Manhattan 68, the essence of yachting

Comfort and performance. The way it has been put together, from the hull to the external lines and including the interiors, is full of details to make sailing and onboard life pleasant

by Niccolò Volpati

IN HIS 1979 FILM MANHATTAN, WOODY ALLEN ASKS HIMSELF WHAT MAKES LIFE LIVING. And so, he starts out on a very personal list that includes Groucho Marx, Joe DiMaggio, Louis Armstrong, Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, and many other things besides. He doesn’t mention anything to do with yachting, but Manhattan 68 from Sunseeker should be included regardless since a yacht never had such an appropriate name. It is the very essence of comfortable sailing and perhaps also a reason why life is worth living. To get that outcome you need two elements that are often in conflict with one another: volumes and how the hull handles at sea. The obligatory blending of these two features sometimes means that there has to be a compromise solution. But the feeling that you get on board the Manhattan 68 is that you have plenty of both. Let’s start with how it handles underway.

The waterlines were designed by Ewen Foster and the transmission is a straight shaft with two semi tunnels for the propellers. You could imagine, given how long and high it is, that it isn’t a very manageable transmission. But that’s not how it is. The boat turns, even fairly tightly, while hardly losing any speed. It responds very quickly to the helm. You just need to correct the course a few degrees so the bow reacts and positions itself exactly where you want it. And it is neither too fidgety, nor too sensitive. The course is stable, you can sail it practically without touching the wheel because it is so precise in holding direction. The visibility and the ergonomics of the wheel and the throttles also contribute to this good feeling.

Seen from outside, you get the feeling that there aren’t actually that many windows, while when you are on board you get the opposite feeling. The design has managed to combine these trends.
Manhattan 68

The internal steering position benefits from 360-degree windows and a windscreen, which doesn’t block anything, even to the side. The sofa for the helm and assistant is comfortable and is at the right distance from the console. Inside you don’t get the feeling that you are in a muffled environment. You don’t even feel the speed, and hardly realise you are doing over thirty knots. To work that out, I had to look at the display on the bridge. This is probably because the power is delivered in a very regular way.

Manhattan 68

The engine room houses two V8 Mans each developing 1,200 horsepower. When you open the throttle right up, you get significant acceleration, but it is nevertheless gradual. We started planing in eleven seconds, which is not a lot, especially if you consider that we were onboard a 21-meter yacht and that, as well as the cabin area and the main deck, it also has a living area on the fly deck – and it is a deck, given that it covers the entire cockpit. And so, it’s hardly a fluke that it displaces as much as 38 tonnes. There is a lot of space, and a lot of height above the waterline, and the weight is a consequence of that: if you put these things together and do the maths, what emerges shouldn’t be an exactly agile boat. But the opposite is the case.

Manhattan 68
It feels excellent when underway. It is easy to stay on course, and even to do tight turns. You quickly move up to 32 knots, practically without noticing it.

As far as speed is concerned, by working on the flaps we reached 32.4 knots, with 10 to 15 knots at cruising speed. The straight shaft is not the only kind of transmission available. The yard also offers the possibility of motorising the Manhattan 68 with two Volvo IPS 1350s. I found the Man engines, with a joystick, convincing both when underway and during mooring. You don’t feel the need to use pods. And that is definitely a surprising handling quality in a yacht of this size.

Living, sun, and dining areas: with the flybridge, cockpit, and bow area, there is no lack of open-air space in which to get comfortable.

When talking about volumes, it is worth beginning with usable surfaces. The deck has a fairly traditional cockpit, which features a long flybridge that reaches the stern and completely covers it. Another area for relaxation has been obtained in the bow, which has both the sun pad protected by a foldaway roof, and chairs in the living room. The gangways are wide enough to use safely, and that aspect is also improved by a lot of handrails and a very high guardrail. Likewise, the flybridge provides room for sofas and a sun lounger. Going aft, the furnishing includes some chaises longues that help to give a feeling of being on a terrace with a sea view. The whole area is protected by the bimini with soft tops that extend towards the stern with another awning. The second steering position is located here and is useful above all during mooring.

The master cabin has a different entrance to the other ones for guests. This arrangement helps accentuate the feeling of privacy on board.

The owner and guests get a lot of privacy. The cabin area is divided between the bow for guests, and midships for the owner.

Below decks, in the cabin area, you really appreciate how they have tried to ensure privacy. The master cabin is located midships and enjoys its own entrance. The other cabins, so the VIP and guest rooms, are in the bow. And finally, there is a twin room for the crew in the stern. Another feature to be appreciated is how light the boat is. There are lots of windows on the main deck, with the possibility of creating a single space with the dinette and cockpit, and they create a very comfortable living area and are also the main feature of the boat’s external look.

Manhattan 68
Manhattan 68
The hull, with the semi tunnels for straight-shaft transmission, ensures optimum performance levels. The Manhattan 68 is agile when maneuvering, but is also able to hold a course as if the auto-pilot was always on.
Manhattan 68

Engine room
There are a lot of options: a pair of Man 1,000 or 1,200 engines, and for whoever wants them, there are Volvo IPS systems instead of the straight-shaft transmission.

Poole, UK

Sunseeker Italy
Porto Turistico, 52
I-16033 Lavagna (GE)
T. +39 0185 305317
[email protected]

PROJECT: Ewen Foster and the Sunseeker Design & Technology Center

HULL: LOA 21.10m Beam 5.26m Draft 1.60m Displacement 37,400 kg Fuel tank volume 4,000 l Water tank volume 900 l

MAIN PROPULSION: 2xMan V8-1200 Outlet mechanical power 882 kW (1,200 hp) 8 V-shaped 90° cylinders Swept volume 16.16 l Maximal rotational speed 2300 /min Dry weight 1,875 kg


PRICE: 1,922,000 , Excl. VAT (August 2021)

(Manhattan 68, the essence of yachting – – August 2021)