Ray 420 Sedan Bridge
— By Capt. Ken Kreisler
— December 2003
|The newest Sea Ray gets many of her features from the most popular elements of past models.|
As the story goes, Charles Darwin happened upon one of science’s most important theories while visiting the Galapagos Islands aboard HMS Beagle. Furthermore, he came up with his treatise on natural selection—the passing on of favorable genetic traits that provides an advantage for survival over other species, especially if that environment changes—long after his return to England. That was in 1858.
One hundred and one years later, another man, C.N. Ray, was poised to create one of the boatbuilding industry’s most successful enterprises using a new material called fiberglass. And while in all likelihood Ray did not employ Darwin’s concepts as a model, his company’s achievements are a nautical spin on Darwin’s groundbreaking study: incorporating the most successful characteristics of past models into new launches. These characteristics include well-thought-out use of space, innovative seating and living accommodations, and useful standard amenities.
In the highly competitive world of boatbuilding, this kind of natural selection is a necessity for survival. Take the 420 Sedan Bridge that I took out on the waters of Great South Bay from Surfside 3’s marina in Lindenhurst, New York. With her two-stateroom, two-head layout, convertible saloon, and ample stowage, she’s a perfect example of how natural selection works afloat. The 420 is a direct descendent of the 400 Sedan Bridge that after six years in the line is being replaced. But her styling is also derived from the 560 Sedan Bridge. The result is a 42-footer that seems a lot bigger.
For starters there’s a large, spacious bridge accessed from the cockpit via a wide, molded-in staircase whose two bottom steps are about 3'6" wide. A sturdy rail to starboard and a grabrail to port flank these and the six other steps leading topsides. How large and spacious is the bridge? I measured the “move-around room” here to be just short of 11'0"x9'6". And with the table and six-person, C-shape seating area aft of the centerline helm—there are stowage areas below the cushions—this is definitely the place to be while underway. You can even get an optional sunpad filler cushion for the table.
Having a bridge obviously means better views into the seaway, and even with the full enclosure up, I enjoyed commanding sightlines all around. The centerline helm has the pod-type control panel that has proven to be a winner in the Sea Ray line. The flush-mounted electronics, including my test boat’s Sea Ray Navigator PC chartplotter system, are raised to maximize viewing. I’m 5'9", and while seated in the comfortable standard Stidd pedestal helm seat—it and the companion seat to port have flip-up bolsters—I had no trouble reading the electronics, gauges, and optional SmartCraft display.
Perhaps the most striking and successful adaptation on the 420 Sedan Bridge is in the use of interior space. I was surprised to find a number of features on this 42-footer that you’d expect to see only on larger models. Take the opposing UltraLeather couches in the saloon. The port one converts to a double berth, while the starboard one offers a stowage compartment below, and there’s a raised dining area amidships and to port that easily seats four adults. Both areas offer excellent views, whether through the three large windows forward, those to either side, or out the aft sliding glass door.
This article originally appeared in the November 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.