By Mike Gridley
When Sea Ray refreshed the look of its Sundancer line, the express cruisers were given a sleek flowing look that became the Sea Ray signature for many years until an updated design launched in 2003.
The 2001 Sea Ray 340 Sundancer sports this forward swept arch, which provides plenty of headroom. Our test boat also features added canvas creating a camper back top and an extended swim platform, with the swim ladder safely concealed under a hatch. Storage for shore power cords and other gear is provided in the transom.
The large cockpit is well laid out for relaxing and entertaining with facing seating aft.
The refreshment centre to port and forward has a faucet, refrigerator and plenty of storage space. The aft bench folds up when the hatch is powered up, revealing a well laid out engine compartment.
A pair of reliable MerCruiser 7.4 MPIs coupled to V-Drives powers this 2001. Service access to the MerCruisers is great but reaching the generator is a bit tight. Helm seating is comprised of a fully adjustable, bolstered captain’s seat and a double bench for crew.
The helm is classic Sea Ray with a full complement of instruments in the upper binnacle, and all of the system and accessory switches in the lower. Electronics include a Raymarine plotter and radar and VHF.
Although the 340 has solid railings, the narrow side decks makes working your way forward a bit of a challenge. The deck has a sun pad for one and three hatches, ensuring good ventilation and natural light in the cabin. Rather than a walkthrough, the fixed windshield sports the trademark Sea Ray power vent. Forward, on the flat deck, the 340 has a remote spotlight and windlass capable of handling both chain and rode.
The interior layouts of the 330 and 340 have had a few changes over the years. Notably, the galley has shifted from port to starboard and back again. But the big changes were in the seating. When shopping for a 340, you will have to decide if you like the facing dinette style or the side sofa.
Regardless of seating design, Sea Ray manages to incorporate quite a few amenities and features into the cabin.
I really like the use of white and off-white finishes – including vinyl, laminates, fabric and Ultra-Leather – that make the space feel more open.
The galley to port has an expansive counter incorporating an electric cooktop, trash receptacle and moulded-in sink. A bump up in the counter allows for a larger refrigerator, which is flanked by drawers and cupboards. The upper cabinetry holds the microwave and has excellent task lighting. The readily accessible electrical panel is to the left, while the television (which needs updating) is to the right.
The forward berth will prove to be quite comfortable. The overhead hatches and opening ports will let the breezes flow through.
The mid-cabin makes a great relaxing area as it is open to the salon, and also converts to a large berth when required. The moulded head is vented and has a sink, VacuFlush toilet and serves as the shower.
Over the years I’ve tested quite a few Sundancers and I have always liked the 330s and 340s. The design of the modified-V hull, its moderate 13,000-pound weight and the excellent power-to-weight ratio delivered by the twin 340-hp MerCruiser 7.4L MPIs make the 340 just plain fun to drive.
Our 2001 test boat accelerates extremely well, planing in just over six seconds. A comfortable cruise was established between 3300 and 3500 rpm averaging 27 mph, with a very respectable top speed of 36 mph. With underwater exhaust systems, the boat is surprisingly quiet.
The 2001 Sea Ray 340 Sundancer is more than just a solid performer, she handles well and is quite agile given her size. So while you are sure to enjoy your time at anchor with the 340, getting there will be half the fun.
This boat is featured in the Summer 2014 issue of Boats&Places.