Review: Sunseeker Manhattan 73
The Sunseeker Manhattan 73 took centre stage in recent sea trials down Perth’s glistening water-highway, the Swan River. Jeff Strang recommends you put this one on your luxury must-view list.
In luxury-boat terms Sunseeker is to Western Australia, as Versace is to Milan. Indeed, so well-established is the brand that, at-a-glance, many Perth and Fremantle marinas appear to be Sunseeker-Only members clubs.
So, with the western State’s most important marine event, the Mandurah Boat Show only weeks away (see a preview for the show on page 88) it seems appropriate to dedicate a few column inches to one of the showstoppers of this very British stable.
The Sunseeker Manhattan 73 is the grandest of the Manhattan range, all of which we had the privilege of photographing and reviewing on a recent trip to the West Australian capital. The Manhattan 63 and 53 both featured in Trade-a-Boat Issue 440 a few months ago.
During the visit I commented to sidekick Jack Murphy about just how impressively optimistic and buoyant the local economy seemed. Feedback from other areas of the market suggests my casual observation to be on the money, with Eastern States-based brands reporting good interest from WA buyers.
As the Manhattan 73 is a boat clearly tailored to a very exacting cliental, such positivity in the market is essential for the vessel’s success. Resting on the glistening waters of the Swan River, in front of some of the most prestigious properties to grace its banks, the 73 makes a bold statement of success.
Even in what could be suggested is a relatively small jump in size from the Manhattan 63 we featured a few months ago, the difference in available space, build quality and finishing is marked.
Sunseeker’s own marketing states that the 73 borrows features and concepts, like the fully ringed decks and generous large-diameter stainless steel topped bulwarks, from even bigger craft. And the company has experience with big craft, currently building vessels up to 40m.
This three-level, 22.6m LOA flybridge motoryacht makes the most of its 5.73m beam by offering no less than three double staterooms – plus a twin-single and an aft crew cabin – with the option for every cabin to boast its own en suite.
On top, a massive flybridge extends fully aft to provide shade to the cockpit below while offering seating for as many as 17 passengers – when you take the sunloungers into account.
Of equally inspiring proportions, the central living deck is presented in three sections with comfortable reclining for 10 in the saloon, another eight catered for around the freestanding dining table and a well-appointed galley for’ard. In contrast to the two smaller Manhattans the living deck follows an open-plan approach, with clear views from the primary helm station all the way out aft to the cockpit.
In summary the dimensions of the boat are impressive and in keeping with the senior matriarch status it has in the Manhattan range.
MANHATTAN 73 RELEASE
The Sunseeker Manhattan 73 was first released in time for the 2011 London Boat Show. Replacing the Manhattan 70, it made quite an impression. The UK-based Motorboat & Yachting magazine picked the Manhattan 73 as one of its top three boats at the show.
Editor Hugo Andrea described the vessel’s huge flybridge as an "absolute cracker", adding that it is the Manhattan’s standout feature. I’m inclined to agree.
Its open layout lends itself beautifully to outdoor entertaining with seating capacity for as many as 17 guests.
The carbon fibre wrap on the radar arch is a classy touch while a locally-made soft-top provides the required shade for those utilising the huge rear dining table, which is setup to cater for 10. Other seating options include a generous U-shaped lounger adjacent the twin helm seats and an inviting sunbed forward of the helm.
Catering for guests on the flybridge is made easy by virtue of the self-contained barbecue unit and wetbar. Seated behind the sporty wheel of the flybridge station, which is a virtual repeat of the main station downstairs, it is easy to visualise a day spent here entertaining on a guided tou
Because the 73 was the last of the three vessels we tested on our visit to Perth, it was probably the one for which I got the best understanding of the Manhattan concept.
I remember walking into the saloon and being thoroughly impressed by the visual space on presentation. Interestingly this is a thought in contrast to my notes, which say, "I like the mixture of timber, leather and stainless. Quite rich and traditional, yet with lines that give a very modern feel."
What I mean by contrast is that it is unusual to fit-out a boat with rich, traditional tones and still achieve a feeling of space. I suspect this is because 73’s designers have made a real effort to ensure all the lines of sight have remained unobstructed, with visual cues that draw you out rather than hemming you in.
It helps that Sunseeker has resisted the temptation to add much clutter. The saloon proper, which offers a couple of different seating options, is kept simple with clean lines and minimalistic styling. Panoramic windows are augmented by a mixture of artificial lights, and even during the day the absence of shadows makes a big difference to the perception.
These days a freestanding or formal dining table is the norm on a vessel of this class. In this case a gorgeous solid-timber eight-seater with black leather chairs finds a place amidships and directly opposite a large, partially enclosed galley.
Sunseeker’s marketing suggests it is a change for them to have the galley located on this middle deck. Of course, in this part of the world such inclusiveness is almost mandatory and I was pleased to see the designers had made the effort.
Top quality Bosch appliances all find a home, strategically placed throughout the acres of bench space. There is plenty of storage as well, although I did find the head-height cupboards slightly intrusive and as is so often the case, the lack of fiddles on the stovetop and the flat, lipless bench will make catering in any sort of swell more challenging than it needs to be.
Rounding off this middle "living" deck is the downstairs command station and its accompanying L-shaped observation lounge. Many Australians question the need for a downstairs station on a flybridge boat. On the Manhattan 73 it is fair to argue that the open bridge, which is worthy of the marque’s outdoor living ethos, is not designed to be an all-weather facility.
This helm station does have a level of X-factor and appeals to my passion for boat driving. Twin hydraulic leather chairs sit behind a sporty wheel and dash, dominated by a pair of Raymarine E140 navigation systems. Tasteful LED systems-monitoring screens present all the important data in a clear and nonintrusive manner. The Brits are particularly good at designing command stations with all the mod cons and flashing lights without sacrificing any maritime feel.
CABINS AND DECK
A very stylish stairwell leads below to the guest accommodation deck. As mentioned earlier the Sunseeker Manhattan 73 offers no less than three full-sized double cabins and a twin-single forward, as well as a quality crew cabin aft.
Most would quite fairly assume these cabins to be shoehorned in and pokey. In fact the configuration we inspected, of which there are several options, are surprisingly generous in their proportions.
A standard queen-sized VIP cabin and adjoining en suite takes up the forepeak while a full-beam master and bathroom is situated to the rear against the engineroom bulkhead. The central section of the forward accommodation space makes room for the children’s cabin and diagonally-configured extra-queen-size guest cabin.
It sounds complicated but the layout is ingeniously simple. A dogleg in the central hallway allows for the diagonal layout of the extra guest cabin, and moving the access to the full-beam master to one side has freed-up space in the captain’s suite. It is hard to describe, so I suggest taking a look at the online plans to get a better idea of how it is all put together.
All the cabins are of the finest quality. In fact the forepeak VIP suite would set the standard for a master cabin on a lesser vessel. I thought the attention to detail in the timber joinery to be of the highest level, while generous windows combat the claustrophobia together with overhead hatches that offer extra ventilation options.
My notes include numerous references to shoulder space, classic ambience and well-balanced tones, while sensible nods to practicality at sea include dedicated accessory holders in the bathrooms and well-drained floors in the shower compartments whose raised edges keep the water where it should be. I also liked that every en suite is individually styled and not just a repeat of the rest. Such an effort is costly and not often seen for the bigger mass-production yards.
MAN DIESEL ENGINES
Like most of the English yards, Sunseeker is conservative in its approach to the uptake of new technology, especially in its enginerooms. While the Manhattan 53 did feature IPS pods, both the 63 and the 73 feature conventional shafts and MAN diesel powerplants.
None of the specifications I could find online specify a particular type of engine, so I imagine there are options. Whatever brand you choose it will be pushing through straight shafts to five-blade props set in tunnels – a well proved and understood setup.
The 24V-DC bowthruster is standard and should be more than enough in most berthing situations, although those who regularly experience testing conditions should consider opting for hydraulic thrusters.
A gyro stabiliser is in place. This is a fantastic piece of equipment and worth its weight in gold. Few other stabiliser types offer genuine zero-speed stabilisation, which makes all the difference at anchor.
The engineroom itself impressed, given the amount of space on this lower deck dedicated to accommodation. With quality bulkheads, multipoint locking access, full head height, deep sumps and excellent servicing access there is very little to criticise hardware wise on this boat.
Other features of note in the engineering department include twin Cummins generator systems, a high-capacity 12V inverter system, a desalination plant and a "silent" underwater exhaust system.
THE TRADE-A-BOAT VERDICT
It is worth noting that as big as the Sunseeker Manhattan 73 is, this vessel is only a mid-sized hull for the yard. The company builds up to 40m so its experience and capability at this end of the market is considerable.
Unfortunately time constraints on the day did not allow for a true sea trial of the boat, although I certainly enjoyed the power and the feel I did get during photographic runs at the Swan River. That said, all my research on Sunseeker generally suggests the company has a reputation for building boats that offer a good balance between quality sea-keeping and easy onboard living, which is the compromise all designers constantly face.
Overall, my lasting impression of the 73, and indeed all of the Manhattan series, is that these boats are built with outdoor living in mind. Not surprising – Sunseeker by name, sun-seeker by nature.
› One of the best large-party-capable flybridge decks in its class
› Well-balanced tones and open-plan styling on the living deck
› Individually styled, sea-ready bathrooms
› Three queen-sized cabins is impressive
› Well-proved engineering
› Galley could challenge in a swell (somewhat negated by zero-speed stabiliser)
› Hydraulic thrusters would be a better option
There is plenty to like in the Sunseeker Manhattan 73. Highlights of note include the massive flybridge, the open-plan layout and styling of the central living deck, and the impressively generous accommodation allowances.
SUNSEEKER MANHATTAN 73 SPECS
MATERIAL Resin-infused GRP
TYPE Planing monohull
WEIGHT 44,900kg (half load)
PEOPLE (NIGHT) 10 (options may vary)
MAKE/MODEL 2 x MAN V12 1400
TYPE Electronic V12 turbo-diesel
RATED HP 1400 (each)
DISPLACEMENT 24.2lt (each)
354 Scarborough Beach Road,
Osbourne Park, WA, 6017
Phone: (08) 9231 5909
Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #444, September 2013
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