Seeking the dream – the Sunseeker story

With their HQ at Poole in Dorset Sunseeker are recognised as one of the leading manufacturers of luxury yachts in the world. The actor Michael Douglas and X-factor impresario Simon Cowell both own one. Since 1999 their yachts have featured regularly in James Bond movies including The World is not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Sunseeker is a Great British success story.

The origins of the company though begin in the USA. It was started in the 1960s by an English man named Robert Braithwaite. The company was known as Friar Cliff Marine and sold predominately small boats supplied by an American company, Owens Cruisers Inc. In 1969 the company moved to its current base in Poole where events changed dramatically for this family-owned business. Owens Cruisers made the decision to cease distribution in Europe and close down their UK operations. Robert Braithwaite knew that in order to save the company he needed to do something he had never done before. Robert borrowed some money and purchased the boat moulds from the American company with the intention of making them himself.

007 Daniel Craig and a re-conditioned Sovereign 17 in a scene from Quantum of Solace

In 1971, Poole Powerboats as the company was now known introduced the Sovereign 17, their first leisure craft. By 1972 they were exhibiting at the Southampton boat show. It was here that the company embarked on a second transformation when a customer (former Formula 1 driver Henry Taylor) wanted a boat big enough to accommodate a sunbed. It was out of this conversation that the Daycab 23 was made and the company ethos of giving the customer exactly what he wants was begun.

A Daycab 23 the first boat to carry the Sunseeker name

The late seventies saw the company selling well in the UK. The big test for yacht manufacturers, however, is how well they sell in the Mediterranean destinations. Sunseeker had a passion and a need to create more stylish and sportier boats to see them compete in these lucrative sunshine ‘holiday’ destinations. This led them to hire Don Shead. Don quickly looked to design a totally different type of cruiser to anything Sunseeker had done before. Culminating in the Offshore 28. The Offshore 28 saw boat sales rocket throughout Europe and launched (no pun intended) the company as Sunseeker International.

sunseeker yachts
Sunseeker Offshore 28 was a dramatically different style of cruiser

The Eighties were a decade of continuous growth and saw the creation of ever more beautiful and sought after craft such as the Portofino 31 and the Tomahawk 37. An ever-growing clientele of discerning boat owners from around the world and an expanding portfolio of luxurious craft, which always delivered on customer needs, firmly cemented the Sunseeker brand as not only one of the top marques in the world of boating, but as the very best of British too.

Recognition of just how far the Sunseeker brand had come as evidenced by the overwhelmingly positive reaction of their peers to the Renegade 60 at the 1990 International boat show in Southampton. This was quickly followed up by the Predator 80, which has since become as iconic in the world of boating as the E-Type Jaguar was to motoring.

super yachts by sunseeker
Sunseeker Predator 80 at the 2012 Southampton Boat show

As the decades roll on the Sunseeker brand has gone from strength to strength. The boats have become bigger and even more beautiful, as have the clients. The brand is known the world over as the very best of British craftsmanship and engineering. Purely as things of beauty they cannot be beaten. Sunseeker remains true today to their philosophy of giving the customer exactly what the customer wants as they have since they began. What the customer expects is boats of superior craftsmanship and exceptional luxury. In this Sunseeker always delivers.

To find out more about the Sunseeker experience and to view their fabulous range of yachts visit their website at https://www.sunseeker.com/

A video of the stunning Sunseeker 34 metre Yacht highlighting all the glorious key features this model has to offer.

Timelessly good looking with her raked, raised wheelhouse design and walk-around main deck. The Sunseeker 34 Metre Yacht can play graceful host to party guests and comfortably accommodate the crew. Capable of a very creditable 25 knots, she’ll also cruise economically and comfortably in any seaway at much lower speeds. She has a range of up to 1250 nautical miles for trans-ocean potential. Optional RINA and MCA LY2 certification in the build.

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