Boat Tests

July 14, 2011

2011 Sea Ray 205 Sport, a very interesting choice

Photo: Sylvain Raymond

We liked the two-tone colour option of the Sea Ray 205 Sport

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There’s a ton of great choices in the over 20 feet bowrider market. In fact, with so many makes and models, it can be hard to know which way is up. Some are attractively priced, but at the end of the day, you get what you pay for. And when it comes to boats, you don’t want to cut too many corners just to save money. If you’re looking for impeccable assembly, great equipment and good resale value, the 2011 Sea Ray 205 Sport is definitely worth looking at.

The Sea Ray 205 Sport joins a segment that already has a lot of fans as this kind of boat is exceptionally versatile. Bowriders are good for all kinds of nautical activities, while still being a good option for short trips or carrying several passengers at once. They’re good family boats that present too much of a hassle and they’re relatively affordable to buy and operate.

Size is everything
With a total length of 21 feet (6.4 metres), the Sea Ray 205 Sport is spacious and handles comfortably on the water. With this kind of boat, every foot counts and you can really tell the difference between 18, 19 and 20 footers. Its width of 8 feet (2.43 metres) ensures stability in all conditions. No one likes boats that teeter from side to side when passengers move around; the Sea Ray 205 Sport’s width mitigates that effect. Essentially, this isn’t a huge boat, but it’s a very good size.

Viewed from the outside, the boat features modern lines. You can choose classic colours or something more vibrant, as was the case for our test model. I liked the two-tone colour option, as it enhances the style. On the other hand, the font used for the model name was not so classy. Aside from that, the presentation is well thought out, with chrome accents kicking it up a notch. These small details make all the difference and often justify a higher price.

The Sea Ray 205 Sport comes standard with a tandem-axle trailer to transport it. Featuring the same colours as the boat, the trailer is also very pretty – something else to feel proud about as you take it down the road. Since this boat weighs 3,150 lbs. when empty (and nearly 3,500 lbs. with the trailer and equipment), you’d better have an SUV or pick-up truck that can handle the load.

Good attention to detail on board
Once aboard, you’ll immediately notice the careful attention Sea Ray put into the details. The assembly is excellent throughout – even when you look closely. The leatherette, carpet and trim are all impeccable. Two passengers can sit comfortably up front, where cup holders and chrome handles have been added. Both the driver and passenger get comfortable sport seats that hug them snugly in place. The seats also pivot to face the back if you want to create a more social atmosphere. What’s more, the driver’s seat can be adjusted in several different ways to ensure an optimal driving position.

The cockpit not only features quality materials and nice use of colour, but it also has an attractive instrument cluster. It includes everything you need while remaining modern and sporty looking. This is the kind of thing you notice and that sets the boat apart. In back, three different configurations are available for the engine position. You can opt for a padded engine block with seats on either side (this option makes maximum use of the space on board) or a similar configuration with back-to-back seats (a practical choice). But the most popular option – the one on our test model – has a large bench adjacent to a sunpad over the engine. Although this configuration cuts into the space on board, it’s more attractive and practical if you like to stretch out and enjoy the sun.

Smart thinking
There’s an amazing amount of storage compartments on this boat. The designers did a great job using every nook and cranny. And who doesn’t like more storage? You can stow your stuff under the rear bench, under the front seats, below the floor and on either side of the engine. I loved the fold-away cushion on the rear bench with integrated cup holders. Meanwhile, the engine is easy accessible, though there wasn’t tons of space around it on our test model (due to the configuration). This could make certain parts hard to reach. Finally, swimmers will love the rear platform, which comes complete with a ladder. There’s also a brushed aluminum pole available on option for anyone into water skiing or kneeboarding.

On the water
The Sea Ray 205 Sport comes standard with carburated 4.3-litre Mercruiser V6 that produces 190 horsepower. You can also opt for the same engine with fuel injection for 220 horsepower. Buyer beware, as carburated engines are on their way out due to stricter regulations. Plus they consume more fuel and are generally less efficient. The boat we tested was equipped with the second optional engine, a 5.0-litre V8 that delivers 260 horsepower and is paired with an Alpha 1 stern drive and a stainless steel propeller. This engine offers good performances no matter how many people you have aboard. We reached a very reasonable cruising speed of 24 mph (39 km/h) at 2,700 rpm. Its maximum speed is 52.9 mph (83.69 km/h) at 5,200 rpm. At cruising speed, its fuel consumption was just under 7.5 gallons/h, which is quite a good rate.

With a total length of 21 feet (6.4 m) and a decent width, the Sea Ray 205 is comfortable to drive and holds its own on rough water. Thanks to its size, it’s more stable and pleasant out on the waves compared to 17- or 19-foot models. Of course, you still have to slow down when passing larger craft.

There’s no question that the 2011 Sea Ray 205 Sport isn’t among the cheapest in its category. But for what you pay, you get a quality boat with noticeable craftsmanship. You also get a renowned brand name, which ensures that resale or trade-in value is much better than with other brands.

Review boat provided by: Marina Fortin


Test model : 2011 Sea Ray 205 Sport
Test engine : MerCruiser 5.0 MPI - Alpha one
Base price : $39,488
Price as tested : $51,499
Manufacturer's warranty : 2 years
Planing time : 4.5 seconds
Planing speed : 18 mph (28 km/h)
Competitive models : Bayliner Bowriders 195 Discovery, Bowriders Spider 2060, Campion Allante Allante 505i BR, Chaparral SSi Sport 206 SSi WT Sport, Crownline Bowriders 200 LS, Four Winns H Series H200, Glastron Bowriders GT 205, Larson LXi Series LXi 218, Monterey Sport Boat Collection 204 FS, Regal Bowriders 2000 Bowrider, Rinker Captiva Bowriders 190 MTX, SEA-DOO Sport boats 200 Speedster
Strong points : Powerful engine
Finishing quality
Renowned brand name
Superior resale value
Weak points : Some Interesting equipments are optional

Editor's rating

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Performance data

1000 4.40 1.40 3.14 7.08 5.30 1.34 116 miles / 187 km
1500 6.40 - - 10.30 - - N/A
2000 7.90 4.10 1.93 12.71 15.52 0.82 71 miles / 114 km
2500 20.10 - - 32.35 - - N/A
2700 23.70 - - 38.14 - - N/A
3000 28.50 7.50 3.80 45.87 28.39 1.62 140 miles / 226 km
3500 35.30 - - 56.81 - - N/A
4000 41.10 12.00 3.43 66.14 45.42 1.46 126 miles / 203 km
4500 45.90 - - 73.87 - - N/A
5100 52.90 19.60 2.70 85.13 74.19 1.15 99 miles / 160 km

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