Red Jacket, blue blood...

If you’re like me, you’re wearing shredded deck shoes and a boat show T-shirt and think you’re all that— and a bag of chips. Well, that’s only if your boat looks good. Stand at the helm of Sea Ray’s new 55 Sundancer, and no one will question your attire. Beneath its arctic white gel coat and vinylester resin, the 55 Sundancer is built and equipped to make even serious wrench-heads smile. Of course, a couple of things earned a frown. The mast light should be hinged, which would let it fold down and decrease bridge clearance by nearly a foot.

Sea Ray 55 Sundancer Performance SpecsAnd Sea Ray needs to work on fairing in the leading edge of the swim platform: At a cruise, some water jets up between it and the transom. Nonetheless, this boat is a wow-inducing cruiser. Imagine pulling in amid the megayachts at some posh resort, kicking back in the rotating helm lounge, flipping on the cockpit air conditioning, and popping open a $6 bottle of water. You’ll feel right at home next to the guy with the blue hull and tan deck in the next slip. Great stuff. And it only gets better.

HEAR NO EVIL. Fire up the twin 800-bhp MAN R6-800 diesels and the noise is barely audible from the helm. Idling out of the harbor at 7.6 mph and 65 decibels, you barely disturb the water. It’s hot, but you’re cool, thanks to 40,000 Btus of external air conditioning and a three-sided hard glass enclosure. Get past the “No Wake” sign and hammer the throttles—the 55 Sundancer surges, its bow rising slightly and the turbos spooling up. Hit the switch and open the skylights. Yeah, baby. Smell the salt but don’t wear any. At 2100 rpm, you’re making 30 mph. You haven’t had to tighten your cap, the Cheetos haven’t blown off the solidwood cockpit table, and it’s quiet enough for conversation.

Much of the hush can be attributed to a robust engine installation, including substantial bearers and heavy-duty mounts that limit the transmission of vibration. Plus, Sea Ray generously applies acoustic insulation. But the MAN R6s also deserve credit. Instead of a separate pump hammering away at each injector, these common-rail mills deliver pre-pressurized fuel to all the injectors. That allows for the same sound levels using a through-hull exhaust as you’d get from an older diesel with underwater exhaust.

The through-hull exhaust also eliminates the rumble that used to emanate from standpipes and does so without blacking your transom or choking your guests when idling downwind, as was common with an underwater exhaust. Commonrail diesels are cleaner, more efficient, and quieter. Now, quiet is as quiet does. And there’s more than one way to make a big cruiser hush. Tiara’s 58 Sovran ($1,542,500), for instance, is equipped with triple 435-bhp Volvo Penta IPS diesel tractor drives.

I haven’t tested that boat yet—no one has—but I have found the IPS system to be quiet by virtue of common-rail injection, integral underwater exhaust, a vibe-absorbing circular drive mount, and loads of clearance between props and hull (eliminating the hammer of water as it pulses off the blade tips). Take a look at this boat if you're considering the 55 Sundancer.

Servicing the 55 Sundancer’s equipment isn’t a problem. There’s 360-degree engine access, thanks in part to the elimination of the underwater exhaust system plumbing. Extra seal kits are affixed to the propshafts. Spare props are secured out of the way. Internal sea strainers allow you to clear a clogged intake without having to haul the boat. Seacocks, batteries, genset, fuel tank senders, and more are all easy to lay your hands on. My only complaint about the 55 Sundancer’s propulsion is the tight clearance for your hands at the helm controls, a glitch Sea Ray says it’s rectifying to comply with ABYC recommendations.

Oh, man! No fix is needed for the accommodations. The helm deck, within the enclosure, is soled in teak. A highgloss, inlaid wood table serves the rotational lounge abaft the helm seating. This lounge is in two sections that can each be slid around on circular tracks. A grill and refrigerator are here, as is a wetbar with a sink and trash bin. A flat-screen TV hangs above. Aft, the cockpit lounge seats 10 in plush, padded style. Cruisers Yachts’ 560 Express ($1,355,460 with twin 775-bhp Volvo Penta D12 V-drive inboards) sports a circular lounge—but it’s aft, outside the hardtop’s shade. It also doesn’t rotate. Instead, hit a switch and it converts to a sunlounge. You’ll find a grill, too, and bow and stern thrusters are standard.

Now, head through the 55 Sundancer’s sliding companionway and down the teak-treaded steps into the maple-soled salon. Directly ahead is the U-shaped galley, with its acre of bull-nosed, faux-stone countertop. A bigscreen TV rises at the touch of a switch from this counter, and beneath it are separate undercounter stainless-steel Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer units. Cabinetry and stateroom doors are available as light or dark raisedpanel cherry. To starboard is the salon with a plush convertible/ sleeper lounge and table.

Head aft into the master stateroom. Soft light gleams through opaque panels, and miniblinds striate the sunlight as it pours through the huge, 5'-by-2' hullside windows. I measured 6'4" of headroom here and walked all around the home-height, queen-size berth. Full beam, there’s space here for a pair of upholstered chairs with a booth-style table. I’d return to this spot with the day’s paper and a coffee each morning to enjoy the view. The master also boasts a private head with a wood sole and a tiled shower stall. Your guests enjoy an island berth in the forward stateroom. Four portholes and more miniblinds regulate natural light. Guests will be pleased to find the walk-in hanging locker, as well as private access to the day head. As in the master, there’s a tiled shower. Add a potpourri dish and some designer soaps and your friends will never want to leave. And neither will you.

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL SEA RAY BOATS CURRENTLY FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

  • 55' SEA RAY 55 SUNDANCER
    Available

    55' SEA RAY 55 SUNDANCER (2008) "VALKYRIE" *LLC*

    *LLC, SALES TAX INCENTIVES* It has it all - power, speed, and a revolutionary configuration. [displayForm id=9] Photos and description courtesy: Sea Ray Yachts 

    *LLC, SALES TAX INCENTIVES* It has it all - power, speed, and a revolutionary...

    *LLC, SALES TAX INCENTIVES* It has it all - power, speed, and a revolutionary configuration. [displayForm id=9] Photos and description courtesy: Sea Ray Yachts 

    $599,000.00
    View
  • 54' SEA RAY 540 SUNDANCER
    New! Available

    54' SEA RAY 540 SUNDANCER (2012) "MY FIVE FORTY" *LLC*

    The 540 Sundancer takes signature sleekness and purposeful design and adds new hull and vinyl color options, plus next-generation technology such as joystick-controlled Zeus pod drives. A centerline helm enhances visibility and pivots to face the starboard lounge at rest, while in the cockpit a transom "sun gate" opens to extend the sun pad. Inside, the redesigned sofa and new hinged table improves comfort, as does the new deluxe décor....

    The 540 Sundancer takes signature sleekness and purposeful design and adds new hull and...

    The 540 Sundancer takes signature sleekness and purposeful design and adds new hull and vinyl color options, plus next-generation technology such as joystick-controlled Zeus pod...

    $669,000.00
    View
  • 54' SEA RAY 540 SUNDANCER (1998) "RETAIL THERAPY"
    New! Available

    54' SEA RAY 540 SUNDANCER (1998) "RETAIL THERAPY"

    This exceptional vessel is a real head turner inside and out. Upgraded State-of-the-Art electronics:  This plush two stateroom model has two full heads and is exceptionally designed. A luxurious Master Suite is aft and the fully appointed VIP Stateroom is forward.  She has been recently detailed. The optional hydraulic hi-low swim platform and a foredeck sun pad all add to the excellent features of this vessel.  All new vinyl nu-teak...

    This exceptional vessel is a real head turner inside and out. Upgraded State-of-the-Art...

    This exceptional vessel is a real head turner inside and out. Upgraded State-of-the-Art electronics:  This plush two stateroom model has two full heads and is exceptionally...

    $259,000.00
    View
  • 52' SEA RAY 52 SEDAN BRIDGE (2007)
    Available

    52' SEA RAY 52 SEDAN BRIDGE (2007) "ONE SHOT" *LLC*

    The 52 Sedan Bridge is so beautifully designed and fully equipped, it's virtually in a class all its own. Outfitted with a fiberglass hardtop, Isenglass enclosure and optional bridge air conditioning, this impressive yacht demands attention where ever it goes. Elegant features include wood flooring, fully adjustable thigh-rise helm seating, master and port staterooms with flatscreen TVs and two full head compartments with separate showers....

    The 52 Sedan Bridge is so beautifully designed and fully equipped, it's virtually in a...

    The 52 Sedan Bridge is so beautifully designed and fully equipped, it's virtually in a class all its own. Outfitted with a fiberglass hardtop, Isenglass enclosure and optional...

    $478,000.00
    View
  • 51' SEA RAY 510 SUNDANCER (2015) *LLC* "RUNNIN' UTE"
    Available

    51' SEA RAY 510 SUNDANCER (2015) *LLC*...

    Wow did Sea Ray get it right with the 510 Sundancer, a world-class Sportcruiser designed for cruising and entertaining in unsurpassed luxury. With distinctive hull windows and a enclosed salon, the 510 is a big styling step forward from the earlier Sea Ray express yachts with their open main decks and fiberglass arches. The Sundancers oversized salon windows, big windshield, and large sunroof flood the main deck living area with tons of...

    Wow did Sea Ray get it right with the 510 Sundancer, a world-class Sportcruiser...

    Wow did Sea Ray get it right with the 510 Sundancer, a world-class Sportcruiser designed for cruising and entertaining in unsurpassed luxury. With distinctive hull windows and a...

    $719,900.00
    View
  • 51' SEA RAY 510 FLY (2015)
    Available

    51' SEA RAY 510 FLY (2016) " R&R²"

    *SEAKEEPER GYRO STABILIZATION, JOYSTICK CONTROL* Think of consummate hosts you've met. They support social interaction with beautiful settings and all the right amenities and offerings to bring life to the party, keeping the mood bright, lively and happy. You've just imagined the 510 Fly, with its highly functional social zones and crowd-pleasing features to keep you and your guests at full-smile. SkyFlow Design circulates light and air...

    *SEAKEEPER GYRO STABILIZATION, JOYSTICK CONTROL* Think of consummate hosts you've met....

    *SEAKEEPER GYRO STABILIZATION, JOYSTICK CONTROL* Think of consummate hosts you've met. They support social interaction with beautiful settings and all the right amenities and...

    $925,000.00
    View
  • 48' SEA RAY 480 SEDAN BRIDGE (1998) "LUZ DE LUNA" *LLC*
    Available

    48' SEA RAY 480 SEDAN BRIDGE (1998) "LADY DI"

    Her beautiful lines may be the first thing you notice about the 480 Sedan Bridge. But under that elegant demeanor beats the heart of a large beast - two large beasts, actually - twin 535 hp Detroit Diesel® inboards. She's equally impressive inside, with three private staterooms, two full heads, two entertainment centers and sleeping accommodations for eight. The largest of the Sea Ray® sport yachts, she's perfect for extended cruising at its...

    Her beautiful lines may be the first thing you notice about the 480 Sedan Bridge. But...

    Her beautiful lines may be the first thing you notice about the 480 Sedan Bridge. But under that elegant demeanor beats the heart of a large beast - two large beasts, actually -...

    $190,000.00
    View
  • 48' SEA RAY 480 MOTOR YACHT (2002)
    Available

    48' SEA RAY 480 MOTOR YACHT (2002)

    Wait a minute. Isn't that you sitting serenely on the afterdeck of that gorgeous Sea Ray® 480 Motor Yacht? No? Pity. One quick turn of the key, the quiet, magnificent hum of twin 519-hp Cummins® engines, a stealthy departure (no wake, of course), and you could be on the leeward side of the Caicos before anyone realized you were gone. You could also take along several friends. On the other hand, let them eat conch. Send them a postcard....

    Wait a minute. Isn't that you sitting serenely on the afterdeck of that gorgeous Sea...

    Wait a minute. Isn't that you sitting serenely on the afterdeck of that gorgeous Sea Ray® 480 Motor Yacht? No? Pity. One quick turn of the key, the quiet, magnificent hum of...

    $285,000.00
    View
  • 46' SEA RAY 460 SUNDANCER (2006) "BAHAMA PAPA"
    New! Available

    46' SEA RAY 460 SUNDANCER (2002) "BLACK PEARL"

    The closer you look, the more you find to like about the 460 Sundancer. To begin with, she's easy-handling and superbly seaworthy. Go below, and you find a luxurious interior with two private staterooms, two full heads and room to sleep many friends. Not only that, but two big Cummins lurk in the engine compartment. No doubt about it, the 460 Sundancer is a sport yacht that goes to the head of the class. [displayForm id=6] Photos and...

    The closer you look, the more you find to like about the 460 Sundancer. To begin with,...

    The closer you look, the more you find to like about the 460 Sundancer. To begin with, she's easy-handling and superbly seaworthy. Go below, and you find a luxurious interior...

    $219,000.00
    View
  • 46' SEA RAY 460 SUNDANCER (1999) *LLC* "AWOL"
    Available

    46' SEA RAY 460 SUNDANCER (2000) "CARPE DIEM II"

    The closer you look, the more you find to like about the 460 Sundancer. To begin with, she's easy-handling and superbly seaworthy. Go below, and you find a luxurious interior with two private staterooms, two full heads and room to sleep six. No doubt about it, the new 460 Sundancer is a sport yacht that goes to the head of the class. [displayForm id=6] Photos and description courtesy: Sea Ray Yachts

    The closer you look, the more you find to like about the 460 Sundancer. To begin with,...

    The closer you look, the more you find to like about the 460 Sundancer. To begin with, she's easy-handling and superbly seaworthy. Go below, and you find a luxurious interior...

    $169,000.00
    View
  • 45' SEA RAY 450 SUNDANCER (2012)
    Available

    45' SEA RAY 450 SUNDANCER (2011) "TENACIOUS" *LLC*

    There's simply nothing else like the interior of our 450 Sundancer. The open cabin stretches, impressively, from the master stateroom forward to the spacious galley and salon/dining area and all the way back to the media room with 40-inch TV and Bose surround sound system. Joystick-controlled Axius propulsion is standard; Zeus pod drives make maneuvering and docking a piece of cake. [displayForm id=9] Photos and description courtesy: Sea Ray...

    There's simply nothing else like the interior of our 450 Sundancer. The open cabin...

    There's simply nothing else like the interior of our 450 Sundancer. The open cabin stretches, impressively, from the master stateroom forward to the spacious galley and...

    $385,000.00
    View
  • 45' SEA RAY 450 SUNDANCER (1998)
    Available

    45' SEA RAY 450 SUNDANCER (1998) "IT'S ALL GOOD"

    The Sea Ray 450 Sundancer was one of the largest sportcruisers available when she was introduced in 1995. Her bold styling has held up well over the years, and with a wide 14-foot beam the interior of the Sundancer provides comfortable accommodations in very elegant surroundings. [displayForm id=9] Photos and description courtesy: Sea Ray, PowerBoat Guide

    The Sea Ray 450 Sundancer was one of the largest sportcruisers available when she was...

    The Sea Ray 450 Sundancer was one of the largest sportcruisers available when she was introduced in 1995. Her bold styling has held up well over the years, and with a wide...

    $159,000.00
    View
  • 42' SEA RAY 420 SUNDANCER (2005)
    New! Available

    44' SEA RAY 44 SUNDANCER (2006) "Z-WORTHY"

    Sleek styling, a large, comfortable cockpit and a luxurious interior that sleeps plenty are just the right formula for endless fun in the new 420 Sundancer. A wealth of instrumentation and information is at the captain's fingertips, and twin Cummins Diesel V-drives will get you to most any destination with ease. The beautiful, yet efficient, galley includes a host of conveniences that will make each on-the-water excursion thoroughly enjoyable....

    Sleek styling, a large, comfortable cockpit and a luxurious interior that sleeps plenty...

    Sleek styling, a large, comfortable cockpit and a luxurious interior that sleeps plenty are just the right formula for endless fun in the new 420 Sundancer. A wealth of...

    $269,900.00
    View
  • 44' SEA RAY 44 SEDAN BRIDGE (2008) "QUIET TIME" *TRANSFERABLE SLIP*
    Available

    44' SEA RAY 44 SEDAN BRIDGE (2008)

    [displayForm id=13] Photos and description courtesy: Sea Ray Yachts

    [displayForm id=13] Photos and description courtesy: Sea Ray Yachts

    [displayForm id=13] Photos and description courtesy: Sea Ray Yachts

    $349,900.00
    View
  • 42' SEA RAY 420 AFT CABIN (1999)
    Available

    42' SEA RAY 420 AFT CABIN (2000) "NAMASTE"

    The 420 Aft Cabin carries with her the Sea Ray tradition of quality and performance. And with twin diesel Caterpillar 3116 inboards, she carries that tradition to some very exotic locations. Her luxurious appointments, spacious accommodations and superb seaworthiness provide a cruising environment that will please the most discriminating yachtsman. [displayForm id=3] Description and photos courtesy: Sea Ray Yachts

    The 420 Aft Cabin carries with her the Sea Ray tradition of quality and performance....

    The 420 Aft Cabin carries with her the Sea Ray tradition of quality and performance. And with twin diesel Caterpillar 3116 inboards, she carries that tradition to some very...

    $150,000.00
    View
  • 41' SEA RAY 410 SUNDANCER (2000) "NANA'S CONDO"
    Available

    41' SEA RAY 410 SUNDANCER (2000) "THE IMPLICATION"

    The awesome power of twin 3126 CAT Diesels, makes the 410 Sundancer an all-time favorite for cruising coastlines, island hopping and just all-around-enjoyable meandering. With room to play in the sun all day and sleep in total comfort all night, she stands ready to provide you, your family and all your friends with unforgettable times on the water. [displayForm id=6] Photos and description courtesy: Sea Ray Yachts  

    The awesome power of twin 3126 CAT Diesels, makes the 410 Sundancer an all-time...

    The awesome power of twin 3126 CAT Diesels, makes the 410 Sundancer an all-time favorite for cruising coastlines, island hopping and just all-around-enjoyable meandering. With...

    $129,000.00
    View

This review/article originally appeared in Boating Magazine, August 2007 and is written by Kelvin Falvey. For more great boat reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.boatingmag.com/subscribe-to-boating-magazine

If you're looking for general boating parts, head to West Marine Online and check out their specials. If you are in search of model-specific parts, search your local CAT dealer.