Sea Ray eyes the world market with the 560 Sedan Bridge
Seeing Sea Ray's new 560 Sedan Bridge firsthand, one might conclude that she is something of a Euro-styled convertible on steroids. This, however, would be a simplistic interpretation.
The 560, a product of Sea Ray's design team, is clearly focused on the global marketplace.
The 560's rakish exterior profile incorporates a new frameless windshield and window design that is attractive and sensible. The glass is bonded to a recess in the deckhouse with a special adhesive. This reduces the potential for leaks and eliminates the headaches caused by pitted aluminum frames. The cockpit is carefully blended into the design and provides the easy access to the water which Sea Ray believes active boaters demand.
A molded anti-skid cockpit sole with a snap-in carpet liner is standard, and hand-laid teak is offered as an option. There is cockpit side stowage as well as transom stowage for fenders, lines and water toy accessories. A fold-down transom settee seats four and can be tucked neatly out of the way. A transom door leads aft to an integral swim platform.
Our test boat was fitted with a hydraulic tender lift, which can be used to launch and retrieve a personal watercraft or a small rigid bottom inflatable. Steps in the cockpit lead forward to side decks I found a bit narrow. The 560's foredeck is fitted with a large sunpad with safety rails and drink holders.
A molded-in stair in the cockpit provides easy access to the flying bridge, which is positioned beneath a radar arch with a cleverly designed integral fiberglass hardtop. The hardtop incorporates an overhead electronics box, grab rails, lighting with dimmer and a full enclosure. Sea Ray offers air conditioning as an option for this area. The 560's extended overhang aft adds significantly to the flying bridge real estate and there is seating for at least 12. helm station has adjustable pilot co-pilot pedestal right forward a curved settee table. bench seat aft. Clarion stereo system wet bar with refrigerator icemaker are standard.
The dinette to port seats four, or the space can be used for an optional lower helm. The cherry joinery is nicely finished. Bird's-eye maple is also available.
The bulkhead between the cockpit and saloon is made of polished stainless steel and glass and has a sliding door for access to the main cabin. The arrangement includes a wraparound sofa and an entertainment center, which has a Bose surround-sound stereo system, a TV and a VCR. The galley forward has an oak sole and is equipped with an under-counter refrigerator/freezer/ ice maker, three burner stove and microwave.
Below, the starboard guest cabin includes a full-size berth, a vanity and an entertainment center. The port guest cabin is laid out with upper and lower berths, and an entertainment center, but you can specify a double instead. Space in this cabin has also been devoted to a washer/dryer. Both cabins have portlights, as well as circular skylights, which gather light from the main cabin. The guest head with shower is accessible from the passageway.
The master stateroom is forward and has a queen-size berth fitted with an innerspring mattress. There is stowage beneath the berth, plus cedar-lined hanging lockers. The vanity has a beveled mirror and stool. Portlights and a deck hatch provide natural lighting. The master head is finished in molded fiberglass with a Corian countertop, stainless steel sink and a ceramic tile sole. A rotating acrylic door closes off the circular shower.
Speeds are a two-way average measured with GPS. Data collected on the Indian River, with five persons aboard, full fuel, 3/4 water.
Sea Ray builds the 560 at its facility in Merritt Island, Fla. Female tooling for the hull is the product of a male plug cut by Sea Ray's five-axis computer-controlled router. This investment in technology not only saves time and labor, it results in tolerances in mere thousandths of an inch. The hull laminate is woven and stitched fiberglass reinforcement with end grain balsa coring in the bottom and topsides. A network of fiberglass stringers and plywood bulkheads provides support. The superstructure and decks are cored with balsa as well.
A steeply raked stem creates moderate convex sections forward, which are followed by a parallel run to a transom deadrise of 15 degrees. These features are accented by a hard chine with a ledge and a series of spray/lifting rails. Shallow propeller pockets allow a conventional drive line configuration without high shaft angles.
Having had the opportunity to sea trial many of Sea Ray's larger designs, I was comfortable and familiar with the 560's handling. Our test boat was fitted with a pair of Caterpillar 3406E (776 hp each @ 2300 rpm), Twin Disc gears with a 1.75 reduction and 30" x 34" four-blade Michigan wheels. The 3406E has a 14.6 liter displacement and features Caterpillar's ECM (electronic control module) together with electronic unit injection. The purpose of electronic technology is to increase efficiency and to provide smooth smoke-free operation. The Cats deliver the goods. We recorded a fuel burn of 29 gallons/hour per engine at 2000 rpm (26.5 knots) and a top speed of 31 knots. Caterpillar's electronic package includes easy-to-read analog instrumentation and onboard engine diagnostics. I found the Twin Disc single lever controls comfortable and responsive. The low idle setting is a desirable feature when minimal wake is required.
Clearly the 560 will appeal to American boaters who are interested in cruising yet still appreciate the inherent performance and layout of a convertible design. Yes, she has a 15' x 10" cockpit with a live well, fishbox and rod holders. More important, however, her modern lines are modeled around an interior and exterior arrangement packed with luxury, style and cruising amenities. These are proven commodities on the international market where Sea Ray sees the future.
560 Sedan Bridge