Sea Ray L650
By Peter A. Robson
Sea Ray has brought its already exceptional styling to a new level in its 65-foot flagship, the L650, available in either sedan or flybridge models. The “L” stands for luxury and while Sea Ray has always been known for its state-of-the-art interior (and exterior) design, it’s hard to imagine how they could improve on it—but they have pulled it off—admirably.
Headquartered in Knoxville Tennessee, Sea Ray has been in business for more than 55 years. The company is owned by Brunswick Corp, the world’s largest producer of boats. With 40 different models from 19 to 65 feet, Sea Ray offers more choices than any other builder.
First and foremost, the L650 is a big, beautiful yacht—one that seems larger than its hull length of 60 feet (if you deduct the swim platform). With the hull sides rising close to six feet above the waterline, there’s plenty of room inside and out, including several appealing social areas, four deluxe staterooms, three striking heads and an optional crew quarters. Add to that the easy joystick steering and a top speed of more than 30 knots, and the result is one delicious package.
On Deck The cockpit is entered via a stairway from the hydraulic swim platform (for raising and lowering a dinghy, kayak or what have you in and out of the water) The test boat had its voluminous transom/lazerette locker configured as a crew quarters (or for guests or kids who don’t behave). It was tight, but fitted with two narrow bunks with a table between them, a sink, faucet and toilet. This is a good option for owners who prefer to sit back and enjoy the boating experience while letting a captain worry about navigation and boat handling. It is also useful as a day head, as opposed to having to go through the saloon and to a head down below after enjoying watersports. Alternately, the area can serve as a massive storage area for pretty well any water toy one could imagine.
The cockpit has the ambiance of a second saloon and it’s well equipped for socializing, with a long L-shaped settee with plush cushions fronted by a beautifully-crafted high-gloss teak table. Thirsty? There’s a fully equipped wet bar, refrigerator and grill right there in the cockpit. A retractable electric awning extends aft from the overhead to completely cover the cockpit—good for getting out of the sun or rain. An optional starboard-side docking station with joystick controls is a helpful feature.
Moving forward along the wide side decks is simple from the starboard side. A removable section (that takes some fiddling) of the settee provides access to the port side. I would like to see another handrail at the transitions of the cockpit and raised side decks, but otherwise, moving forward is made secure by sturdy, full-length handrails and cabin-top grab rails.
The forward deck has an ingenious and inviting lounge area and it is my favourite space on this yacht. Deck-level walkthroughs access a comfortable, curved, forward-facing settee. Forward of the walkthrough is a multipurpose double sunpad that can be configured as a standard flat sunpad or, by lifting various sections, it can become a forward facing sunpad with backrests or a couple of aft-facing seats. With the optional removable teak table, there’s room for the whole gang to suntan, enjoy the open air, have cocktails, dinner or simply enjoy the view. Built in speakers and a control panel for the entertainment system add even more to the fun factor.
Interior Four heavy, glass-pane sliding doors open to provide an almost seamless, same-level transition from the cockpit to the airy saloon. The only thing I didn’t like here were the deep grooves in the sliding door threshold. They are unavoidable, but would be very hard on bare feet.
The saloon has a minimum of six-feet, six inches of headroom and the test boat was furnished with an elegant blend of white ultraleather settees, laminated walnut woodwork and accents, and wall treatments of taupe, silver and chocolate. Of note are the unique leather-covered hinged drawer pulls. Lift up and the latch opens. Close the door and the latch engages. They are probably the simplest and most effective catches I’ve ever seen.
A sizable opening skylight transforms the saloon into a sunroom. I was impressed by the window arrangement, which consists of a series of arched, curved and straight mullions, with each window a different size. They offer a striking contrast to the sharp angles of the rest of the interior.
The wide-plank, distressed-walnut flooring was done in a variety of shades and will likely prove excellent at hiding wear.
The saloon is divided into several comfortable socializing areas. Aft is the main lounge area, with settees all round, and two square ottomans. This is the place to be when the sliding doors are open, or to watch satellite TV on the massive 50-inch flat-screen. Combined with the cockpit seating area, there’s plenty of room for a big party.
The forward half of the saloon is up a level. My favourite place here is on one of the swiveling bar stools that front the galley’s raised countertop. Below the counter—at least on the test boat—and facing aft was a large sculptured and painted backlit glass panel—a striking piece of artwork.
In the galley, the black, flecked, Silestone countertops contrast well with the walnut and chocolate-painted cabinetry. There’s a lot to like here. First is the abundance of counter space and enough open space for several people to work side-by-side. Second is storage—always an issue in any boat. Sea Ray has come up with two unique ways of providing more of it. First is a cabinet for plates, bowls, glasses and mugs that is hidden under the countertop. At the push of a button, an electric motor lifts the unit about two feet above the counter. Other components of the galley include under-counter drawer-style refrigerator and freezer with icemaker, three-burner electric induction cooktop with pop-up pot holders (fiddles) and power vent, drawer-style dishwasher and a convection microwave.
The U-shaped dining area, with another beautiful high-gloss table, faces the galley.
Forward of here is the helm station. It is cleanly laid out with dual Stidd helm seats, room on the console for two 15-inch Raymarine flat-screen glass bridge multifunction units (chart plotter, radar, fish finder, cameras, Sirius weather module and so on) and the Cat digital engine readout units (which can also be displayed on the Raymarine flat screens). Above is an electric opening window.
As with the saloon, the forward accommodation areas are extremely well styled, tasteful and luxurious. By the way, if ordering this boat, bring along your interior decorator as there are many choices of materials and colours. The companionway and foyer are open to above so there’s plenty of light getting below. Under the staircase are a washer and dryer.
Of the four carpeted staterooms (all with more than six feet of headroom), two have twin beds with the pillow-ends well placed next to the hull windows. The VIP is in the bow, with an island queen and ample storage, including hanging lockers. There are two generous heads; one dedicated to the VIP and one for the two twin-bed staterooms. Both are equal in size, finely fitted out and have separate shower compartments.
The full-beam master truly stands out in its size, style and furnishings. It radiates luxury with its blend of plush carpeting, contrasting colours and walnut woodwork. The hull windows are expansive and the queen-size bed has plenty of walk-around room. Dressing tables and drawers run along both sides of the stateroom. There’s tons more storage under the bed and in hanging lockers.
Aft is the full-width ensuite, with tiled floors, a roomy rain shower to starboard and a long counter with his and her raised vessel sinks. Like the galley, the black-with-gold-flecked counter tops contrast very nicely with the walnut woodwork and the grey tiled floor.
Engine and Systems Power is provided by twin 1,150 horsepower Caterpillar C18A six-cylinder (in line) diesels with straight shafts and prop tunnels. Bow and stern thrusters are standard. The engine room has good “kneeling” headroom and reasonable access to all the important components. Heating and cooling throughout is via a reverse cycle system. A 21.5 kW Onan generator provides plenty of auxiliary power. The test boat was fitted with an optional water maker. For cleaning, there’s a built-in central vacuum system.
Underway M&P Mercury’s service manager, Tom Pflugrath, took us out on our sea trial. He’s used joysticks for both Zeus and Volvo pod drives and insists that using the L650’s joystick, which ties together the twin fixed props and the thrusters, works equally well.
The L650 also has a nifty feature called “Command View.” This docking system incorporates GPS and cameras on both sides and the back of the yacht. The viewer is presented with a computerized overhead rendering of the vessel, while a series of lines show the operator how far he or she is from an object, such as a dock (sort of like a car’s backup camera, but looking
down from above.)
With 3,000 combined horsepower, the L650 has plenty of get-up-and-go. It took only 10 seconds to get up on the plane and 25 seconds from a standing start to 30 knots, with little bow rise during the transition. Visibility over the bow was good and in sharp turns at speed there was no slipping of the hull or prop cavitation. A westerly wind had kicked up a one-foot chop in English Bay and some large wakes showed the L650 to be quite capable and solid. At an easy low speed cruise of 9.9 knots (1,000 rpm) we were burning a combined 13.7 gallons (0.72 miles per gallon). A fast cruise was at about 2,000 rpm (24.6 knots, 0.28 mpg). Wide open throttle was 2,350 rpm for a top speed of 31.2 knots (117.2 gph/0.27 mpg). While this isn’t a fuel-sipping yacht, it is powerful, fast and comfortable while underway.
Concluding Remarks The L650 has plenty of “Wow” factor and many, many subtle and not-so-subtle creative and stylish touches. Clearly Sea Ray has delivered on the “luxury” in L-Class. And of course, all of this is built on Sea Ray’s unique exterior styling and proven hull design. The L650 is equally well suited to those who want to bring a crowd aboard for a party or owners with extended families who want to take them on a day cruise or an extended voyage. Price for the test boat, as equipped with plenty of optional upgrades, is $3,398,202 USD.