Author : Christopher Hughes
Improving With Age
Will pod power mean the end of straight shafts? Maybe, if Sea Ray’s new 450 Sedan Bridge is an indication of things to come.
Always an innovator, Sea Ray has replaced the drivetrain of last year’s 450 Sedan Bridge with twin Zeus pods, but redesigning the hull for pods resulted in a raft of other improvements, too.
Pods have an advantage in boats like the Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge, as they allow the engines to be mounted way aft, under the cockpit, making more cabin volume available for accommodations. And they improve efficiency, performance and handling, and permit electronic joystick control and one-touch position keeping. Sea Ray includes Skyhook dynamic positioning which interfaces with the standard Zeus autopilot.
Compared to the 2010 model, the new Sedan Bridge has better performance and longer range, thanks to both Zeus efficiency and larger fuel tanks made possible by moving the engines. So in our book the change in propulsion alone makes this a worthy upgrade from Sea Ray’s already excellent 450 Sedan Bridge of years past.
However, you can’t just drop Zeus drives, or any pods, into a hull designed for midships engines and straight shafts – at least, not if you want to get all the pods’ advantages. In creating the 450 Sedan Bridge, Sea Ray started with a clean computer screen and drew an entirely new hull – nothing was carried over from the older boat. The 2012 450 Sedan Bridge is slightly longer and wider than the earlier boat, but a little extra means a lot. The new 450 Sedan Bridge has larger master and guest staterooms, each with more room around the berths; a larger saloon; larger freshwater tanks and twice the stowage space, including a dry-stowage locker under the saloon where the engines used to be.
Sea Ray isn’t new to Zeus pods: Several Sundancers already run with them. But the 450 is the first Sea Ray Sedan Bridge to be so powered. The pods link to Cummins MerCruiser diesels; QSB 480s (480hp; 353kW) are standard, but if that’s not enough you can upgrade to 600hp (420kW) QSC 600s.
Top speed for the Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge with the CMD QSB 480s is 30.6 knots, burning 192.3L/h for 6.28L/NM. Best cruise is 25.4 knots, burning 137.2L/h for 5.4L/NM giving the boat a cruising range of 236 nautical miles (with the usual deduction of 10% for safety).
The new 450 Sedan Bridge isn’t only about power, though. Sea Ray designers reworked the exterior styling to make the boat look more European. The changes are subtle, but effective. The leading edge of the windshield is more raked in profile, with a decorative moulding 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 below decks.
Sea Ray redesigned the flying bridge of the new sedan bridge. The helm has been moved slightly to starboard from its former midships position. Moving the helm provides more unobstructed area to port, enough for a double companion seat and extra console space for two navigation displays and added stowage. Both helm and companion seats swivel through 180 degrees to serve also as part of the seating aft, where there’s a U-shaped lounge and dinette. Options include a TV and wetbar. The hardtop is standard, with an optional sunroof.
The helmsman has an unobstructed view of the waters ahead, and of the foredeck with its sunpad and accompanying handrails. Forward there are twin chain lockers, with a rope/chain windlass and galvanized anchor as standard. A stainless anchor is optional, along with an all-chain windlass.
Some Eurostyle boats have useless side decks, or none at all. Sea Ray has maintained its American bloodlines by keeping the 450 Sedan Bridge’s side decks wide enough for easy passage forward, and protects them with a stainless steel railing. It’s double, with upper and intermediate steel rails forward; amidships the intermediate rail is wire.
Evolutionary not Revolutionary
Sea Ray usually does a good job with its accommodation plans, so why fiddle with success? The new boat’s layout is evolutionary, not revolutionary, compared to the earlier model. The saloon is more open, and the raised dinette in the forward port corner has been redesigned. Below decks the new boat’s layout is basically the same, with a few small variations. Both boats have their master cabin forward, with a double berth, a twin-berth guest cabin amidships with access opposite the galley, two heads and galley down.
The master stateroom’s queen berth has a pillow-top innerspring mattress, 22″ TV and twin cedar-lined hanging lockers. There are storage cabinets over the hillside ports, and the shelves either side of the berth are perfect for keeping odds and ends. Twin berths in the guest cabin are great for kids or guests who don’t want to share a berth. However this will convert to a king when needed. A TV is optional, but it comes with a DVD and gaming system, perfect for kids, or guys who want to act like them.
Both heads are similar, and well appointed, with VacuFlush toilets, solid-surface countertops, Grohe fixtures and an acrylic bi-fold door creates a shower area. Large hull windows let in light below decks.
More Open Interior
The 2012 450 Sedan Bridge’s saloon is larger and more open than the earlier Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge model, with redesigned seating. The new windows provide both light and views. The hi-lo coffee table is optional, but a full entertainment centre is standard. A 9.4kW zone-controlled air conditioning system keeps the temperatures just right throughout the 450.
You have the choice of cherry, walnut or rift oak timbers for your interior finish, coupled with soft furnishings that complement the up-market presentation.
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 saloon, port side.
The 450 Sedan Bridge comes with SmartCraft instrumentation, joystick control, autopilot and Skyhook position-keeping technology, all standard. Sea Ray offers a suite of Raymarine electronics, too; the helm will hold two E120W widescreen navigators. A 4kW HD open-array radar and a DSM 300 fishfinder are also available.
The redesigned raised dinette can be replaced by a lower helm station, but then where would you eat? You are better of with the dinette and rely on the flying bridge enclosure for inclement weather. All interior upholstery is Ultraleather.
The galley is slightly changed on the new boat, but keeps the upright refrigerator/freezer on the original 450 Sedan Bridge. There’s also a pull-out pantry, a recessed two-burner stove, microwave oven and lots of stowage. Joinery is now real wood, compared with mica in the earlier boat. The wood sole is optional.
The cockpit of the 450 is designed more for entertaining than fishing, which is typical of many US boats of this style. A virtually full-width transom bench seat wraps around the port side to a wet-bar area. There are ample beverage holders, and some nice indirect mood lighting when you’re relaxing with an evening cocktail. With the addition of a canvas pack and clears you can protect the whole area from inclement weather.
Access to the moulded full width boarding platform is via a starboard side transom door, with a sliding and lockable door through to the main saloon. Moulded steps provide access to the bridge.
Sea Ray publishes the standard retail prices and options prices for all its boats on its website (www.searay.com), something we think all builders should do. It makes boat shopping easier, and even though most dealers are open to negotiation, buyers can price out the boat they want ahead of time, so at least they have a dollar amount to start haggling with.
The Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge is one of six boats in the Sport Yacht category and the only one with a flybridge. It is the latest convertible in Sea Ray’s best-selling line-up of sport yachts. Engineered with advanced robotics and computer-integrated manufacturing, quality radiates from this boat’s ultramodern bridge to its sea-tested hull. Exceptional standard features, stylish lines, and yacht-quality fit and finish result in a superb vessel. If you are in the market for a 40-something express cruiser or a sedan, we suggest you consider putting Sea Ray on your short list.
- Design Name: Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge
- Builder: Sea Ray
- Country of Origin: USA
- Designer: Sea Ray
- Interior Designers: Sea Ray
- Year Launched: 2011
- LOA: 15.44m (incl. swim platform)
- LOH: 13.90m
- Beam: 4.30m
- Draft: 1.22m (with Zeus)
- Displacement: 16.6 tonnes
- Max Speed: 40.5 knots
- Cruise Speed: 33.6 knots
- Fuel Capacity: 1418 litres
- Water Capacity: 492 litres
- Construction: GRP
- Classification: USCG & ABYC
- Engines Make: 2 x Cummins QSB @ 480hp
- Drive Train: Zeus