Boat of the week: Sunseeker Portofino 53
This week’s boat of the week was inspired by a video I watched today which showed an absolutely gorgeous Sunseeker Portofino 53 cruising past the camera. As a boating copywriter, the Sunseeker Portofino is precisely the kind of subject I love to write about.
This boat was produced from 2003 to 2009 and in my opinion, is one of the sexiest boats of its size and class to come out of that time period.
Sunseeker is a British manufacturer of a large range of luxury boats. The yard is located in the UK in Poole harbour, on the South coast of England. As of 2012, it was the largest UK-based manufacturer of luxury yachts when measured by revenues of the same year.
The Portofino 53 was launched in 2003 as a replacement for the Camargue 50, seen below. The Portofino 53 proved to be an extremely popular boat and Sunseeker eventually produced almost 200 of them.
Similarity to Predator 55
Whilst researching this piece, I learned an interesting fact: The Portofino 53 was almost identical in design to another Sunseeker boat of the time, the Predator 55.
The main difference between the two boats is that the Predator had a longer swim platform. That was done in order to accommodate the Predator’s power options, which included two surface drives linked to a set of 900 horsepower MAN Diesel engines. Apparently, that would have given the Predator a top speed ‘well up into the 40 knot range’ according to Motor Boat & Yachting.
The interior of the Portofino 53 is exactly what you’d expect from a luxury yard like Sunseeker: Pure indulgence.
Most of the joinery and upholstery is typical for the style and decor trends of the era. The timber finishes of the boats I looked at online were are mostly high gloss cherry or similar, while the upholstery is mostly ivory/cream.
Also in keeping with the design trends of the time, the master cabin of the Portofino 53 is in the bow. Aft are two guest cabins, one with two singles side by side, and the other cabin with two single ‘cross over’ berths, where the foot of one bed crosses the head/foot of the other.
The Portofino 53 was offered as standard with twin Volvo D12 16 750hp engines. Twin CAT C12 16 710hp engines were offered as optional and were apparently quite popular in the US market.
The design of the hull was praised due to the props being located inside two half-tunnels. Reviewers state that this gave the boat amazing grip when turning.
Mk 2 model introduced
In 2006, Sunseeker introduced a Mk 2 version of the Portofino 53. The primary difference between the original and the Mark 2 centres around how the sunroof works. The original version had a sort of sliding roof section that had to be manually unlatched and which then pivoted up and slid backwards, to open up the cockpit.
The Mk 2 boat introduced a more modern two piece sliding hardtop, which you can see more of in the below review video by Motorboat and Yachting.
Price and availability
Sunseeker Portofino 53s are generally widely available on the used market. Prices seem to range from USD 269 000 to around USD 485 000.
As a huge fan of the sports cruiser style of boats, I was instantly attracted to the Portofino 53 I saw today.
Sunseeker then, as it does now, had its finger firmly on the pulse of boating trends when this model was introduced. The boat includes all of the quality and features you’d have expected to see in similar boats available at the time.
Additionally, Sunseeker ensured that the boat was made available with a variety of power options to suit the majority of buyers. This, along with its mid-life rework resulting in the Mark 2, brought about a highly successful production run of the Portofino 53.
With the affordable used pricing of the Portofino 53, a fantastic boat is now in reach of many more boaters.