By Chris Caswell
The Sunseeker Predator 80 slots neatly into the company’s Predator line between the 68 and 84. Like other Predators, she is intended to be the most flexible type of yacht in the Sunseeker portfolio: equally comfortable whether running flat out or slowing down for a long-distance cruise. With an impressive list of options, owners can truly tailor the 80 to suit their own lifestyles.
The 80 features brand-new styling developed exclusively with designer Ken Freivokh and labeled the “Signature Look,” which offers several seating arrangements in the saloon, and our yacht was fitted with inviting couches to starboard. Oversized windows surround the saloon, which allow seated guests killer views, but also do the same for the skipper at the helm.
In the forward port corner of the saloon is the dining area, with a settee around a wenge-and-leather table, plus four loose chairs. Six large overhead windows create a skylight effect and, in fact, there is a very large sunroof over the saloon that further creates an indoor-outdoor living area.
Forward and down are the accommodations, with an atrium effect from the windshield above the foyer. The master suite is just aft, spanning the full 20-foot beam, with the berth to port, a comfortable chair with hassock, and a vanity/desk. The VIP cabin in the bow is an airy hideaway with desk and en suite head with shower. Between these staterooms are two guest cabins: The port cabin has two singles that slide together to create a double suitable for couples, while the starboard cabin has two singles that remain separate.
The 80 is the ultimate express cruiser on steroids and the big swoopy hardtop defines her. The hardtop doesn’t extend over the teak-planked cockpit though, because sun is as important to potential owners as the company’s name suggests. Centered between the two sets of steps from the swim platform is an immense sunpad.
EU regulations require that a boat’s design keeps water from entering the interior from the cockpit, a mandate that usually takes the form of a sizable step up from the cockpit to the interior. Sunseeker solved the issue in style by creating a “moat” between sliders and cockpit, and then covered it with a beautifully crafted teak grate. EU inspectors are satisfied, and no Predator 80 guest is going to stumble on an unsightly step because the sole remains flat from cockpit to helm.
Our Predator 80 had a pair of 1,800-horsepower MAN V12-1800s, which kicked us along at 33 knots without breathing hard. You can choose almost anything (short of outboards) up to a pair of 2,000-horsepower MAN V16s with Arneson drives that will quench your lust for speed at 46 knots.
And I don’t want to confuse you with technical terms, but she’s a giggle to drive. Carving a great big S in the water is something you want to do the minute your fingers wrap around that small leather-covered wheel. It is, perhaps, the nautical equivalent of downshifting a sportscar in a tunnel: Who can resist? But the Predator 80 is way ahead of you, banking smoothly into turns and, because the props are in pockets, biting easily no matter the amount of helm input.
This is a boat to savor and enjoy and, okay, here’s the bottom line. The options abound, so if you like the look, chances are the Predator 80 most certainly can be your kind of yacht.
Sunseeker Florida, 305-856-4050; www.sunseeker.com
: 123,200 lb.
: 1,586 gal.
: 317 gal.
: 2/1,800-mhp MAN V12-1800s
: Upon request
: 2/27.5-kW Onan
: 2/2,000-mhp MAN V16s
: ZF 3050-V, 1,441:1 gear ratio
: 39 x 54 5-blade CRJ
Sleipner zero-speed stabilizers ($119,294); line voltage regulator ($18,725); Idromar watermaker ($20,184); tropical-spec A/C ($16,418); cockpit engine control station ($12,213); Simrad AIS radar, GPS, autopilot, and VHF ($10,551); JMS joystick control ($23,556).
Air temperature: 76°F; humidity: 55%; seas 1-2'; load: 325 gal. fuel; 261 gal. water; 7 persons; 100 lb. gear. Speeds are two-way averages measured w/ Simrad GPS. GPH taken via MAN display. Range is based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels measured at the helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.