Sunsation Building Open-Cockpit Outboard-Powered 32-Footer

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The first outboard-powered, open-cockpit Sunsation 32 Dominator is scheduled for release this spring. Photo courtesy Sunsation Boats.

With its CCX series of high-performance center consoles, Sunsation Boats reinvented itself and assured its future. The Algonac, Mich., company has been particularly successful with its 32-footer, and in the words of Sunsation’s resident designer/mad scientist Wayne Schaldenbrand, the company “can’t build them fast enough” to meet demand. Like his Sunsation partners Kyle Miller, Jared Morris and his brother, Joe, he knows that’s a high-class problem—and one that everyone company is delighted to have.

But as most performance-boat enthusiasts know, Sunsation made much of its considerable name with 28-foot and 32-foot closed-deck sportboats. Impressive as the builder’s 43-foot F4 V-bottom is, the company’s early success and reputation were built on the smaller single- and twin-engine stern-drive models.

Times and tastes have changed, of course, and as noted above Sunsation has adapted with three outboard engine-powered Center Console Xtreme—hence the CCX designation—models. But the pure sportboats still hold a place in the hearts of the Sunsation faithful, as well as the people behind the brand.

Scheduled for release in spring 2018, a new outboard-powered, open-cockpit 32 Dominator pays homage to Sunsation’s past while incorporating the realities of the present and one possible direction for the future. The 32-footer, which has been widened to nine feet, has an open floor plan with a walkthrough to the open bow between the starboard cabin and the port head locker, will be powered by a pair of Mercury Racing Verado 400R or Mercury Marine Verado 350 outboards, depending on buyer preference.

The deck for the first 32-footer is almost complete.

According to Wayne Schaldenbrand, the new model, which like the 32 CCX center console is based off of the original 32 Dominator sportboat hull, has been two years in the making.

“It’s kind of like an overgrown wake-surfing boat,” he said, then chuckled. “You can walk right down the middle of it from one end to the other. It’s just a really entertaining boat with a fiberglass swim platform that acts like a ‘permanent trim tab’ on the back, between the outboards.

“But it still a lot of the original old-school Sunsation DNA,” he added.

For buyers who lean more toward a more traditional center console configuration, a T-top will be offered for the new model. According to Joe Schaldenbrand, the 32-footer powered by twin 400-hp outboards should be “knocking on the door” of 80 mph.

“It has more of a sportboat look and feel than our center consoles, yet it’s powered by outboard engines and has a completely open floor plan,” he said. “It has the faring of our 32 Dominator—it has chiseled sportboat lines. We have so many Sunsation owners out there who don’t necessarily want a center console but do appreciate the ease of outboards. We think this model will appeal to them.”

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Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.

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