink stowage space. But the "shower" itself is one of those pull-out-of-a-faucet affairs that attaches to a bracket on the bulkhead, and the "enclosure" is just a curtain. Granted, there's a limit on what can fit on a boat this size, but if you're going to offer a shower, it ought to have a fixture and an enclosure that won't douse the other essential facilities in the area.
This article originally appeared in the December 2002 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.