If you have an eye out for a high-end, haute-stuff flybridge in the 60-foot-plus range, you might think the best place to turn your attention is to one of those sexy beasts built in Europe, such as the Prestige 620 S or Princess 60, that are designed with the cruising extravagances necessary to port hop from one fabulous mooring in the Mediterranean to the next. Think again; here comes Sea Ray's L650 Fly.
Watch our 2014 Sea Ray L650: First Look Video
Walking the docks at boat shows, I’ve always assumed the place to go for a long gaze at a luxury flybridge is that section where the Brits and Italians are berthed. A cruising behemoth with lovely lines and high-style creature comforts can always be found at the Princess, Fairline, and Azimut booths. But here’s some interesting news: We now have another place to look as Sea Ray throttles up its presence in the flybridge market with a brand-new flagship.
The Sea Ray L650 Fly is not only the largest model from one of the biggest production builders in the United States, it’s also the first boat in what Sea Ray calls its “L Class” of motor yachts. (L stands for luxury.) Sea Ray’s mission here is to build a line with a higher grade of everything; that is, as compared to existing Sea Rays. Premium upholstery, woods, hardware, fixtures, and systems ensure the L650 looks and feels more upscale than any Sea Ray before it. And because the builder employs sophisticated engineering here, the L650 represents a significant first for the builder: It carries a Category A Ocean certification. When you couple that refined style with a structure designed to meet the harshest sea states, you come away with an American build that could be poised to go toerail to toerail with a flybridge yacht of similar size produced overseas.
And there’s another layer of interest. According to Sea Ray, L-Class customers receive access to a menu of premium services, such as dedicated phone lines for support, a thorough vessel orientation by a professional captain, and a class-leading, three-year, bow-to-stern warranty that includes engines and components. These services, says Sea Ray, are a hallmark of the L-Class series, which is slated to expand soon. There could be as many as three more models by the end of 2014: a 650 Express, 580 Fly, and 580 Express.
In many ways, the L650 Fly takes the Sea Ray ownership experience to the next level, but at the same time, the boat will feel pleasantly familiar to anyone who has happily owned this brand in the past. The lines, for instance, are familiar, particularly the sheerline, which shows a conservative sweep forward followed by a dramatic dip aft. Familiar, too, is a long list of standard equipment. It’s thorough enough to include everything from a hydraulic swim platform to an impressive suite of electronics at the helm to a slew of appliances for cooking and first-class entertaining, yet there are enough interesting options here for an owner to build a platform that’s unique to his or her own needs.
Among the standards are a pair of Caterpillar C18 diesel engines (1159 horsepower each), and they’re offered with Glendinning joystick controls for those who might feel a wee bit intimidated at the prospect of docking this 17-foot, two-inch wide baby. Surprisingly, you have to pay more for that option, but the investment is a good one for some. With standard power, the boat should cruise above 30 mph, according to Sea Ray.
Also standard are two helm stations, on the flybridge and below, which is a nice benefit. Sightlines from both driving stations seem good (we didn’t have a chance to test drive the boat), but if you want extra insurance in a white-knuckle docking situation, ask about Skyview, a proprietary Sea Ray system and one of the coolest features onboard the L650 Fly that debuted at the 2014 Miami International Boat Show. Using a trio of cameras located around the vessel, Skyview’s software stitches together a gull’s eye view of your boat. It even includes distance lines that are similar to range rings on a radar display; each line represents about five feet of distance.
Once you’re off the dock, one of the nicest places to be is the flybridge, which looks to be one of the largest in its class. It has multiple seating and dining areas, including a big sunpad forward, all of which can be protected by a retractable sunshade system. (A hardtop is optional.) It’s just one of what Sea Ray calls “Social Zones” that are integrated throughout the boat. Another one is up near the bow, where lounges are recessed into the foredeck. You’ve seen this feature on big custom yachts, and now Sea Ray is one of the first production builders to incorporate it into a model that’s sized to be operated by an owner.
Not all owners will want to run this 65-foot flybridge yacht on their own. If a crew is your preference, there’s an option for crew quarters in the stern. If you go without it, the standard arrangement at the transom specifies a lazarette with day head, which will come in handy when guests are in and out of the water.
And then there’s the cabin. Because the salon is on the same level as the cockpit, the areas function as one seamless entertaining space when the salon door is open. It’s a popular design aesthetic on yachts these days, and in homes, too. More people want the option of bringing the outdoors inside; Sea Ray achieves that very well on the L650. Even if you’re inside with the salon door shut and the A.C. cranked up on a steamy summer day, you still have a sense of the water and horizon around you, thanks to the big and deep windows all around.
|Fuel capacity||1040 gal.|
|Water capacity (optional)||280 gal.|
Sea Ray is skilled at creating stylish interiors and that savvy is showcased on this luxury yacht that rocks a contemporary edge. The builder sweats the details, from contrasting woods (peppercorn and walnut on the boat we saw) on cabinets to the leather-stitched details on everything from upholstery to drawer pulls. But Sea Ray likes to say this model is about more than form; it’s functional, too. To that end, the builder incorporates some innovative features with solidly practical uses. In the galley, for instance, a well-done stowage unit pulls out from beneath the sink counter and makes great use of an area that other builders might write off as dead space. We also like the electrically actuated dish stowage cabinet that rises up from beneath a galley counter. Slick, indeed.
Another nice feature: This is a four-stateroom yacht, and those cabins are all doubles, so the boat easily sleeps eight. The full-beam master amidships is the showcase on the accommodations level as it’s appointed with a vanity, pretty cabinetry all around, a lounger (an option), plus hotel-style headroom. The huge en suite head has modern features like a walk-in shower with a rain-style fixture overhead.
The L650 Fly is a good choice for Sea Ray owners around the world who are ready to trade up into the rarified atmosphere of a 65-foot boat. And, it will also attract those who have never had a Sea Ray before.
For more information, visit Sea Ray Boats.