Ray 500 Sedan Bridge — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Born to Run
Part 2: The Sea Ray 500 Sedan Bridge is a stylish, exceptionally comfortable cruiser.
One glitch obtruded, however—I came across it in the “utility room,” an expansive spot under a hatch in the galley sole where Sea Ray installs an optional Splendide 2000S washer/dryer, an optional Beam central vac, a Sea Tech water manifold, and other odds and sods. Between a bulkhead and an adjoining knee-like structure called a whalebone, there was a hairline crack stretching approximately 12 inches. I asked the guys onboard about this and then telephoned Mike Fafard, Sport Yachts program director for Sea Ray at the company’s Product Development & Engineering (PD&E) facility in Merritt Island. Fafard reported back a few days after the test boat had returned to PD&E. The crack, he said, was limited to the overlying gelcoat and had occurred due to flexing in the joint between the whalebone and bulkhead, something he assured me would be addressed by fiberglassing the joint to eliminate the flex, both on our prototype and on all production boats in the future.
The rest of my walkthrough went smoothly. Our test boat’s three-stateroom layout was comfortably luxurious, in part thanks to the presence of raised-panel cherrywood doors, matching Oceanair window shades, Ultraleather upholstery, and a high level of fit and finish throughout. Forward, the master stateroom offered a queen-size island berth with a HandCraft innerspring mattress and en suite head with separate stall shower and VacuFlush MSD. Aft on the port side, the VIP offered a queen-size island berth as well and shared a second head with a starboard-side guest stateroom with upper and lower berths.
We cruised into the marina behind Miami’s Marriott Biscayne Bay at three in the afternoon, so far ahead of schedule that everybody else onboard decided to simply take on a little fuel, drop me off, and keep on truckin’. While they fueled up, I had time to brave the high temperatures in our machinery spaces (accessed via a cockpit hatch) for a quick look around. Features worth mentioning were numerous, including the big, 17.9-gallon water heater, a standard Reverso oil-change system, and the massive, bolted-down, aluminum-plate foundation securing the transom-mounted, retractable davit for the optional tender—in our case, a Boston Whaler 110 Sport with 25-hp Mercury outboard. What I especially liked, however, was the way Sea Ray combines the engine-room area forward and the lazarette aft, with its easy-to-access genset and battery banks. Having no bulkhead between them facilitates daily service checks—one hatch instead of two.
The boat left the marina as soon as she’d been topped off. After helping with her lines, I grew reflective while watching her profile fade into the sunset. There was no doubt about it—the Sea Ray 500 Sedan Bridge is a stylish, exceptionally comfortable cruiser. After all, I’d spent most of the day onboard, zooming a couple of hundred miles around the Sunshine State, and I was still feeling rather relaxed and energetic.
“Can I help you with those?” asked a bellman as I traipsed through the lobby of the Marriott with two large cases of test gear.
“No thanks,” I replied cheerily, “I can use the exercise.”
Sea Ray Boats Phone: (800) SRBOATS. www.searay.com.
This article originally appeared in the September 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.