Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better?
Sea Ray’s New 410 Express Cruiser Begs To Differ.
The not-so-secret weapon of Sea Ray’s new 410 Express Cruiser in this compromise battle is size. With an LOA of 41'6", a beam of 13'10", and a displacement of 21,000 pounds, the 410 is among the larger express cruisers out there. That kind of mass allows her to cut way back on the trade-offs.By their nature, express cruisers storm the front lines in the compromise war. In an express cruiser, the trade-offs between horsepower and space, amenities versus performance, and towering headroom against cramped engine compartments hit closest to home. Think about it. Motoryachts lean toward space and comfort, rather than performance and fuel economy. The canyon-running battlewagon? Fishability, of course. All else is an aside. But express cruiser buyers want it all. They crave wave-slicing excitement with topside acreage that will accommodate family and guests who expect to go below and enjoy all the comforts of home after the performance-induced adrenaline rush.
While many expresses opt for space saving by using stern or V-drives, the 410 relies on straight-shaft inboards, enjoying all the conveniences of that installation - mechanical simplicity, easy access for servicing, and good offshore capability - with little of the space-robbing disadvantages. For instance, saloon headroom, which is often compromised by a straight inboard installation, towers to 6'7" in the 410. Oh sure, if you crawl in through the cockpit hatch to service the engines - 350-hp Caterpillar 3116TAs in our test boat - the 410’s 3'11" engine space headroom could make it a tight fit. But why bother? Push a button, and the whole aft deck comes up enough for a squadron of burly mechanics to cavort in there.
It also lets in all the light you’ll need, a plus since when I entered the engine space via the access hatch to install fuel-flow gear I found the lighting inadequate. A bulkhead-mounted 12-volt lamp forward and two more aft, where the genset lives, do little more than dispel the gloom. Even so, I was able to notice the standard dripless shaft logs, which means the bilges will stay dry, properly loomed and corrosion-protected wiring, and snap-in plastic freshwater plumbing.
The 410’s LOA really shows topsides. There’s no step up or down to hinder the cockpit crowd from hanging out with the helm crew. Eight can comfortably socialize behind the 410’s rakish forward-tilted radar arch, and another four forward, including the skipper, who gets his own bolster-style seat that converts to a comfortable, behind-the-knee leaning post when the action gets too exciting for sitting.
No compromises here: An innovative sliding partition closes off a second stateroom when it’s needed for sleeping.
I got a taste of that action shortly after Michael Marrerol, a representative for Basset Boat Company (Sea Ray’s Miami-area dealer) and I left Basset’s North Miami marina, headed for Government Cut and the whitecap-flecked Atlantic Ocean. The 410 handled the inlet chop easily, not lurching through wakes or rolling excessively in the troughs. The real treat came when we turned north and began cavorting in the four- to five-foot rollers between the Cut and Haulover Inlet a few miles to the north. The 410 came off them with little more than a polite thud. Pounding? Not a bit, even though her hull is not a true deep-V. Transom deadrise is a relatively moderate 19 degrees, so I wouldn’t have been surprised if there were an occasional tooth-rattler. But the 410’s hefty displacement helped flatten the waves, another argument for building ’em big and brawny. Then there’s the boat’s delightful quietness. Marrerol and I were able to discuss the world’s problems without shouting, even while running at full throttle between the Cut and Haulover. Attribute this to Sea Ray’s patented, backflow-protected underwater exhaust system.
Sea Ray must require its engineers to actually be boaters because the 410 positively jumps with features that only those with offshore time could really appreciate. Take the fuel selector valves; open an aft deck cabinet and there they are, eliminating a trip to the engine room. The nonskid is a diamond design that’ll stand up to a serious sloshing without going slick, and it’s where you want it, even in the foredeck sunpad depressions. Up here you usually find the spotlight affixed to the bowrail, just waiting to get mugged by a docking line. The 410’s light is mounted on the foredeck just abaft a pulpit stanchion. It’ll live happily there, and might even outlast its guarantee.
Aft, the door to the swim platform is secured by a solid sliding bolt, not the easily broken friction-type latch used by too many builders. The swim platform itself is big and hefty enough to carry a PWC, and there’s a three-rung stainless steel ladder beneath its own hatch, which allows the ladder to be deployed by a swimmer in the water - a touch that may save a life someday. You can also opt for a hydraulically operated TNT platform.
A transom compartment stows all the shoreside umbilicals - power, TV, and telephone cables–and as they lead out through dedicated stainless steel-rimmed ports, you don’t have to worry about them being exposed to corrosion or theft. Another bin, its hatch secured by two gas rams, is ideal for fenders and lines, but be careful opening it. Those rams are powerful and the hatch cover can spring up and rap you one.
The 410’s electronics and helm instruments are as well packaged as her big, fully equipped galley.
Okay, the 410 is a big, beautiful, wave-slicing machine. But what about the rest of life’s comforts - the below decks kind? Of course, the 410 doesn’t sport the accommodations of a motoryacht, but the layout below isn’t an afterthought either. For starters, the companionway hatch slides back on ball bearings with only fingertip pressure, a big plus in a world where it’s often a struggle to get that hatch open. Two stainless steel handholds ease your way down into a seriously spacious saloon. I’d like to see one or two overhead grabrails; this smooth-running boat lends itself to activity below when underway, and you don’t want your guests ping-ponging in a seaway.
The well-designed galley, with three-burner electric stove, is immediately to port. An innovative sliding partition converts a section of the saloon into a small starboard cabin that sleeps two; another pair can bunk it on the saloon’s convertible sofa. The large forward master stateroom with flanking hanging lockers, full-length mirrored doors, and queen-size island bed, would do a 50-footer justice. The head, accessible via separate doors from both the master and saloon, boasts a tub with a stand-up shower enclosed in a clear plastic sliding door.
But for me it was the detailing and the fit and finish below that were most impressive. The carpentry is excellent, the fabrics are high quality and well matched, and the whole boat exhibits a high level of quality control.
What about that battle? Does the 410 Express Cruiser compromise? Sure, every boat does. But after spending time aboard and putting her through her paces, I challenge you to find out where.
|410 Express Cruiser|
|Sea Ray Boats, Inc. 2600 Sea Ray Blvd. Knoxville, TN 37914 (800) SR-BOATS|
|Fuel capacity||335 gals.|
|MerCruiser 7.4 Liter MPI Bravo 3|