Sunseeker Portofino 400

The Portofino 400, launched in 1995 was designated by Sunseeker as an ‘Offshore Cruiser’ featuring the now infamous Don Shead designed deep V planing hull with a generous beam. To quote the brochure “Comfort and convenience are the hallmarks of the Portofino 400, her large hull helping her to perform well in the open sea, giving a smooth and comfortable ride and excellent performance”.

The P400 was unusual in that it was offered with either outdrives or shaft drives. Engine options for the former were diesel 460hp total, or two petrol alternatives with 540hp or 660hp. The shaft drive version was diesel only, with the much larger and more powerful Volvo Penta 740hp TAMD 63P or the range topping Caterpillar 3126 840hp variant.

Continuing on from the 80’s tradition, the Portofino 400 brought Sunseeker into the next decade, combining the best features of classic Sunseekers; bullet hole air intakes, large party decks, and the affectionately nicknamed Coca Cola ‘Coke bottle’ sheerline.

These iconic styling cues were now blended with their latest design direction, the forward leaning radar arch featuring upswept winglets while the front windscreen now incorporated a beautiful curved screen providing a sleek powerboat look coupled with the deep X Wing Fighter style sculpted side strakes.

Cherry Oak and sumptuous leather featured internally,

while the entertainment deck now incorporated a wet bar and fridge.

The large hungry Caterpillars good for a book speed of 35 knots with effortless torque, thrusting the P400 onto the plane at a lowly 12 knots.

The specification level was high, befitting its offshore cruiser status. Able to house six in comfort with her double bed master with semi ensuite, twin bed rear cabin featuring its own sink and a convertible saloon. Fully specced she would sport air conditioning, television, oven, hob, microwave, generator, fridge, ice maker and cooler, camping cover, bow sunbed cushions convertible table to sunbed on deck, transom shower, anchor with windlass, calorifier and much more. Her comfortable dimensions afforded large 990L fuel tanks and 270 litres of water, sufficient for 320nm range and self sufficient days at sea while the spacious top ‘party’ deck can accommodate 12 in comfort.

On the technical side, in usual Sunseeker tradition only the best brands feature, Bennett trim tabs, Vetus bow thruster, Morse MT3 controls, ZF V drives, Guidi strainers, Bomar hatches, HFL Generator, Barry Controls engine mounts, Lewmar windlass, Separ water separators, all still widely available some 25 years later, meanwhile the Caterpillar engines remain fully supported.

MT3 Morse controls are a pleasure to use…

The hull itself is hand laid GRP with an isophtalic gel coat, featuring an isopthalic resin initial layup with powder bound glassfibre mat, an Orthophthalic resin main lay up with woven rovings and unidirectional glassfibre reinforcement, 12mm balsa core topsides and a bonded foam girder system reinforcing the hull bottom.

This particular vessel has had 7 previous owners, originally commissioned to med spec (including Besenzoni passarelle and Air Conditioning) in 1997, she never ended up in the med having spent her whole life in the UK. Over the years upgrades include a Simrad NSE main screen for navigation with matching radar, autopilot, depth sounder as well as an auxiliary Lowrance navigation system for the co-pilot with side scanner.

Simrad navigation system incorporating Navico mapping, auto pilot, radar, depth sounder and more…

The deck has been reupholstered in Champagne Silvertex, while the helm has been refinished in carbon effect, a Teak deck and rear platform provides the classy finish. An overhaul to the charging system sees a Victron setup providing battery charging as well as a convenient 240v inverter through a 1600w Victron Multiplus unit for the twin house batteries as well as an additional 30A three way charger for the dual battery starter banks for each engine and the generator battery. Battery monitoring gauges are fitted internally, along with a Fusion bluetooth stereo married to Alpine speakers.

The Victron Multiplus 1600 is the heart of the twin house battery charging system (70A) with integrated 1600w inverter. It’s baby brother, the Victron Blue Power charger with 3x30A outputs takes cars of all the starter batteries featuring 2x2nr batteries for each engine and a single battery for the HFL Generator.

Initially built by Sunseeker for the first owner as ‘Lady in Red’ sporting a red hull and cream leather with red piping, (sadly I have no photos of this, the latter still original on the bow mattresses) it is purported that this owner never actually took delivery. The second owner purchased from Sunseeker and kept her for 2 years. The third owner kept her for 9 years, and renamed the boat Brad Air. At some point she was professionally repainted blue, leaving only a red boot stripe. The fourth owner had her for just under 3 years before being purchased and renamed by the fifth owner as Kandoo IV albeit he flipped it 3 months later to the sixth owner who had her for just under 3 years, renaming her Assassin II in the process. She featured in the May 2015 edition of Motorboat magazine, resplendent still with her red boot stripe and cream leather upholstery finished with her original ‘Lady in Red’ red piping .

The seventh owners, purchased her and renamed her Wandering Star II (their previous fishing vessel being Wandering Star) named after her fathers favourite song. A scratch to the paintwork in the boat yard from a scaffold tube resulted in an insurance job to Desty Marine for a complete respray of the hull band, where the owners additionally requested and paid for the boot stripe to be refinished in the same matching Awlcraft 2000 “Majestic Blue” paintwork.

As advertised by Moore Yachts in 2021.

They also had her reupholstered in Champagne Silvertex fabric with blue piping by Sandbanks Covers Limited, to replace the now defunct red piping on the cream leather.

Other improvements included a visit to Jim Baumann at JB Yacht Services where she received a new camping cover canopy complete with an extended head room rear and stitched grab rails along the roof line. She was owned for six years by this couple where her adventures included a trip down to La Rochelle and a few months spent out motoring around France, before we took her on, which takes her up to the present time and her 8th owner in 24 years.