To many Australians the greatest shortcoming of imported big boats is the small size of their cockpits. The English Sunseeker company has fixed that with an Australia-only version of their new Manhattan 52. They removed the sun bed (that many of the same people have little use for), replaced it with a lounge, re-jigged a few other features, and in the process added 600mm to the cockpit.
The total outdoor space is vast. Besides the now very respectable cockpit, there is a huge fly bridge whose deck forms a hardtop over most of the cockpit. There is even a replacement sun bed up there that gets plenty of sun in the Manhattan’s shadeless imported state. Few places handle sun control better than Western Australia, and awnings are built locally.
The helm position is a duplicate of the lower station, with a similarly excellent seat. Aft of it is a settee, and aft again a U-shaped settee around a coffee table. To port is the stairway and the wet bar. Facilities for making and keeping things cold abound on this boat.
The cockpit has its share, with a fridge and an icemaker included in the large barbecue unit. The deck is teak sheathed, and the rear platform uses the same material. The platform raises and lowers hydraulically and is large enough to carry a substantial tender, removing the need for a davit.
Side decks are fairly narrow, giving the maximum share of beam to the saloon. Fitted out with generous quantities of black American walnut (actually nearly as light as maple) this is a most attractive space. It is on two levels, the lower aft section, decked in synthetic timber, housing the dinette – for want of a better word.
It is far grander than that. Big enough to seat an extended family it features a table that adjusts in size to suit dining or snacks. It faces an array of lockers and drinks storage, from out of which powers an enormous TV screen.
The raised section of saloon has more sitting space, a bar containing a wine cooler, and the lower control station. The extra height gives good forward vision and, through the wide rear doors a view of the port quarter. Along with the electrically powered side window the driver can put head and shoulders through, it adds up to simplified precision parking.
Among the console’s analogue and digital gauges, navigational electronics and banks of switches, is a set of battery controls. You can parallel the batteries for an emergency start or, in the event that all the batteries are depleted, you can gang every battery on board to start the genset.
The galley is on the lower deck, and its foot space doubles as the passageway between the three cabins which saves a lot of otherwise wasted space. As on all Sunseekers, the galley is well enough equipped to cater for large groups. The bench is in solid granite, a convection-microwave and a ceramic hob take care of the cooking, and cold storage gets exceptional space. The fridge-freezer is domestic size and, domestic style, has freezer over fridge. In a space saving move, the pair is then mounted over the dishwasher.
The master suite is located at the point of greatest beam, and in the lowest motion area. Large and well lit, its extensive areas of mirror enhance both features. The king-size bed, like that in the forward cabin, is extraordinarily comfortable. It has drawers under it and the mattress base lifts on gas struts to expose more storage. All wardrobes on board are timber lined and fitted with illuminated hanging rails.
The en suite is proportionally large, and is virtually duplicated by the VIP cabin’s en suite that also does duty as the day head. The VIPs live forward in a cabin with a queen sized bed and plenty of space and stowage.
The third cabin has double-decker bunks. These are wider and longer than typical, and the cabin’s air volume is similarly generous.
Engine power is a serious 1600hp, supplied by a pair of MAN six-cylinder diesels. They proved good for 32 knots, which means this hull is far from power hungry. The suggested cruising speed is 23 knots, at which speed our clever digital gauges said range was a safe 250 miles.
So the Abrolhos are in range, with refuelling in Geraldton, and the other popular destinations such as Bunker Bay and of course Rottnest. Manoeuvring onto a Rottnest mooring will be a piece of cake; on a fairly blustery day, the differential power of our grunty MANs and the very efficient bow thruster gave us very snappy handling.
At $2,230,000 the Manhattan 52 is not outright cheap, but it looks good against imports from everywhere else: the UK pound is one of very few currencies the Australian has appreciated against.
Price as reviewed $2,230,000
Length overall 17.60m
Hull length (incl. platform) 17.02m
Draught, max 1.26m
Weight, half load 24,800kg
Fuel capacity 2140L
Motors MAN R6-800, 800hp ea