Predator 61 — By Tim Clark — June 2002
Thrills & Chills
|Part 2: Keen, aggressive styling.|
Never had I been so eager to check out a warm engine room. Back in the marina, the 61's 10-hp Volvo Penta bow thruster was put to good use fighting fickle wind gusts as we reentered our slip, and once we were tied up I dropped down through the hatch in the teak cockpit sole, ready to embrace an engine as one would a stout, warm grandma. I was pleased to find that even with the larger of the engine options (800-hp MANs are standard), the space to carry out maintenance was satisfactory. The compartment's shape is partially dictated by the features of the 61's aft section. The transom and sunpad lift on electro-hydraulic rams to reveal a garage whose sole slopes about 30 degrees to facilitate the launch of a PWC or small tender (the teak swim platform lowers automatically to further ease launching and loading). The garage sole forms a sloping overhead aft in the engine room, but as you move astern the engine-room footing lowers as well. Squatting on a diamond-plate perch below the cockpit hatch, you can perform daily maintenance as well as service the 13-kW Kohler genset and Separ fuel-water separators forward of the port engine. Sea strainers are located aft and below this platform in the alley between the engines. You can step over them--somewhat awkwardly--in a crouching position to reach more diamond-plate footing running astern of the engines and around to their outboard sides. For oil changes and more substantial jobs, the garage sole lifts out of the way on hinges. Not only will this significantly improve headroom and lighting, but it will also allow all tools, parts, and mechanics to enter, aptly enough, through the garage.
For my part, I was happy to leave the garage sole closed--to keep the heat in. In fact, I was willing to stay in the warmth until PMY's June issue hit the stands, but realized I couldn't file a story without inspecting the 61's below-decks accommodations.
Given the Predator's keen, aggressive exterior styling, I wasn't surprised to find a dramatically chic interior. As in the cockpit, possibilities for large-scale entertaining are immediately apparent. Two-thirds of the nearly S-shape port-side settee embraces a dining table, but with the table lowered and its leaves folded, the area lends itself equally to cocktails for eight or more. The galley to starboard is similarly "convertible." With good stowage, high-end amenities, and dedicated space for standard Dartington crystal and Royal Dalton china, its practicality is certain. The Whirlpool microwave hides in an overhead cabinet, and the Kenyon two-burner stove and sink with dish-drying area vanish under folding cherrywood panels. In short, when not in use, the galley all but disappears behind a rich high-gloss finish.
In the forepeak master stateroom with en suite head and shower and in a pair of twin-berth quarters amidships (one which opens directly onto the full day head), I found the fit and finish equally accomplished. Even the finish on the cedar lining the voluminous hanging lockers in each cabin was unusually refined. And in keeping with the high quality of standard components at the helm (see spec box) and in the galley, every stateroom was equipped with a 15-inch Sharp flat-screen TV and Alpine DVD player.
For climactic extremes opposite to what Ross and I suffered on that nasty day in March, a total of 38,000 BTUs of Vector air conditioning cools the interior. I assume that you're reading this on a June day hot enough for that to sound appealing, maybe even hot enough for this shivering account to be refreshing. Imagine the cruelty we suffered on that bitter afternoon, aboard a yacht whose every feature encouraged notions of summer escapes. Imagine how we longed for the thrills without the chills.
Sunseeker USA Phone: (954) 765-1234. Fax: (954) 765-1931. www.sunseeker.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.