I’ve been reviewing Sea Rays since company founder Connie Ray was still driving the train, and I’ve often used adjectives like well-built and family-friendly to describe new models. But when I stepped aboard the Sea Ray Fly 520, a different word came to mind: elegant. The Fly 520 is designed and built to standards not expected in a 50-something-footer. The salon, for example, isn’t called a salon; Sea Ray calls it the sunroom, which I think is a more accurate term. Windows stretch from seat backs to overhead, there are triple sliding doors aft, and the windscreen forward uses the tallest (6-foot-1-inch) piece of glass ever installed on a Sea Ray. The effect is airy and relaxing, connecting the indoor space to outdoor areas. Materials also lend an air of elegance. Grain-matched, glossy walnut joinerwork has swirls that run across locker doors and into the surrounding cabinetry, much as they might aboard superyachts from Dutch and Italian shipyards. Ebony in satin or high-gloss finish is optional.
The flybridge’s glass-enclosed stairway also has a wow factor. Starting at the after bulkhead (so it doesn’t subtract from cockpit space), the stainless-steel-and-teak steps have glass panels on each side, giving secure access to and from the bridge. With the glass dividers, the stairway doesn’t block the skipper’s view aft — instead, it’s like a chrome-and-glass sculpture that floats without intruding.
The sunroom also includes an aft galley, which serves as a hub for entertaining inside and in the cockpit. Tucked under the stairwell is the same four-drawer fridge/freezer found aboard the Sea Ray L650, a configuration that creates added counter space for buffets. The galley also has a Keurig coffee maker and a convection oven/microwave, and the counters are cleverly stacked for extra space as well as see-through airiness.
The lower helm has a four-way adjustable double seat, and the dash has room for a pair of Raymarine Axiom 12 monitors (standard with GPS, radar, chart plotter and fish finder), plus a Mercury SmartCraft VesselView display. A nice touch, pun intended, is the shift away from rows of rocker switches to a waterproof, solid-state touchscreen panel.
The cockpit seating includes an aft lounge with a convertible backrest and roller tracks to slide fore and aft, allowing guests to face forward into the sunroom or aft over the swim platform. A table drops down so the settee can pass over it, allowing the table to be used with the settee in either position. On each side of the cockpit are additional lounges, and an optional awning provides shade.
A hydraulic swim platform can handle a 1,000-pound tender on sliders, and its delta shape allows walking access past the tender when it’s stowed. With the tender launched, the platform’s design makes for easy tender boarding, and steps automatically appear when the platform is used as a swimming “beach.” The bridge has a hardtop with opening sunroof that comes standard (an extended hardtop with full canvas enclosure is optional) and is arranged to be an alfresco living area. A triple-wide companion seat is next to the skipper’s pedestal helm seat, and there is wraparound seating abaft a console with a sink and fridge.
Sea Ray includes Matouk bed linens with each Fly 520. The sets have 600-thread-count sheets, pillows and coordinating bedspreads. There’s also a set of silverware and glassware in the galley, including Champagne glasses to toast a fun day on the water.
When it comes to accommodations, the full-beam master suite has a queen-size innerspring mattress at an angle to maximize walk-around space. A built-in, six-drawer dresser lines the master’s port side; there are two cedar-lined hanging lockers and a hidden washer/dryer combo; and hullside windows make this an airy oasis. The master head is forward to port, with a shower with teak sole and acrylic door. As with the rest of the Fly 520, an emphasis is on glass, both in the head and in the shower with opening port.
A queen-size berth is in the VIP stateroom forward, with direct access to the day-head with acrylic-doored shower and VacuFlush head. A third stateroom is just aft to starboard, with twin berths that convert to a queen.
The foredeck has sun pads for four or more guests with adjustable backs and built-in pillows. Add the optional sunshade, plug into the USB ports and chill out.
Standard power for the Fly 520 is a pair of 574 hp Cummins QSC8.3 600 HO diesels matched to Zeus pod drives. Because of the compact size of the pod drives, the engine room has surprising space and accessibility. The standard 17 kW generator can be upsized to 21 kW. Access to the gelcoated engine room is through a gas-assisted cockpit hatch, and standard systems include a 75-foot-long Cablemaster with remote, a 120V/240V shore-power transformer, and cable TV connections. To operate the pod drives, skippers have the Zeus joystick as well as SmartCraft digital throttle/shifters in three locations, including at a cockpit maneuvering station.
Sea Ray already has the L-Class series of yachts at the luxury end of its spectrum, ranging from 56 to 65 feet, but this Fly 520 has quite a bit of chic appeal. As I said earlier, she is elegant, and she holds true to Sea Ray’s history of producing yachts that are well-built and family-friendly.