Pull up the hatch in the salon sole aboard Sea Ray's 390 Motor Yacht and climb down into the engine compartment. All the seacocks are easy to see, identify, and get to. You can close any valve quickly and without reaching under a hot engine. What's more, Sea Ray realizes that raw-water intake hoses rarely blow at the dock-especially aboard a boat designed for extended cruising. So what does all this have to do with you, you ask? Simply put, basic serviceability is as built into the 390 Motor Yacht as the wetbar, the standard hardtop, or the bulwarks surrounding the aft deck.
MOUNT UP. The traditional motoryacht helm is positioned on a flying bridge several steps above the aft deck. This has several advantages: It reduces windage, provides better visibility looking aft, and in my opinion, gives a boat a better-looking profile. The problem with this arrangement is that it makes for a lonely captain. While your passengers are enjoying one another's company out of the weather and within arm's reach of the wetbar, you're up on the bridgedeck, dodging spray and wondering what all that laughter bubbling up from below is about.
Like Cruisers Yachts 4050 ($391,940 powered like our test boat), the 390 Motor Yacht breaks with tradition and solves both problems by putting the helm and aft deck on the same level. This means you drive from behind a full-size windshield, under a protective hardtop. Best of all, you'll know for sure when the jokes are at your expense. Think of an express cruiser's cockpit and helm topping a motoryacht's cavernous belowdecks accommodations. Both Sea Ray and Cruisers Yachts are at the forefront of this new motoryacht design edict. Other manufacturers are sure to follow.
As for my opinion of the traditional layout versus the new hybrid boat typified by the 390 Motor Yacht, let me say that Sea Ray took great pains at the drawing board to sweeten the 390 Motor Yacht's lines. Its raked stem, sporty hardtop supported by pillars that resemble a radar arch, and the elliptical shape of its windows aid in visually stretching the boat. From up close or across the harbor, it doesn't look like a refrigerator lying on its side. If not sleek, these design elements give the 390 Motor Yacht a powerful, athletic profile.