The Sea Ray brand has the largest "installed base" of boat owners of any brand over 20' (6.10 m) in the world. During its heyday it was building over 15,000 boats a year, and while most of them were small sportboats, its famous, and far larger Sundancer Series represented a significant percentage of all express cruisers sold in the world. Be that as it may, the builder rarely ventured above 50' (15.24 m) with any design that was not a basic express. This phenomenon left the door wide open for dozens of other builders both in the U.S. and around the world to design and offer boats in the 45' to 70' (13.7 m to 21.3 m) range to pick up where Sea Ray left off.Not surprisingly -- since Sea Ray owners accounted for the largest single group of boat owners over 20' as well as the largest group between 30' and 50' (9.14 m to 15.24 m) -- more Sea Ray owners bought other brands in large boat models than those from any other single brand. Further, many of these Sea Ray owners were migrating to flying bridge motoryachts, large hardtop cruisers, big convertibles and sedans, and even long range trawler-type cruisers.Last year Sea Ray decided to do something about that.
A single set of entry stairs from the swim platform to the aft deck are to the port side. By eschewing the double set of port and starboard stairs, Sea Ray designers have created a much larger, and more functional space on the aft deck for cocktail parties and al fresco dining. Teak decking on the swim platform, aft deck, and stairs to the flying bridge are all optional, and well worth the up charge in our book.There is an optional, hi-gloss triangular pedestal table surrounded by an L-shaped settee to starboard. With the addition of two folding chairs it is large enough to comfortably seat six. Under the stairs to the flying bridge is an optional cockpit refrigerator. Some owners are concerned about the small amount of added maintenance required of teak decks and those folks will be happy with the standard fiberglass decks. However, we advise them to have teak treads placed on all exterior fiberglass stairs.
The theme of combining the outside with the inside is nowhere more evident than at the triple-wide opening salon doors that allow a seamless transition from the cockpit to the salon, all in a single level.
Once inside a combination entertainment center/credenza is over to the port side that houses wine storage and table settings. A wraparound sofa lies to starboard. This room can be finished in an owner’s choice of Quarter Walnut, Pangar Wenge or White Oak. All hardwood decking was finished in White Washed Black Walnut. There was a 7’ (2.13 m) Zulu Mink area rug on the deck. The overhead clearance adds to the roominess at 6’7” (2.0 m).
The hi-gloss table elevates and hinges towards the sofa to provide a snack/dining option in front of the TV. Corner stools were stored under the table. Above the credenza there’s an attractive Alabaster acrylic panel for accent lighting. Underneath the accent panels is a fabricated wood panel called “friendly wall” and we’ll see it again in the headboards behind the berths.
One step up takes us to the galley to port and the dining area to starboard. With the galley located on the main deck, the chef/host never has to be far from the center of the gathering when preparing meals or putting out hors d'oeuvres at a cocktail party. Directly across, there’s an L-shaped settee wrapping around yet another hi-gloss table.
The galley countertop is the same Silestone Quartz with a Siridium tone that we saw in the salon. Only the best appliances are present including two refrigerated drawers and two freezer drawers, all under the counter. The two-burner stove is an induction type that only generates heat through special pots and will always remain cool to the touch. A vent is in the backsplash just behind.
Directly Across From the Galley is the Dinette.
It’s an L-shape and wraps around another triangular hi-gloss table that folds out when more surface is needed. The quality of workmanship throughout is impressive with black inlays running the perimeter of the table’s two sections.
The lower deck is accessed from a centerline companionway. The L590 Fly is a three stateroom/ two head boat with the full beam master located aft, a VIP nested in the bow and a guest berth to starboard, opposite the heads.
The VIP stateroom forward is based around an island berth nested into the bow. Storage is both below and above. Hull side windows to port and starboard provide natural light along with the overhead skylight but that can be blocked by the sun pad above if it is deployed. The berth is queen-sized with an innerspring mattress. The headboard is a framed section of the “friendly wall” material that we saw in the salon. There are two reading lights on goosenecks to either side.
Sea Ray includes all bedding, color coordinated with the stateroom. All decking is carpeted providing a soft feel for bare feet. There’s the usual cedar hanging locker. Sea Ray includes a 32” (81 cm) LED TV with a Blu-Ray player as standard. There’s a private door to the ensuite head and this head has another door to the companionway so it can serve double duty as a head for the guest quarters just across as well as a day head.
The head features
a VacuFlush toilet, an opening portlight along with a power vent and a separate walk-in shower. As with the staterooms, Sea Ray provides all towels needed on the standards list. As with the upper deck, the counterwork is Silestone Quartz but now the tone is changed to Stellar Night. One interesting feature is the mirror over the vanity. It is quite high to accommodate the opening portlight below. For that reason the mirror is angled downward but still gives a bit of an elevated self view.
The mid stateroom features twin berths that can easily be converted to a queen berth. The same level of fit and finish that we’ve seen elsewhere onboard is repeated here. In this stateroom the TV and Blu-Ray player are now optional.
The master stateroom is located aft. It’s full beam and well laid out to make it seem larger and Romantic. At the entrance, a sink/vanity is just to the right with an enclosed head and shower located just beyond. This “split head” arrangement allows two people to get ready for a night out on the town at the same time.
The stateroom itself has the berth offset on the diagonal to provide the appearance of more room and to gain headroom by dropping the center part of the deck below the stringers to the ship's floor. The entire aft bulkhead is the same “friendly wall” material we’ve seen now throughout the yacht. An unusual L-shaped settee lies to port. The hullside windows are large and have an opening port.
A 40” (102 cm) flat screen is standard. Behind the headboard is a hidden safe for “secret” storage. The forward cabinets feature his and hers storage and a unique feature… purposed storage for jewelry with pin lighting just above.
The flying bridge
has three separate and distinct social areas, two with tables to include dining and/or cocktails. The two dining areas are separated with a split entertainment center. Forward of this center is booth seating with a high gloss solid wood table on a hi-lo pedestal to allow for conversion to a sun pad. The aft dining area consists of U-seating around another solid wood table, also convertible to a sun pad.
Ahead of the helm station
is a pair of sun pads that, depending on the occupants, may or may not provide an interesting distraction for the operator. Overhead is a hardtop with a canvas center that opens electrically to let the sunshine in.The split entertainment center is a functional design, we think. To the left is an electric grill and sink. Below that is a refrigerator. To the right is a drink/food prep counter with an icemaker below.
The last gathering area of our inspection is at the bow. This consists of four across bench seating and a massive sun pad just ahead. The area is reached by wide sidedecks that offer excellent protection making the bow accessible even under the worst of conditions, if that’s what suits those who may want to be up here.
Propulsion System -- Three Diesels with Zeus Pods
The L590 Fly comes standard with only one power option and that’s a triple set of Cummins QSC 8.3s putting out 600-hp each and driving Zeus pods. We’ll get to whether that’s an economical choice or not in a moment, but for now, let’s focus on the engines and the operational aspects first.
At the Helm There are Only Two Control Levers for the Three Engines.
When the throttles are advanced, first the two outboard engines kick in, and then lastly, the center engine comes up to power. When taking power off, that center engine comes off line first, and then the two outer engines drop down. Here’s the phrase that summarizes… the center engine is the last to kick in, and the first to kick out.
Redundancy is a Good Thing.
If an operator is having a particularly bad day and loses an engine, say the port engine, then the center engine automatically becomes a primary, taking over the duties of the failed engine. Handling around close quarters and at the dock becomes seamless and the boat handles just the same, we are told by the builder. In theory anyway, we didn’t test that aspect but the concept is a sound one.Of course if the center engine goes out, then the two outboard engines behave normally and again, nothing changes with the handling. In other words, the redundancy is built in and requires no interaction from the operator whatsoever. The boat will handle the same on three engines, or any combination of the two.
The Sea Ray L590 Fly has a LOA of 58’10” (17.93 m), a beam of 16’ (4.87 m), and a draft of 57” (145 cm). She has an empty weight of 64,000 lbs. (29,030 kg) and with nearly full tanks and 6 people onboard, we estimated her test weight to be 71,744 lbs. (32,543 kg). No matter how one views it, that is a lot of boat.
We reached our top speed
of 31.1 knots at 3020 rpm. At that speed she was burning 97.3 gph for a range of 302.5 nm and an endurance of 9 hours and 42 minutes while still holding back a 10% reserve of fuel in the tanks.
Best planing-speed economy
is quite interesting and exceedingly hard to pin down. That’s because the efficiency of the triple Zeus drives is so well matched to the hull. From 2750 rpms and 26.7 knots on up to her top speed she’ll get .32 nmpg right across that range of speeds. Below that it gets only slightly worse until she drops off plane where it picks up again. So basically this is a boat that we can forget about the throttle setting if we’re going for distance, and instead focus on the sea conditions and comfort level. But with that said, it’s foolish to continually push any engine at 100% load.
At Displacement Speeds.
When it comes to motoryachts we like to point out that there is nothing wrong with operating at displacement speeds. With the L590 Fly we would recommend 1250 rpm, going 9.1 knots and getting .85 nmpg. That is 63% more fuel efficient than nudging her up to 1500 rpm and 10 knots, an urge that should be resisted. At 9 knots she has a range of 798 nm with a 10% reserve. Not only is it a good idea to slow down and smell the roses, when the boat is being repositioned for the owner by a delivery crew it may pay to go slow. Our experience in the Caribbean is that the islands are so close together there is no need to rush and burn loads of fuel.High-speed motoryachts are a relatively recent concept, say the last 35 years or so, and before that 14 knots was considered fast.
Why 3 Engines?
One may ask why there are three engines instead of the more conventional two, and the answer comes down to top speed, weight and fuel consumption at best cruise. The Cummins QSC 8.3 diesels are relatively light weight which means three of them can actually weigh less than two far bigger engines turning out a similar amount of horsepower, thus gaining an edge in fuel efficiency. They cost about the same or less than two larger engines and redundancy becomes an added bonus.It takes so much energy to move a 71,000-lb. boat at any given speed and there is exactly the same amount of energy in each gallon of diesel whether it is run through two engines or three.
Generally, one strives to run a cruising boat at 80% load
, and in the case of our L590 Fly, that comes in at 2600 rpm and 22.5 knots. That speed drops the fuel burn down to 71.7 gph (.31 nmpg), providing a range of 341 nm. At that speed it will take 13 hours and 12 minutes to exhaust the tanks of all but the 10% reserve of fuel.So in short, yes, the economy of the triple Zeus Cummins engines is excellent and well matched to the hull design.
The lower helm is a big deal for Sea Ray as it’s a new design but one has to look closely to fully appreciate it. It’s a dash that shows no fasteners. The displays are connected with a “fast mount” system. This is a socket and pin system that’s attached to the back of the panel. The twin 16” (40.6 cm) displays are flush mounted to the Ebony panel and there’s standard helm air conditioning. Above is a stitched leather visor cutting down on the reflective glare. Stidd seats are standard and the fact that there are two of these high-end seats is not lost on us.
For all intents and purposes, this lower helm station is the primary, the flying bridge being secondary. The level of electronics being offered as options is better than on the commercial vessels that some of our captains pilot. The autopilot is integrated into the Zeus system. The twin displays are providing visuals for the color radar, GPS and chartplotter, all integrated to a 4 kW open array antenna. In the center is the VesselView engine analyzer with its selectable information readout.
The flying bridge helm
is wide open to the elements, and with the lower being the primary, there’s no need to have this level wrapped in isinglass. It is fully intended that this is a fair weather deck. The helm station is a pod style with dual 12” (30.5 cm) displays. On this deck the helm is to the port side, opposite the lower helm. This allows for clear sightlines from whichever side the L590 Fly is docked on. Of course a third optional station at the cockpit makes backing into a slip even easier.
Along with her superb economy, this is an outstanding boat to drive. First, let’s discuss turning. Pods reduce their turn of arc at increased speeds, and this in and of itself will make for more relaxed operations. Cranking the wheel hard over will not cause the wine glasses to go flying off the cocktail table. At cruise, we did exactly that and she came around 360-degrees in 35 seconds, and roughly 4 boat lengths. It’s a characteristic that no one onboard will find uncomfortable no matter how heavy handed the operator gets. She will roll roughly 18-degrees into the turns before her weight takes over and levels her out again.
She’s Also a Relatively Dry Boat.
We had to work at it to get spray on the windshield, and the way we did it was to take the chop just off the bow where it would be most affected by the wind. For the most part, when underway she tends to ride about 5-degrees bow high which puts the spray about half way back on the hull, certainly well past the windshield. This is what serves to give her such a dry ride.
Wave Penetration is Another Huge Plus.
When a large wave approached while underway, we found ourselves bracing for a hit that would never come. She slices cleanly through the waves, her weight keeping the feeling of the wave to an absolute minimum. There was no pounding as we have encountered on some boats this size because of their more blunt bow sections and large, low chines taken too far forward. Even on our choppy day she remained stable throughout the cruise and that bodes well, especially for those guests that may not be accustomed to the feeling of being offshore.
She’s an Extremely Quiet Boat.
Driving from the lower station is like driving in a typical living room. Sound levels started out at 58 dbA (less than conversational level) and increased to only 81 dbA at top speed. At no time did anyone have to shout to be heard above the engines, right below the salon deck.It is also hard to be onboard this boat and not compare her to the larger version, the L650 Fly that we previously tested. Wrong as it may seem, our captain reports that the L590 Fly seems to be more enjoyable to drive, from an owner/operator’s perspective. She is 20% lighter, has about 1' less beam, and has a slightly deeper deadrise at the transom -- 17.5-degrees instead of 16-degrees for the L650. All of this certainly makes her more nimble. She seems to have a "more intimate feel" to her handling.Indeed, with the L650 Fly’s included crew cabin, that boat seems to project a boat to be enjoyed by her owner and operated, or at least maintained, by a professional crew. On the other hand, the L590 Fly can be easily handled by an owner/operator with a reasonable amount of experience.
As for her close quarters maneuvering
, she’s also an outstanding performer. We had some tight maneuvering to do when coming into the marina and only once did we pull an engine out of gear to tighten a turn. Another tactic would have been to simply use the joystick steering, which would have produced even better results, but we wanted to test the low speed maneuvering in this manner.
Once we were established at the basin we then went to the joystick for the rotation and maneuvering into the dock and she performed exactly as expected. We were able to lay her up alongside with exacting precision, and just a gentle “kiss” against the pier. Just as intended.Small pulses of control start her moving and additional pulses of the stick were used to direct the momentum, rather than drive her to the dock. And it worked flawlessly with no “clunking” in and out of gear. In fact, there was no sound at all. The only way we knew the systems were working was the simple fact that the boat was responding to the touch. That’s it.
Unfortunately, Sea Ray doesn't publish pricing for the L-Class Series. However, based on historical Sea Ray pricing and the other boats we've seen in the segment, we estimate that the boat will have a base retail price around $2.4 to $2.5 million.
The goal of the L590 Fly was to load up on the luxury, it’s what the “L” stands for. In our opinion, Sea Ray met that goal. For the lucky owner that also happens to be the operator, this yacht will also provide an experience that is hard to achieve. She’s simply a joy to drive and even without having written a check for the boat, we felt pride at just being onboard. She’s that kind of a boat.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Sea Ray L590 Fly (2016-) is 35.8 mph (57.6 kph), burning 97.3 gallons per hour (gph) or 368.28 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Sea Ray L590 Fly (2016-) is 30.8 mph (49.6 kph), and the boat gets 0.4 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.17 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 348 miles (560.05 kilometers).
- Tested power is 3 x 600-hp Cummins QSC 8.3.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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