By David Robinson
With Sunseeker founder Robert Braithwaite increasing his management involvement following the departure of Stewart McIntyre, the company has decided to wait until after the boat show season before appointing a full-time replacement.
This was confirmed to SB by Sean Robertson, who oversees the building of Sunseeker’s larger superyachts, at the Cannes show. The majority owner, Dalian Wanda Group, has two directors on the board.
On other developments he said: “The land has been acquired for the new facility in Qingdao where in time it is planned to build yachts specifically for the Chinese market. It will probably start as a service centre and start building after a while. We are talking about all these areas. We are looking at a number of things including a specific style charter yacht which might be a catamaran.”
Dalian Wanda is building three marinas in China, including ones in Qingdao and Hainan. It has been proposed that 10 Sunseeker yachts would be based at each one.
Robertson indicated that the market was definitely improving. He pointed to the North American market being strong and Europe showing “better sustained interest”. The Middle East is strong and China is quiet. “We have out first yacht going into Vietnam next week, a 15.2m (50ft) yacht,” he said.
Sunseeker has been hit by the recent strength of sterling but Robertson commented: “We’re actually more concerned in the US about a rising pound and a weakening euro. A pound-dollar rate of 1.60 is about right for us.”