The world’s yacht society received sad news on March 7, 2019. The founder and President of British motor yacht builder Sunseeker, Robert Braithwaite, died at the age of 75. He founded the company in 1969, remaining its chairman ever since.
Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, comments: "This is a sad day for the industry. Robert Braithwaite CBE, DL was not only pivotal in the success of one of Britain’s marine powerhouses but in shaping the wider UK industry and in particular its boat shows."
Robert Braithwaite was born in 1943 in Yorkshire. He spent several years servicing outboard engines and completing apprenticeships with marine engine suppliers. During the 1960s, he worked for Poole Powerboats company at the seaside town of Poole, dreaming to build a new kind of boat in the future. He gained the opportunity to start his own business in 1969, acquiring Poole Powerboats’ boat moulds when the company was about to leave the British market. The moulds had grown into foundation blocks of what later became Sunseeker within the Poole Powerboats yard.
It is worth mentioning, that back in the early 1970s, the UK market could not boast any significant sports and leisure boats builders. Taking its own course as one of the pioneers of the industry, Sunseeker launched its first yacht Sovereign 17 in 1971, soon followed by Sovereign 20. The first one became the company’s legend, appearing in 2000s in James Bond series episode, Quantum of Solace, with Braithwaite in a cameo role on-board. What is more, Sunseeker yachts were filmed in three more James Bond movies, becoming the series' trademark along with Aston Martin and Omega watches.
Sunseeker models quickly received general acclaim in the 1970s, growing to one of the UK leaders in leisure powerboat manufacturing. The company was also renowned in mainland Europe, trademarked with its functional and stylish products and profound design.
As the years went by, the company expanded, employing new technologies and materials in order to build larger models. Its current flagship the 47,2-metre 105 Yacht remains its largest vessel to date. Meanwhile, the company has recently revealed a 49-metre metal-built concept together with renowned Dutch builders, ICON Yachts, to be launched in 2020.
Today Sunseeker represents one of the major yachting world companies, employing over 2,500 designers, master craftsmen and engineers, and operating a worldwide network of more than 120 service and retail locations. The company’s export trade makes about 150 vessels per year, delivered to over 74 countries.
As to the ownership, the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group was announced to buy a 91,8% stake in Sunseeker for £320,000,000 in 2013. Nonetheless, Braithwaite remained its President to the last, yet along with growing his own charitable foundation.
“Robert was an inspiration to everyone at Sunseeker and to the wider marine industry, recognised as a boating pioneer, a true visionary and someone who changed the face of boating forever,” highlights Sunseeker CEO, Christian Marti. “He will always live on as the driving force behind our success.”
After successful sea trials, the first Amels 220 superyacht Aurora Borealis has been delivered to the owner. The 67-metre superyacht departed the yard in Vlissingen on 16 July, as the last delivery of a busy 2019 season for Amels.Photo by Maritimephoto.com via Dutch YachtingOverseen by Antoine Larricq of Fraser, the project first known as Project Waka, hit the water for the first time in March 2019 inside the yard's covered dry docks. The yacht remains listed for sale at € 83,500,000 via Fraser.The 67.11-metre vessel features exteriors by Tim Heywood Design and interiors by Winch Design. Spreading over six decks, Aurora Borealis features a 65-square-metre swim platform and beach club area. Special features on-board comprise a guest elevator to all decks, a steam room, spa and a fully-equipped gym, as well as a tender garage spacious enough to house two eight-metre tenders.Photo by Maritimephoto.com via Dutch YachtingAntoine Larricq also represented the owner in terms of interiors. Aurora Borealis' interior volume of 1,500 GT provides for nearly 1,150 square metres of interior space, comprising seven luxury guest suites. Thus, accommodation will be offered for up to 14 guests, along with 15 crew members.Aurora Borealis is now heading to Antibes. Overall, this year’s four new build Limited Editions yachts, plus three AMELS Refit yachts, were all delivered on time and on budget, the yard reports.Photo by Maritimephoto.com via Dutch YachtingRose Damen, Managing Director with Amels, comments: We’re delighted to see our new Amels owners enjoying their yachts delivered as promised. This has been one of our busiest seasons ever at AMELS, and we’re very proud of the high quality of each yacht and the very positive feedback from their new owners.In the meantime, the yard continues work on several yachts under construction inside the drydocks and building bays for 2020 deliveries at both Vlissingen City and Vlissingen East facilities. Photo by Maritimephoto.com via Dutch YachtingOne of the recent projects in hype to be welcomed by the yard for completion, is the 77-metre DAMEN SeaXplorer luxury expedition yacht La Datcha ordered by a Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov.
July 19, 2019
Previously known as Project Fiji, the 95-metre Lürssen superyacht Madsummer, has been delivered to her owner, a repeat client with the Lürssen. The vessel was launched earlier this year at Lürssen’s Rendsburg facility. During her construction period of nearly 2,5 years, the project was supervised by the owner’s captain and brokerage company Moran Yacht & Ship.Featuring a 14-metre beam, the exterior profile of Madsummer comes from a British designer Harrison Eidsgaard maintaining sleek and elegant lines within impressive volumes.Photo: Klaus JordanThe vessel's main trademarks are the 12-metre swimming pool and Jacuzzi laid on the aft deck and protected with glass bulwarks. That contributes to clean and uncluttered appearance of hull surfaces. Other decks are connected through exterior staircases and centreline openings.Spacious beach club and spa zone with a sea terrace on the lower deck also belong on the list of Madsummer’s special features. The bow is equipped with a helipad, while the sun deck aft features hidden crane in the bulwark, aimed to handle an aeroboat. As to the upper deck, it encompasses walkable skylight and an integrated fireplace.Photo: Carl GrollMadsummer’ interiors for 20 guests across 10 suites were designed by Italy-based Studio Laura Sessa represent contemporary modern style. Laura Sessa commented earlier: For this interior design yacht project, I invested inner artistic creativity due to my long relationship with the Owner. I playfully created spaces full of customised details and colours from the sea, emanating harmony and elegance.Photo: Klaus JordanThe latest delivery from the yard will be displayed at the Monaco Yacht Show 2019. She will be spending her first weeks in the Mediterranean before her world debut would highlight the port during the show.The superyacht is the third one in the recent series of the 90-metres plus vessels delivered by Lürssen, along with impressive 136-metre Flying FOX and 111-metre Project TIS. Furthermore, the largest Lürssen’s unveiling of 2019, the 130-metre plus in-build Project Lightning has been revealed recently.
July 19, 2019
Among contemporary yachts dominating superyacht charter market, there are sometimes more rare pieces to be found. The 69.7-metre superyacht Sherakhan built in 1966 as a maritime school vessel by Dutch Scheepswerf A.Vuyk & Zonen, is available for charter from € 425,000 per week in the summer season.Back in 1965, the classic yacht started out as Princess Margaret. Her present owner, Dutch hospitality entrepreneur Jan Verkerk, managed to breath a new life into the boat in 2005, when it was rebuilt at his yard and renamed to Sherakhan.Maintaining the vessel’s beautiful classic 1960s lines and style, Verkerk upgraded the interior with Rijntjes Interior Design and carried out a complete technical overhaul.Certified to accommodate up to 26 guests, with a dedicated crew of 20 including Michelin-starred Chef Toine Smulders, Sherakhan has undergone several more extensive refits, with the most recent one conducted at Icon Yachts in 2017.The most noticeable upgrade of 2017 was the 70-meter hull being repainted to a minimalistic white colour from its original vintage blue hue. Along with cosmetic adjustments to the yacht’s interior areas and A/V upgrades, her main generators were replaced with low emission ones to reduce the impact on the environment. The onboard layout of Sherakhan is trademarked with double-height dining room with galleried atrium, skylight courtesy of the glass-bottomed sundeck Jacuzzi and seating for all 26 guests at a dining table. The interior colour palette is calm and neutral, with creams and tan-coloured wood allowing the natural textures and tones to harmonise. The 13 ensuite cabins are generously proportioned, including a full-beam master suite.Sherakhan’s choice of guest deck areas is sizeable, from the generous wicker seating on the main deck or several loungers on the large foredeck to the stellar sundeck with its 18-person Jacuzzi, wet bar and barbecue, dining tables and multiple sun loungers. The toy storage can fit a pair of 7.3-metre tenders, three Waverunner jetskis, wakeboards, surfboards, a number of inflatable towables and an 8-metre custom-made slide.What is more, Sherakhan comes with a full wellness suite including a beauty salon, massage room, gym and sauna. Sherakhan’s technical characteristics allow her to cruise to the most remote areas of the planet, accommodating up to 24 guests within her 12 staterooms.Currently fully booked during a long-term charter in the Red Sea for the summer 2019 season, Sherakhan can usually be found in the Mediterranean during the summer season and the Caribbean over the winter. However, she is claimed capable of exploring more remote areas and has many circumnavigations.
July 19, 2019
Roy Disney, the grandnephew Walt Disney, rescued the crew of a sinking yacht during the Transpac regatta. The boat of Roy Disney, Andrews 70 Pyewacket, which also took part in the regatta, picked up nine crew members from the sinking Santa Cruz 70 OEX boat, led by John Sangmeister.The racing committee received SOS-signal from the OEX boat at around 2 am, on July 15, reporting that the yacht’s rederpost was damaged and the vessel began to take on water.<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTranspacRace%2Fvideos%2F424508521486179%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="560" height="315" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe>An hour later, the OEX crew was picked up by its rivals on Roy Disney's yacht, with no one of 9 crews getting hurt. After that, Pyewacket with the rescued people on-board and its own crew of 10, including Roy Disney, returned to Los Angeles Marina del Rey, from where the Transpac race started.With the reason of the steering axle’ breakage still unknown, the OEX yacht eventually sank. meanwhile, her owner, John Sangmeister, is an experienced yachtsman that had won the Cup of America in 1986–1987. For Sangmeister this was the eighth Transpac race.Transpac is a 2225-mile offshore race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. This year, the regatta has seen several more collisions, with Maserati trimaran Giovanni Soldini running into a huge underwater object. The crew, however, continued the race after stopping for repair.Except for OEX, 6 more hulls out of recording 90 participants, withdrew from the competition this year. Started on July 10, the regatta will see the award ceremony in Hawaii on July 26th.
July 18, 2019
Dutch court has declared the yachtbuilder Moonen Yachts bankrupt, reports International Boat Industry. The decision has been made just two weeks after Moonen had announced they had been about to close a deal with a new investor, in order to boast production.According to IBI, despite the bankruptcy procedure, the builder will continue negotiations with the potential investor. Moreover, the new potential stakeholder of the yard can even benefit from the bankruptcy, as they will be relieved of the responsibility to pay off Moonen’s debts.The name of the potential investor has been kept in secret, although some sources claim it is an Australian company. Earlier, the Mexican steel giant Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA) was the main investor at Moonen. In 2015, Moonen issued a statement on payments suspension due to financial problems of AHMSA. The Mexican concern claimed, it was no longer able to finance the construction of two of the three in-build semi-custom-yachts from the Moonen ‘Caribbean’ series, with construction begun a month earlier. At the time, the reason of AHMSA’s financial problems was a 40% price reduction on steel on the international market, caused by dumping of Chinese and Russian competitors.In 2017, the top management reshuffle took place in Moonen. The new CEO announced, he began the process of restructuring the company. In 2018, the shipyard received the World Superyacht Award for the 36-metre Brigadoon, followed by an order for its sistership that should be completed by 2020.But with only one boat under construction at the asset, the board of directors of Moonen decided, further development of the shipyard was impossible without the support of a new, financially stable investor. To keep stable operation, Moonen needs to build two or three projects ranging in size from 30 to 50 meters simultaneously.
July 18, 2019