The name ‘Predator’ might tempt owners towards Hemingway-esque marlin fishing adventures, while its sporty helm and the Volvo Penta D8-600 engines mated to shaft drives at their behest, just beg for this beast to be scissoring through the surf at 40 knots. But the latest model in the British yacht-builder’s flagship performance cruiser range (from £645,000 plus VAT) really comes into its own when entertaining guests. “The deck boasts spacious foredeck seating and sunbathing area complete with optional retractable pram-hood canopy,” explains Phil Popham, CEO of Dorset-based Sunseeker International.
“The forward and aft cockpit seating can be folded down to create an enlarged sunbathing area, while the ‘Beach Club’ concept at the transom, which we first unveiled on the Manhattan 52 in 2016, provides even more space for owners and their friends and family to socialise and relax close to the water.”
Indeed, the sundeck area on the stern is impressively spacious for a 50-foot vessel, and features a fold-out bench and grill plus hydraulic bathing platform, a dining table with bench seating on both sides and a rain shower tucked in next to the steps (technically optional, like the grill, but most customers will opt for both). There’s another generously sized sunbathing area on the foredeck, while the ingenuity that lies between also helps furnish the Predator 50 with its raison d’être: the hardtop roof opens fully to convert the ‘interior’ into another voluminous and sun-kissed space for guests, the overall effect being something like an open-plan cockpit/saloon – “unusual in this size of sports boat”, as Popham puts it.
To put it another way, it creates the impression of all on board being in the same area (front sun deck excepted).
With the roof completely off, indoor accoutrements such as the bar on the starboard side, sink, wine-cooler, icemaker and flip-up TV do little in the way of making the zone feel any less alfresco. The Predator 50 is equally guest-friendly on the lodgings front, too: the master suite has vast hull windows, a mini dining area and plenty of standing headroom; the VIP guest cabin has two single beds that can be scissored into a double, overhead hatches, TV, ensuite and decent storage; and even part of the lower saloon can be converted into a third bunk room. In short, it’s an ergonomic marvel. “Without compromising on space, it also comes complete with a tender garage,” as Popham points out, alluding to the cubby-hole from which a Williams 325 Jet – which, adrenaline fix-seekers may be interested to know, can go from standstill to 20 knots in four seconds flat – can be launched.
Such a design feat is especially impressive given that this is a company that carries out all processes – naval architecture, hull design, glazing, interior furnishings and everything in-between – in-house, at its Dorset base.
“We use a CAD system called Siemens NX that allows us to design and produce drawings for manufacture to exceedingly high standards – and the tolerances are exquisite,” explains Sunseeker marketing manager Bryan Jones of the massive recent improvements in yacht design, adding that the software can also be thanked for vastly superior acoustics in modern yacht design: when the cabin’s hoods and doors are closed down, hushed conversations would be possible, he says.
In keeping with the modern yen for luxury customisation, buyers can select their interior finishes and fabrics (upholstery, curtains, blinds, bedcovers, scatter cushions) from the Sunseeker Premium Fabric Collection, with the AV and electronics options being another subject up for discussion when the Sunseeker interior design team meet with a customer for a design presentation. Options that allow the easy removal of wine stains might be advisable, if you intend to utilise this boat’s socialising credentials to the max.