Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge (2011-)
Sea Ray is revamping its 450 Sedan Bridge, changing its propulsion from V-drives to Zeus pods and restyling the boat's exterior. Although the secrecy surrounding a boat under development can rival anything you'll find at the CIA or MI6, nevertheless BoatTEST.com has obtained photographs of the new Sedan Bridge under construction, months before its planned introduction. Scheduled to be shown privately to a select group of invitees at Yacht Expo in early December, the 2011 450 SB will be officially unveiled to the public either at the New York Boat Show in January, 2011, or at the Miami show in February. In the meantime, we'll pass along all we know about the boat.
There's definitely a Mediterranean influence to the new 450 SB's profile, especially the bubble-curved roof line of the pilothouse. But the forward-raked radar arch is all American. It puts the radar way above head level, where it ought to be, and lets folks stand on the bridge without getting zapped. Many Euro-boats mount their radars too low, in our opinion – maybe because the weather is so nice, they're rarely used.
New Power, New Profile
The new 450 Sedan Bridge isn't the first Sea Ray to run with Zeus; the 470, 500 and 540 Sundancers have them already. But it's the first of the Sedan Bridge line to carry the sophisticated pods. Before the re-engineering, the 450 SB, like many Sea Rays, spun its props through V-drives, which kept the engines way aft, under the cockpit, and opened up the interior. Sea Ray is noted for fitting a lot of living space into its hulls relative to their length – and that's how they do it. Adapting the 450 SB for pods should have been relatively straightforward, since the engines probably didn't have to move very far, although they probably had to turn 180 degrees to mate with the pods.
The Zeus pods will be linked to CMD 480-hp QSB5.9 diesels, with twin 600-hp QSCs optional. Sea Ray will include the Skyhook station-keeping function as standard; it holds the vessel in position automatically, even in wind and current.
Standard power spinning the props will be twin CMD 480-hp QSB5.9 diesels, with twin 600-hp QSCs optional. Currently, the 450 SB has twin 478-hp CMD QSC-500s. Since Zeus drives are more efficient than conventional props, we think the new 450 SB will be faster than the present model, since both will carry essentially the same horsepower. Unfortunately we don't have test data on that boat, so you'll have to wait for the numbers – we'll get them to you as soon as we get our hands on the new boat.
Here's the 2010 version of the 450 Sedan Bridge, still a nice-looking boat. We think the biggest improvement in the new edition isn't the styling, but the Zeus drives.
The new 450 Sedan Bridge isn't only about power, though. Sea Ray designers have reworked the exterior styling to make the boat more European in appearance. The changes are subtle, but effective: The leading edge of the windshield is more raked in profile, with a decorative molding flowing aft that gives the roofline a bubble shape, at least visually. The deckhouse windows are completely restyled, and hull windows have been added to let more light belowdecks. Combined with many small changes, the new boat should look much different, and in some folks' eyes more modern, than the present model.
It's cool that Sea Ray mounts the radar, the sat TV and other antennas and accessories before the hardtop's installed on the flying bridge. The sunroof will improve the catching of rays on the lounge underneath, important because the hardtop is longer than in the past. Where does the roof go when it retracts? It's canvas, so it simply folds up.
A New Flying Bridge
For the 2011 450 SB, Sea Ray redesigned the flying bridge. The helm has been moved slightly to starboard from its former midships position, and a double companion seat added. Moving the helm provides more unobstructed area to port, and extra nav display or added stowage. The companion seat will swivel through 180 degrees to serve also as part of the seating aft, where there's a U-shaped lounge and dinette. The hardtop is standard, with an optional sunroof.
Moving the helm to starboard leaves extra room for something else to port. Maybe that's where the optional 22" LCD TV will go? At night, with the enclosure buttoned-up, this will be a good spot for the crew to congregate and watch the box. The helm will have full SmartCraft instrumentation, diagnostics and electronic displays; a Raymarine E120W radar/GPS/chartplotter is optional.
Accommodations Are Much the Same
Sea Ray always does a good job with their accommodation plans, so why fiddle with success? The new 450 SB's salon is more open, and the raised dinette in the forward port corner has been redesigned. Below decks the new boat's layout will be basically the same as the present one, with a few small variations. Both boats have their master cabin forward, with a double berth, a twin-berth guest cabin amidships, two heads and galley down. The galley is slightly changed on the new boat, but will still have the upright refrigerator/freezer we like on the current 450 SB. Why so many builders use half-size fridges is beyond us.
The main steering station is on the flying bridge, but Sea Ray has an optional lower station that replaces the raised dinette at the forward end of the salon, port side. A guest cabin with twin berths, not shown on these drawings, is tucked under the dinette, with access opposite the galley.
The 2011 450 SB's salon is more open than the earlier boat's, with redesigned seating. It looks a bit bigger to us, at least on the drawings, but we can't be sure until we get aboard with a tape measure. The new windows provide both light and great views. The coffee table will be optional, a full entertainment center standard.
The redesigned raised dinette can be replaced by a lower helm station, but then where would you eat? We'd stick with the dinette and enclose the flying bridge for inclement weather.
For the Rest, We Wait...
Now you know what we know about the new 450 Sedan Bridge, but all will be revealed at the winter boat shows. (Or sooner, if you're lucky enough to be invited to the exclusive revealing in December. Our invitation hasn't arrived yet.) But unless Sea Ray has completely dropped the ball on this boat– the revamped 450 SB should be another Sea Ray worth watching.
Unless Sea Ray invites you to the private showing of the new 450 SB in December, the next time you see this boat will be at a boat show, either New York or Miami. (Our money's on Miami.)