Sea Ray 390: Social Director | Boating Magazine

Sea Ray 390: Social Director

Your new best friend.

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.

But don't let its aerodynamic profile and express cruiser deck arrangement deceive you. The 390 Motor Yacht is intended more for cruising comfort than sporty performance. Still, it provides enough oomph to run inlets with confidence. Turn the key and shift into gear. The boat rises to plane without exceeding five degrees of inclination. Of course, from the height of this helm, you're not likely to lose visibility over the bow (although we've tested some boats that pushed the inclinometer's bubble to eight!). Five degrees is the boat's natural running angle-without tabs-at cruising speed. You'll top 30 mph with the levers pinned to the helm. The twin 370-hp MerCruiser 8.1S Horizon engines provide enough punch so that you accelerate with authority-although you'll never "jump." Minimum plane, achieved with trim tabs fully deployed, occurs at 15 mph. Get caught in a blow, and you won't have to bang your way back to the dock to stay in control. Loop around, parallel your wake, and come to a stop. Laying beam-to, our own wake revealed that the 390 Motor Yacht rolls without undue snap. Best economy? I found it at 3500 rpm, where speed is 21.8 mph and the boat burns 34.4 gph for a range of 171 miles.

This test boat exhibited excess vibration underway, so much so that I could see the hardtop and bowrail shivering. Sea Ray said it was still dialing in the props and that the problem would be corrected in future models. Watch for it during your test drive.

THE OUTSIDERS. Weather boards-removable, clumsy-to-handle-and-store panels used to provide weather protection for the aft deck of a traditional motoryacht-are thankfully absent aboard the 390 Motor Yacht. Instead, thigh-high bulwarks ring this area. You can seal out the rain with clear canvas between these and the hardtop. These bulwarks also provide stowage. Try that with tubing and a teak caprail. Clear acrylic doors to port and starboard provide additional protection and access to the sidedecks and bow. These swing on full-length hinges secured by bolts and barrel nuts. The installation is rugged and looks good. A boarding gate, consisting of a cable strung between the rail and the bulwarks, is outside each of these doors. But a hinged or telescoping section of railing would make it more secure.

There's a large wetbar on the aft deck. It has a sturdy grabrail and a big stowage compartment below. The icemaker is standard. A fitting allows you to plug a blender into the 110-volt outlet inside the cabinet and close the door without crimping the power cord.

INSIDE STRAIGHT. Belowdecks, the 390 Motor Yacht is a waterborne getaway for long weekends. Set on two levels-the galley, forward stateroom, and aft master stateroom are "down"-it's beautifully detailed. The fiberglass headliner is inset with a burled-wood medallion. More burl tops the movable table. Wood-laminate cabinets, faux-granite countertops, lots of natural light, and Ultraleather upholstery complement plush carpeting (runners are standard) and designer door, light, and sink fixtures.

The master stateroom features an innerspring mattress, two illuminated hanging lockers, and a private head, which is laid out in three sections. The sink and vanity are open to the stateroom. On either side of the vanity is a door-open one and find the commode, open the other and find the shower. The window on the aft bulkhead can be kicked out to serve as an emergency exit.

The forward stateroom's arrangement entails two overlapping quarter berths. This allows you to separate the kids or, by using the supplied filler, make a double berth when a couple is aboard. A hatch here provides access to the rode locker. Other manufacturers have neglected this necessity. A door provides private access to the day head.

The galley is fully equipped. Most notable are the steps leading down to it. Lift them up: Inside is a huge utility room where big items will stow easily. Order the optional washer/dryer ($2,333) and this is where it lives.

The Highs: Spectacular! A three-section head! Maintenance made easy thanks to sensible placement of fixtures and equipment. Details: barrel nuts, cable ports, and burled-wood medallions abound.

The Lows: Get a real boarding gate. I wouldn't want to slam against a cable and a clip. Ground connections in the bilge were unsealed-and underwater. Ask about the props.

EXTRA POINT: The 390 Motor Yacht's bow thruster runs off of a dedicated 24-volt battery bank, which reduces amperage draw and ensures that the starting and house banks aren't drawn down by the thruster.

LOA...........41'9" ** **

Beam...........14'3" ** **

Draft (max.)..........3'0"

Displacement (lbs., approx.) .......26,500

Transom deadrise.....15°

Bridge clearance........13'8"

Minimum cockpit depth......2'5"

Max. cabin headroom......6'10"

Fuel capacity (gal.)......300 ** **

Water capacity (gal.)......100

Price (w/standard power) ...........$399,917

Price (w/test power) ...........$399,917

Standard power: Twin 370-hp MerCruiser 8.1S Horizon V-8 gasoline inboards.

Optional power: Twin gasoline inboards to 840 hp total; twin diesel inboards to 892 bhp total.

Test boat power: Twin 370-hp MerCruiser 8.1S Horizon V-8 gasoline inboards with 496 cid, 4.25" bore x 4.43" stroke, swinging 23" x 22" four-bladed Nibral props through 2.71:1 reductions.

Standard equipment (major items) Engine drip sumps; windlass; hardtop; aft stateroom kick-out window; windshield washer; aft deck canvas and windshield shades; 6-disc AM/FM/CD stereo w/8 speakers; 2 TVs/VCRs; coffeemaker; microwave/convection oven; refrigerator/freezer; icemaker; 2-burner stove; GPS/WAAS navigator; VHF radio; dual 30a shorepower; water heater; battery charger; 9.6kW genset; 30,000-Btu a/c/heat.

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