Sunseeker Yachts: What does the word ‘Sunseeker’ evoke for you? Elegant gentleman’s launches? Rapier race machines? Sophisticated family cruisers? Opulent superyachts? Or maybe it’s more about the application than the hardware. Perhaps it evokes spectacular 007 chase sequences or floating cocktail parties among the glitterati. The fact of the matter is that, after more than 50 years of boat building, Sunseeker has the capacity to evoke all of these things to a degree that most other brands in the world struggle to match. At Argo Yachting, our yacht brokers certainly have a wide range of used boats on their books, with premium brands encompassing everything from Windy, Riva and Galeon to Azimut, Cranchi and Chris Craft. But Sunseekers continue to command an enduring mystique that preserves their position at the forefront of the public consciousness – and toward the top of boat buyers’ wish lists.
The Sunseeker story began in 1969 in the elegant south coast town of Poole, when 26-year old Robert Braithwaite founded a firm called Poole Powerboats. He and his family had gained experience throughout the 1960s as leisure craft importers and, while the first models to emerge from their own factory were small, trailerable day boats, it wasn’t long before a more familiar brand DNA began to emerge…
In 1976, the Braithwaites introduced the Daycab 23 – the first boat to appear under the new ‘Sunseeker’ name. Although it was available as a rapid two-berth cuddy-style ‘Sport’ model, the ‘Daycab’ variant managed to fuse sporting performance with a galley, a heads, a pair of double berths and a considerably more lavish fit-out. This combination of potency and comfort, of sport and cruising practicality, laid down an early marker for the direction Sunseeker would go on to take and, although the Daycab 23 was superseded by the 235 within just four years, it undoubtedly helped build a firmer sense of what the Sunseeker brand represented.
The arrival of the Sunseeker Offshore 28 was another seminal moment. It was the first boat to enlist the input of custom yacht and race specialist, Don Shead, and it was also reportedly the first boat in Europe to use a hull specifically designed for twin diesel sterndrives. The subsequent Offshore 31 would mirror that commitment to modernity by becoming one of the first to embrace counter-rotating Duoprop technologies – and there’s no doubt that the gradual increase in boat lengths was also significant.
Following the introduction of various other noteworthy craft, including the radical jet-powered Renegade 60, Sunseeker would go on in 2001 to break the magic 100-foot mark with the magnificent 105 Yacht. This first true Sunseeker superyacht quickly claimed a pair of prestigious international design awards, confirming the company’s arrival at the highest echelons of the marine market. The arrival of the Sunseeker 155 Yacht in 2014, with expandable balconies, transoceanic cruising range and the high-profile patronage of F1 supremo, Eddie Jordan would then provide ample illustration that, after an extraordinary 45-year journey, the family builder of open day boats had become an international superpower in the world of luxury yachting.
Sunseeker: the ‘Hollywood’ profile
Sunseeker’s reputation for combining high performance with elevated luxury and style has seen it play a central role in several 007 films, hitting the silver screen with a splash in a dramatic boat chase along the River Thames as part of the spectacular intro to The World Is Not Enough in 1999. We saw the Superhawk 43 in ‘Quantum of Solace’, a Superhawk 48 in ‘Die Another Day’ and the XS 2000 and Predator 108 in ‘Casino Royale’. And despite the widespread appeal of that dynamic, indulgent side of the brand, in 2008, we also witnessed one of Poole Powerboat’s very first open cockpit sports boats, used as a water taxi for Bond in ‘Quantum of Solace’ with none other than Robert Braithwaite at the helm. The Sovereign 17 was one of the earliest craft to emerge from the firm and, despite its relative modesty, its appearance as 007’s gentlemanly conveyance from ship to shore shows how fondly celebrated the Sunseeker name had become.
Sunseeker Yachts: the modern fleet
Sunseeker’s current fleet is astonishingly diverse. It ranges all the way from the 60-knot Hawk 38 to the prodigiously sophisticated 159ft tri-deck superyacht known as the 50M OCEAN. Between these respective flag bearers for the ‘Performance’ and ‘Superyacht’ lines are four additional product lines, each of which manages to feel distinct without disrupting the continuity of design. They include the fast, agile and extremely elegant coupe-style ‘Predator’ sports cruisers, the spacious long-distance ‘Manhattan’ flybridge cruisers, the streamlined ‘Sport Yacht’ cruisers with their low-profile fly decks and they include the highly bespoke and luxurious ‘Yacht’ line, which delivers an infectious taste of the ‘Superyacht’ lifestyle in relatively modest hull lengths from 76 to 100 feet.
Perversely however, the current highlight of the fleet for many is probably the smallest, the fastest and (in many ways) the least representative of what Sunseeker has become. Clearly, the Hawk 38 lacks the elegant cruising-friendly accommodation championed by the Predator and Manhattan lines, but it’s difficult not to feel excited by the naked aggression of its design. As a sporting open day boat, this is a soft-riding, swell-cleaving, narrow-beamed missile of a thing, with 60-knot performance, a sophisticated carbon fibre hardtop and a full compliment of impact-mitigation seats. Based on the XS2000 hull, with triple steps, lightweight Mercury 400hp outboards and an extra dose of racing pedigree courtesy of input from FB Design, it’s a really fresh and compelling option in the Sunseeker fleet.
Crucially though, whether you favour a 38-foot open boat, a 60-foot cruiser or a cutting-edge oceangoing superyacht, the Sunseeker approach brings you the same basic guarantees. You get the impeccable heritage and the elevated kudos that are now fundamentally entwined with the brand. And you get hand-built construction alongside the luxury of a custom-ready approach that enables you to make each and every boat in the range feel like it was created just for you.
Sunseeker: the brokerage highlights
At Argo Yachting, we have a variety of used boats for sale in Southampton, London and Plymouth, as well as Marbella, Mallorca and Germany. From Superhawks and Tomahawks to Predators and Portofinos; from compact and classic to modern yachts approaching 100 feet in length, they include plenty of pre-owned Sunseekers at every size, age and price bracket.
While their delectable Hollywood heritage compels many to gravitate toward the excitement and drama of a Superhawk, the Sunseeker Portofino 40 is a very impressive boat. It offers all the style and exuberance of the modern brand but its modest scale and relative simplicity harks back to the lighter, more nimble powerboats that defined Sunseeker’s past. It may have been superseded by new models in Sunseeker’s drive to innovate and develop, but as a rapid, stylish and eminently capable family cruising companion, it remains a very rewarding exponent of what Sunseeker has always done so well.