The new Sunseeker 86 Yacht is more than just a cool contender making her head-turning debut in a competitive market sector. She’s also a new kind of Sunseeker.
A shipyard which made its name in the 1980s and ’90s with a fabulous series of sport boats, and now known for sleek, high-end express motoryachts, Sunseeker has a lot of image invested in performance. The early models were based on offshore racing hulls, fitted out with cool stripes and plush upholstery, and few could match them for looks or handling. Their clients were the type of people who liked their martinis shaken, not stirred.
More than any other shipyard, Sunseeker has managed in the intervening years to translate that high-octane ethos into its larger motoryachts. Bigger and beamier they may be—which of us isn’t?—but they can still get the adrenaline pumping. After all, if you haven’t firewalled the throttles on an 80-footer and heeled it over so far that you felt you could dangle your fingers in the water from the flying bridge, you really haven’t lived.
But the new 86 Yacht is not like that. Perhaps the first Sunseeker ever designed to be sensible, it has a milder deadrise and modest horsepower, and geometry calculated to produce a comfortable, efficient ride at moderate speeds. MTU diesels of 1,622 horsepower per side were deemed sufficient. Generous fuel capacity combined with a flatter, more easily driven, and stable hull form combine to ensure a relaxed cruising experience and excellent range. This, according to Sunseeker’s research, is what the market wants.
The 86 provides exactly what you might expect of such a luxurious machine; her wheelhouse boasts a balcony and an excellent curved bar in its galley that gives the spacee the air of a sociable speakeasy. The deck saloon strikes just the right balance between spectacle and sybaritic indulgence. Several different layouts are available for the belowdecks accommodation, but they have one thing in common—excellent headroom of at least 6 feet, 6 inches everywhere, and full-size berths at least 6 feet, 6 inches long. Differences between the two lower accommodation layouts are dictated by the option of a forward companionway in addition to the one amidships, and it’s the layout with two companionways, which has no need of a central corridor to link all the cabins, that offers the most space down below. This, by the way, was the option seen on our test boat, the second off the production line, with a pair of generous twin cabins sharing the amidships beam with the master stateroom, and the separate VIP, with its own private access, in the bow. The alternative version does have a larger master amidships, but would otherwise appear to offer few advantages. A five-cabin layout can be created by dividing the master into two.
Although smaller than you might expect on a 65-ton, 86-foot yacht, twin 1,622-horsepower MTUs still provide plenty of horsepower. Sunseeker’s naval architects have optimized the hull design for efficient cruising at between 12 and 18 knots, and leaning upon the throttles a bit soon confirmed that this is indeed an easily driven hull, with no obvious need for trim changes between displacement and planing modes.
Trundling along at about 16 knots and 1,800 rpm we found a little downward trim tab was good for an extra half-knot or so, and thusly set up, the 86 felt content. Across the channel from our test, Cherbourg was about 50 miles away: We could have gone there and back five times before needing to think about refueling. And with low noise levels and a relaxed running attitude the 86 provided proof of Sunseeker’s efficient cruising concept. They can do sleek, they can do stylish, and now they can do sensible.
Sunseeker, 616-801-3686; www.sunseeker.com
: 147,400 lb. (half load)
: 2,907 gal.
: 370 gal.
: 2/1,622-hp, MTU 10V 2000 M94s
: $6,277,600 (approx.)
: 2/28-kW Kohlers
: 2/1,925-hp MTU, 12V 2000 M94s
: ZF 2150V, 2.92:1
: CJR 5 blades, 42.5 x 46