The 680 is built.
Both hull and deck are cored with Baltek AL600 balsa and laid up with
pricey, high-performance vinylester resin. All-glass, hat-section stringers
and transversals make the hull strong and resilient, and Baltek-cored
fiberglass ribs and ring bulkheads further strengthen the hull-deck construct,
once they’re joined with through-bolts and fiberglass. Moreover, the sound/vibration
attenuation package is all-encompassing, with isolation mounts under all
mechanicals and an engine room buttoned up with multilayered acoustical
bulkheads and overhead panels ranging in thickness from two to six inches.
Check out the dB-A readings I recorded during our sea trial: They’re low,
even at WOT.
The run back to Marine Max gave me the opportunity to explore a different
part of the 680’s personality‘her teched-out, computer-driven, electronic
nervous system. Instead of individual dials, gauges, and switches at the
helm, there are two identical LCD touchscreens from Fort Lauderdale’s
Digital Marine Panels of America (DMP). These babies operate via two independent
onboard computers (with independent but interchangeable power supplies)
and a raft of sophisticated, intuitive software developed by Maptech with
input from Sea Ray. They’re also backed up by several fail-safe features,
including a separate basic conventional control/instrumentation system.
Using the screens was easy, despite the fact that my computer skills these
days run about neck-and-neck with my cooking abilities, which verge on
the poisonous. With nary a strain on my gray matter, I was able to work
with just about every onboard system, from checking on navigational matters
and stateroom temperatures to actuating the windshield washers. In fact,
using the zoom function of the TV camera in the engine room, I zeroed
in on one of the bilge pumps there with such pixel-perfect clarity that
I could easily read the small numbers denoting its capacity: 3,750 gph.
The engine room, which is accessed through a hatch in the cockpit, was
almost as impressive. Abaft the starboard main I found a stacked and bracketed
array of air-conditioning compressors, a shippy way to save space and
facilitate maintenance and repairs. Outboard of both mains were long,
molded-glass ventilation boxes with Delta "T" marine-type axial
fans and air-water separating mechanisms, a great system for guaranteeing
there’ll be plenty of clean, dry air for the internal combustion process.
And finally there was a giant Kidde-Fenwal FM-200 fire-suppression system
installed along the forward firewall, with emergency engine and blower
shutdown controls at the 680’s helm, a commercial-grade nod to safety.
My only ER-related complaint? Manual push-button shutdowns on the Caterpillar
3412Es slightly protrude into the centerline walkway. Why not add a plastic
or metal guard to obviate their inadvertent and potentially inconvenient
Back in Pompano, Nault and I examined the 680 stem to stern. The interior
layout includes an upper saloon area just abaft the helm and a larger
saloon below decks with galley to port. The VIP is forward and the master
aft, on the starboard side. Optional crew’s quarters at the stern replaced
the standard utility room on our test boat, and we also had the optional
third stateroom aft, on the port side, with a single berth and fold-out
Besides the elegant granite countertops throughout, buttery-soft leather
lounges, and the colorful, residential-style tile in the three heads,
the most notable aspect of the 680’s interior for me was the ubiquitous
electronics. In fact, there were so many Sony flat-screen TVs, DVD players,
stereo components, SMX Online air-conditioning controls, and other appurtenances
that I felt like I was at a waterborne Circuit City. Virtually every room
had its own little portable Philips touch-screen remote!
A final word on the 680’s styling. In most cases, I don’t presume to comment
on the appearance of the vessels I test, given that beauty is subjective.
But at one point during our test-day transits of the ICW, Nault and I
got a call on our Raytheon VHF from a waterfront homeowner who sees lots
of boats. With unsolicited fervor, the fellow voiced his take on the voluptuous,
broken-sheer styling of the 680, a take that’s pretty close to my own.
“My gosh, she’s big,” he said, “and she’s gotta be the
prettiest Sea Ray I’ve ever seen.”
Sea Ray Boats Phone:(800) SRBOATS. Fax: (314)-213-7878. www.searay.com.
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