Sea Ray 480 Motoryacht

Sea Ray 480 Motoryacht — By Tim Clark June 2001

Good To Go
Built in the shadow of Cape Canaveral, Sea Ray’s Motoryacht is bold above decks and big below.
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Before I tested Sea Ray's new 480 Motoryacht at Merritt Island, Florida, I took a drive through the residential streets of nearby Cocoa Beach. How is it that never having been there before, I could note that the landscaping between the neat, low bungalows had flourished since the `60s, when the neighborhood was transformed overnight into a bedroom community for employees of the Kennedy Space Center? Because it was once the TV home of I Dream of Jeannie's Major Tony Nelson, the high-strung astronaut who lived there with a well-meaning but bungling blond genie he'd found in a bottle after an Indian Ocean splashdown.

As a kid watching reruns, I was perfectly willing to accept the premise that an astronaut had a blond bombshell with a bare midriff corked into a bottle in his living room. What astonished me was that the major took so little advantage of Jeannie's abilities. Why not a sports car or two? Why not a mansion? And for Pete's sake, why not a yacht? The problem was that Jeannie's over-eager efforts to please her master always backfired. Major Nelson was probably terrified that if he asked for a Sea Ray he'd end up with the Andrea Doria parked in his pool.

Still, what could better suit an astronaut's sensibility?  Sea Ray boats are technologically advanced, they're powerful, and their profiles are  aerodynamic. I pictured Major Nelson tooling down the coast in a long, low Sundancer, throttles close to wide-open and no pesky geeks at Mission Control suggesting his next waypoint. But today he would be in his early 60s, well-to-do, and surrounded by grand-genies. Being a flyboy, he'd still want a stylish, adventuresome yacht, but he might feel the need for something a little more roomy, a little more family-oriented.

Enter Sea Ray's new 480 Motoryacht, a boat with a capacious interior sheltered in sharp, audacious styling. As soon as I stepped onto the 480, I noticed that, fittingly, the helm is inspired more by NASA than by Nantucket, with wrap-around instrument panels, digital LCDs for engine diagnostics, and an optional Raymarine electronics package including an RL80C radar/chartplotter with 10-inch color LCD display. Visibility forward is fine--it's like peering down a knife blade--and looking aft, with the helm seat at its highest adjustment and the cockpit door open, I could even get a glimpse of part of the swim platform without having to stand.

Both the helm and the aft deck are on the same level, under a hardtop shaped like a stealth fighter, so the skipper will never feel cut off from topsides socializing. In fact, the cockpit wetbar is right at his back and includes a standard icemaker, sink, and built-in drink holders. With the standard cockpit enclosure, the entire space can be effectively air conditioned for cruising comfort no matter what. All you need to add are a few pieces of teak furniture. For open-air relaxing, the sunpad on the bow is reached through crystal-clear acrylic doors port and starboard that open onto wide side decks fully enclosed in waist-high stainless steel rails.

Sea Ray decribes the 480 as a wedding of its Aft Cabin and Sundancer series yachts. Although her bridge is about as high off the water as those on Sea Ray Aft Cabins, the long, chic, Sundancer sweep from the bow to the helm and same-level aft deck imparts a sleeker profile and a sportier feeling. At first glance you don't realize the generous extent of the space below decks. After five years bottled up for the sake of Nielsen ratings, Nelson's Jeannie can finally stretch out in a cabin that includes three staterooms, two full heads, a decked-out galley, and a spacious saloon.

Next page > Sea Ray 480 continued > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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