Sea Ray SLX 400

Power & Motor Yacht - - 64 - Capt. Bill Pike

Sea Ray saw fit to en­ter the new SLX 400 in the In­no­va­tion Awards con­test at this year’s Mi­ami In­ter­na­tional Boat Show, and when I went aboard the sleek, mul­ti­di­men­sional ves­sel right be­fore the show, along with the rest of the awards judg­ing com­mit­tee, I quickly saw why. “The En­ter­tainer,” as Sea Ray calls the boat, has more fun stuff go­ing for her than an im­promptu week­end at Dis­ney.

Up for­ward, for ex­am­ple, there’s a “so­cial bow,” with a U-shaped, con­vert­ible-tablee­quipped lounge and, just abaft that, a set of three chaise lounge “tour­ing seats,” com­plete with arm­rests, drink hold­ers, and an oh-so-con­tem­po­rary al­beit op­tional over­head “sail shade.” Hey—if you can’t en­joy a cool, dock­side gabfest with friends and fam­ily here, or a laid-back, high-speed zoom into sum­mer’s far hori­zons, maybe you should switch to cro­quet as your pri­mary pas­time.

And back aft? We’re talkin’ Swiss-Army-Knife ver­sa­til­ity, with a whop­ping swim plat­form aug­mented by a fold-down “pa­tio wing” to star­board that can­tilevers invit­ingly over the wa­ter—can­non­ball any­one? A lounge both sin­u­ously in­ter­con­nects the area with the cock­pit’s am­ple “so­cial zone” and of­fers easy stowage for, among other things, two full-up paddle boards. And the cock­pit prom­ises pure, around-the-swim­ming­pool sat­is­fac­tion, thanks to a wet bar (with re­frig­er­a­tor, sink, a solid-sur­face coun­ter­top, and a cou­ple of op­tional grills), a gi­ant L-shaped lounge, and a raft of cool can­vas op­tions, in­clud­ing a re­tractable screen in the hard­top and an elec­tri­cally ac­tu­ated hard­top ex­ten­sion to shade the fes­tiv­i­ties aft.

There’s way more to the 400 than her beachy, fun-lov­ing ac­cou­trements, how­ever. The helm sports two, no-non­sense, 12-inch Ray­ma­rine MFDs, an er­gonom­i­cally lo­cated SmartCraft bin­na­cle-type en­gine con- trol for con­ve­nient open-wa­ter run­ning, an Ax­ius Propul­sion joy­stick to fa­cil­i­tate close-quar­ters ma­neu­ver­ing, and “Cloud Con­nec­tiv­ity” for mon­i­tor­ing or even di­ag­nos­ing the ves­sel re­motely via smart­phone. In ad­di­tion to ev­ery­thing else, there’s also an am­ple air-con­di­tioned cabin be­lowdecks, of­fer­ing a queen-sized berth and a dinette that con­verts to a V-berth (with filler cush­ions), as well as an en­closed head com­part­ment and shower.

I’d say it’s the qui­etRIDE sys­tem that tops the whole thing off, though. To en­sure min­i­mal dis­trac­tions on board the 400 while un­der way, it com­bines the virtues of sound- and vi­bra­tion-damp­en­ing ma­te­rial lam­i­nated into the hull, the strate­gic ap­pli­ca­tion of acous­ti­cal in­su­la­tion else­where, and the in­clu­sion of a so-called “Tuned Tran­som” from Omni Prod­ucts, which fur­ther re­duces vi­bra­tion and sound as­so­ci­ated with the boat’s en­gines and Bravo III drive sys­tem. A quiet ride with qui­etRIDE? Oh yeah!

Un­for­tu­nately, we haven’t had a chance to sea trial the SLX 400 yet so we have none of our own per­for­mance num­bers to re­port. But the Sea Ray rep on the scene at the Mi­ami show claimed an im­pres­sive top end. And con­sid­er­ing the rous­ing na­ture of the claim, as well as all the mod­ern ways to have fun that the 400 pro­vides, is it any won­der she in­deed snagged an In­no­va­tion Award? —

That “pa­tio wing” to star­board will cer­tainly stop both guests and pass­ing spec­ta­tors in their tracks.

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