Sunseeker's forthcoming flagship will sport a hull vane and a fast displacement hull form, a combination which should deliver up to 30 per cent greater fuel efficiency
Juicy details continue to filter through about the Sunseeker 161 Yacht, which will become the Poole-based yard’s new flagship when it splashes down in late 2021.
Announced in September 2018, the 49 metre 161 Yacht is Sunseeker’s first aluminium-hulled project, and is being built in partnership with Dutch shipyard Icon Yachts.
It was revealed last year that the Sunseeker 161 will feature a fast displacement hull design by Van Oossanen Naval Architects and boast a top speed of 22 knots, however that will be achieved with much smaller engines than you might imagine.
Sunseeker has now explained that this innovative naval architecture will deliver 15-20 greater efficiency, and this claim is backed up by towing tests undertaken at the Wolfson Unit – a British research laboratory that has carried out hydrodynamic tests on over 1,200 hull designs over the past 51 years.
“When compared to other round bilge hull forms at speeds between the cruising speed of 15 knots and those approaching planing of 44 knots, the [Sunseeker 161]’s ranking is typically around 100 – 140 per cent. This means that the design is currently ranked as the most efficient in our database,” said the Wolfson Unit’s Dickon Buckland.
This is partly explained by the fast displacement hull form’s slender shape, creating minimal wake and a very low wave profile.
The figures get even more impressive when you add in the optional hull vane, a fixed foil that lifts the stern of the yacht to lower the pitch motion and running trim, pushing the overall fuel efficiency saving to 30 per cent.
Another benefit of the hull vane is that the Sunseeker 161 should not only be cheaper to run, but also more pleasant to spend long stretches of time aboard.
Sunseeker CEO Andrea Frabetti added: “From our very first project brief and the research that followed, it was very apparent that the highest levels of comfort on board needed to be a top priority, without sacrificing performance.
“The combination of the Fast Displacement Hull Form harmonised with the technology of the innovative hull vane and fin stabilisation will offer owners incredibly smooth passage-making matched to reduced running costs.
“The 161 Yacht will be a true game-changer for yachts in the 50m sector. With its class-beating efficiency, stability and comfort, she will deliver a significant performance advantage in open water that has been unachievable to date.”
Interior renderings revealed
The news comes a few months after Design Unlimited revealed the first interior renderings of the Sunseeker 161. The British studio previously worked on the Predator and Manhattan ranges between 2006 and 2009.
Flexibility of space was a key theme during the development of the interior design, and this shines through in the transom, which can be transformed into a spectacular on-water beach club through the use of drop-down bulwarks. Other standout features include a plunge pool on the main deck.
Dubbed “Sunseeker by Icon”, specific details about the yacht are scant but the styling balances familiar Sunseeker window arrangements with an aggressive pilothouse, which sits before a long, striking bow that fashions a near vertical entry.
It’s an arresting proposition and, teamed with the fast displacement hull, hints at more of an explorer style yacht designed to travel long distances comfortably and efficiently.
The standard configuration is for ten guests but 12 can be accommodated depending on the specific layout chosen. Using the Sunseeker Bespoke service, customers will be able to tailor the 161 Yacht’s interior to their exact wishes.
Speaking last year, Sean Robertson, sales director at Sunseeker said: “We have wanted to build larger vessels for some time; we know there is demand there for larger Sunseeker yachts as the 155 Yacht proved.
“The decision to stop building that model was a commercial one based on space and capacity and certainly not due to lack of demand, so we knew we needed to rethink our approach to this size of vessel and have spent considerable time looking at various opportunities.
“A move into metal also means there is no ceiling as to how big we can go in the future, but obviously this requires different expertise and so it was essential to find the right partner to support the project.
“Finding a yard that shared the same progressive, innovative spirit to create something truly special and, most importantly, one which will provide us with the flexibility to build a true Sunseeker was the challenge. We have certainly found all of that with Icon.”
The announcement of this new model and the partnership between the two yards was made at the 2018 Monaco Yacht Show with hull number one due for launch in the spring of 2021.
Jen Wartena, CEO of Icon Yachts added: “There is a great synergy between Icon and Sunseeker because we are combining both of our strengths; our capacity and metal yacht building capabilities with Sunseeker’s sales expertise and marketing power.
“We believe the Sunseeker by Icon will revolutionise the industry in a positive way. It is an exciting period for Icon Yachts and this new partnership with Sunseeker is part of our ongoing growth strategy where we are investing heavily in facilities and people to improve our capability and capacity.”