Built for speed and luxury, this Sea Ray Flybridge is still just a boat
Hardly anything is small or understated about the Sea Ray L650 Fly tied to a private dock in Kemah one rainy September day.
Christened Tax Relief by owners Paul and Jeanette Faulkner, the Sea Ray rides large in the water, impressive even in the armada of high-end craft berthed nearby.
Its overall length is 65 feet, 1 inch; the beam 17 feet, 2 inches. It weighs 80,500 pounds dry.
The “L” stands for luxury, and the Knoxville, Tennessee-based boat builders at Sea Ray packed the vessel with features meant to justify that designation — four staterooms; crew quarters; six air-conditioners; a like number of TVs; an undetermined number of ice makers; four docking stations — five counting a remote link that allows a sailor to dock Tax Relief from shore; bow and stern thrusters, gyroscopic stabilization, teak decks and plush carpets.
Below and aft are the two Caterpillar C18 Acert diesel engines generating more than 2,300 horsepower together and able to move Tax Relief at about 31 knots, Paul said.
It will run in as little as 61 inches of water, according to Sea Ray.
The only thing small about this L650 is the hull number, which is 1.
Built in about 2015, Tax Relief was the “production, design and engineering,” hull, said Jeanette, who owns and operates a small retail clothing business.
It’s one of only 25 of the flybridge models, defined by the upper deck over the wheelhouse, she said.
The 650s, which Sea Ray built through 2018, sold for about $4 million new, Paul said.
The Faulkners bought the Sea Ray because it’s big enough to accommodate their family and friends, Jeanette said.
“You can get a bunch of people on here,” she said.
Despite its size and luxury, don’t call Tax Relief a yacht, Jeanette said.
“It’s just a boat,” she said. “We’re boaters, not yachters.”
The Faulkners bought the boat in April from a seller in Florida and sailed it back to Kemah with the aid of a professional captain.
They sail frequently in Galveston Bay.
“We like to go out to Red Fish Island, drop anchor and swim, fish and cook,” Jeanette said.
Bigger plans are in the works, however, said Paul, who’s taking captain’s classes.
A certified public accountant and tax consultant, he hopes to retire soon, turn the family business over to a son and daughter, and head for the Caribbean.