Sunseeker Manhattan 56 Page 2

Sunseeker Manhattan 56 — By George L. Petrie — February 2001

Wow Power
Part 2: Sunseeker Manhattan 56 continued
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On the main deck, the saloon offers two lounge areas. The after one has facing settees on either side of a sliding glass window wall, so the saloon can be kept in climate-controlled comfort or opened to the aft deck, forming a big indoor/outdoor entertainment center. The second lounge is forward to port, where a large, comfortable, U-shape settee wraps around a beautifully finished lacquered wood dining table. Interior furnishings and joinery are offered in a variety of textures and finishes.

Even the lower-deck galley offers versatility. Because the 56 is large enough that some owners may wish to have crew onboard while other owners may not, Sunseeker offers two options. Space adjoining the galley can be fitted as a small crew space with a single berth and separate head, or it can be used to enlarge the galley and provide additional stowage and a laundry.

Directly above the galley, the main helm station has been designed to maximize driving comfort. The wood-trimmed wheel and burl-walnut dash echo the style of a luxury sports car, with a full cluster of instruments in easy view. Large side windows and a full glass door aft provide excellent sight lines in all directions from the Besenzoni helm seat; its six-way power adjustment will let anyone find a comfortable driving position. At the base of the helm station, alongside steps to the lower deck, is a full a.c./d.c. panel, always in view behind a tinted glass door. Switches are color-coded and clearly labeled, and all the instruments are easy-to-read analog-style meters.

When you're wowed out and ready to relax, you'll appreciate the master stateroom's large centerline berth, accessible from three sides and with a large stowage space beneath. Side ports and an overhead hatch make the space light and airy. Headroom is 6'4" minimum, so even a big guy like me (I'm 6'2") has plenty of room to move around. I especially liked the fact that the shower in the master head has a little extra elbow room.

One of my favorite features on the 56 is the hydraulic swim platform. At the touch of a button, the entire platform lowers to water level, or a few inches below, so bathers can easily swim on and off without having to climb a ladder. The platform is large enough to accommodate a PWC or small tender, in which case the platform lift capability will greatly simplify watertoy launch and retrieval.

Whether you have swimmers or groceries coming aboard, you'll appreciate the centerline transom door. With the swim platform in the raised position, it makes it easy to board from dockside. From the teak-covered aft deck, glass doors lead into the saloon, teak stairs lead up to the flying bridge, and wide side decks lead forward to sunpads on the foredeck. To keep things shipshape, Sunseeker provides hidden stowage for docklines and fenders so they won't clutter the stylish exterior.

Clutter is also lacking in the engine room, which you access through a hatch in the aft deck. Forward there's six-foot headroom and easy access to all critical items. Cooling-water intakes are on centerline, in full view, and clear labeling of valves, switches, and equipment takes the guesswork out of operation and maintenance. The engines are mounted atop stout longitudinal stringers that tie into transverse structural bulkheads. They transfer load to the hull bottom, a beefy single-skin laminate with multiaxial fiber reinforcement, and hull sides, decks, and superstructure, which are balsa-cored sandwich panels with multiaxial fiber in the skins.

By the end of the day, I realized that the wow power of the Manhattan 56 was more than just a passing glance. Look a little deeper and you'll see this boat is just as impressive beneath her lovely skin. No wonder so many Sunseeker owners are saying, "Wow, I want one now!"

Sunseeker USA (954) 984-2911. Fax: (954) 984-2913.

George L. Petrie is a professor of naval architecture at the University of New Orleans and provides maritime consulting services. His Web site is

Next page > Sunseeker 56 Specs > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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