20 August, 2018
Sunseeker 76 Yacht
Well-mannered, quick to accelerate and responsive on the helm, Sunseeker’s new 76 is not just a pleasure to be aboard but also fun to drive
White Sunseekers lay alongside the sea wall like ghost ships in the gloom, while behind them big assembly sheds seemed to hover, distant and insubstantial. On board the new Sunseeker 76 the windows might as well have been lined with tracing paper, but the test crew had the lights on, the heating fired up and the helm instrumentation glowing in anticipation. The 76 is all-new and replaces the 75 in the Sunseeker line-up, which grew out of the earlier 73. These were important and successful boats for the company – more than 100 were built – but with a radically restyled superstructure on a hull that is both longer and beamier, the new yacht offers a number of enhancements. Some of these, like the huge windows that make such a dramatic statement on the main deck, with matching cutaway gunwales to maximise the view, simply reflect changing fashions. The impressive foredeck furnishings, too, are a response to modern market demands – although the 76’s versatile suite of sunbeds, sofa and dining table do appear to move the game on. Improved crew cabin with engine room access, and the right-angled, glass-sided main companion way – far more practical than its semi-circular predecessor – address acknowledged shortcomings in the older models.
And some are simply great new ideas, like the opening glass sunroof over the lower helm station, complete with blind, which might actually be a unique feature for a full flybridge yacht of this class. Bespoke stowage tubes for the foredeck sun awnings are another little spark of genius. Down on the lower deck, the layout of the 76 is substantially the same as those of its predecessors, with full-size berths and a luxurious 1.98 m of headroom throughout. The midships master, in particular, is a spectacular space, with giant hull windows, a walk-in wardrobe and a comfortable head and shower compartment with twin basins. The VIP occupies less floor area, but is nevertheless a comfortable suite – and the twin berths in the port guest cabin can slide together electrically to make a useful double, 1.42 m wide. Options abound. This owner had chosen the sideboard instead of the sofa in his stateroom – you can never have enough stowage on a boat – and had also elected to fit an extra fridge in the useful locker at the foot of the main companionway. There is a variety of choices of bulkhead veneers, granite worktops and hardwoods underfoot – our test yacht had the ‘antique granite’ and wenge flooring, with white oak veneers.
You can also select from three different galley arrangements on the main deck – open plan, enclosed, or even banished below to take the place of the port guest cabin while leaving space upstairs for a huge circular dining table. Up on the flybridge, a hot tub can be installed aft or, if you prefer, a crane and stowage chocks for a PWC. Sunseeker specifies 1,400-hp MAN V12s as standard for the 76, but our example had the more powerful 1550s. Another option fitted to our test boat was Side-Power’s futuristic-looking, curved Vector fin stabilisers, which have a ‘zero-speed’ capability. The 76 proved to have the enjoyable handling for which Sunseekers have long been known, and our test 1550s showed themselves to be an excellent match for the 76, powering the big yacht to a two-way average maximum of 33 knots in the tidal waters off Old Harry, this coastline’s famous chalk stack, while the yacht’s moderate V-hull shape allows for a wide range of cruising speeds all the way down to the high teens. The ‘Jurassic Coast’ of Dorset is one of the most spectacular in the world, the white chalk cliffs and clear, turquoise waters provide stunning scenery that only new Sunseekers can match.
Photos by Sunseeker