Ray 390 Motoryacht — By Capt. Bill Pike — July 2002
|Part 2: Agility and cohesive integrity|
I offer my second criticism as a question. Why? Why? Why for the sacred love of salt water do boat handlers continue to show allegiance to so-called split engine controls, with throttles on one side of the steering wheel and shifts way-to-hell-and-gone on the other? I mean, guys! Can't we all just move along to infinitely simpler-to-use, single-lever controls? With shift and throttle functions efficiently combined in one stick? Like on workboats, crewboats, and other commercial vessels?
"Not everybody likes the same stuff you do, Pike," said McCloud, having duly noted the grumbles that accompanied my bout with the split Teleflex controls on our test boat. "Some of our customers want split controls, and you know our motto: `Thoughtful design as a direct result of the voice of the customer.'"
The man had a point, although it pains me to admit such a thing. At any rate, engine controls prejudices were the last thing on my mind when I sea-trialed the 390 on the Intracoastal Waterway near Merritt Island in a slick-calm sea state. The boat performed with the agility and cohesive integrity of a born-to-cruise cruiser, swooping through hard-over, wide-open-throttle turns like a fast-freight on rails, holding an arrow-straight course at displacement as well as planing speeds and coming out of the hole with grace and alacrity. Combining such characteristics with a dashboard that featured an optional Sea Ray Navigator, the touchscreen that offers a uniquely intuitive take on Maptech electronic cartography and navigation, produced a driving experience that was pure fun.
Docking the 390 after the sea trial went smoothly enough, although my split-control technique was relatively coarse in comparison with what I'd seen Hopkins do earlier. Once we'd properly tied up again, Hopkins went back to his regular job while McCloud and I went below to visit the engine room via removable panels in the saloon sole. A host of noteworthy engineering specifics awaited us, among them a couple of Rule 2,000-gph bilge pumps (instead of just one) and a SeaLand holding-tank vent filter to nix errant odors.
The 390's interior, which sports a standard aft-cabin-type layout with master aft, guest forward, and everything else in between, is both voluminous and trick. For example, via a solid (and solidly engineered) aluminum-track mechanism, the starboard side of the V-berth in the guest cabin slides toward centerline and converts to a double. Sea Ray adds the space this saves (versus a conventional island berth) to the lofty, near-full-beam saloon. The galley, which is down and to starboard, benefits not only from opening ports but from natural light that streams down from the windshield, as well as from a tinted window flush-molded into the trunk-cabin top.
The master's a wide-beam beauty, with stowage galore--I counted a total of 17 cabinets, drawers, and bins in this big stateroom--and separate MSD and shower compartments on the starboard side, a savvy carry-over from the 480. The stairway between galley and saloon lifts to reveal an optional Splendide washer/dryer unit, a couple of top-shelf battery chargers behind a protective clear-acrylic shield, and a Sea Tech water-manifold system that offers an instant shut-down of individual plumbing fixtures.
Test day came to a close in the usual manner. While saying goodbye to McCloud, I grabbed a parting glimpse of the Sea Ray 390 Motoryacht over his shoulder. I liked the boat a lot, partly because of her looks, partly because of her roomy interior and great engine-room access, but mostly because of the perfect synergy between her topside configuration and her length. It's the basis for about the sweetest flying bridge I've come across on a 39-footer in quite some time.
Sea Ray Boats Phone: (800) 772-6287. Fax: (314) 213-7878. www.searay.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.