Sea Ray puts a pair of MerCruiser 8.1S Horizon gas engines, rated at 370 hp each, in the 36 Sedan Bridge as standard power. They moved our test boat along nicely.

Sea Ray puts a pair of MerCruiser 8.1S Horizon gas engines, rated at 370 hp each, in the 36 Sedan Bridge as standard power. They moved our test boat along nicely.

Talk about a tall ship.

Indeed, the most striking characteristic of Sea Ray's new 36 Sedan Bridge is her height — a commanding 18 feet, 6 inches above the water. Excellent sight lines abound from the flybridge, not only for docking and maneuvering, but also from the standpoint of pure enjoyment of your surroundings.

I thought all this windage would have a negative effect on control, but it wasn't the case. The wind was gusting between 15 and 20 knots on the day I tested the 36 Sedan Bridge out of Sea Ray's Sykes Creek manufacturing facility in Merritt Island, Florida. She handled like a charm on a wide section of the Intracoastal Waterway near the Kennedy Space Center. While running at cruising speed as well as doing docking maneuvers, helm response was quick and positive, despite the breezes.

Sea Ray puts a pair of MerCruiser 8.1S Horizon gas engines, rated at 370 hp each, in the 36 Sedan Bridge as standard power. They moved our test boat along nicely. There was a slight amount of bow rise when coming on plane, but with the view from the high flybridge, this was a non-issue. Midrange throttle response was immediate and strong. I did a few avoidance maneuvers, and the boat showed she could get out of the way quickly.

Gadgets and Stuff

The performance is equally matched by the amenities. The spacious flybridge has bench seats along the starboard side and across the aft, along with a pair of swivel buckets at the helm. Sea Ray offers an optional combination-electronics arch and hardtop that covers the forward half of the bridge. Also, an optional canvas package shades the back half. I would recommend both, as they will keep you out of sun and weather when needed.

Sea Ray offers several electronics options for the helm, including a pair of the new Northstar 6000i display panels that were on our test boat. They show you everything you need to know, from charting and radar images to an echo sounder and engine monitoring. You can also have the Raymarine E-120 display system or the Sea Ray Navigator. Even the standard instrumentation is high-tech, with Mercury's SmartCraft(tm) diagnostics display with System View.

The cabin also has a host of high-tech wizardry. Instead of a master electrical control panel with rows of breakers and switches, Sea Ray uses a state-of-the-art touch-screen electronic power distribution system. Even the wall switches to control lighting and other electrical functions throughout the boat are touch pads.

There's plenty of seating in the salon, with a love seat to port and a settee along the starboard side. The dinette is forward and to starboard, one step up from the main deck. The L-shaped seating from this perch has great sight lines to the outside through the large expanse of glass surrounding the salon. I liked the attractive use of a stainless steel handrail with its tempered glass insert that acted as a low divider to separate the dinette space from the galley.

The galley is equipped with separate, under-counter refrigerator and freezer units that operate on either 12 or 120 volts. There's also a two-burner stove with a powered vent, a microwave oven and a coffeemaker, all standard. Sea Ray puts plate and glass storage racks in the cabinets to keep your dishes from falling and breaking. In addition to storage in the cabinets, there's space in a compartment beneath the galley's wood floor.

The salon entertainment center sits in a cabinet at the aft-port corner and holds a 20-inch flat-screen LCD TV and a DVD player. The Clarion AM/FM receiver is connected to a six-CD changer and is Sirius Satellite Radio capable. You get a six-month subscription when you buy the boat, which has become a nice perk on a number of other new boats. There are eight speakers throughout the boat, along with a subwoofer in the salon, as well as a digital remote for the radio on the bridge. All this electronic gear is standard equipment.

Sleep Tight

The 36 Sedan Bridge has two staterooms, with the master forward and featuring a full-size pedestal berth with an innerspring mattress. A 14-inch TV/DVD combo comes standard. There are two hanging lockers, shelf storage along the sides and a hope chest seat at the foot of the berth.

The second stateroom lies under the dinette along the starboard side. It has twin berths that convert to a queen with a filler cushion. The forward portion of the space has standing headroom and a hanging locker. Sea Ray provides matching pillows, bedspreads and sheets for the boat, all standard. A split head is shared by the two staterooms (plus access from the companionway), with a toilet to port. The shower compartment is on the starboard side.

Air conditioning, a generator and a windlass are standard equipment on the 36 Sedan Bridge. You can order the boat with an optional bow and stern thruster, a cockpit ice-maker or refrigerator and a central vacuum system.

One more notable feature worth mentioning is the substantial grabrail that runs horizontally across the sliding glass door from the cockpit to the salon. I've seen so many boats with nothing to hold onto, save a small recess and a tiny latching mechanism. Ever try to open the door in rough seas? The bar is just one of many examples of how Sea Ray's 36 Sedan Bridge is a well-designed boat.

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