Issue: July 2004
Mention the name Sunseeker to boaties in the know and they will expound the virtues of this world-leading brand of Britishbuilt motoryacht. And having been to the Sunseeker factory in England it's that clean and tidy you could eat off the floor. I can vouch for Sunseeker's quality control. But it wasn't always that way. In the early 1970s, Poole Powerboats the company that was eventually to become Sunseeker, was the highly successful distributor of Scandinavian Boats in the UK. But importing boats made by others meant the company didn't have control over its own destiny. And there were simply no significant builders of boats for the UK leisure market, but the company was already learning valuable lessons about build quality, after sales care and the issues involved in international marketing.
Eventually, they began building their own marine ply boats, trying to improve on the best they could see in the market, until they realised that fibreglass was the boat building material of the future. Poole Powerboats went on to build a range of sports runabouts and half cabin boats and in 1972 it was exhibiting at the London Boat Show. There, one visitor to the stand liked the new boats and commented that if they could build one in white and put in a full width sun bed he might be interested. That visitor turned out to be former Formula One racing driver, Henry Taylor, who was then selling boats in the south of France. Nobody in Britain had ever thought of building a boat with a sun bed, but it was what was asked for and they set about designing a boat to suit.
By the late 1970s, following the success of this and subsequent models, the trendsetting Daycab 23 a trailable, deep-vee, Volvo sterndrive-powered day cruiser with four berths, galley and a water closet was launched under the name Sunseeker and the rest is as they say history. So, why the history lesson ? Well, Sunseeker's early history clearly shows that the company has always been at the forefront of powerboat design and style and have always made a habit of listening to the demands of the market.
Today, Sunseeker builds an extensive range of high performance world-class sportboats and luxury motoryachts from 38 to 140 feet, had a turnover in 2003 of 143 million pounds and employs more than 1300 people. But its latest addition the Sunseeker 37 Sportfisher is something new for this innovative company. While from a sportfishermen's perspective there are a few things we would change, but Sunseeker has come up with a versatile all rounder that will satisfy most of dad's fishing needs, while easily meeting mum and the kid's need for comfort and luxury.
The 37 Sport fisher has an excellent cockpit door/ swim ladder arrangement in the starboard gunwale, which also make this boat ideal for scuba diving. The 37 Sportfisher is a stylish boat that had everyone who saw her during this test on the Gold Coast talking. And the biggest talking point was the engines three Yamaha 250hp HPDI outboards sitting neatly across her transom. A sterndrive version is available powered by either twin Volvo KAD 300 275hp or Volvo D6 310hp engines. That's a lot of power , capable of propelling the 37 to a top speed of 50 knots at full noise, which is pretty good considering she has an overall length of 43' 9" and weighs-in at 7900kg at half load. The Sportfisher is designed around Sunseeker's well-proven deep-vee hull giving her the handling and performance to easily handle bluewater fishing and cruising. Although optimum cruising speed depends on the load carried, with a fuel capacity of 1500lt and running at 30 knots the 37 has a range of approximately 11 hours, or 325 nautical miles. Engine noise is also decreased, because the outboard motors are set well below the level of the transom wall, which deflects much of the sound. This boat is divided into four distinct areas, the aft cockpit for fishing and enormous centre console helm station, a lounging area forward of the helm and the below deck accommodation.
A fibreglass hard top protects the helm and lounging area from the elements. The hard top and its supports are surrounded by a stainless steel grab-rail, so there are plenty of bars around to hang onto when things get rough. Both the cockpits forward and aft of the helm console are self-draining and feature under seat storage; a top-loading ice chest next to the helm; a tackle and bait station with sink and live baitwell behind the helm, seven fishing rod holders in the gunwales and transom; a hot/cold transom shower and underfloor fish boxes.
The centre console features full instrumentation and has large open areas for mounting a quality electronics package. She might have three outboards strapped to her transom, but these are all easily controlled by a single lever. Bolster drivers and navigator's seats make driving in the standing position a comfortable option. Moving forward the walkway decks around the cabin sides to the bowsprit are teak laid and the stainless steel bow rail is high enough to lean against for good support. Stick your head below deck and all that opulence and luxury Sunseekers are famous for greets the eye.
The sumptuously appointed forward island bed grabs your attention first, while to port is a luxurious upholstered lounge and removable dinette table. To starboard is the galley, which has enough bench space and storage to make whipping up an onboard feed more than just sandwiches and nibblies. There's a 12V electric refrigerator, microwave oven, single burner stove and a sink/tap unit. The flat LED TV screen is mounted on the left of the galley above the preparation bench and can be clearly seen by those seated on the saloon settee. To the right of the galley is a bathroom.
Although you have to turn sidewards to step through the door, once inside there's quite a bit of room to move about. There's a full height shower, sink and tap, an eye-level medicine cabinet and an opening porthole. The wood panelling and joinery work is first class, but Sunseeker should put a stopper on the bathroom door so it doesn't hit against the galley cupboards. Sunseeker are testing new waters with this boat and her striking blue and white hull and teak laid decks will certainly ensure she'll hit the sportfishing boat market with plenty of style.
So how much will it cost you to park one of these new Sunseekers at the marina ? Pricing start from around $590,000. Then all you have to do is throw on the fishing and diving gear, grab the family and head seaward.
Words by Ian Macrae