August 5th 2013. By Jeanne Craig.

Sea Ray Sundancer 630: Queen of the Fleet

The largest Sea Ray Sundancer ever to hit the water, many 630 Sundancers are still running strong today.

The Sea Ray Sundancer series is one of the most successful cruising boat lines in recreational boat history, and recently made waves with the introduction of the 510 Sundancer. This boat is a far cry from the Sundancer line’s beginning in 1974, with a modest 24-foot sterndrive model engineered to maximize usable space inside and out. That boat was a big hit with young families, and its popularity spawned a gleaming fleet that grew longer and more luxurious by the year. In 1996, however, the builder stretched the Sundancer concept to a whopping 63 feet with the largest Sundancer in the history of the series: the 630.

Sea-Ray-630-lead

The 630 was the largest Sundancer ever built by Sea Ray, and it’s designed for luxury inside and out.

This behmoth express-style yacht came to market at a good time—smack in the middle of the go-go decade marked by a robust economy and hearty consumer confidence. That high-energy atmosphere was a ripe proving ground for this particular model as it was offered with performance-oriented propulsion, the likes of which had not been featured on a Sundancer before: Arneson surface-piercing drives married to Caterpillar diesels that ranged up to about 1,350 hp.

Equipped with those surface-piercing drives, the 630 can achieve tops speeds of 45-plus knots. Back in the 1990s, that was proof that Sea Ray could compete in the high-performance yacht market and the boat took the builder to new heights in the tech race of that era.

Today, the propulsion maintains a strong fan base because it has multiple benefits. Among them are shallow-water capabilities as there are no shafts, struts, and rudders underwater. With Arnesons, there’s a significant decrease in drag, which makes for higher overall speed and improved fuel economy, as much as 30 percent over conventional inboards. Acceleration also is improved because the driver can modify the amount of prop in or out of the water for better thrust.

Propulsion is just one characteristic that made this boat a hot topic upon its launch. In true Sea Ray fashion, it was designed for luxury cruising with more high-end entertaining features than you can shake a social register at.

Sea-Ray-630-layout

The massive open salon has an entertainment center that was state-of-the art in the production powerboat market of its day.

There’s a massive open salon with an entertainment center that, at the time of the build, was state-of-the art in the production powerboat market. The galley nearby is equipped with everything you’d need to concoct a creative selection of hors d’oeuvres or a multiple-course dinner. The top names in appliances are found on many model year makes of the 630 (Moen, Sub-Zero), and features range from a refrigerator/freezer to an ice maker, stove, dishwasher, blender, and coffeemaker. A popular option on the 630 was hardwood flooring throughout the main deck and on the accommodations level.

For overnighting, the 630 has two staterooms and those accommodations are both big and private. The master has a king-size island berth, and on some models, designer touches were added (think Louis Vuitton linens) for label-conscious cruisers. The master head is one of three onboard, and on certain 630s, the space is dressed up with yachty extras like marble tile inlaid with gold. The VIP cabin with queen-size berth is aft, also with an en suite head. For extra guests, there’s a lounge in the salon with built-in sofa bed that slides out electrically.

The designers of this king-size sportyacht put a heavy emphasis on comfort in the cockpit, which is huge at 27 feet. Typical features here include a circular seating area with dining table, wraparound lounges and, at the heart of the space, a gi-normous circular sunpad. Another option on the 630 was the hydraulic swim platform, which is available on many 630s for sale today. It submerges about four feet to make the process of launching a dinghy or PWC a more civilized procedure.

The 630 Sundancer was taken out of production in 2000 and replaced by a 60-footer with conventional inboard power. Some die-hard Sea Ray fans felt the Arneson-powered 63 was a step outside the box for the builder and didn’t seem to jibe with the Sundancer mission. Others, though, view the yacht as a true original, a real luxury cruiser with a sophisticated propulsion system that continues to turn heads and generate conversation in ports around the world today.

SPECIFICATIONS

Length 62’6″ • Beam 15’9″ • Draft 3’11″ • Deadrise 19 deg • Displacement 63,500 lbs • Fuel 1,061 gal. • Water 200 gal.

 



Jeanne Craig
Jeanne Craig has been covering powerboats since 1988. She spent ten years as a senior editor at Boating magazine and ten more as executive editor at Motor Boating. She’s now an independent writer based in Rowayton, Connecticut, where she’s close to the cruising grounds she most enjoys.