Latent demand for even larger Sunseeker yachts is driving force behind the brand’s move into metal-built vessels
In a truly momentous step, Sunseeker International has announced plans to move into the world of metal-built yachts as it looks to capitalise on its success in the superyacht market and the demand it sees from owners for even larger Sunseeker vessels. This exciting development will see the British brand partner with renowned Dutch builders, ICON Yachts, to produce a new 49-metre yacht, the first of which will launch in 2021.
This new venture moves the brand into a completely different method of build for the first time in its 50-year history, but the idea behind this move is certainly not a recent one as Sunseeker International Sales Director, Sean Robertson explains: “We have wanted to build larger vessels for some time; we know there is demand there for larger Sunseeker yachts as the 155 Yacht proved. The decision to stop building that model was a commercial one based on space and capacity and certainly not due to lack of demand, so we knew we needed to rethink our approach to this size of vessel and have spent considerable time looking at various opportunities.
“A move into metal also means there is no ceiling as to how big we can go in the future, but obviously this requires different expertise and so it was essential to find the right partner to support the project. Finding experience and expertise in metal build was not the issue. Finding a yard that shared the same progressive, innovative spirit to create something truly special and, most importantly, one which will provide us with the flexibility to build a true Sunseeker was the challenge. We have certainly found all of that with ICON.”
ICON Yachts was founded in late 2005 by Ton Van Dam and a group of investors. The founders were then joined by business partners, including the company’s current Chief Executive Officer, Jen Wartena. Rather than building unique, one-off custom superyachts that would require three or more years to design and construct, ICON Yachts developed a groundbreaking ‘blueprint’ hull which allows owners to fully customise their yachts from the waterline up. ICON has more than delivered on this concept, producing several superyachts to date within exceptionally short build times, and in the two-year range. In addition, ICON is dedicated to maintaining one of the greenest shipyards in the yachting industry, outfitting each yacht it builds with equipment to help reduce her environmental impact.
Jen Wartena, CEO of ICON Yachts, comments: “There is a great synergy between ICON and Sunseeker because we are combining both of our strengths; our capacity and metal yacht building capabilities with Sunseeker’s sales expertise and marketing power. I am confident about the partnership because for the past few years there has been a high demand for Dutch pedigree yachts in this size range. We believe the Sunseeker by ICON will revolutionise the industry in a positive way. It is an exciting period for ICON Yachts and this new partnership with Sunseeker is part of our ongoing growth strategy where we are investing heavily in facilities and people to improve our capability and capacity.”
The new yacht will be built in the ICON yard in the Netherlands using a proven fast displacement hull design, but the naval architecture, design and engineering will be unmistakably Sunseeker.
Sean Robertson explains: “This will certainly not be a badge engineering exercise. We are an established superyacht brand in our own right and so we are merely combining the metal build expertise of ICON with our design DNA, technical expertise and market know-how. She will absolutely be a Sunseeker.”
Sunseeker’s first foray into the superyacht market came with the introduction of the now iconic 105 Yacht in 2001. Since then, Britain’s biggest boat builder has seen unprecedented growth in the sector, delivering more than 125 yachts over 100 feet and firmly placing the Poole-based builder in the top three superyacht builders in the world. This new partnership with ICON is the next stage in that remarkable growth story and will be marketed and sold by Sunseeker under the “Sunseeker by ICON” nomenclature.
The new 49m tri-deck yacht follows the iconic Sunseeker exterior lines and offers exceptional space and volume, with an interior that can be styled to each owner’s unique taste via Sunseeker’s ‘Bespoke’ service. The theme throughout is one of space and flexibility, maximising volume and providing compelling features to enhance enjoyment on board. Many of these features are usually only associated with much larger craft including the plunge pool on the main deck and the exceptional beach club with drop down bulwarks and transom to create an incredible space for relaxing or entertaining close to the water. Standard guest configuration is for 10 guests in five cabins, with scope for up to 12 to be accommodated depending upon layout chosen.
Hull #1 is due for launch in Spring 2021.