Sunseeker: Build Yacht Abroad ‘To Protect Dorset Jobs’

Sunseeker has revealed plans to get new and bigger yachts exported abroad – but said that the move will protect jobs in Dorset. The Poole-based company, which has a production base in Portland, has partnered with Dutch company ICON Yachts to produce a 49 meter (160ft) metal hull yacht that will start in 2021. The company says that many customers who have bought their yachts want to move on to larger models – and it risks losing them if they do not meet the demand.

International Sales Director Sean Robertson said: “We believe the team has spent a lot of time building a large database of clients and what we saw we lost them.”The danger we saw is that these competitors considered our large database of customers and perhaps said they should begin to build less and make them manage them earlier.”

He added: “To protect the business and protect the shipyards and the Sunseeker brand, we had to come up with a yard that was synonymous with building steel yachts.” He said by offering a broader range, the company could also attract more customers to its smaller boats. “The message back to Dorset is that this has been done not only to protect but also to give us benefits in the future,” he added.

Sir Robertson said that the company had spent almost three years looking for a partner to build a larger metal-hulled yacht. He said that glass fiber hulls were not accepted in yachts over 100 meters. “The market, customers, and brokers require a metal yacht and it’s not our core activity,” he said. He said Sunseeker’s specialty had built “fast, exciting motor boats in fiberglass”. The new craft will use the company’s 60-strong design team in Poole.

Sir Robertson said that in the future there would be the opportunity for furniture and other fixtures to be delivered from Dorset, but added: “To be honest, I think we have such a large order book at the moment that we ourselves with our current situation and order book we are fighting to quit as it is.”

Sunseeker said the success of its 155 Yacht had shown the demand for a major Sunseeker. Sir Robertson added: “Finding experience and expertise in metal construction was not the problem. To find a farm that shared the same progressive, innovative spirit to create something truly special and most importantly, that gives us the flexibility to build a true Sunseeker, was the challenge. We’ve certainly found everything with ICON.”