Issue: December 2005
This 64 footer has all the style and luxury befitting her namesake
The brochure says she’s stylish, comfortable and roomy. What an understatement. I’ve heard of not wanting to blow one’s own trumpet, but such a statement is ridiculous.
Let me assure you the Sunseeker Manhattan 64 is big, powerful, luxurious and downright beautiful. This boat literally oozes sex appeal and offers her new owners a lifestyle of grace and elegance in absolutely sumptuous surroundings.
Plus, powered by twin 1050hp MAN V10 diesels, this 30,000kg vessel has the grunt to mix it with the best of them. She may not be as fast out of the hole as her Predator sisters, but with a top speed of 33 knots she’s no slouch either.
The secret behind her excellent performance lies in her hull design. A sharp bow entry allows her to slice through chop and swell effortlessly, while her wide, down-turned and aggressive chines provide lateral stability and trap air between their outer edges and the keel. This gives the hull a cushion of air to ride on, increasing smoothness.
Her twin FP propellers are positioned in mini tunnels, which give them a better ‘bite’ on clean water for tighter, cavitation-free turns. Their positioning also reduces the drive-shaft angle, which in turn reduces her overall draft (1.44m). You can basically park her on the beach – well almost anyway.
The 64 has underwater exhausts, which eliminate diesel soot build-up on the transom and help considerably with engine noise reduction.
This 68′ 5″ hull also planes quickly and easily and will hold on the plane at surprisingly low speeds – another characteristic of her overall hull length.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
While this boat is designated as a 64-footer, her actual LOA is 71′ 6″, so she is a big boat. But despite her length she is surprisingly easy to handle. Electronic controls make gear and throttle changes smooth and precise. A characteristic anyone who has tried to manoeuvre a big boat with mechanical steering in close quarters will truly appreciate. Even without using the bow thruster, she spins on the spot with ease (as will any twin screw boat) but the silky smooth controls make it so much easier, because they are exact and engage and disengage effortlessly. You don’t have to force her into gear and risk over accelerating, which often leads to a dinged hull in tight marina situations.
From a standing start the big V10s accelerate quickly until the turbos kick in and the hull glides onto the plane. Twin 1050s are the biggest engines offered for this boat, but she will perform equally as well with the smaller twin 900hp MANs. However, you do lose a couple of knots off the top end speed, but her cruising speed around 25 knots remains the same.
Like her Predator sisters, the hull reacts instantaneously to the helm. Move the wheel a couple of centimetres and the bow moves a couple of centimetres. The helm is also extremely light – so light I reckon my car’s power steering is heavier.
In a big sea this hull rides high and dry and more importantly, she’s extremely quiet. There’s no banging and crashing and very little running noise is generated through the hull.
All-round visibility from the lower helm station is extremely good. with only two small rear dead spots that require the driver to crane their neck to compensate for. When seated at the lower helm I also found myself having to look around the wide starboard windscreen partition, because it interfered with my peripheral vision. But there’s nothing that can be done about this, because the port and starboard windscreen partitions are also two of the supports for the flybridge. It didn’t seem to bother the rest of the team, so I might be getting a bit pedantic in my old age. Its positioning is more of a vision nuisance than a problem.
On the layout front, the aft cockpit is massive and offers the alfresco lifestyle you’d expect from a vessel of this class. Beneath her teak floor is the two-berth crew’s cabin. It features its own shower and toilet and would be a great place for the kids (just like their own cubby-house).
A hatch and ladder in the transom lead down to the crew’s cabin. The hydraulic swim platform is extremely wide and will hold a 3m tender easily.
Step through the large sliding glass door into the saloon and you enter a world of opulence and luxury. The deep-pile beige carpet is soft underfoot and blends perfectly with the light cherrywood panelling and joinery and soft leather lounges. This boat features a fully functional aft galley with a small servery that doesn’t encroach into the split-level saloon. Opposite is a large, comfortable L-shaped lounge. A beautiful wooden dining table is a centre point of the upper level. This is surrounded by a plush lounge. There is another large lounge on the portside and an internal staircase leading to the flybridge.
The helm station features a fully adjustable aircraft -style pilot’s seat, full instrumentation and a side door which is a Godsend for the skipper.
The saloon is graced with 360-degree panoramic views through an abundance of large windows, which flood this area with natural light, adding to the sense of space generated by its open-plan layout.
You want entertainment ? How about a Bose sound system and a DVD that plays through the large pop-up flat-screen television that lives in a cabinet near the stairs. These should keep both adults and children occupied.
The raised saloon floor gives the sumptuous amidships owner stateroom excellent head height. It has a large en-suite, complete with a walk-in wardrobe, comfortable sofa seating and a dressing table and quality audio-visual equipment.
There is a further double en-suite stateroom forward and a twin-bunk guest cabin, also with an en-suite. The level of luxury in these cabins equals that of the saloon and all of the fixtures and fittings used throughout this vessel are top class. All the staterooms have opening portholes, creating cross-flow ventilation. So even without the air-con running it won’t become too stuffy below deck.
The flybridge adds another storey to this boat. It’s a great place to entertain and won’t get crowded even with 10 people topside. Fire up the barbie, grab a cold drink from the fridge and watch the sun go down as you cook up a feast. Your guests will be there with you, seated on the massive U-shaped lounge that dominates the aft area of the flybridge.
There’s a large double sunpad to the left of the helm and another out on the bow, so those wishing to work on their tans are well catered for. The walkways from the aft cockpit to the bow are wide and well protected by the high bowrail. Strategically placed grab handles also aid the journey.
The Sunseeker Manhattan 64 is a big, beautiful and luxuriously finished boat, but she’s not that big that the average boatie will need to hire a full-time skipper to operate her. Electronic controls and bow thruster make close quarter manoeuvring a breeze. If you can handle a small, twinscrew boat, you’ll have no problem putting this boat back into her pen.
With a price tag of around $3.8m for this 70-foot plus boat, she represents good value for money, especially when you consider that the next step up to the 75-foot model will set you back almost $6m.
Sunseeker International, Europe’s leading motoryacht exporter (99 per cent of production), is one of the great British success stories. A family company founded in 1962, Sunseeker is now the biggest employer in Poole, with some 1350 staff. It’s regarded as being among the top six exporters based in England.
Manufacturing is undertaken in five boat-building complexes (including a deep water shipyard), on harbour sites in Poole, Dorset. The company has received the Queens Award for Export Achievement three times.
Sunseeker produces craft ranging from 34 to 140 feet, with an emphasis on high performance motoryachts, flybridge motoryachts and offshore cruisers. The company’s in-house design teams, headed by naval architect Don Shead and interior stylist Ken Freivokh, are renowned for their icon design statements of crisp white futuristic curves, rich cream leather, smoked glass and of course, their trademark curved polished cherrywood. Recently, in a return to their origins, the company also introduced the Fabio Buzza designed, XS200, a 38-foot, 80mph race boat.
The 64 was powered by twin 1050hp V10 MAN diesels. Headroom in the engine room was a bit low.
In calm conditions with three onboard the 64 produced the following performance figures:
KNOTS – RPM
10.8 – 1000
13 – 1200
26 – 2000
32 – 2380
LOA: 71′ 6″
HULL LENGTH: 68′ 5″
WATERLINE: 53′ 5″
BEAM: 17′ 1″
DRAFT: 4′ 8″
ENGINES: Twin 1050hp; MAN diesels
+ Magnificent finish; Galley set-up
– Engine headroom
WORDS + PHOTOS IAN MACRAE