Sunseeker’s Dream-Maker Slips the Anchor

Robert Braithwaite
Robert Braithwaite CBE, DL
1943 – 2019

Robert Braithwaite the dream making inspiration behind Sunseeker has died.

Recognised as a boating pioneer, he was a true visionary. Not only that he was someone who changed the face of popular boating forever.  Robert was not only the company’s founder but the father of the ‘Sunseeker family’. 

Back in 1969, Robert Braithwaite began dreaming of building a new kind of boat.

He had been working for Friars Cliff Marine throughout the 60s selling powerboats. He moved with the company to Poole in Dorset when the firm became Poole Powerboats.

When Poole Powerboats lost the opportunity to sell the US built; Owens Cruisers, Robert saw a unique opportunity.  He raised some cash, drove to Owens’ offices in Arundel, and negotiated a deal to acquire their boat moulds.

Using revolutionary materials and technology, his early designs began to sell to a handful of customers, keen to embrace new found freedoms.

The first craft to launch was the Sovereign 17 in 1971, closely followed by the Sovereign 20.

By 1972, the company was exhibiting at the Southampton Boat Show and keen to meet new customers.

Year after year he was the face of Sunseeker.  It was he who pulled in the celebrities to open the Sunseeker Stand at each of the shows

Boating icon

From then until 2012 he oversaw the steady rise of a hugely successful boating brand that became an icon around the world.

He moved from the day to day running of the business in 2012 stepping down from Executive and Board responsibility after four decades.

During that time he transformed the company from a locally based motor boat vendor into a global £300 million yacht design-and-build business, marks the end of an era in the company’s history.

Brave fight

Having fought prostate cancer and bowl cancer successfully, Alzhiemers was the battle he finally lost, having bravely tackled this dreadful disease over the past few years.

His perma-tan smile and his witty responses to this journalist’s often probing questions, will be greatly missed by us here.

Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with his immediate family.