Sunseeker’s new 90 Ocean is a flexible yacht ideal for those who don’t want to have to choose between space and style.
You think you know a brand, then they go and launch a boat that contains so many surprises you have to think again. Sunseeker’s new 90 Ocean had just that effect on me when I toured the boat in the late afternoon sun of the Cannes Yachting Festival last year.
Based loosely around the technical platform of the existing 88 yacht, the new boat nevertheless differs markedly and has been redesigned from the keel up. Sitting in the middle of the yacht range of the Poole, UK-based boatbuilder, the 90 is the first boat to carry the “Ocean” suffix. Naturally enough, my first question is: why?
“The 88 is a planing yacht and so is the 90, but it is beamier,” says specifications development manager Nick Lean. “It still has the deep V hull, but it is a little step up in seakeeping ability. She is wider and with a lower centre of gravity – it is absolutely amazing the stability you get whenever you head out of Poole, where you always have a heavy sea state.”
That extra 69 centimetres of beam and 72 centimetres of length have been put to good use. She offers around 120GT of interior volume – roughly 20 per cent more than the 88, and 30 per cent more deck space. Put the two boats side by side and you’d immediately notice the gentler curve and extra height to the bluff bow of the bigger boat – all adding good volume forward, to the benefit of the VIP cabin.
That’s all very well, but if we’re looking at the bow, we’re really focusing on the wrong end of this boat. “The whole concept is extending the beach club,” Lean says. And extend it they have, with an impressive 24 square metres of space on offer. To wring even more use out of this area at the stern, Sunseeker has developed an innovative system it calls X-Tend. This is basically a cleverly designed transom door. In the down position, it keeps the huge transom toy locker watertight and offers full-length loungers on the bathing platform. Press a button, though, and the hydraulics whirr quietly to life, raising the door until it is just above the horizontal. Now the lounger is reversed, facing into the seating area of the main deck above. The backrest becomes the seat and vice versa. It has added an extra two metres of usable length to the aft deck.
Sunseeker’s promotional images show kids playing happily in these loungers and it is true, this would make a great family boat. But there is another useful side effect of the X-Tend system. “It creates privacy when up,” says Sunseeker CEO Andrea Frabetti with evident satisfaction. Sitting on the aft deck with the curious crowds of Cannes passing by on the quay astern, you can instantly see his point. The slight upward turn of the lounger backs prevents people from gazing at you.
There is a small trade-off in terms of the usability of the bathing platform below. The space within the transom is reduced to straightforward storage – no pretence of a teak-lined beach club. But then again, it is often said that these areas are a mirage since they are typically used for storing damp toys and equipment in any case.
It changes the orientation of the aft deck space, too, opening it up. Instead of a large inward-looking sofa with its back to the view, the glass barrier can be fully folded back to connect the seating areas on the deck and the beach club. “This can be the problem with this kind of boat, because you have a separation,” says Frabetti. “In the Med, people all want to be around the beach club.” In the Ocean 90, he and his team have found a persuasive solution for this. Wide side decks lead to a good-sized forward lounging area. It is flexible, with shallow seating and a small triangular table on each bulwark, a triple sunpad in the middle and a long sofa-cum-chaise longue running the length of the windscreen.
But the huge 62.2-square-metre flybridge is the real social centre of the 90 Ocean. On our boat, there are freestanding Minotti sofas and armchairs in dark synthetic raffia with deep, inviting cushions. A glass bulwark leaves the view aft unencumbered, while low GRP bulwarks on either side are reinforced with gleaming stainless-steel railings.
“We decided to keep everything very low on the sides, so you can get cooling winds and 360-degree views,” says Frabetti. “It is a flybridge, after all! You’re really on a terrace up here.” To prove his point, he flicks a switch and the fabric panel in the hardtop smoothly retracts, flooding the flybridge with Riviera sunshine.
Options are legion, but among the most interesting are a wet bar with drawer fridges, ice-maker and a glasstop bar, an integrated barbecue and an infinity spa pool. That’s not touching on the acres of sunpads forward and the full control station and twin pilot seats to enjoy the driving experience.
Sadly it wasn’t possible to take the boat out for a spin in Cannes, where the yachts were wedged in two or three deep along the quays. But if we had, the lightweight foam-cored GRP build for which Sunseeker is known would have given us an exhilarating ride at up to 27 knots. The two MAN V12 engines drive twin shafts, and owners can choose between a standard 3,300 horsepower or a superpowered 3,800 horsepower for an extra two knots.
Of course, at maximum revs, the 13,000 litres of fuel will only get you a few hundred kilometres. At a more reasonable 10 knots, the boat’s range moves out to an impressive 1,800 nautical miles. It’s not enough to cross the Atlantic on your own bottom, but it makes light of long hops down to the Med or along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Sunseeker has a 100-strong design team at its sprawling production site in Poole, and they have worked hard to create a sense of volume inside the new boat. “Increasing the interior spaces and the inclusion of floor-to-ceiling glass windows achieved an open-plan floating penthouse style which was the concept discussed by the design team at the outset of the project,” says sales and marketing director Sean Robertson.
“Full-height glazing on the main deck and a move toward more freestanding furniture gave us the ability to create a different interior feel to other Sunseeker yachts, while maintaining a consistency of design language in terms of material selection and our approach to luxurious practicality.”
Those windows with their slim mullions mean that the seascape forms the background to every glance. The central section of the exterior bulwarks is in glass, further reducing the distance between you and the sea. Furniture is all freestanding, giving a sense of lightness and space. It can be selected by the owner, but Minotti is a Sunseeker staple.
The open-plan galley only adds to the sense of volume. An island with three optional bar seats is the main preparation area, with cabinets in brushed stainless steel and wood of a deep chocolate hue. It is as well found as any kitchen ashore. “We wanted to have an open-plan galley because the owner wants to be connected,” explains Frabetti.
Even the bridge is half open to this huge multi-dimensional social area, creating sightlines that run from bow to stern. It too is a social space, with a comfy corner sofa and small table on one side and two deep black pilot chairs in front of the navigation console. Both have unbeatable views ahead, as well as through the skylights overhead.
Sunseeker has drawn up a library of different woods, fabrics, stone and metallic trim that is broadly complementary, and owners can select according to their taste. Robertson says that the aim is a “timeless contemporary-classic” style, which feels like a widely cast net.
The lighting has been carefully designed to enhance the natural light. Wall lights, spots and soft, indirect LED lighting all combine to emphasise the use of different textured materials – the weave of a headboard fabric or the grain of leather. It all comes together in the large full-beam owner’s cabin amidships on the lower deck. With its large dressing area, dual basins and cosy seating areas, lighting plays a real role in emphasising the width of this space. So too in the two en suite guest cabins which lie across the corridor aft. “This layout would benefit a family with young children,” says Robertson.
It also imposes two internal staircases to access guest accommodation and a third external one for the crew, nibbling into the main saloon. This might seem too generous in a 27 metre, but there are some benefits. The full beam is more efficiently used because there is no need for a corridor running fore and aft. This is particularly felt in the owner’s cabin, which has plenty of space despite its imperial-size bed measuring two metres by two metres, sofa and vanity table. For the VIP cabin, which occupies the whole of the bow in majestic solitude, it means a private staircase through the forward bulkhead of the bridge.
Ocean is a new line for Sunseeker, and you can see how the thinking has evolved from earlier models. Quite how it translates for the smaller boats remains to be seen, but in the case of the 90 it is a stylish, flexible yacht with a bit more stability and a whole load more volume. Ideal for those who don’t want to have to choose.
First published in the May 2022 edition of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.SHOP NOW