Sea Ray Fly 520

Fly me to the moon.

by Alan Wendt
Hollywood couldn’t have scripted a better night to fall in love.


  • LOA: 52'6"
  • Beam: 15'2"
  • Draft: 52"
  • Weight: 50,250 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 525 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 130 gals.
  • Power:
  • Price: Contact dealer

Tender, tropical air, a galvanizing Gulf Coast sunset, waves frolicking against our toes. Life’s hectic pace slowed during Sea Ray’s winter testing at the South Seas Plantation on Captiva Island, away from concrete and steel, emails and emojis. On this night, the second act in a trilogy of supermoons — 30,000 miles closer to earth than normal and 16 percent brighter than an average full moon — was a seductive backdrop for the unveiling of Sea Ray’s newest bridge model: The Fly 520. A widening golden ribbon of moonlight danced across the water like a warm spotlight complementing, not competing with, the soft blue backlit accents that traced the Fly 520’s silhouette. 

“‘Light Effect,’ day or night, is the vision for this model,” says Ron Berman, Sea Ray’s vice president of product portfolio. “Every door, window and seat placement connects the inside and outside, maximizing views. Our interior designers blended imaginative design trends and high-gloss walnut matching grain cabinetry with smart, functional layouts to create a relaxing and soothing interior — one that evokes an emotional connection.”

Sea Ray optimizes structural integrity with newer composites that require less fiberglass and has unleashed creative design, moving from square and rectangular windows to geometric window shapes that bring light above and below deck.  

Party in the back

Board the Fly 520 from the swim platform or from dedicated starboard and portside teak steps into the cockpit, which eliminate the need to step on a vinyl cushion. The hydraulic platform incorporates steps that lower into the water for effortless entry and exit; this feature is cleverly named the “Stairway to the Sea.”

Equally mesmerizing is the aft lounge seat with convertible backrest that travels forward and aft to create multiple seating configurations: Facing forward into the cockpit or facing aft to overlook the swim platform. The power-actuated table lowers to the floor during repositioning.

Just inside the salon, the aft galley features premium stainless steel, drawer-style refrigerator/freezers, a Keurig coffee maker, a Cuisinart microwave, optional 21-bottle, two-zone Whynter wine storage and a two-burner Kenyon stove top. My favorite touches are clever compartments to securely hold china place settings and a drawer-within-a-drawer for securing stemware and coffee cups.  

Sea Ray added strips of highly reflective stainless toe kicks beneath the galley cabinets and step-up salon to create an illusion that the floor is floating. Opposite-facing salon seating provides a delightful conversation area. At the push of a button, up pops a 50-inch TV connected to Blu-ray or optional satellite receiver.

Man the controls

On 100-foot-plus yachts, a glass enclosed staircase to the bridge is fairly common. Not so on a 52-foot yacht. Sea Ray deftly designed open risers allowing light to flow through the steps, cohesively connecting the staircase to the rest of the yacht. The accession is secure and protected by stainless railings that surround the staircase. Up on the flybridge, three-across forward seating, a portside helm and a generous aft seating area offer an entirely different level of enjoyment while cruising or entertaining at the marina. A large, hinged table provides ample room for dining. The open air hardtop is standard, and an extended hardtop with full enclosure is also available as an option.

You’re likely to operate the vessel from the lower helm station on most mornings. Be sure to peek behind the dash, as the wiring panel is meticulously labeled and assembled with a precision that speaks volumes to the boat's quality. Dual 12-inch Raymarine Axiom multi-function displays offer up every bit of navigational knowledge needed. Twin diesel Cummins Zeus 600-hp drives are standard. Joystick controls take all the worry out of maneuvering. I found the boat reached cruise speed of 28 mph quietly and effortlessly, hit top speed of 34 mph, handled tight turns flawlessly, and just as quickly calmed down. Built on a new hull, a variable deadrise expands backward to accommodate the tunnel geometry of the pods. This produces more planning area first verified by countless computational fluid dynamics models that allowed Sea Ray to experiment with various loads and find the optimal balance.

An added bonus was the sculpting of the upper deck that brings more fresh air aft and reduces back spray that other boats experience.

Peace and quiet 

One thing missing on this yacht is rattling and white noise. The upper deck is molded as a single part. No caulk lines, cracks or joints to secure means there's no leakage. Superb sound abatement between the deck and engine room never once interfered with normal conversation levels during my trial. The engine room is very well lit, spaciously laid out for typical maintenance requirements and has room left over for my milk crate full of spare oil, cleaners and other junk that has followed me around during my 30-plus years of boating.

Berman pointed out three separate air handlers running refrigerant, not water-cooled, each strategically placed to pull warm air from the ceiling. The shorter duct runs eliminate BTU-robbing twists and turns and the annoying rush of air that a single compressor system produces.

Quiet is most appreciated at night. Three staterooms await you below deck: The typical forward VIP suite; a mid stateroom with convertible twin beds; and a full-beam master with a queen-size innerspring mattress. The master provides my Monty Hall moment. Behind door No. 1, you’ll find a private head and shower, door No. 2 has a washer/dryer combo and behind door No. 3, a cordless Dyson stands guard over an optional built-in safe for your valuables. 

This is Sea Ray’s best bridge boat to date. Embrace the vessel by day, return for an encore at twilight; maybe have a glass of wine on-board, dial up Sirius XM 71 and escape into the night. With a little luck, Ol’ Blue Eyes will be singing, “Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars.” 


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