The new VQ55 Sports Line has two numbers you might like. The first is 3,000—as in total horsepower from its five Mercury Verado 600 V12 outboards. The second is 80, referring to its blistering 80 mph top end.
Unveiled at last month’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, this go-very-fast 55-footer from Vanquish is the new big brother to the VQ40 in the Vanquish Sports Line. Even with the 15 extra feet, the VQ55 has the same bold, head-turning profile that came from the drawing board of Dutch designer Guido de Groot.
With seats for up to 18, and big sun lounges from bow to stern, it’s aimed at the Miami/Saint-Tropez/Ibiza set who like to run fast and party hard. Like the VQ40, its hull is carbon-reinforced fiberglass, rather than Vanquish’s more traditional aluminum.
“The beauty of using composites for the Sports Line is that it creates a boat with exceptional strength, at a more competitive price,” Vanquish CEO Tom Steenjes told Robb Report during a tour of the day-yacht at FLIBS.
How competitive? Steenjes says VQ55 Sports Line pricing starts are around $3.7 million for the five-outboard version, with a well-optioned example costing closer to $4.2 million.
Steenjes founded Vanquish in the Netherlands in 2012, and the brand has since built a loyal following for quality design, construction and performance. The yard also has one of the most diverse model lineups in either the US or Europe. Its 20-plus models range from an 11-foot jet ski to a 115-foot superyacht.
The secret to the VQ55 Sports Line’s searing speed, says Steenjes, is partly due to the stepped design of its hull, which adds lift and reduces friction. That, and those muscle-bound Mercury V12s hanging off the transom.
As for that dramatic De Groot design, Steenjes claims the VQ55 SL was its first model shaped in a wind tunnel—which one would expect from a boat that runs this fast. The tilted-back windshield, air-and-wave-cleaving axe bow and side air intakes don’t make it look particularly fast sitting at the dock, though the Mercs suggest otherwise.
The wind-tunnel work also helped reduce the inevitable turbulence in the boat’s rear seating areas. At the touch of a button, “wind doors” attached to each side of the helm, power out into the side-deck walkways to deflect the blast.
The VQ55 also stands out for its deep, waist-high bulwarks that give a sense of safety while moving around the boat. Another nifty, unusual but smart feature: Small doors in the hull on each side of the helm make it easier to step on and off the dock. But after being closed for five seconds, they automatically lock.
Competitors have embraced fold-out platforms at the transom as standard equipment, but Vanquish has yet to join the beam-expansion club. Instead, the VQ55 goes overboard on seats and lounges. Up in the bow is a U-shaped sofa that converts to a sunpad, with a smaller forward-facing sofa opposite. At the stern, an oversize rear-facing sunpad can power upwards to reveal the tender garage. And under the glass-roofed hardtop is a large dining area with wrap-around sofas, hi-lo table, and a near full-beam galley.
The helm has four body-gripping bucket seats that wouldn’t look out of place in a Lamborghini supercar, with big 22-inch Garmin glass screens for navigation.
Steenjes says that moving his office to Fort Lauderdale seven years ago helped him understand the needs of U.S. buyers. Besides the big outboards—a South Florida trademark—other giveaways are cooling misters in the cockpit, air conditioning for the helm, oversize fridges and ice makers and—count them—46 cupholders.
For overnight stays, the Vanquish has a surprisingly roomy cabin, with a double bed at the bow, two singles in a separate (restricted-headroom) cabin, a small galley, and a roomy bathroom with shower.
“It’s a crowded market the VQ55 is entering,” says Steenjes. “But I believe it’s our Dutch engineering, Dutch quality and craftsmanship that set us apart.” He waits a beat and smiles: “We do really great door hinges.”