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BOATS

BOAT TESTS

Sunreef 70

Boundless Space

The sunreef 70 is a home away from home, no matter how far away you go.

When I was a younger man I worked on Wall Street, and while I was light years away from being a master of the universe, I was still earning more money than any 25-year-old without a killer jump shot should ever rightly hope to make. And I lived well, in trendy TriBeCa, home of Christy Turlington and Robert De Niro, cobblestone streets and the $39 fried-chicken dinner. It’s also famous for that fabled gem of New York City real estate—the TriBeCa loft. I’m leading this review of the Sunreef 70 power catamaran with a brief stroll down memory lane because when I walked into the 70’s saloon for the first time I was reminded of just that, an airy luxury loft, more often found in a big-city high-rise than aboard a boat.

I should note that “airy” is a term that often gets bandied about in the world of marine journalism, so much so that some might say the word has lost some heft. But I’ll lay down the gauntlet on this one: If you walk into any other comparably sized boat’s saloon and feel a greater sense of wide-open space than this Sunreef boasts, well, I want to hear about it, I want to see it, and if I had the cash to spend, I might even think about buying it. Because this saloon is impressive. Modern in design and feel, it utilizes the boat’s 30-foot beam expertly and enjoys overheads that feel as if they soar. A large and plush L-shaped settee to starboard serves as the main seating area and is serviced by a big-screen flatscreen that sits forward, nestled into the aft portion of the lower helm. It also has a dining table that seats eight and which will most likely see lots of use, since the galley on the 70 is exceptional. In fact, when I first saw this boat at the Miami Boat Show, even with all the accouterments I will shortly touch on, it was the galley that was the immediate takeaway for me. (It’s not often you’ll read that sentence in a boat test.) 

Click here for a video tour of the Sunreef 70Situated on the port side of the saloon, the galley is open and has a small area reminiscent of a sushi bar immediately serving the rest of the deck. That bar serves as an intimate place to share a cocktail or, as I saw it used, as a place for freshly prepared hors d’oeuvres. The four-burner stove is surrounded by plenty of serviceable counter space that any chef, professional or amateur, will no doubt appreciate. I say amateur or professional because Sunreef has designed this galley—with its peekaboo lookout space over the bar—to serve in two capacities. It is both out of the way enough for a paid chef to work surreptitiously without disturbing the party, and open enough for an owner to fry up the day’s catch without missing a beat of the night’s conversation. But no matter who is doing the cooking, they’ll be thankful for the full-size fridge aft. It’s so big that Sunreef’s captain told me that he has cruised on the boat with eight people for 11 days straight without needing to restock. Think about that. Do you think you could do that with the refrigerator in your kitchen, let alone your galley? That’s a lot of milk and eggs.

Forward of the saloon and up four steps is the boat’s lower helm, which is well outfitted with an electrically moveable helm seat, Raymarine G-Series navigation system, and a relatively large workspace for the captain to port. And man is it quiet. Even at WOT the decibels barely crest the level of normal conversation, a luxury of import not only to the captain but also to the backseat drivers on the starboard-side settee. 

Click here to see more photos of the Sunreef 70One qualm I did have with the space were the sightlines from the helm however. They were tight, particularly on the periphery. In a busy seaway I’d feel much more comfortable wheeling the boat from the helm on the bridge where the views are excellent. It’s my opinion that the restricted indoor sightlines are the outcome of a deliberate aesthetical choice. The Sunreef’s lines are super sleek, so much so that the boat resembles nothing less than a shark’s dorsal fin in profile. It’s a striking visual effect, particularly when coupled with the gunmetal gray hull paint on my test boat.

Below and forward of the indoor helm lies a true gem, a master stateroom that feels unmistakably like it should be on a mega-yacht. The boat’s beam again plays a key role here, allowing tons of space to the sides of the king-size berth. A visor of windows offers spectacular views and another electrically actuated TV pops up from a forward cabinet, but really, no need to get lost in an episode of Law & Order when the locales passing by those big windows should be so varied and enticing.


The boat was designed with a dual purpose in mind. With those graceful lines and luxurious touches in her interior, she’d serve admirably as a leisurely cruiser for the Med or Caribbean. As such, she’s been a popular charter model, whose clients enjoy her wide-open spaces that let guests mingle easily. But she’s also got some expeditionary street cred to her. With a leggy range of 4,000 nautical miles at 9 knots (and a theoretical range of 10,000 miles at six knots), a 422-gallon water capacity, 1,775-gpd Sea Recovery watermaker, and plenty of stowage, the 70 can get you just about anywhere. Indeed, the boat I tested in Miami had set sail from Gdańsk, Poland, explored the fjords of Scandinavia, played host to a fête or two in the Med, skipped across the Atlantic on her own hull, and made her way around the Caribbean before arriving in Miami. And I’m sure somewhere midway between Gibraltar and Antigua her captain was happy to have a hull composed of a rugged, vinylester-resin sandwich, which makes the 70 both light and resistant to fractures in the short term as well as osmotic swelling in the long.

I didn’t get to test her in any seas of note during my time aboard. The biggest swells we saw topped off near four feet I’d wager, but to her credit she handled them with aplomb, delivering a dry and stable ride. Lateral stability is one of the reasons people love cats, of course. At 20 knots—even in those 4-footers—she damn near whipped around hardover in only two boat lengths, and with zero heel. And when the burly 800-hp MAN diesels were un-synced she corkscrewed even more tightly. That’s impressive maneuverability for any boat, let alone a 70-foot-long twin hull. Furthermore, even when accelerating through her entire rpm range, her trim angles never surpassed 2.5 degrees. 

Like much of the rest of the boat, the flying bridge where I conducted my running tests felt like it belonged on a much bigger vessel. Indeed, it featured a Jacuzzi. And that’s not something you see very often on boats this size. It’s more like something you’d see in a luxury TriBeCa loft. But the 70 is better than that. She’s a floating pied-á-terre that can take you to the ends of the earth, without ever having to set a foot on the ground.

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This article originally appeared in the July 2012 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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