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SeaRay 250SLX

9th May 2008

Foxy lady is a welcome arrival

You can't buy a SeaRay 250 SLX here yet but Simon Everett says she will be this season's headturner.

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It’s funny, every now and again things come together to produce an outstanding specimen of the species. Curves of the right proportions, in all the right places. The 250 SLX is like that, she is in a class of her own. This is one boat that stands head and shoulders above the rest and can strut her stuff down the catwalk of life with her head held high. In boating terms what we have here is the world’s next supermodel.
 
I am not talking about Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell, I am talking about refined beauty of Claudia Schiffer. This is a boat that will not look out of place in any harbour or marina, her elegance and style will ensure she is accepted into any social circle.

Sea Ray have taken the bowrider concept a step beyond the standard and elevated it into a new class. With the introduction of several new models, including the 250SLX it seems that Sea Ray have a Don Quixote ploy of windmill tilting at some of the established niches in boating. The SLX is aimed squarely at the high end market and is built to take on that sector in a serious manner. This is a boat to rival hand built, custom boats and her performance is nothing short of superb. The execution of the design into reality has been done extremely well and the materials match the expectations of buyers of this type of boat. John Dunphy of Irish SeaRay distributors BJ Marine expects the first model in early 2007 but you may have to join the queue.

The layout is that of a deep bowrider with seating for five, or loungers for two using the main bulkhead as the back support with well–padded upholstery. Unusually for a bowrider, or many other sports boats come to that, she is fitted with a stemhead roller and electric windlass. This gives an insight into the serious boating capabilities of this fabulous boat. The bulkhead is split into two consoles by the walkway, complete with a wind gate. In the starboard, helm, console there is an ice chest and plenty of stowage space for personal gear. In the port side there is a pump out head. It is fairly tight but there is room to make use of the inconvenience facility which should see the girls happy, or use it as another great stowage compartment for foulies, wetsuits and bags with changes of clothes for the evening in.

The main seating for two in the front of cockpit is on pedestal seats with lift up squab extensions. These seats swivel to face the L–shaped, cockpit settee when at rest. The lift up squab section turns the seat into a well padded leaning post for high speed runs in choppy water. The seats are beautifully covered and feature high backs with plenty of padding all round and grab handles on the top of the back. The L-shaped settee is wide, high backed and extremely comfortable.

The 250SLX is aimed at serious boaters who spend every spare hour on the water. The wet bar in the cockpit with its built–in fridge will keep the Margueritas flowing in the evening while the huge sunpad atop the engine hatch cover will ensure you lose those lilywhite legs in next to no time. The stern is given over to watersports, from simply swimming to cool off through to high adrenaline wakeboarding. The sunpad lifts, gull-wing fashion to reveal two wet lockers and a walkthrough to the swimming platform. Putting your skis or board on was never better catered for, even on a tournament boat and the fresh water shower will rinse off the fast drying salt crystals and sand.

At the helm you are greeted by a rich, wooden steering wheel and dash panel housing the full row of switches, in polished stainless, naturally. The clocks are housed in a shrouded panel on the console with a non-glare panel above, to prevent that eye strain that comes from long hours looking over a white helm area. The steering position is akin to a new Jaguar and anyone who drives a quality car will not feel out of place. It is purely an extension of the land based equivalent that is worthy of the glorious silhouette of this boat.

SeaRay have produced a beauty here, she is well finished and they haven’t skimped on details. Added to that there is the fact that this baby goes – exactly where you point her. Her glorious looks are matched by long legs and an easy gait. She rides chop smoothly and carves turns like a champion slalom skier. Her response to the helm is immediate and it only takes the gentle stroke of a couple of fingers to get her doing what you want her to. This is a gentleman’s sporting conveyance with the associated mild manners that such stature demands. Fast driving in the 250SLX is a refined activity without any sudden surprises. The hull is as balanced as it is possible to get, you can put her into impressive turns with the throttle nailed and still not spill your gin. She simply cuts her path smoothly and with purpose, glued to the water. There is none of the bucking and skipping of previous models of this nature.

It is no good having a boat with all show and no go. If you are going to have a sleek, purposeful looking boat then you had better back your statement with the ability to travel at high velocity, or forever look a prat. The 250 SLX is given a line up of motors that will ensure your credibility remains intact, regardless of the company you keep. The test boat was fitted with Mercruiser’s 8.2 litre 496 MAG DTS giving 425hp through a Bravo III drive. This is at the upper end of the power options, and should be made mandatory for anyone purchasing one of these boats. Putting anything smaller in should be treated as a crime – for the cold blooded murder of a red hot boat.

With the V8 singing a happy tune I got her running at a constant 55mph with the time taken to get from planing speed to maxed out, just 25 seconds! That will earn you some serious respect, or get you plenty of waved fists from snotty yotties. If you think that kind of true top speed is impressive, the acceleration will leave stains in your shorts. From standstill to plane, at 20mph, took just 6 seconds and once on the plane you had better hold tight, or she’ll rip the handle out of your hands, 35mph came in just another 6 seconds. 12 ticks of the hand from standstill to 35mph, it took you longer to read it!

At last there are some boats coming out that appear to break the nasty old moulds. With quality and performance like this, provided it is maintained, the Americans are rivalling the best of the European boats and at competitive prices too. I think this is the beginning of a revival and I, for one, welcome it. Good on you Sea Ray, now bring back the Pachanga and show you really mean business.

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