New Boats

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - —Jeanne Craig

From Düs­sel­dorf to Mi­ami, we step aboard the Sea Ray 520, Benetti Mediter­ra­neo 116 and Brabus Shadow 800.

That’s a Sun­dancer,” said a sweet guy to his wife as he led her along a dock at the Mi­ami boat show. She looked im­pressed by the big express cruiser, even though it wasn’t a Sun­dancer, or a Sea Ray for that mat­ter.

The guy made a com­mon mis­take. Af­ter all, the Sun­dancer se­ries that de­buted in the 1970s dom­i­nated the fam­ily cruiser seg­ment for decades and be­came the brand that many peo­ple as­so­ci­ated with express boats in gen­eral. But the Sun­dancer has changed in re­cent years. It’s mor­phed from a de­sign that put en­ter­tain­ing ar­eas be­lowdecks to a coupe-style plat­form, with the salon and gal­ley up on the same level as the cock­pit. In Mi­ami, Sea Ray de­buted an ad­di­tion to the se­ries, the 520 Sun­dancer, and it looked to be one of the line’s most pol­ished mod­els to date.

“We thought a lot about how to in­fuse the in­te­rior with nat­u­ral light,” said Ron Ber­man, Sea Ray’s vice pres­i­dent of prod­uct port­fo­lio. In the end, the builder brought in the sun with a four-panel Opac­mare slid­ing salon door (many other boats in this size range have just two or three panels), over­sized deck win­dows and a sun­roof with glass that Ber­man says re­duces heat transmission by up to 40 per­cent. That sun­roof, by the way, is stan­dard. It’s one of a num­ber of fea­tures own­ers won’t have to pay more for, which is good news if you’re in the mar­ket for a turnkey cruiser.

Like other coupes, this one puts the gal­ley at the aft end of the salon. For­ward are lounges that sit op­po­site the helm, where the driver con­trols two Cum­mins 600-horse­power diesels and Zeus pods. The propul­sion should push the boat to 32 knots at WOT, and a cruise speed near 26 knots. “Our own­ers will prob­a­bly cruise be­tween 22 and 24 knots per hour, where the range is about 256 nau­ti­cal miles with stan­dard tank­age,” says Ber­man. “It’s a big boat, and it can per­form. It re­ally hits the mark.”

This cruiser is based on the same vari­able dead­rise hull that sup­ports the builder’s 520 Fly, which splashed in late 2017.

The 520 Sun­dancer is home to two state­rooms (a third is op­tional), and a few in­ter­est­ing fea­tures that will im­prove the cruis­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, even if only in sub­tle ways. One is in the cock­pit, where you can get creative with the con­ver­sa­tion pit as con­vert­ible lounges and an ad­justable ta­ble al­low for at least three dif­fer­ent set­ups—it’s kind of like mov­ing fur­ni­ture around in your fam­ily room, only a lot eas­ier. It’s the type of ar­range­ment Sea Ray has al­ways done well, even if the ef­fort isn’t al­ways rec­og­nized by those happy cou­ples at boat shows.

LOA : 52'6" BEAM: 15'2" DISPL.: 42,950 lb. FUEL: 525 gal. WA­TER: 130 gal. POWER: 2/600-hp Cum­mins diesel w/Zeus CRUISE SPEED: 26 knots TOP SPEED: 32 knots PRICE: $1,673,805

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