The new Sunseeker 28M breaks ground for the British brand, both in styling and layout design.
The new 28 Metre Yacht from Sunseeker International made its world debut at the 2012 Tullett Prebon London Boat Show in January, appeared at its first in the water show at Southampton in September with its Mediterranean debut at the Cannes Show also in September.
We got to see it sooner than most. Once the ribbon had been cut in London by Sunseeker Chairman Robert Braithwaite OBE, we were among the first to go on board. Our host was Ewen Foster, head of design at Sunseeker. He was keen to show us what he calls the next generation of the Sunseeker Yacht look.
The boat certainly does visually break with the style we are all so used to from this builder. The most captivating element is the remarkable extent of main deck glazing and the lack of buttresses. Glass is full height, running from deck to deck head, and the structure appears to be without pillars. Glazing flows continuously down the sides and around the rear of the saloon, to merge with the aft patio doors. The new wrap around look gives the main deck accommodation a totally different and uninterrupted floor-to-ceiling appearance. It is a refreshing design style radically different from that we are used to on boats from this builder and the result is an extraordinarily bright interior, that seems to flow from outside.
The engineering behind this change is impressive. Much of the weight of the superstructure is supported by glass, and the frame around the patio doors takes a staggering six tonnes of compression.
The overall effect is one of increased usability of the saloon. Because it is now bright and airy, the saloon is a space that will see increased use throughout the day. This will be particularly true for owners of the 28M that choose the option of side doors and bulwark balcony, which were fitted into our review yacht.
Sitting in the saloon’s large, off-white leather sofa to port, or the equally ample armchair, the room feels spacious. A large pop up TV does block the light to starboard a little, but given that TV should be used to watch movies in the evening, the loss of daylight is not especially troublesome.
Forward of the saloon and to starboard, opposite a small but compact open galley, is the dining area. Because this is adjacent to the drop-down balcony, it will be more used than is normal in boats with inside dining rooms. Two individual stairways lead down to four equally well-appointed and spacious suites, including two VIP double staterooms.
Right forward is what in this layout is considered to be the master suite but this is a narrower room than the cabin aft and has a slightly less than six-foot bed. It is decorated in a pleasing colour scheme of cream fabrics offset by a high gloss walnut wood finish. To port, there is a cabin that has a double cabin with the bed set athwartships and facing outboard so you wake up to a view. On the other side of the companionway the cabin to starboard is fitted with two single bunks again set athwartships and facing inboard. Our favourite cabin is the so-called VIP suite that with its full beam seems to offer more space than the cabin right forward.
The internal decorations represented a considerable challenge for the interior designers at Design Unlimited who typically design most of the range. The brief from the builder and the yacht’s owner required a 28-metre yacht that had the internal attributes of a considerably larger boat, yet at the same time made the most of radical exterior styling. Together, these required a dramatic rethink of the layout and installation of the internal systems, not least because substantial volumes of joinery that could have been used for ducting and cabling were lost to glazing. In particular the air-conditioning system for the saloon had to be completely reconfigured to fit within the ceiling spaces with access via drop-down panels, and on the lower deck the provision of full-size en-suite bathrooms for all the cabins demanded a complete rethink of the interior layout.
There was no single solution to the requirement to create the ‘superyacht’ feel but rather an ongoing process of incremental improvements; saving a few millimetres here, finding a more compact installation configuration there.
New solutions were continually devised to ensure that the desired effect was achieved without any sacrifice in comfort or amenity. Sunseeker undertook an exhaustive space planning regime, which included building a full-scale mock-up of the interior. The latter was invaluable in evaluating changes and their impacts on surrounding areas as the project progressed.
Finally the interior itself had to be designed in a modular fashion, allowing certain sections such as the galley and crew quarters to be available in different formats to allow for regional preferences without slowing down build times. In all, it was a lengthy process but Mark Tucker and his team at Design Unlimited are delighted with the results, as is the yacht’s owner.
Other external social areas on the foredeck with its small teak table, and the fly bridge, have seen the additions of a new sun pad and group seating formats. The expansive foredeck has given rise to a completely new seating and sun pad layout, with a centre companionway providing increased social space. It feels very safe when walking around this area, and this is in part due to the very high sheerline the designers have given to the 28M. The result gives a more spacious and refined area.
Weighing less than a quarter of the fibreglass soft tops of other yachts this size, the large carbon fibre hard top on the fly bridge deck offers unrivalled room for enjoyment, with a comparable increase in available space resulting in an area that can be tailored to suit an owner’s requirements. From spa tubs to extended sun pads, this area will have endless entertaining layouts to enjoy true al fresco dining.
Sunseeker also offer the 28M with interior furnishings selected from the latest collection of materials and linings, ensuring that the striking exterior design continues throughout the interior.
Two individual stairways lead down to four, equally well-appointed and spacious suites, including up to two VIP double staterooms and a full-beam master stateroom. Each cabin incorporates a large window and set inside it is a rather quaint porthole that opens to allow for natural ventilation.
This particular yacht, the first of the series, was fitted with two unusual features, both of which are pleasing. The first was an exterior deck and matching handrail that was made of composite material that mimicked a teak deck. But there’s more; so clever is the technology behind such composites that this deck had been coloured and finished to look as if it had been weathered and aged. The effect is of a very real looking, and the advantage of it is that not only is it lighter and easier to clean, it is also easily repaired should it ever get damaged.
The second option was a clever entertainment control system from electronics wizards SES who have conceived ORCA. This highly intuitive and easy-to-use device links the on-board iPads to the ship’s system, allowing guests to watch movies, control the AC, alter the lighting to change the mood, and even raise or lower the yachts window blinds.
Crew accommodation right aft is suitable for four, young and (hopefully) agile crew members. The entrance to their area is from the swim platform or though the engine room. The area is well thought out and even finds space for a small crew galley and the ever-important washing drier combination machine.
Throughout, headroom and hull-side storage has been maximised demonstrating that modern design and practicality can go hand-in-hand. The completely new hull provides increased space whilst still capable of producing performance speeds from a choice of engines, the final delight in a truly remarkable new craft.
In Asia: www.sunseekerasia.com.hk
Technical Specifications – Sunseeker 28M
LOA: 28.15 m
Beam (Max): 6.5 m
Draught @ full load: 2.13 m
Displacement @ half load: 76100 kg
Fuel capacity: 9000 l
Fresh-water capacity: 1500 l
Black-water capacity: 435 l
Propulsion: Twin fixed-pitch submerged propellers
Engine options: Up to 3900 PS (total)
Max speed: 29 kts
Cruising Speed: 23 kts
Range: 400 nm
Accommodation: 8 guests and 4 crew members