Sea Ray SLX 400
Sea Ray saw fit to enter the new SLX 400 in the Innovation Awards contest at this year’s (2017) Miami International Boat Show, and when I went aboard the sleek, multidimensional vessel right before the show, along with the rest of the awards judging committee, I quickly saw why. “The Entertainer,” as Sea Ray calls the boat, has more fun stuff going for her than an impromptu weekend at Disney.
Up forward, for example, there’s a “social bow,” with a U-shaped, convertible-table-equipped lounge and, just abaft that, a set of three chaise lounge “touring seats,” complete with armrests, drink holders, and an oh-so-contemporary albeit optional overhead “sail shade.” Hey—if you can’t enjoy a cool, dockside gabfest with friends and family here, or a laid-back, high-speed zoom into summer’s far horizons, maybe you should switch to croquet as your primary pastime.
That “patio wing” to starboard will certainly stop both guests and passing spectators in their tracks.
And back aft? We’re talkin’ Swiss-Army-Knife versatility, with a whopping swim platform augmented by a fold-down “patio wing” to starboard that cantilevers invitingly over the water—cannonball anyone? A lounge both sinuously interconnects the area with the cockpit’s ample “social zone” and offers easy stowage for, among other things, two full-up paddle boards. And the cockpit promises pure, around-the-swimming-pool satisfaction, thanks to a wet bar (with refrigerator, sink, a solid-surface countertop, and a couple of optional grills), a giant L-shaped lounge, and a raft of cool canvas options, including a retractable screen in the hardtop and an electrically actuated hardtop extension to shade the festivities aft.
There’s way more to the 400 than her beachy, fun-loving accoutrements, however. The helm sports two, no-nonsense, 12-inch Raymarine MFDs, an ergonomically located SmartCraft binnacle-type engine control for convenient open-water running, an Axius Propulsion joystick to facilitate close-quarters maneuvering, and “Cloud Connectivity” for monitoring or even diagnosing the vessel remotely via smartphone. In addition to everything else, there’s also an ample air-conditioned cabin belowdecks, offering a queen-sized berth and a dinette that converts to a V-berth (with filler cushions), as well as an enclosed head compartment and shower.
I’d say it’s the quietRIDE system that tops the whole thing off, though. To ensure minimal distractions on board the 400 while under way, it combines the virtues of sound- and vibration-dampening material laminated into the hull, the strategic application of acoustical insulation elsewhere, and the inclusion of a so-called “Tuned Transom” from Omni Products, which further reduces vibration and sound associated with the boat’s engines and Bravo III drive system. A quiet ride with quietRIDE? Oh yeah!
Unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to sea trial the SLX 400 yet so we have none of our own performance numbers to report. But the Sea Ray rep on the scene at the Miami show claimed an impressive top end. And considering the rousing nature of the claim, as well as all the modern ways to have fun that the 400 provides, is it any wonder she indeed snagged an Innovation Award?
This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.