Sea Ray 680 Page 2

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

Big Kahuna
Part 2: Sea Ray 680 continued
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Sea Ray 680
• Part 2: Sea Ray 680 continued
• Sea Ray 680 Specs
• Sea Ray 680 Deck Plan
• Sea Ray 680 Acceleration Curve

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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 deployment?

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 bunk above.

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.

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

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

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