This model is daringly sporty that offers a real comfort
YACHT CLASS N°8 (March-april-may 2017)
For the past few years, the British shipyard tended to be associated with flybridge units featuring three decks and impressive superstructures. But let's not forget that Sunseeker had initially built its reputation with sporty speedboats. Hence, in 2016, the launch of the Predator 68’ MKII, an open hardtop with sharp lines, that can cross the 30 knots threshold and very habitable thanks to her three cabins.
Text : Alain Brousse – Photos : DR
Sunseeker ranks among these shipyards that span all style (open hardtop, flybridge, sportfly and yacht) with its fleet composed of fifteen models, from 52' to 155'. The largest family is the one called Yachts, which consists in seven units from 75’ to 155’. During the latest Cannes Yachting Festival, we discovered the 116', the 131', but also the brand new open hardtop that should seduce, with her aggressive lines, the aficionados of this type that seems to conquer once again a certain clientele : the Predator 68’ MKII. As Phil Popham, the shipyard CEO, said during the interview we conducted during the Monaco Yacht Show and published in our latest issue : "We have our own design office for the conception of the hull, but also for both the interior and exterior design, to fully master these fields".
The message is quite clear : no external expertise will be called in, even when it comes to units over 30 metres. The Predator is thus a pure Sunseeker. Admittedly, she is not radically different, her profile being quite similar to the other traditional open hardtops. But she has her own trademark, such as the numerous glass surfaces covering almost entirely her superstructures and plankings. If this affects aestheticism, it mainly reveals the desire of the in-house research and design department to capture as much natural light as possible in the main deck and the cabins, all gathered in the hull. Well, an increasing number of yachtsmen are requesting this openness to the outside. And isn't it the vocation of an open hardtop and her main deck to satisfy them ? And the Predator 68 MKII does not stop there. Four fifths of her superstructures are glazed. Even better, her sliding sunroof can be opened on a good half. The sun is a guest of honour on this luminous space. We feel there like on a terrace on the sea, and it should become a privilege spot. But, since we are on an open unit, let's start our visit with the outdoors. As we will quickly noticed, they lack neither of comfort nor friendliness. For aesthetic reasons, the hardtop offers no handrails on its the teak catwalk, but all the way to the foredeck is perfectly secured thanks to the high guardrail. The deckhouse, reasonably prominent, is equipped with a thick sunbed that can accommodate up to four sunbathers. We note with interest that its front part can be pulled up to become a headrest. We would have preferred a hidden anchor encased in its roller… well, nothing like a little aestheticism !
More positively, this place features two storage lockers, including one for the fenders, that should be appreciated by those in charge of manoeuvring. Let's now head aft, towards the stern and the two doors of the transom. The largest one opens onto the tender garage, while the other directly leads to the crew cabin for two people : two berths, a shower room (WC and washbasin). The hydraulic bathing platform is large and thus will easily house a jet ski. Two symmetrical staircases lead to the cockpit, which aft part is dedicated to sunbathing thanks to its sunpad for four. This place is a real outdoor lounge with a U-shaped settee (twelve people), and can also become an exterior dining room thanks to its teak table for eight. To this end, the kitchenette with its grill, sink and storage units is undoubtedly an asset. By sliding one of the two glass panels, we discover the single volume of the main deck, quite pleasant thanks to its unequalled luminosity. Combined with its panoramic view, we easily understand the irresistible appeal of this contemporary lounge that successfully plays on the contrast between the white leather sofa and the wenge floor and tables. The oblong mahogany port side table can seat up to six persons, but it is definitely more comfortable with only four. Still on port side, the bar also conceals a wine cellar. On the left side of the wheelhouse, the staircase leading below deck is worth a stop. The stainless steel tubular ramp is an exercise in style ! Maybe because the open-plan kitchen down there deserves it ? This place, in honey-coloured beechwood, features the most complete equipment. As for the sleeping accommodation, the Predator offers three cabins. On the centre, the full-beam and largest one is devoted to the owner. Fitted with a king size, it also features a starboard planking that can be used as an office or a dressing table. The port side hosts a two-seater soft sofa and, naturally, a large dressing room plus a bathroom with a separate shower. Forward, the second cabin embraces the V of the bow but offers nevertheless a double bed and a bathroom with an independent shower.
It also has a unique asset : a partially glazed ceiling that should be appreciated during starry nights… Finally, the smallest cabin, located between the kitchen and the VIP, features twin single beds and an en-suite bathroom. This configuration is definitely an asset for charter. In the engine room of this first Predator 68' are fitted two MAN V8 1 200 hp, but note that this unit can also accommodate two 1 550 hp. In a "standing start" mode, she will only need nine seconds to reach 20 knots and 26 more to top out at 30.2 knots. According to the shipyard, with two MAN 1 550 hp and Arneson surface drives, the 68' can reach speeds of up to 40knots, a performance more suitable to her sporty image. In her "reasonable" configuration, she has a range of 277 miles at 19 knots in perfect comfort. This Predator 68' MKII proves that the famous British shipyard hasn't lost its touch in hardtops simultaneously sharp, luxurious and endowed with marine qualities.
- Overall length : 21,70 m
- Max beam : 5,09 m
- Draft : 1,58 m
Fuel : 3 500 l
Water : 800 l
Material : polyester
Engine : 2 x 1 200 ch MAN
Max speed: 30,20 nds
Range : 277 milles at 19 knots
Naval architect : bureau d’études chantier
Exterior designer : bureau d’études chantier
Interior designer : bureau d’études chantier
Builder : Sunseeker (Poole – Angleterre)
Importer : Sunseeker France (Golfe-Juan)