Named after the island in the delta at the mouth of the Rhone River in the South of France, this stylish sport cruiser epitomizes everything you'd expect of the image of luxury living in that sun-drenched climate. From the teak deck of the oversized swim platform to the double-wide sun pad on the expansive bow, and especially in between, where graciously curved lounges provide all the space needed for entertaining at the dock or anchored out in a secluded cove, Sunseeker's 50 Camargue provides the setting for a fabulous vacation afloat in the sunshine. All this, plus the performance to get to your own favorite sun-drenched setting at 30-plus knots, and the accommodations below to keep you and your guests fashionably comfortable while you're there.
The mystery is, how did they pack all of that into a boat that's 52'11" long? The use of space on this British-built beauty is nothing short of ingenious. The aft sundeck rises with the push of a remote-controlled button, and reveals a cavernous storage space, quite literally, a 'garage' big enough to stow a 10-foot hard-bottomed inflatable tender or a two-person PWC. There's even a flip-down roller and a remote-controlled winch for easy launch and retrieval off the stern. Another big hatch lifts up in the cockpit sole to access the stand-up engine room, where the twin Catarpillar 3196 660 hp diesels purr away in their sound-insulated isolation. And there's still more room forward for all the living space you'd expect to find on a 50-foot cruiser without a full-sized engine room and a garage.
Step down the companionway, under that distinctive, low-swept windshield, and the interior is agleam with elegant curved cabinetry and upholstery. The faux leather settee arcs the full length of the starboard side of the saloon, wrapping around an oval cherry dining table, which lowers down and folds up to double as a coffee table. The entertainment center, with a Panasonic TV, is built into a beautifully varnished cherry cabinet just across the aisle from there, part of the focal point of the cabin: an expanse of cherry paneling, brilliantly finished, curving from the door to the master stateroom in the bow to the galley area on the port side.
The galley countertop is all cherry wood, as well. Panels lift to reveal the molded fiberglass sink and two-burner electric stovetop. The fridge is likewise hidden under the counter, behind a cherry paneled door. Storage is plentiful in cabinets and drawers below, and the cupboards over the counter ingeniously secure the china and crystal as well as a neatly tucked-away microwave. Between the galley and the companionway steps, a curved bar houses the stemware, high-ball glasses and bottles of choice.
A beautifully finished cherry door leads aft to the guest stateroom. While this cabin is tucked under the helm deck, it still has head room as you enter, and even has its own enclosed stand-up head with a separate shower stall , a roomy one, too, even for this bulky boater. The use of space, the integration of the headroom below with the rise of the settees and chart tables on the helm deck above, is quite throughly thought out.
There are twin berths in this model, but you can get it with a double to one side. Sitting down on the berth, there's plenty of headroom, and there's a Panasonic TV/VCR unit over the foot of the aft bunk. Close both the door to the head and the door to the cabin, and you'll see another door with a full-length mirror behind which is a surprisingly spacious cedar-lined hanging locker. Just noting that there's a full-length mirror gives you an idea of how much space there is in this aft cabin layout.
Still, the aft cabin pales in comparison to the master cabin forward. A full-sized island berth holds a good deal of storage space underneath, and there's yet another Panasonic TV/VCR built into the bulkhead. The hanging locker to starboard also has a mirror on the door and cedar lining. Attractive cherry-finished cabinets sweep along the ceiling, and an attractive circular port allows light and air to flow in from above.
The head occupies the area behind that curved cherry paneled bulkhead in the saloon - another example of Sunseeker's unique use of internal space. There's a Vacuflush toilet, Corian countertops, and a shower stall separated by a cylindrical door.
Throughout the interior, the deep, bright finish of the cherry paneling and cabinetry, the curvy lines and rounded bulkheads, and the light faux leather upholstery and headliners, plus the recessed lighting fixtures, all add up to a light, elegant look below.
But like any good Med-style criser, the Camargue is designed for outdoor living, up under the bimini that stretches over the raked-forward radar arch to protect the cockpit and helm deck. The cockpit has a huge wrap-around settee. Lift up the center cushion and an ingeneously designed folding table rises up and deploys with the asssistance of gas struts. Along the starboard side of the cockpit, there's an extensive entertainment area that serves as an outdoor galley, with a small refrigerator, a countertop that could easily accommodate an optional grill, a molded-in sink, and lots of storage underneath.
Forward of the cockpit is the helm and deck, with a captain's chair and seat that lifts up to double as a stand-up bolster, and a curved companion lounge to port, with a chart table on the large dash. The helm lies behind a striking wrap-around windshield braced by a curved stainless-steel frame. The console is decorated with faux curly maple, with the analog gauges grouped together above a panel big enough to accomodate an array of electronic displays.
Visibility through the tinted windshield is very good, and there's virtually no distortion looking through the curves of the tempered glass. The twin 660 hp Cats are quick and responsive; the hull rises up easily to plane and tracks effectively through tight turns. The new Annapolis dealer, Mike Riggsbee, took us out for a ride on a recent hot, hazy summer day on the Chesapeake. There was only a slight chop with a light southeasterly breeze, and the Camargue sliced gracefully across the top with a sure-footed feel. Factory specs state that the yacht can cruise for 325 nautical miles on its 528 gallons of fuel at 30 knots.