Sea Ray 680

PMY Tested: Sea Ray 680
Sea Ray 680 — By Capt. Bill Pike February 2001

Big Kahuna
The 680 Sun Sport is a paradigm of maneuverability, computer-driven technology, and the biggest Sea Ray ever.
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Sea Ray 680
• Part 2: Sea Ray 680
• Sea Ray 680 Specs
• Sea Ray 680 Deck Plan
• Sea Ray 680 Acceleration Curve

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I eased the new Sea Ray 680 to a stop just above the Atlantic Boulevard bridge, a couple of miles from the Marine Max dealership in Pompano Beach, Florida, the palm-shady dealership where I’d boarded her that morning. Our bow was pointed north, up the ICW, toward Hillsboro Inlet and the open Atlantic. The situation was fortunate. The next scheduled opening for the next bridge at 14th Street was in 20 minutes, so I had the perfect opportunity to get a feel for the 680’s close-quarters handling characteristics. Sands Harbor Marina, just to starboard, proffered a long stretch of empty facedock.

I leaned back appreciatively. The leather Recaro helm seat I was ensconced in was a thing of ergonomic beauty, a sort of Eames chair of the sea, with electric push buttons for tilt, lumbar support, elevation, fore-aft travel, heat, and side cushioning. I clicked the starboard stick ahead, then quickly clicked it back, the point being to pivot the boat a quarter turn and wind up perpendicular to the dock so I could practice backing down using some dock boxes as a range. My first observation? The sync between the Mathers MicroCommander electronic controls and the big 1,358-hp Caterpillar 3412Es was perfect. Thanks to their authoritative detent and hardly any delay, the 680 swung her nose to port like an exquisitely trained bird dog. To heck with the ebbtide current and gusts boisterous enough to stretch out the pennants at Sands Harbor.

“Heavy boats are great,” I enthused to Scott Nault, Sea Ray’s sales manager for yachts. And indeed the 680 (70'5"x18'6") is a heavyweight, with a reported dry displacement of roughly 75,000 pounds, a figure identical to the halt-load displacement of another big, express-type beauty, Sunseeker’s Predator 75 (75'2"x17'10"). From my commercial boat-handling background, I’ve learned that generally speaking, the more a vessel weighs, the more she resists the effects of wind and current, a phenomenon especially pronounced when there are torquey powerplants and big props like our five-bladed, highly-pitched 30-inchers.

“Too cool for words,” I observed as I sat sideways in the Recaro, the fingers of my right hand clicking the Mathers sticks fore and aft, tweaking the movement astern. I was able to keep tabs on our progress with consummate ease thanks to excellent sight lines aft. Eventually I stopped just short of the pilings under the dock, perfectly lined up on the dock boxes above. The 680’s manner was so delicately enchanting that I immediately tried the whole maneuver again. Then again. And again. The result? Perfection every time.

Ensuing open-water performance was superb as well. Although lowery skies and six-foot seas made the offshore road a little rocky, the 680 ran like a stretch limo on the interstate, up-sea, down-sea, and side-sea, with an open sunroof for ventilation, an average top speed of 41 mph, and an overall ride so smooth and groovy it kept the windshield bone-dry. Turns were tight and lively, partly due to oversize rudders and partly to beefy, engine-driven, hydraulic steering. Other characteristics I benefited from were an aptly positioned center of gravity that engendered a proper angle of attack sans trim tabs, a true-tracking, sea-slicing modified-V running surface with 19 degrees of transom deadrise, and a solid, quiet ambiance.

Next page > Sea Ray 680 continued > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This article originally appeared in the December 2002 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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