Sunseeker Predator 68 — By Capt. Ken Kreisler
|Part 2: The combination of performance and luxury works well aboard the Predator 68.|
It all starts at the helm. There are two seats to starboard, with the outboard one being for the driver; a matching pair of seats to port is for guests, and all have stowage beneath. While I found the driver’s seat comfortable, I was glad it converted to a bolster. I had difficulty seeing over the two-tiered helm—gauges on the upper level, flush-mounted electronics and rocker switches on the lower—and Ritchie compass in the middle of my sightline. I’m 5'9", and usually on this type of express boat I can get a good view ahead when seated if it has an adjustable seat. And even though I like to stand for a spell, on long trips a comfortable seat is my preference. However, once I flipped the bolster up, I was right there, even with the aforementioned trouble I was having seeing over the two-tiered helm design. “You get used to driving these bigger, long-nosed boats by looking up and way ahead,” Casler said. He was right. Once I did, it was “lean back and enjoy the ride” time.
To make that ride even more enjoyable, there is a large entertainment space just aft of the helm including a Gaggenau electric grill, sink, stowage cabinet, cool box, integrated ice bucket, Raritan ice maker, and a cutting board with a pair of built-in drink holders. (Additional drink holders can be found at the helm and adjacent seating areas.) Find that secluded gunkhole, and with all these convenient features at the ready, a late-afternoon respite can become something special.
Behind the passenger seats to port is a four-seat banquette with stowage compartments beneath the cushions and, across the transom, another seating area with Besenzoni hi-lo table. The decks are all teak, including the steps and the swim platform. The platform hydraulically “sinks” about three feet, handy should you decide to carry your tender here instead of in the cavernous garage.
From my observations so far, it was obvious that Sunseeker had equipped the 68 with amenities for fun on the water. But what about the living accommodations? I found a three-stateroom, three-head configuration designed around the saloon and galley—sort of a “great room” concept. The forepeak and the master, which is aft and amidships of the saloon, both have en suite heads, while the twin-berth stateroom, whose entrance door is aft and to starboard of the saloon, utilizes the day head there. I found ample stowage areas in all the quarters for those long trips. For example, the forepeak’s double berth has stowage beneath as well as a drawer in the island base and three cabinets on each side, and there’s a closet to boot. The guest cabin has under-berth stowage and a closet. The master also has stowage beneath the double berth as well as a pair of closets.
The interior finish is of beautifully crafted cherry. The saloon’s generous seating area, featuring a sweeping leather couch and hinged-leaf table—closed it’s an intimate dinner for four; open, a banquet for eight—is to starboard. The galley, with long granite countertop, separate undercounter Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer, four-burner Bosch electric stovetop, and Miele dishwasher, is to port. There are lots of cabinets and drawer space here, plus a Whirlpool microwave and built-in Black & Decker coffee maker.
While paying attention to creature comforts and practical design elements on the outside and inside, Sunseeker didn’t forget about the hands-on skipper or owner. Access to the engine room is via a large hatch in the helm area, and once down there, I found plenty of room for such maintenance items as fluid checks and filter access. However, the fully stand-up area does slope down as you go aft; this is to accommodate the garage, so some bending is required there. Should the difficulties be far aft, such as problems with the steering quadrant, or if more headroom is required, removing the garage’s two-piece sole gives complete access to the engine room. It’s a job best done at the dock and will most likely involve two people.
Besides having to bolster up at the helm, the other drawback I noted is the crew quarters. Access is via a starboard transom hatch and down a vertical ladder that was a tight fit for me. Once there, I found a coffin-like berth and minimal stowage space. While such arrangements are common on boats destined for Europe, if this 68 were mine, I’d opt for using this entire area for stowage.
The combination of performance and luxury works well aboard the Predator 68. She’s exciting to drive, and I can easily see how with all her amenities, this Sunseeker could take her owners and guests around in grand style with real flair. Part of that is courtesy of her racy good looks, and part is the notable woodwork and fine fit and finish found throughout her interior. As far as performance is concerned, the 68 definitely puts on a good show.
Sunseeker Florida Phone: (954) 786-1866. www.sunseeker.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.