Innovation abounds aboard, inside and out.
Talk about inside out. I reviewed the brochure, checked the photos and perused the website, and still couldn’t believe this yacht until I was aboard. The Galeon 500 Fly was created for but one mission in life: to be a full-fledged entertainment platform.
I don’t know where to start, so let’s begin with the basics. This is a 53-foot yacht that looks like many other yachts when an observer casually views it from the dock or passing by on the water. Sure, it has cool blackout windows in the hull for ambient lighting in the lower accommodations, and a low-slung radar arch aft on the flybridge, and a rather large swim platform. The 500 Fly is unassuming when at rest.
I refer to inside out because once it’s fully opened, the 500 Fly wants people on board to enjoy the great outdoors, one of the reasons we go boating. And Galeon has taken every opportunity to allow owners to do just that, in so many ways.
Up in the bow, there’s no large sunpad. Galeon replaced that with three padded bench seats with backrests and a center foldout teak table, making the bow a destination unto itself. And for multiple guests. It’s a great idea to include real seats. Not everyone wants to have to get down on a sunpad to watch a sunset or have a conversation. It’s perfect for sightseeing around the coves and bays.
That’s just the beginning. This Galeon has innovation built in everywhere. For example, the large swim platform — it can handle 1,100 pounds — hydraulically lowers to form a beach or a swim-out spot. When deployed, the platform lowers and extends away from the hull, which creates a gap. Galeon built in a self-extending ramp with steps that’s anchored to the yacht, creating a staircase back to the 500’s stairway. No jumping needed.
On the aft deck is a large C-shaped settee with a double-post high-low folding fiberglass dining table. Curious is that both posts are mounted to a circular insert in the deck floor. My driver for the day, Capt. Sam Alsop, a delivery and company captain for MarineMax of Stuart, Fla., reached down to a locking mechanism and the ensemble — Galeon calls it a roto-seat — of table and seat rotated 180 degrees to create an aft-facing oasis. It’s ideal for relaxing at anchor or keeping an eye on anyone enjoying a swim. Alternatively, the table drops to create a large sunpad area. The platform can lock in a number of other positions too, depending on need.
Any of the features I’ve mentioned so far may be the best, but I think the pièce de résistance of the Galeon 500 Fly are the port and starboard foldout balconies. Here, the aft sections of the side gunwales fold outward, level with the sidedeck, creating separate areas to relax. On the starboard side owners can add a few chairs or leave it open. On the port side are two built-in bases for barstools. Not enough? Wait for it…
Adding to the inside out concept, the aft sides of the salon house, window and all, unlock and slide forward, making the salon an open area. On the starboard side, the salon’s bench sofa converts to an outward seat by flipping the sofa’s backrest to where loungers can sit on the sofa and face out. With the side gunwale down, this is another great spot to relax with guests or take in the view.
Additionally, with the port side open, the galley counter extends toward the barstools and creates an outside refreshment/serving area. Still, there’s plenty of room for guests to walk around the sidedecks, with safety posts and lines on the balconies and railings and grabrails along the house.
Supporting the open feel is an aft bulkhead door that consists of three framed, full-height glass panels on individual tracks that slide to port and overlap each other, resulting in a full transition between aft deck and salon. Inside the salon, the starboard sofa is well padded, for lounging. Just across is the galley.
When the 500 Fly is fully open, it is centered on the main deck, and it will likely be the central point, thanks to the bar and well-appointed work area. Appliances include an Isotherm refrigerator, a Samsung convection microwave, a Kenyon two-burner cooktop and more. A deep double-basin stainless sink has a cutting-board cover, and the countertops are Corian. Walnut cabinetry and finish is a nice contrast against the light carpeting and upholstery on this yacht.
Up two steps is a starboard-side love seat, consisting of two ottomans that can be used for seating at the portside U-shaped dining settee. Note that the forward side windows also open, essentially creating an open environment for the main deck of the 500 Fly. A lower helm station is on the starboard side, compact yet fully functional. Given its close proximity to the rest of the main deck, the captain doesn’t have to feel left out. Large enough for twin multifunction displays and a Volvo Penta engine monitoring display, the helm also houses bow and stern thruster joysticks, rocker switches, wiper controls and more. There’s a right-side mini console for the Volvo throttle controls and a trim tab indicator.
All the fun in the sun is certain to make passengers weary, and Galeon finished the lower staterooms to the same standards found throughout. Forward is a VIP stateroom, with a walk-around queen island berth, hullside windows and overhead atrium windows. There’s direct access to the common head, which includes an electric toilet and a separate shower stall. A guest stateroom with double bunks is to starboard.
Midship is the full-beam master, a relaxing destination itself. The port side has a sit-down vanity, with a mirror and a light. A queen berth is on the centerline, and a full dresser is to starboard. Owners should go for the washer/dryer unit that’s housed in one of the cabinets. A private en suite head has an electric toilet, Corian counters, a ceramic basin sink and a glass shower stall with a seat.
Not to be remiss, the flybridge deck is also a marvel of togetherness. Galeon kept the port helm small yet functional and installed a double seat, so there’s no problem driving from here. Forward of the helm and all the way across the forward section is a large sunpad deck that’s sizeable enough for numerous people to hang out. It’s a great spot to see and be seen. A movable backrest can adjust to several angles.
Behind the helm seat is a wet bar cabinet, with a sink, a refrigerator and storage. Across from the helm is a small C-shaped settee, perfect for a cruising couple. With more guests, head to the much larger C-shaped settee aft, which surrounds a foldout fiberglass table. The backrest from the forward settee flips, so the same seat can be used for the larger area. With all this seating and lounging area, the flybridge is certain to be another popular location.
Giddy-up for the yacht is provided by a pair of Volvo Penta D11 670 hp diesels. Cutting glass on some pretty flat waterways, we got the more-than-50,000-pound yacht up and running. We cruised comfortably at 17.8 knots (1800 rpm), burning 34 gph combined. Wide-open testing yielded 31 knots at 2520 rpm and a 70 gph fuel burn. When power and speed are needed, they’re available.
Don’t be fooled by the Galeon 500 Fly’s docile profile. Innovation abounds on the yacht, and it’s a must-see for anyone who likes to entertain on the water. Getting rid of guests might be an issue.