57 A Predator Reborn

Set to make its début in 2015, the Predator 57 will redefine the circa 60ft hard top Sunseeker range. Tim Thomas looks at this exciting addition in greater detail.

When you look at Sunseeker’s current range – from the purposeful Portofino 40 to the majestic 155 Yacht –
it would be natural to think that it’s the larger yachts that hog the prime time of the Sunseeker design office. It may surprise you to learn, then, that the all-new Predator 57 – which will make its debut at the London, Dusseldorf and Miami boat shows at the start of 2015 – had one of the longest design gestation periods of any Sunseeker. Ever.

“We first starting looking at the 57 back in 2011,” states Ewen Foster, Sunseeker’s Director of Design and Naval Architecture. “By the time of our annual sales conference in November 2013 we had the basic design all but buttoned up, and presented it to our dealer network through CGI imagery. The dealers had never seen anything like it – the interest
was phenomenal.”

What became clear – and what drove that near-three year development process – was that the international market needed something that was truly multi-purpose. “We’ve seen the market changing in terms of what our clients want,” explains Sean Robertson, Sales Director at Sunseeker International. “There are two distinct options – an open style for the Med, and a closed style for Northern European climates or for extreme heat. The Predator 57 is designed to be a balance between the two.”

Key to this balance is an ingenious door system that separates the saloon area from the cockpit. Working as a patio door, the two spaces can be separated and the interior fully enclosed. But a cleverly engineered mechanism allows the door not only to open conventionally, but also to disappear into the sole, creating a seamless inside/outside deck area from forward helm to aft bathing platform, augmented by an opening hardtop. “There will be clients who will keep it open 99 per cent of the time,” adds Robertson, “and clients who will keep it closed.”

“We knew exactly what we meant to do with the design,” Foster enthuses, “but it became one of the most complicated we’ve done so far. And far from merely reimagining an old design, we’ve done the complete opposite to make it as close to what the largest mix of markets want.”

The result is a stunning, multi-purpose, multi-climate sport yacht which has everything – a garage and a crew cabin in the stern, a generous midships master suite, a forward VIP, inviting upper saloon and inspiring fore and aft deck spaces with aft wet bar, U-shaped seating and twin sunpads. In addition, while the yacht can be kept fully open, the door system means a companionway hatch over the forward stairs to the lower deck is unnecessary, further enhancing both inter-deck communication and adding a feeling of light and space to the lower deck saloon and galley. A twin cabin to starboard completes the sleeping accommodation, while the lower saloon can also be specified as a dayhead if preferred – and all finished in a choice of luxurious, contemporary or more classic woods and materials to Sunseeker’s impeccable fitting-out standards.

“All this has been wrapped in a package that draws on Sunseeker’s heritage while driving it forward – evolution rather revolution,” as Foster puts it. “The profile is reminiscent of the 68 Predator,” he explains, “but what started as slightly larger hull windows turned into incredibly large hull windows! We also looked at the shark gill motif of the 115 Sport Yacht, and decided to do a more in-your-face version. The sliding roof is a smaller version of that found on the 68, but we also had the opportunity to capitalise on other ideas we had had previously – for example, there’s a step either side of the forward sunpad to make it easily accessible, and while the aft deck arrangement meant an asymmetric layout, we have still managed to get steps on both sides from the bathing platform. The aft raked radar arch is a nod to the 68, while the ‘Coke bottle’ sheerline is a nod to Sunseeker’s past.”

“The hull and deck,” adds Robertson, “are brand new, and the windows have only been seen on the Manhattan 65 (launched at the Southampton Boat Show in September 2014) so they are the latest exterior glazing. The fact that we’ve managed to get a garage – which can take a Williams 325 tender – and a crew cabin aft is also important for several markets.”

The hull in particular has been optimised for Volvo’s IPS drive system – with a wider primary chine and flatter deadrise – while remaining highly efficient for shafts, and as a result there is a vast range of options for power and propulsion. “With D13 Volvos we predict 31 or 32 knots depending on horsepower, and with the IPS 950s we expect speeds between 32 and 34 knots” says Foster. There is also the option for Arneson surface drives for the real speed freaks – at the expense of garage and crew space aft – which are projected to deliver a bragging-rights best of up to 46 knots.

There’s no question that the Predator 57 is a ground-breaker in her bracket, and if you wanted further proof the pre-launch sales are already through the roof. “I think she’s a sweet-looking boat,” Foster concludes. “Her proportions are just right. And she’s caught buyers’ imaginations – I think this will be a very popular model. We can’t build enough of them quick enough!” That lengthy design process has delivered a yacht that will appeal no matter where you cruise, and it just goes to prove the old adage that good things come to those who wait.

Thankfully, that wait is nearly over.

“We’ve seen the market changing in terms of what our clients want. There are two distinct options – an open style for the Med, and a closed style for Northern European climates or for extreme heat. The Predator 57 is designed to be a balance between the two.”

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