View to a thrill
Picture this. It’s late afternoon in the Bahamas. The tropical savanna climate bathes you in a warm hazy glow while you languish on board your Sunseeker San Remo, reclining on deck and observing a school of dolphins playing in the clear waters of a secluded islet. It’s peaceful, idyllic, surreal even. Suddenly, the stillness in the air is shattered by the revving engine of a high-performance Sunseeker XS 2000 as it accelerates into view, tearing round a corner just as its driver, James Bond, dives into the clear, azure waters and makes his getaway aboard a waiting seaplane… Okay, so perhaps the scene out of Casino Royale is not everyone’s ideal way of ending that vision, but there’s no getting away from it – as a first-time buyer looking to live the dream, be it seclusion in the lap of luxury or exhilaration that you’re after, Sunseeker makes the aspirational achievable.
The aforementioned San Remo is the perfect starting point for a novice boater. Pitched as a weekend cruiser, it offers the holy grail of requirements – space, comfort, design and performance. That’s a combination rarely found on boats over 60ft without the introduction of compromise, says Sean Robertson, Sales and Marketing Director at Sunseeker. Team that with a secure engineering base, systems that have been proven on boat after boat, and the option of customising colours, materials and woodwork finishes, all served up at an entry-level price, and what is undeniably a hefty financial outlay starts to look more like a sound investment.
Certainly, these next-generation toys provide the sort of thrilling experiences that certainly stand up to a retold story or two over cocktails. The new Seabob F5s is so lightweight, at 35kg, it pulls you along the water’s surface like a turbo-charged dolphin at top speed – perfect for a triumphant fly-by of the less adventurous folks still dry up on deck. And, in a sporty display of the machine’s especially sharp manoeuvrability, riders can plunge to the depths of the nearest coral reef, under power of the 680-newton propulsion, to effortlessly glide about and explore the shimmering, multi-coloured wonders of the sea. No need for tedious flippering.
Purchasing a yacht is an exciting and rewarding process. They offer adventure, comfort, privacy and security, and with the advances made in designs and the latest on-board systems, owners of even 50ft yachts now have the confidence to venture off on extended runs, says Robertson: “Staying out for two to three nights in a Mediterranean bay on a smaller boat was pretty unheard of 15 years ago, but now it’s the norm, and owners love to explore, find their favourite beach, anchor up and stay put for a while.”
bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to entering popular ports and marinas. luxurious destinations, such as SAiNT-TROPEZ, CELEBRATE THE SMALLER BOAT
The Balkans is a hot cruising ground at present, with its traditional fresh fish dishes and exquisite coastline around the Bay of Kotor. However, it can take time to find your sea legs, so it’s with optimum comfort in mind that the Manhattan 52 – Sunseeker’s newest model – offers the option of built-in stabiliser systems that help to keep the boat nice and steady, particularly when at anchor. Ideal for families looking to spend extended days away, the 52ft flybridge model (Sunseeker’s smallest introduction in eight years) has been designed to cater for first-time buyers looking for an open cruise boat, and will be available from July 2016.
“Pre-recession, the trend was for boats to keep growing ever larger,” says Robertson. “However, the lead in size is now becoming smaller, and whereas six years ago 60ft was acceptable, now it’s more like 50ft.”
So bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to entering popular ports and marinas. While the megayachts of this world can only be accommodated in the likes of Monaco, Monte Negro and Antibes, it’s the luxurious destinations, such as Saint-Tropez and the Mediterranean’s hidden bays that celebrate the smaller boat. And what Sunseeker’s compact models forfeit in size, they certainly make up for in elegance, brand heritage and reliability. “Sunseekers have that little bit of resonance, a bit of swagger,” says Robertson. “They do everything that any other yacht does, but just with a little more style.”
Looking good on board your boat is, of course, a must, and for many rookies the biggest concern is handling it – exiting the marina or manoeuvring alongside the quayside for lunch – all of these require a degree of skill and dexterity. It’s no surprise then that one of the most popular features is the Volvo IPS joystick control. Instead of needing a technical understanding of how the propulsion system works, the joystick responds intuitively making manoeuvring exceptionally easy, and enabling owners to appear like consummate professionals even if they only use the boat a handful of times a year.
Other features, such as the hydraulic bathing platforms that allow for easy launch and recovery of the tender, a tender garage, and handy aft storage for the odd Seabob, make being on board as fun and stress-free as possible. There are, of course, other considerations to factor in, such as running costs, crew requirements
(if any), insurance and certificates. Then there are marina fees, what size of mooring you’ll require and where the boat will be kept.
A good rule of thumb is that you should expect to spend 10 per cent of your vessel’s value each year in running costs. Should you require financial assistance, several banks are now happy to finance the purchase of both new and existing vessels, and the market for used boats is becoming increasingly popular with first-time buyers, particularly in the US.
“First-timers in our area will typically begin with a pre-owned boat,” says Robert J. Bianco, brand and sales manager at Strong’s Marine, New York. “They’ll go and get their feet wet with that first, and once they develop a passion or affinity for yachting they trade up into larger models.”
US owners choose to use their boats differently to their European counterparts too, says Bianco, opting less for exploring and typically staying within their home port (although Florida does carry tides into the Bahamas). The Predator 57 is therefore the Sunseeker of choice for American first-time buyers, offering brand heritage, quality and reputation in a yacht that is “aggressive, low to the water, and built for high rates of speed with total comfort”.
A fully retractable sunroof allows the helm deck or salon area to become one with the exterior cockpit of the boat. The entranceway doors and glass completely disappear, opening up into one big space, allowing day boaters to swim, enjoy water sports, sunbathe on deck, and really make the most of being out for the day.
After all, what is owning a yacht all about if it’s not getting away from the everyday, keeping the family together, and finding escapism. And that’s the crux of the allure – to live the Bond life and turn those wildest of dreams into reality.