Do people still want big sportscruisers? Sunseeker certainly thinks so having introduced the Predator 65 about 18 months after the arrival of the boat upon which it is based, the 65 Sport Yacht.
The boats are identical except that the Sport Yacht has a dinky sportsbridge which is home to Sky Helm and arguably the finest driving setup of any boat in this category. The Predator goes without the upper deck but in its favour is a truly gigantic glass sunroof which pulls back to create a staggeringly large aperture that instantly transforms the boat into an open sportscruiser. It's powered by Volvo Penta IPS (1200 or 1350) and has an impressive array of deck and interior configurations for a production boat of this size. Let's see what else it has to offer, starting with what it's like to drive.
Sunseeker Predator 65 Key Facts
- LOA 67.257ft
- Model Year 2021
- Cabins 3
- Crew 1
- Max Speed 35 knots
- Status In Production
- Yacht Type Sports Yacht
- Use Type Cruising
Test & Review Video
Around the Marina
With either Volvo Penta's IPS1200 or IPS1350 on the menu, joystick control comes as standard on the Predator 65 so guiding the boat around a marina is simple if you're used to this type of system. The boat doesn't have too much windage and the view from the lower helm, thanks to all the glass in the superstructure, is very good, though the additional control station in the cockpit will be useful if you more stern-to regularly. A proportional bow thruster adds that extra bit of control over the bow, which is always welcome even with the joystick doing the majority of the work.
Having a side door at the helm would make it easier for the person driving to help with crew duties if needed but there is at least an electric window so they can easily communicate with the crew out on deck. Life on deck for those on crew duties is pretty good. The side decks are wide and easy to navigate and between the anchor locker, tender garage and crew space there is enough space to swallow the boat's fenders, though they're not the easiest spaces to access. The guardrails are a little low towards the cockpit but they rise as you move forward to add to the feeling of security up front.
The popular extended seating option in the cockpit improves the area dramatically as an entertaining area but it does block off access from the cockpit to the port side deck so you have to go down onto the bathing platform and around or climb over the seats.
The Predator's sister ship, the 65 Sport Yacht, has a driving experience like no other thanks to its innovative Sky Helm but even though the sportscruiser doesn't have the theatre of that feature, dynamically it is just as sweet. This is an IPS boat that has been tuned for driver engagement and it treads the line perfectly between refinement and agility. Turn that multi-function wheel hard from lock to lock and the boat dips its shoulders towards the water with relish and it changes direction with remarkable tenacity.
Conversely, if you just want to sit and cruise the 65 will happily do so. At 25 knots we recorded sound readings of just 66 decibels, which is pretty remarkable considering there is 2,000hp churning away below deck. This is a side of the big Predator really appeals. It's a tremendous grand tourer that is easy to drive, quiet at cruise and relatively efficient with a range of nearly 400nm @ 23 knots thanks to a fuel capacity of 3,500 litres. We topped out at a two-way average of 33 knots.
It's available with IPS1200 or the 1350s we had on test but we don't think Sunseeker has built one of these or a Sport Yacht with the smaller motors. It doesn't make much sense to go for them given they're the same block as the 1350s, only slightly less expensive and working harder to keep the boat in that 25-knot cruising sweetspot.
Conditions were pretty gentle for our test with just the wake of passing traffic to test the 65's hull but we tested the 65 Sport Yacht in more trying conditions and it stood up to them well. There is a wonderful atrium effect created above the companionway down to the lower deck but it does enhance the sound of the water rushing beneath the hull at speed, which goes to highlight just how quiet the engines are.
Our Test Speed & Range Data
900 nm @ 12.1 knotseco
394 nm @ 23.1 knotscruise
300 nm @ 33.1 knotsmax
Sunseeker Predator 65 version 2021. *Data collected by Yacht Buyer during testing.
View Full Test Results
Sunseeker launched the Sport Yacht 65 first and then created the twin-deck Predator 65 sportscruiser off the same platform so, from the roof down, the boats are absolutely identical. Despite the Predator coming later, it's almost an even 50/50 split between sales of the sportscruiser and the sportsbridge, which may come as a surprise given that the boats are the same price.
On the face of it, it doesn't make much sense to pay the same amount for a boat that has fewer decks but when you enter the saloon of the Predator it all falls into place. Yes, the space is the same but the much larger sunroof makes all the difference. The Sport Yacht has a sunroof but it's not on this scale. The Predator's is enormous and it's made up of a framework of six heavily tinted panes of glass, which allow natural light to fill the space when the roof is closed but repel a fair bit of heat.
It's the single-level living aspect that holds such appeal. You don't lose guests up to the flybridge so the cockpit and saloon become the heart of the boat where everybody congregates both at rest and when moving along.
Another remarkable thing about the 65 is how many layout options Sunseeker has baked into a production boat. The design team clearly thought long and hard about the requests they were likely to get from customers and catered for as many of them as possible. Want the galley down? They can do it. Four cabins? No problem. Extended owner's cabin? Come this way. We'll delve into these in more detail but it's safe to say there is an arrangement to meet most needs.
The interior looks and feels absolutely lovely, especially the smoked eucalyptus timbers which have a subtle almost tiger print grain-matched pattern that pops up all over the boat. For the £21,341 they cost extra, they should look the part, however. Quality in general appears very good. Engine room access is via a hatch at the aft end of the port side deck and though space around the engines is restricted by the bulky presence of the tender garage moulding, the installation is very good and working on major items such as the generator and Seakeeper (if fitted) is easy enough. The tender garage does create compromises in the engine room but there are plenty of benefits, as we'll see later in the review.
The galley-up layout has been the most popular of the boats sold so far and it's easy to see why. It's a good size and comfortably spans the space between the cockpit and the internal dinette, its handy return creates the perfect server and adds some handy extra storage space. At the aft end, the window drops (very slowly) down into the deck to blur the lines even further between saloon and cockpit and it works well. If you treasure more seating and privacy on a crewed boat (rare at this size, but not unheard of in certain markets) then the galley down layout is a useful option. It's much smaller, as it takes the spot on the lower deck where the owner's study is, but it does create a huge amount of seating in the saloon.
The upper galley is big and has masses of storage space, induction cooking, a dishwasher and a domestic fridge/freezer on the starboard side with an optional (and large) wine fridge tucked next to it. The Princess V65 has seating opposite the gallery and further forward in the saloon whereas the Sunseeker's is all focussed on the central area of the saloon. It's not as easy to serve the dinette from the galley but it does mean that all of the seating is exposed to the fabulous views out of the enormous windows. The dinette table is fully adjustable and easy to expand and adjust with one hand to switch between dining and coffee table height. The TV pops up from behind the smaller sofa on the starboard side.
The sunroof, of course, is a major talking point and it's a rather spectacular structure. Open, the massive aperture douses the dinette and helm position in the sunshine and pulls in great mouthfuls of air when the boat is moving along. It's transformative and totally alters the feel of the boat when it's pulled back.
On the lower deck, the space outside the owner's cabin on the port side can be specified as an extra cabin with a single berth, a lower dinette, an extension of the owner's suite or it's where the galley is located if you opt to have it on the lower deck. The variety on offer is impressive, best in class, in fact, but the most popular arrangement thus far has been the brilliantly coined 'grand master'. Here, the space becomes a lavish study area with a built-in desk, stool and some beautifully integrated storage. In a world of remote working, this sort of quiet, well-specified workspace will seal the deal for some owners.
The rest of the cabin is just as thoughtfully put together. The bed is big and set at a good height, there's well over 6ft of headroom throughout and the floor is flat, too, so you needn't worry about catching your toe on anything when you make your way to the ensuite in the night. To port, there is seating beneath the hull window with useful drawer storage lined up along the opposite die. The detailing is lovely, from the subtle LED strip lights in the ceiling and above the bedside tables to the stainless steel inserts that add a bit of flourish to the bulkhead behind the bed. It feels classy.
Whichever layout you opt for, the main guest cabins are unaffected. There is a spacious twin, with an ensuite, on the starboard side and a comfortable VIP with its own bathroom. Privacy amongst the guest cabins is outstanding because not only do they have their own bathrooms but there is also a separate day head, a lavish touch for a boat of this size that means guests don't have to share. Despite this, none of the other spaces feel in the least bit compromised, especially the VIP which has good space to get changed at the end of the bed, a large TV mounted to the bulkhead and a neat bureau/make-up area on the port side.
The crew cabin is an option (£26,000) and many will see it as surplus to requirements. On a boat of this size and style, it's never going to be huge, especially on a boat with a tender garage. It's accessed via a unit on the starboard side of the cockpit and down a steep ladder. In most cases, the space is probably going to be more useful lined out as storage, which is what you get if you don't opt for the cabin fit-out. Some markets will demand it but most owner-run boats should probably look to save the money and use it for stowing kit.
It is, first and foremost, a great-looking helm station with a real sense of occasion. A moulded pod dominates the top of the dash and is home to a pair of 16in Garmin MFDs; lower down are the same retro semi-digital dials that we first saw on the 65 Sport Yacht. They add some flair to the dash and you can flick between data such as speed, depth and heading via a BMW iDrive-style controller mounted next to the helm seat.
Remote control of the instrumentation is excellent. The MFDs are touchscreen but you can also control them via a keypad mounted behind the throttles and through the multi-function steering wheel, which has paddles similar to a car's flappy paddle gearbox, only here they control functions on the screens. Carbon fibre and flashes of the same timber used elsewhere on the boat brighten up the dash itself and it's a very clean design with a handful of buttons for things like the anchor windlass, windows and horn.
The CM8 system, which Sunseeker has been using for a while now, provides digital switching for all of the boat's functions from one screen and there's a dedicated slot for an iPad that can run the same system and controls the boat's AV remotely.
The backs of the helm seats are a little low but that aside the ergonomics of the position is sound. The seat has a good amount of slide adjustment so you can get close to the helm and with all of those controls placed around the helm seat, you can sit back and flick around the various screens without having to move out of your seat. The Predator has one of the biggest single-piece windscreens of any production boat and even though this creates slightly larger mullions, the view forward is excellent. It's a lovely environment to cover the miles from.
The Predator may only have two decks to play with but the designers have done a great job of making the very most of the space. First and foremost, the garage is there to keep the tender off the deck and it's large enough to swallow a Williams 345 or something of those dimensions. But, with the optional Flextiteek flooring (£7,300) and overhead shower (£2,600) the area can also be used as a water-level living space. Drop the hydraulic bathing platform down, pop a couple of bean bags on deck and you have an area to relax by the water or keep an eye on swimmers.
The tender recovery system is part of the £131,000 Platinum Med Package (see Our Options & Pick below) and this uses a roller system and electric winch to aid the launch and recovery of the tender. It's a great space that is more than just somewhere to stow the tender and bulky items of kit.
The standard arrangement in the cockpit is to have a central dinette with access up both sides from the bathing platform and a pair of fixed bar stools facing the galley to create a bar when the window section is dropped down. The more popular option, however, is to have an extended seating arrangement with a bench that snakes around the port side and butts up against the wheelhouse. It blocks off access to the port side deck from the cockpit but the major benefit is the massive boost in seating space and the large dinette table.
You could comfortably sit eight people for lunch around here and there's space for some free-standing chairs opposite if needed. It's a great space that is well protected from the elements and links directly to the large aft sun pad, which can be protected by an optional sun shade that pops out from the overhang. The boarding gate on the starboard side is handy, too, especially if you're alongside a high quay or fuel pontoon. It's the same side as the optional third docking station so the skipper can move the boat into the berth and, if starboard side to, can easily step off and help with lines.
With no top deck, the foredeck area has greater importance aboard a sportscruiser like the Predator 65. It's a good space with a deep sofa stretching out beneath the windscreen that is separated from a double sun pad forward by a walkway that links the two decks. The sun pad has adjustable backrests so it's possible to sit up with some support if you're reading or want to take in the view and there's an optional canopy that sits atop some carbon fibre poles.
In order to keep the profile of the boat as clean as possible there is a moulding that links the sofa to the sun pad that blocks off the end of the walkway between the two decks, which means you have to step over them to get to the sofa or cross the foredeck. It's not a major issue but just makes moving around this area a bit more difficult than it should be.
The base price for a Predator 65 with IPS1350 is £2,240,000 ex VAT (all prices correct at time of writing), which is about in line with what you'll pay for a Princess V65 and likely to undercut its rivals from Ferretti Group (see Rivals section below). Interestingly, the Predator and Sport Yacht are the same prices, so it only depends on which style you prefer and, of course, how far you delve into the options list.
Our Options & Pick
Some key extras are part of the Platinum Mediterranean package (£131,000) such as the 17.5kW generator upgrade, tropical air-conditioning, passerelle, tender recovery system, aft cockpit shade, 12in spring cleats, winches and the foredeck cushions with tilting backrests. If the boat is going to live in the Med then this pack, along with the £7,000 cockpit docking station are must-haves but if keeping the boat in cooler climes you may want to pick and choose certain items.
We've covered the crew cabin fit-out, which is probably £25,000 that most people can put towards something else but it's there if you want it. The £17,000 navigation upgrade to twin 16in Garmin MFDs with the pilot system for IPS, Fantom open array radar, fishfinder and AIS is a good investment, as is the £24,000 Dynamic Positioning System, which holds the boat in place using GPS at the touch of a button. If you're regularly a two-person crew, this is a great addition.
AV is a personal choice but the Performance AV package (£12,500) adds Samsung smart TVs throughout with a mix of Sonos and Bowers & Wilkins speakers for a top-class audio-visual mix, all of which can be controlled remotely from a smartphone.
The C-shaped cockpit arrangement in place of the standard layout is the one we would go for (£13,600) and the 'grand master', though it's a £15,900 option is too good to miss unless you need the extra sleeping space of the fourth cabin. It's also worth paying the combined £10,000 to deck the tender garage out in Flexiteek and add the overhead shower to create the mini beach club at the stern as it gives you a useful extra outdoor living space. The Seakeeper is a meaty £128,500 option but if you live on anchor a lot of the time it's worth every single penny.
Our test boat was about as highly specified as a Predator 65 can be and came in at £2,838,782 ex VAT.
Do people still want sportscruiers? Sunseeker has been building boats long enough to know what customers are after and the sales figures for the Predator 65 prove that the answer is a resounding yes. Where the 65 Sport Yacht is characterised by its class-best driving experience because it's such a huge amount of fun, the Predator 65 stands out for its refined cruising ability and single-deck focus. There are plenty of people who just don't feel the need for a small flybridge up top and therefore the Predator is the perfect solution; it's hard to explain what a difference the spectacular sunroof makes. Kudos to Sunseeker, too, for providing such a fine array of layout choices for a boat that they churn out in decent numbers. Impressive customisation potential for a production boat is just one of many elements that make the Predator 65 a very appealing prospect.
Reasons to Buy
- Striking looks
- Layout choices
- Refined cruising capability
- That sunroof!
Things to Consider
- Engine room is a bit tight
- No helm side door
- Small crew cabin
Rivals to Consider
There are some classy competitors in this sector, let's have a look at them.
The Princess V65 is probably the direct rival and it's a smooth operator. It's got a pair of 1,400hp MAN V12 engines on shaft drives (totalling 800hp more than the Sunseeker) and will top out, according to Princess, at 38 knots. It also has a tender garage and crew cabin aft with four guest cabins further forward on the lower deck. It's effortlessly sophisticated on board with a galley aft layout, dinette opposite and the main lounging area forward. The sunroof isn't as large as the Sunseeker's, or as packed with glass, but it does have a side door adjacent to the two-person helm. The four-cabin, three-bathroom works well, especially the position of the large owner's ensuite behind the bed, but it doesn't have anywhere near the layout options of the Sunseeker - but then not much in this sector does.
The Riva 68 Diable is a sportscruiser in the old school mould. The main deck is open-backed and designed for fun in the sun with the lower deck given over entirely to the galley, dinette and sleeping accommodation. Riva has a rather old-school attitude towards engine options, too, and has opted for power. Twin MAN 1,550hp V12s on shafts, to be specific, which are good for a top speed of 40 knots. Because of that lower deck layout, there is only space for three cabins including a guest twin, VIP and full beam owner's cabin amidships all with their own ensuite bathrooms. Aft, like most boats of this type, there is a garage large enough to swallow a decent tender. The Riva doesn't have the year-round usability or practical edge of the Suneeker but it's a big beautiful machine with unmatched quayside appeal.
If performance is the key priority then, well, the Pershing 7X is the one for you. This 38-tonne flyer will top 50 knots thanks to its pair of 1,800hp MAN V12s mated to surface drives. It has carbon fibre in its superstructure and despite being bigger in all dimensions than the Sunseeker, weighs about the same and with 3,600 litres of fuel on board will cover over 250nm even at full speed. There's more than just performance in the Pershing's corner because it has quite a unique arrangement board, too. It's available with two or three cabins on the lower deck, the former replaces the twin guest cabin with a big lower dinette. Like the Riva, the 7X has a lower deck galley arrangement, which leaves space for plenty of seating inside the air-conditioned deck saloon. The owner's cabin is full beam amidships but the bed faces aft with the bathroom arranged in the corner. It's not as plush as the Sunseeker's 'grand master' but it does have a more spacious crew cabin.
Specifications & Performance
Sunseeker Predator 65 version 2021. *Data collected by Yacht Buyer during testing.
Test Engines Twin Volvo Penta D13-IPS1350
- Liters Per Hour
- Liters Per Mile
- Range (nm)
Yacht Load: 0 Litres of water 35 Litres of fuel 4 members of crew air temperature of 25 °C