The Italian touch
YACHT CLASS N°6 (Sept-oct-nov 2016)
In this European spirit, here comes the 510 Sundancer, an open hardtop with sweeping lines, whose interior design was entrusted to the Italian Christian Grande. She boasts two large cabins and a lounge open on the cockpit. Her path cannot be more obvious: cruising under the flag of comfort.
Text : Alain Brousse - Photos : Alan et D.R.
Don't forget, we don't sail the same way west and east of the Atlantic. Luca Brancaleon has quickly understood this and just as quickly has exposed this evidence to the Sea Ray executive committee. The latter had then given him "carte blanche" to create a European range, on the condition to adapt it for the clientele. And to this end, Luca Brancaleon had called in the designer Christian Grande. No beautifying intervention here, but real modifications. Built in the United States but perfectly adapted to a Mediterranean use thanks to some improvements, the Sea Rays remain true to their spirit of conquest. The last model to date, the 510 Sundancer, also reflects this nature with an open hardtop whose profile evokes a warhead. On the water, we cannot help thinking that she mainly evokes performance. But, that would mean forgetting that nowadays yachtsmen are less infatuated with speed than a decade ago. In the engine room, the standard version displays two 526 hp Cummins diesel engines, with Zeus pod drives. Fitted with a joystick, the latter make port manoeuvring smooth. The only remark is that the joystick would be more ideally placed in front of the throttles, which are, for their part, within easy reach. In 9 seconds, her strong V-hull (19 degrees) leaves its liquid envelop and helped with "tabs" reaches its ideal trim. The Raymarine screen provides reliable figure and displays 2 850 rpm at a 27 knots speed.
As our guide and brand representative pointed out, the hull should have had a proper "cleaning" to be closer to 30 knots. Microalgae and micro-shells certainly waste no time to squat hulls in marina, and three months are usually enough to impact performances. According to our performance indicators, her cruising speed is 18 knots, with only a 1980 miles range but refuelling is common with this type of boat. Sitting comfortably on the pilot seat, only a steep turn with a certain heel slightly blocks the panoramic view. Extremely manoeuvrable, the 510 should also have a correct behaviour on rough seas, according to her captain who conveyed her across 150 miles in a Force 5. The deep wakes created by other units lead us to believe him. Lastly, the noise level is quite reasonable, around 63dB in the wheelhouse lounge, despite the bay windows opened onto the cockpit. On the day of our trial, by 30°C, we were looking for some "fresh" salty air. Under the bright sun, we really enjoyed the electrically-operated sunshade protecting the cockpit. Mainly occupied by a lounge with a teak table, the latter also hosts an electric grill and a mini-fridge. Note that, by lowering this table, we get a solarium for three. Otherwise, on the foredeck (note that the gangway is narrow but the handrails locations are fortunate), the deckhouse hosts a sun pad for three to four persons. The anchor is in position, secured by an anchor roller. Aft, the 510 has a wide swimming platform that can host a small three metres-long tender. A handrail runs along the top of the transom where are located three hoods, each opening onto a unique storage area, useful for the mooring, the water hose, the electric wire and part of the fenders. On starboard, there is also a shower knob hidden by a small stainless steel panel. Let's head inside to finally discover this European version penned by Christian Grande.
First observation: the common room gathering the salon-dining area on portside, a storage cabinet with a TV screen on starboard and finally the helm station, is luminous. The lateral windows conceal nothing of the landscape. And even better, overhead, the roof is equipped with four glazed panels that can be shaded at night. Quite comfortable, the five-seater sofa should be completed with a table, but this one, too large for the "control" team, is currently back to the shipyard. Diners can be served in this pleasant place but also on the lower deck in an equally nice lounge with a sofa facing a discreet open-plan kitchen, fitted with a" giant" silver American fridge. The owner should enjoy the cabin, at the center of the hull, with its double bed perpendicular to the vessel direction. The headroom is high enough to go around it. The bed is the same in the forward cabin, slightly smaller but equally, if not more, convivial. Even better, it enjoys a slightly larger bathroom.
We head back to the wharf via the hydraulic gang filled with positive feeling. The European touch of this American-born will satisfy amateurs of coastal cruising.
- Overall length : 15,49 m
- Max beam : 4,47 m
- Draft : 1,19 m
- Fuel : 1 514 l
- Water : 460 l
- Displacement : 18 t
- Engine : 2 x Cummins QSC8,3
- Power: 2 x 526 ch (2 x 392 kW)
- Max speed : 27 knots
- Range at 18 knots : 198 milles
- Naval architect : Sea Ray
- Exterior designer : Sea Ray
- Interior designer : Christian Grande
- Builder : Sea Ray (Knoxville – Tennessee – Etats-Unis)
- Importer : Jet 7 Yachts (Mandelieu – La Napoule)