Sea Ray 510 Fly
Climbing behind the wheel of the new Sea Ray 510 was pure déjà vu. Over the years, I’ve sea trialed a passel of Sea Rays, and, as always, the consistency of the brand engendered a certain comfy familiarity. I hunted the steering console for a moment, and soon found the Bennett tab controls, located to the right of the wheel and just below. Then I checked our position via a Raymarine HybridTouch screen on the dash, cast a fast glance over the stern to make sure there was nobody coming, and, with a tingle of boat-drivin’ anticipation, eased the Twin Disc sticks off neutral and into the go-go realm.
The ride was super smooth. After a mile or so with our 601-horsepower Cummins QSC8.3s going full chat, I spun the wheel to port with a vengeance, the point being to approximate maximum heel as well as the tactical diameter of a hardover turn. Our 510 answered her rudders with a comfortable but exhilarating inboard-leaning swoop. Looking back, I put the diameter of our turning circle at a broad three boat-lengths, maybe four, a typical finding on inboard boats, especially those with widely spaced props, rudders, and tunnels. No prop ventilation. No chine-hopping forward. No slide at the transom. No scariness at all. Just a good, solid, predictably enjoyable romp. I powered the boat out of the hole several times without deploying the tabs and not once lost sight of the horizon over the bow, despite a rather steep 6-degree maximum trim angle.
Our 510 was the very first Sea Ray to be outfitted with the new Cummins Inboard Joystick system, a nifty control package that uses computer technology to manipulate a twin-engine inboard’s mains and her bow thruster (as well as her stern thruster if fitted) to produce joystick maneuverability. The system evinced roughly the same capabilities I’d experienced with Cummins Zeus and other pod-type products.
I toured our 510’s interior with Sea Ray’s program manager for product development Chris Walker, the guy who’d overseen the actual design and completion of the boat. The most striking aspect for me was the seeming immensity and layout of the full-beam, amidships master stateroom—not only was it huge, bright (thanks to three large, chevron-shaped windows on each side), and precisely finished, it had standup headroom where it was needed. Indeed, I found I could walk around the queen-sized berth like I was in a hotel, with nary a fear of knockin’ the ol’ noggin. And the en suite head, just forward of the starboard-side dinette, only bolstered my enthusiasm, thanks to a residential-style tile floor and a comfy teak benchseat in the acrylic shower stall.
The rest of the 510’s three-stateroom-two-head layout was fairly straightforward, except that the windows in the saloon were the largest ever installed on a Sea Ray, according to Walker, and the lazarette beneath the cockpit lounge was big enough to double as a crew’s quarters with a few modifications. And then there was one more rather nifty little detail.
While the flying bridge was invitingly expansive (with lounge areas fore and aft) and boathandler-friendly (thanks to a large, easy-to-see-through companionway opening), it also offered an innovative type of access. Instead of a hatch that swung open above the opening, Sea Ray had installed a sort of horizontal pocket-type door that slides sideways across it. When not in use, the darn thing is totally out of the way. Virtually invisible!
“You folks at Sea Ray,” I told Walker, after snapping the door smoothly open and closed a few times, “are always comin’ up with stuff that’s hip and happenin’.”
“We try,” replied Walker with a grin. “We try.”
Sea Ray Boats, 321-449-9073; www.searay.com
: 46,500 lb.
: 500 gal.
: 140 gal.
: 2/601-hp Cummins QSC8.3 diesels
: $1.7 million
: 1/11-kW Cummins Onan
: 2/715-hp Cummins QSM11 diesel inboards; 2/600-hp Cummins Zeus-3800s
: ZF2861 with 2.01:1 gear ratio
: 27 x 25 4-blade bronze Michigan Wheel
*Range based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity.