Ray 480 Motoryacht — By Tim Clark — June 2001
Good To Go
|Part 2: An exhilarating pleasure|
The saloon features two settees, one U-shape to starboard with enough room for five and another to port that can seat two more guests in comfort. Add the starboard dinette forward on the same level (opposite a galley equipped with a full-size Norcold refrigerator/freezer, three-burner Kenyon stovetop, and Sharp microwave/convection oven), and you could conceivably host cocktails for 10 without anyone fidgeting for space.
The proportions of the master stateroom aft are in keeping with the saloon. Certain touches accent its luxury: I especially like the six-drawer dresser along the forward bulkhead. Above it there is one cabinet of deep cedar-lined shelves and another hiding a 20-inch TV/VCR. Splitting the starboard head and shower with a vanity also combines elegance and practicality. It helps open up the space, which is nearly the width of the yacht, and it allows both occupants of the room to use its facilities simultaneously. In addition to a pair of cedar-paneled hanging lockers, stowage also includes a bin under the queen-size berth with enough room for a full set of golf clubs.
Guests are comfortably accommodated well out of earshot in a forepeak cabin with a full-size island berth (opening onto a dual-access head with shower) and in a midcabin whose recessed double berth converts to twins when you remove its bolster.
I found another set of twins when I lifted a hatch in the center of the saloon: two optional 660-hp Caterpillar 3196TA diesel inboards. The alley between these big engines is a little narrow, barely wider than the span of my shoulders, and without hatches directly over each engine, access to their outboard sides is not at all easy. But the compartment is well organized, and daily maintenance can be undertaken comfortably enough.
I followed my perusal of the engine compartment with another look down below, at the utility room, accessed beneath hinged stairs just forward of the galley. This compartment houses a standard, all-in-one washer/dryer, water heater, and dry stowage for tools, spare parts, and lots of additional galley supplies. One look and I realized that along with the impressive amount of space in the galley and under the saloon settees, provisioning the 480 for weeks of cruising would be a piece of cake.
I pondered that possibility as we pulled away from Sea Ray's private harbor. A few weeks of cruising is no problem for a retired astronaut with a wife who works magic. Unfortunately, Don Walden, Sea Ray's performance quality-assurance specialist, and I had only an afternoon, but it was a fine one, with a cloudless sky and a light breeze. Cool and comfortable under the hardtop, we reached 36 mph at wide-open throttle (2325 rpm) in a section of the ICW between Merritt Island and the mainland. At a 2000-rpm cruise, we broke 30 miles per hour for a range of 285 miles. The 480 was a little loud at WOT, reaching 91 dB on the decibel meter. But note that at just 100 rpm less the reading dropped to 88 dB, and at 2000 rpm engine noise was down to 86 dB. According to Walden, Sea Ray is looking into ways of further muffling the engines.
Virtually in the shadow of Cape Canaveral, it was impossible not to compare the 480's performance to a rocket launch. No doubt a NASA veteran would smile at the comparison: The smooth, steady climb of this yacht up out of the hole and onto plane was a far cry from the violent blast of a rocket leaving the launch pad. And maneuvering the boat with the help of Teleflex electronic controls and power-assisted steering was an exhilarating pleasure devoid of the stress that must accompany a space mission. In fact, it was easy to imagine our fictional Major Nelson gazing down from cold, lonely orbit unable to stop himself from wishing he were enjoying a sunny afternoon on just such a yacht. So long as he made the wish to Sea Ray--rather than poor bumbling Jeannie--he'd almost certainly be pleased with the outcome.Sea Ray Boats (800) SRBOATS. Fax: (314) 213-7878. www.searay.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.