Clas­sic lines, strong per­for­mance and stacks of space make this a great used buy

Motorboat & Yachting - - Contents -

A re­cent thor­ough­bred at a sur­pris­ingly af­ford­able price

“It’s first and fore­most a re­ally pretty boat, the pro­por­tions are spot on – a clas­sic Sun­seeker,” says Nigel Brown, de­scrib­ing the 2007 Portofino 53 that he bought from David Jones at Sun­seeker Poole last year to re­place a Sun­seeker Mus­tique 42. He keeps the boat close to his home in Poole and uses it most week­ends in the sum­mer with his fi­ancée Lor­raine for trips into the So­lent, across to north­ern France and the to Chan­nel Is­lands. Fit­ted with MAN 800hp diesel en­gines, it tops out at 34 knots and cruises com­fort­ably at be­tween 26 and 28 knots in most con­di­tions. “We crossed the Chan­nel in an F6 head­ing for Guernsey and only slowed to 24 knots. It went through it re­ally nicely.”

But don’t think that this boat is all about looks and per­for­mance be­cause it has so much more to of­fer. Launched in Septem­ber 2003 to re­place the Ca­mar­gue 50, it was an in­stant hit, prov­ing to be one of Sun­seeker’s most pop­u­lar mod­els. The lay­out is as clas­si­cal as the looks, this boat pre­dat­ing the full-beam mas­ter cabin that has since be­come de rigueur. Fit­ted out ini­tially in high gloss or satin cherry (with an oc­ca­sional boat in satin maple) and later in satin wal­nut, you’ll find the

en­suite mas­ter cabin in the bow ahead of a huge sa­loon. Fur­ther aft, the main guest cabin to star­board has two sin­gle berths and en­suite ac­cess to the day heads. The third cabin is on the port side with cross­over beds. In­ter­est­ingly, there was room for a wash­ing ma­chine in this cabin, which was a use­ful op­tion when new and you’d think would make a sim­ple retro­fit job now, but it’s not quite that sim­ple. “You can’t phys­i­cally get a wash­ing ma­chine through the door,” says David Jones. “When spec­i­fied new, the fac­tory fit­ted it in build. We have done one retro­fit of a wash­ing ma­chine but it had to be dis­man­tled, taken into the cabin piece by piece and re­assem­bled – a big job!”

A far more pop­u­lar op­tion was the hard­top over the cock­pit; in fact, it’s rare to find a boat with­out one. When the Portofino 53 was launched, hard­tops were still a nov­elty be­low 60ft and the one ini­tially fit­ted to this model is quite un­usual. Rather than a roof with a slid­ing sec­tion in it like a sun­roof on a car, the en­tire roof sec­tion can­tilevers back! It’s a lit­tle more agri­cul­tural than more mod­ern sys­tems but it does have the very real ad­van­tage that you’re left with what feels like a far larger aper­ture.


With just a low, slim stain­less-steel wind­screen header rail in front of you and that big aper­ture over­head, the sen­sa­tion at the helm is that of an open boat (al­though in truth, the roof doesn’t move that far back). In 2006, the en­tire hard­top mould­ing and mech­a­nism was changed to a more mod­ern de­sign in which the roof is

With just a low slim stain­less-steel wind­screen header rail in front of you, the sen­sa­tion at the helm is that of an open boat

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