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Sunseeker Nods – On Deck

In the previous post, I talked about the Sportsbridge that is fitted to Nods; this is in effect like a mini-flybridge without the appointments of a full size flybridge. This equates to the provision of a more usable cockpit area than is often found in flybridge yachts of a similar size; of particular note being the large semi-circular sunpads at the stern of the boat. It’s always a trade-off decision between fly bridge and Sportsbridge – more space and appointments up top or down below?

The cockpit itself is fairly spacious with a wet-bar comprising chilled drinks icebox, electric grill, a small sink and an ice making machine which all works pretty well. Seating is provided through a bench to the rear of the cockpit and an L-Shaped seating area around a teak table with folding leaves. This outside seating area is ideal for seating 3 – 4 people in comfort around it although do not expect to be seating a full compliment of people for dinner in the cockpit – on anything other than an informal basis.

Stowage exists within the seating areas.

The aft of the cockpit can be very exposed to the sun in a hot climate although an extendable canopy provided by Broadview Blinds solves this problem. Be careful not to leave this extended when the boat is unattended, overnight in strong winds or rain. It works effectively in light weather but (as we found out to our cost) is vulnerable in stronger conditions.

Access to the Sunseeker Predator 74 engine rooms is via a lift up hatch in the centre of the cockpit. This is great except where work is being carried out in the engine rooms whilst the boat is busy; then the open hatch can become inappropriate as far as yacht guests are concerned and also a potential hazard, particularly if there are little people on board.

The ‘patio’ doors open up between cockpit and saloon and help to make the interior an airy space, blending exterior and interior living areas relatively well.

There is a narrow walkway up to the front of the Predator 74 to two sun-pads on the foredeck. The decks are teak throughout.

Aft of the cockpit on-board Nods is the raise/drop sunbathing platform and hydraulic garage door. Both of these are operated from a single hydraulic pack. The platform generally works OK although it seems that there may be some issues in respect of sensor issues and the geometry of the platform at the time of build; Sunseeker’s engineers simply added a metal tape on top of the sensor as a temporary cure. I couldn’t advise if this issue has been resolved yet although when the boat was out of the water in St Lucia, it was apparent that the ram had be tightened as far as possible so it would seem that the solution would require some modification. The downside to this is that the platform can sometimes be inoperable.

The garage is a usable space, containing a Williams tender with a very good launch and recovery system.

 

 

 

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Predator 74 Sportsbridge

The Predator 74 can be ordered either with standard hardtop or with a sportsbridge on top and I would suggest that the sportsbridge is well advised. Nods is  equipped with the Sportsbridge option. Accessed via a drop down ladder, the sports bridge provides a commanding view around whilst offering two comfortable sun loungers as well as a helmsmans seat which could seat two people (provided they are not too large!).

There is good instrumentation up here together with a Raymarine repeater screen. The throttle controls are sublimely smooth allowing near inch by inch control and when used in conjunction with the bow and stern thrusters help to make the boat very maneuverable with great visibility fore and aft.

This is an excellent space and provides an additional exterior area for when the boat is underway and indeed when the boat is in dock whilst still allowing for a great cockpit and sun lounging area at deck level.

Predator 74 MAN 1550 hp engines

As previously mentioned, the two engines aboard Nods are MAN 1550hp which are the middling of the range available aboard this particular Sunseeker model. They are impressive and push the Predator 74 along with a spirited performance.  When one considers the weight of this boat, acceleration is impressive and the Predator is quickly up to speed. They start just fine and with the exception of an occasional error message on the Port engine which usually goes away there are no particular issues in this area in terms of the engines themselves. I expect that this is either down to a minor software glitch or electrical connection on the bus somewhere.

I have previously talked about performance and economy and for a boat this size and type, the MAN 1550’s perform well here. Charging around flat out doesn’t really justify itself across anything other than short runs and it is possible to get, in a relative fashion, reasonable economy out of Nods on longer runs, particularly in flat seas.  At the time I left the boat at the start of January, the engines had a little over 300 hours on them. Perhaps a little on the high side for a boat of this age but certainly not sky high. The boat has done a number of longer runs including Mallorca to Italy and back (before I joined the boat) as well as runs Mallorca, mainland Spain, South of France through to Northern Italy (Imperia). In addition during it’s timein the Caribbean it has travelled across the Windward and Leeward Islands to where it now nestles in St Thomas, USVI.

The last engine service was a shade over 7,000 Euros and the engines have been well serviced, to schedule.

I cannot really fault the engines. Arguably the Port engine burns a little more oil than the starboard but this is nothing to be overly concerned about.