Sunrunner 2800 Cruiser review

Sunrunner 2800

Issue: June 2005

It has been a while coming, but it has been worth the wait. Sunrunner Sports Cruisers has been in no rush to release its new 2800. It was expected around December last year. However, Sunruner took their time before they came up with the final cabin layout. A couple were tried and scrapped until they came up with the present one, which certainly makes the best use of the space below. 

The hull is very similar to the 3700 and 3300 with a fine bow entry and an 18-degree deadrise at the transom. The beam is a generous 3m and gives the boat a lot of volume for its size, especially in the cabin. 

The Sunrunner 2800 is essentially a dayboat with plenty of entertainment space on deck, but the owners and a couple of friends can overnight if they wish.

Below Deck

Up front is a vee-berth with a table that converts to a double berth, there is even a mirror on the forward bulkhead that helps make the cabin look bigger. And it is all lined with a full 1.88m of headroom. 

The galley is basic, but functional, with a cooktop, fridge and sink and there is a small bathroom. Sunrunner has managed to fit a double-berth under the cockpit with stand up headroom at the entrance and a bench seat.

There is even room for a flat screen TV above the walkway to the aft cabin. On deck the layout is similar to other Sunrunners with a curved lounge opposite the helm station and a bench seat aft. 

A full wrap around bench seat across the transom, similar to those on the bigger boats, is an option. The helm seat also swivels around so the occupant can join the party. There is even a locker built into the transom, like the bigger Sunrunners, to store fenders, ropes and other odds and ends. A couple of rod holders have also been included in the port and starboard gunwales if you want to wet a line occasionally. Remember, this is only a 28-footer and the Sunrunner design team has managed to fit a lot into it. 

Getting to the bow has been made easy by a couple of steps moulded into the helm console and a walk-through windscreen.


The standard 2800 is powered by a single 5lt V8 MPI, 260hp, MerCrusier petrol engine with a Bravo II sterndrive, and that’s all it needs. The test boat sported a 6.2lt, 320hp, MerCruiser, which added another $8800 to the price, But for a first time buyer the extra power and cost isn’t needed. With the 6.2lt engine the boat cruised comfortably at 3000rpm and 20 knots and the GPS recorded a top speed of 35.8 knots at 4800rpm. It was also quiet. 

At 2000rpm the sound meter recorded 71.6dB in the cabin and at cruising speed, around 3000rpm, the noise level was a comfortable 80.5dB. A Volvo Penta sterndrive is an option, but being only a single engine drive the MerCruiser with the Bravo II leg is probably better suited to the boat. Another feature is the easy access to the engine, the whole of the aft cockpit floor lifts up.

The 2800 is no fuss to drive and virtually backs like a car into a pen. It has trim tabs, but I found that the boat didn’t need them and except for a little trim up on the leg on the plane, it didn’t need much trimming at all. Granted, there were only two of us onboard and with a couple more adults on the boat the trim tabs could be used to balance the extra weight. 

At a base price of $129,000 the Sunrunner 2800 sits well in the market for an entry-level cruiser and is ideal for someone who wants to step up from a runabout, or for a first timer who wants to get some hands-on experience before tackling a bigger boat. 

Test boat was supplied by Sunrunner Gold Coast. With a 320hp MerCruiser and other options was priced at $140,000.

Engine Room
The Sunrunner 2800 was powered by a single 6.2lt, 320hp MerCruiser with a Bravo II leg, which suited this boat perfectly.

The performance figures were conducted on the Gold Coast Broadwater in light conditions. 20 knots @ 3000rpm, 35.8 (WOT) knots @ 4800rpm

LOA: 8.70m
LWL: 7.98m
BEAM: 3.00m
DEADRISE: 18 degrees
DRAFT: 0.65m (leg up)
DRAFT: 1.05m :(leg down)
DRY WEIGHT: 3500kg
BASE PRICE: $129,000

+ Well designed cruiser. Value for money

? Nothing to report

Sunrunner in Brief
Sunrunner Cruisers first burst onto the luxury sport cruiser market in 2001. Since launching its first model, the award-winning Sunrunner 3400 (AMIF 2002 Australian Boat of the Year), the Gold Coast manufacturer has gone from strength to strength. 

Sunrunners owner Paul Smithson, said the principle behind the company’s success is simple: performance, quality and value for money. In four years, Sunrunner has expanded its fleet to five boats, ranging from 28 to 48 feet, with three more models in the pipeline, he said. 

While the domestic market continues to prosper, the long-term forecast is for Sunrunner to export as much as 50-60 per cent of its total production. Sunrunners international dealer network already includes five locations in New Zealand, with a Hong Kong agent recently appointed, and distribution agreements about to be finalised in the UK and Spain. This approach is clearly evident in the evolution of the Sunrunner models. What suits the Queensland climate may not be practical in New Zealand.

Both the 3700 and 4800 models now come with a hardtop option. The 2800’s aft cockpit also takes into consideration individual lifestyle preferences by offering a choice of tailored layouts to make entertaining a breeze.

Words – Kevan Wolfe