The Sea Ray SPX210 is one of the smallest boats in the Sea Ray SPX range and while in the US market it is referred to as an entry level boat when it comes to selling the boat in New Zealand and Australian, it is far from it.
Kiwi bowriders tend to be multi-functional and not too pretentious. Tow the kids on water toys one day, family cruising the next and then take it for a dangerous fishing trip with a load of rods. They are mostly an all-rounder with the versatility to suit most boating needs.
However, when it comes to bow riders from the US, the originators of the sports bow rider concept, it’s a little different. Sea Ray has been building bowriders for many years, and every year they refine their model range and pop out new and improved versions.
Over the years I have reviewed many Sea Ray’s and while I felt some of the earlier ones were not well suited to our local boating conditions, my respect for them has gone up in recent years. The SPX 210 is one such boat, and on my recent run on a very choppy Lyttelton Harbour, I was more than impressed with the way the boat handled.
Kiwi’s like a bit of power in their boat and so when Sports Marine, importers for the Sea Ray range ticked the engine option list for the SPX 210, they went for the biggest, the MerCruiser 4.5L MPI ECT Alpha 1 (250hp). Standard power is the MerCruiser 4.5L MPI ECT Alpha I (200 hp) which is a similar engine package but 50hp less. With the bigger engine the SPX 210 tops out at 45 knots, (40 knots with the 200hp standard package) and when you hammer the throttle down, it doesn’t take long to get there. I was impressed with the acceleration of the boat, and you need to tell your passengers to hang on! The 20 deg deep vee hull responds instantly to the power-assisted tilt steering wheel and feels tight in the turns. There was a little noise coming from the hull in the choppy water, but to be fair, I was pushing the boat a lot harder than you would normally if you had the family aboard.
Cruising at around 30mph, the boat has no vices, and I found it didn’t need a lot of trim to set the hull with a level bow attitude. If you are going to use the boat for waterskiing, then you have great holeshot and low down torque to pull a couple of heavy mates up on slalom skis.
But the SPX 210 is not all about watersports. It’s also a boat designed for family boating. It’s not a fishing boat (although there is a fishing package available) and while of course, you can still drop a rod over the side, it’s essentially a family day cruiser.
It’s when you look at the layout in the cockpit that you appreciate that this boat has ‘entertainment’ written all over it. Firstly there is a wide boarding platform with a recessed four-rung, boarding ladder moulded into the platform’s deck, which extends over half a metre and also covers the sterndrive. The sole in the stern area and boarding platform was finished with the SeaDek flooring option.
Sea Ray has added a fold up backrest on the engine cover/sunpad so you can sit in comfort and watch the people in the water behind the boat. Just make sure you drop this back down when underway as it’s not designed to be used at speed.
There is a wide portside entry to the cockpit with storage lockers in the steps. Sea Ray angled the entrance to the cockpit just a bit to prevent that entry from impeding on the seating. It’s a smart idea and certainly adds to the roominess of the cockpit. Sea Ray has taken the storage question to the extreme, and I doubt there is spare space in the boat that isn’t used for storage. There is a large 119cm long centreline wet locker under the cockpit sole which will be an excellent place for waterskis, wakeboards, fishing gear and even SCUBA tanks and dive gear.
The L shape starboard side sofa has a dedicated space for a removable isky/chilly bin, plus a there is a wet locker under the 1.5m wide aft bench seat. Throw in some ice, and this makes a great place to keep the drinks cold, or if you are going to take the boat out fishing, then it doubles as bait or catch bin.
With an adjustable backrest, the port side seating can be configured as a lounger or separate seating. A wraparound full adjustable bolster seat is used for the helm and offers three-way driving; standing, seated or bolstered. Plus with the seat cushion removed, there is further storage under. A flat panel, tinted-glass windshield provides protection. If you want to stop the wind coming through the walkway to the open bow, there is a bifold panel that closes off the space under the screen. With the front cover clipped in over the open bow and the foldaway windscreen shut, it’s just like being in a traditional runabout.
The helm is available with either analogue gauges or as in the case of our boat a Simrad GO5 (or GO9). A single glass panel displays everything from engine management to a GPS and sounder. Simple, clean and very easy to read as well as navigate around the touch screen functions.
The bow area is a very typical layout with twin lounge seats with storage under, and a removable centre squab with deck tread surface below, so you don’t stand on the upholstery when stepping over the bow. There are conveniently placed handholds as well as drink holders either side.
The Sea Ray SPX 210 doesn’t come standard with a central bollard or fairlead but has a cleat either side of the bow. The bullnose bow has flat step-sections either side of the nav lights for ease of access from a dock, but with a few mods, you could fit a custom anchor platform. Anchor tackle is stowed in the deep forepeak locker.
The SPX range comes standard with all the basics for boating, but it can be optioned out to meet the needs and desires of practically anyone. That starts with having outboard or sterndrive power, a choice of hull colours and electronics.
There are a variety of packages available from the factory, two of which will increase the boat usability. The ‘Elevation Package’ is geared for wake and ski sport enthusiasts with a wakeboard tower with built-in racks, and a rearview mirror. Another choice that Kiwis might like is the All Sport Package that turns the SPX into a weekend fishing rig with casting chairs for the bow and cockpit, some rod storage, a livewell system and a trolling motor.
The Captain’s Package adds some essentials such as a battery switch, depth finder and premium-level helm seat. The stainless package adds trim to the rub rail insert, drink holders and all latches and grab handles.
Then there is the Select Package. This is the luxury build with LED lighting, a premium-level dash at the helm, and upgraded upholstery. This package also comes with the stainless steel upgrade and the upholstery is available in two colours, Sahara or Cognac.
The Premier Audio Upgrade includes a pair of Fusion 6.5″ Signature Series speakers, a 10″ Subwoofer and Series 5 Channel 1600w Amp. Perfect for getting those sounds across the bay while you are towing a wakeboard or surfer.
There are three models in the range; SPX 190, SPX 210 and the SPX 230, all of which follow a similar design format and are available with either outboard or sterndrive power. The SPX 210 has great looks and loads of seating combine with plenty of power. Thanks to a choice of smart options packages, the SPX 210 has the versatility to suit most boat owners requirements. Whether you favour watersports or cruising all day in comfort, there’s an SPX package that’s ideally suited.
- Make & Model: Sea Ray SPX 210
- Price As Tested: $116095
- Type: Bow Rider
- Construction: GRP
- LOA: 6.55m
- Beam: 2.60m
- Deadrise: 19 deg
- Test Power: Mercruiser 4.5L MPI ECT @ 250hp
- Top speed: 45 knots
- Power Options: Outboard or Sterndrive
- HP Range: 200-250hp
- MFD: Simrad GO5
- Fuel: 151 L (standard)
- Manufacturer: Sea Ray Boats