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Sea Ray Switches It Up with the Fly 520 Yacht

Sea Ray’s new 52-foot flybridge yacht bends the usual design rules to make a much better boat.

In profile, Sea Ray’s new Fly 520 looks like a fairly traditional flybridge motor yacht. This recent launch, however, has at least a half-dozen features that set it apart from its European and American competitors. At Sea Ray’s Yacht Expo recently, I saw how the designers used fresh thinking to transform areas that have remained a bit stagnant on most other boats in its class. These features aren’t all gee-whiz standouts, but they make significant differences to improving life onboard.

Sea Ray used creative design all across the 520. The aft galley in the saloon, for instance, makes it easier to serve both the inner dining area and table in the aft cockpit. Aft galleys are becoming more common for an alfresco-dining approach to boating, but instead of the usual tower fridge, Sea Ray used refrigerator and freezer cabinets, much like one would see on a sailboat. The hip-height refrigerator/freezer not only lets in more natural light, but also provides a clear view of the exterior stairs through the glass walls. These stairs are enclosed by the galley window and an outer bulkhead, providing a secure way to move up and down to the flybridge while the boat is running. The placement of the stairs also keeps them out of the way inside the aft cockpit. Individually, each of these features has a minimal impact, but together, they actually transform the flow of light and movement through the boat.

Sea Ray worked hard to infuse the interior with natural light, using large side windows and forward windshield, while also employing light-colored materials and upholstery to diffuse sunlight rather than absorb it. Beyond light, the 520’s interior was noteworthy for its excellent fit and finish, including grained-matched walnut cabinets and faux oak flooring. A 50-inch pop-up television is built into the starboard side and a Bose system adds life-like sound. Sea Ray partnered with Matouk for the onboard linens, and installed a climate-controlled wine cellar for the extra touch of luxury.

Belowdecks, the full-beam master suite is the largest stateroom ever in a Sea Ray in this class, featuring a queen-size bed with innerspring mattress. It is positioned athwartships to give more usable interior space. The en-suite bathroom is also generous, with a glass-stall shower. Up front, the VIP stateroom in the bow also has a queen-size bed and its own large bathroom. A third stateroom has twin beds that push together to form a queen.

Sea Ray got very creative on the back end of the 520, employing a “Delta” swim platform and convertible lounge that turns the conventional cockpit design on its head. The Delta swim platform has a D-shaped portion that descends into the water (for swimming or launching a tender) while a 2-foot section along the edge of the boat remains in place. That allows the onboard chef to stand on the swim platform and grill on the rear-facing cooker, while everyone else is in the water. A center portion of the submerged platform opens into a staircase so climbing up and down the stairs is simple.

Combine that with the convertible lounge on the cockpit and the whole rear area transforms into a playpen. The lounge either faces forward, as on a traditional boat, or slides on tracks to look backward across the Delta platform. It’s a clever design that lets the cockpit convert to whatever layout is most suitable.

On the foredeck, an enormous sun lounge with canvas shade offers yet another private area for four. And up on the bridge, an L-shaped lounge, fridge, and cockpit table under an opening hardtop create a third gathering point. As we discovered on our sea trial, the bridge is an excellent place for chatting and enjoying the best view of the water, while the 520 is cruising along at 35 knots and leaving other boats in its wake.

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