Issue: June 2006
Step onboard and she’ll steal your heart in an instant.
After visiting the Sunseeker factories in England and seeing first hand how well the Braithwaites run this operation, I reckon the latest Predator 72 will be a winner for this international brand.
When I first drove the Predator 62, I though it was as good as it gets, but Sunseeker pulled out all the stops (or should that be bungs) and came up with a boat that’ll make people looking at buying a 75 Yacht, jump ship for the new Predator 72. It’s more open plan than it predecessor, offers ample living and entertaining areas and boasts levels of luxury equal to, if not better than, any boat in her class. Her unmistakable sleek profile and sportsboat-like performance are exhilarating.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Twin V12 1360hp MAN Common Rail diesels power the Predator 72 to a top speed of 38 knots with a clean bottom and a half load of fuel onboard. During this test the boat topped out at 34 knots, but this will increase as the motors loosen up. Fuel flow should also decrease slightly from 250lt per hour per engine at full noise.
At 1800rpm the boat produces an ideal cruising speed of 24.5 knots and uses only 130lt of fuel per engine per hour. This should give her a cruising range of around 380 nautical miles. At this speed, the MAN diesels are the quietest engines I’ve ever encountered on a boat. Flat out the engine noise in the saloon is minimal, even with the aft door open.
The 72-foot model doesn’t have quite as much ‘push you back in the seat’ a bigger boat), but it’s still there. Push the throttles forward and the hull doesn’t jump onto the plane, it effortlessly slides over the water with no bow-up attitude or loss of forward vision.
Speaking of vision, the all-round vision from the helm is exceptionally good for a boat of this size. The big saloon side windows extend all the way back to the sliding glass aft saloon door. So on the starboard side of the saloon, you only lose about 2ft of rearwards vision where curtains are tied back, and a foot on the portside where the roof support column is.
This test was unique, because this boat was literally straight off the ship. Normally a boat gets put through sea trials before anyone’s allowed onboard. However, deadlines being deadlines, and the fact Sunseeker wanted this boat to feature in our Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show edition, it was now or never. Not only were the Modern Boating team onboard, so too were the new owners. The boat passed the sea trials without a hitch, which is testament to the quality control back at the Sunseeker factory.
It’s the underside of the Predator’s hull that holds the secret to her top performance and it’s fairly standard across the entire Sunseeker range.
The boats don’t have an overly flared bow, but they do have massive down-turned chines and pronounced strakes, which are carried well forward. These provide excellent lateral stability and straight-line tracking, but they also trap air between the chines and the keel so the boat rides on a cushion of air. Even in choppy conditions it’s an ‘easy-to-take’ ride.
The twin FP props sit in mini tunnels, which decrease shaft angles and reduce the boat’s overall draft . The props being in mini tunnels also mean tail slippage in tight turns isn’t an issue, because they run in clean water with little turbulence coming off the hull.
The test boat’s saloon and galley were finished with beautiful teak decking treated with six coats of Epoxy. This gives the timber a classy, matt surface that’s as hard as nails and much more suited to a life at sea than carpet.
The air-conditioned saloon has a large lounge area with a foldaway dining table, flat-screen television and DVD/CD surround-sound system. Connected by sliding glass doors, the aft cockpit is well appointed for alfresco entertaining, with a wet bar, icemaker, icebox and grill, so you can enjoy a drink and barbeque with family and friends. There’s ample sunbathing space, with a large sun pad on the foredeck, a cleverly designed transom lounge that quickly converts into a sun pad and the aft hydraulic swim platform.
The Predator 72 is a versatile boat that can be customised to suit individual requirements. If storage space for a tender is important, buyers can opt for the large garage/short cockpit version. Alternatively, they can have the option of a twin berth, en-suite crew cabin.
The test boat featured an opulent forward guest’s stateroom, a double cabin on the starboard side and a magnificent amidships owner’s stateroom with absolutely everything. The optional Pullman cabin on the portside was replaced by the large ‘galley down’ option chosen by her new owners. This is the best layout option for this vessel, in my opinion. The boat can still sleep eight if the crew’s cabin is used as accommodation. The galley down, with its separate dinette, provides another useful living area and opens up the boat even more. The accommodation areas are beautifully finished. There’s three bathrooms and every air-conditioned cabin has its own flat-screen television.
There’s plenty of natural light in all the cabins and the saloon, which features a sliding sunroof above the helm area. This also has three skylights in the sliding panel, so more natural light floods the saloon, even when the roof is closed.
Open the saloon doors and the entire area from the galley to the aft cockpit becomes one open living/entertaining area. There’s even a sliding aft cockpit cover that slides out over the cockpit, so the area can be used in all conditions.
The only thing I can say about the helm is that it’s complete ? it’s got it all. There’s even a dual seat next to the skipper’s seat for company when driving.
The Sunseeker Predator 72 is an awesome boat with formidable levels of power. She has grace and beauty equal to the finest hotels of Europe and an on-water presence that makes people turn and stare. She’s full of innovative design features and the standard of fixtures and fittings used in her construction are second to none.
You’ll need around $4.5 million to park one at the marina, but if you’re in the market for this class of vessel, the Predator 72 will blow you away.
WORLD’S BEST STATUS
It takes extreme passion, dedication and commitment to achieve “world’s best” status particularly in the highly competitive world of luxury boat sales. But that’s exactly what Sunseeker Australia did by winning the 2005 Gold Dealer of the Year Award.
Up against a global dealer network for Sunseeker’s cruisers and motoryachts, the Sunseeker Australia team were awarded the honour in recognition of outstanding achievement for 2005.
The prestigious award was presented to Alf Barbagallo at a glittering ceremony at Balboa Bay Resort in California recently.
The Aussie crew also received a special award from Managing Director Sunseeker International, Robert Braithwaite MBE, for outstanding achievement, commitment, support and help in 2005.
Twin V12 1360hp MAN Common Rail diesels power the Predator 72.
With a half load onboard in calm conditions the Predator 72 returned the following performance figures.
KNOTS – RPM
12 – 1200
19 – 1600
24.5 – 1800
29 – 2000
34.6 – 2300
BEAM: 17′ 9″
DRAFT: 5′ 5″
+ Galley down option; Open-plan layout
– Nothing to report
WORDS IAN MACRAE