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Robert Braithwaite, founder of Sunseeker, has died during the early hours of this morning (7th March), at the age of 75.
Christian Marti, Sunseeker CEO, took to the company website to announce the news, commenting, “Sadly, in the early hours of this morning, Sunseeker’s founder Robert Braithwaite passed away. 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. Robert was not only the company’s founder but the father of the ‘Sunseeker family’ here in Dorset, and worldwide through our dealers and clients. He will always live on as the driving force behind our success. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with his immediate family.”
Robert was born in Yorkshire in 1943. He then went on to leave school aged 14 without any qualifications.
After completing an engineering course and an apprenticeship at marine engine suppliers OMC, Belgium, he began working for Friar’s Cliff Marine, selling boats of a smaller size manufactured by American shipyard Owens Cruisers.
Robert spotted an opportunity when Owens Cruisers announced it would no longer be distributing to Europe. He made an agreement with Owen Cruisers to use its boat moulds, and subsequently decided to buy Friar’s Cliff Marine and renamed it Poole Powerboats.
In 1985 Poole Powerboats became Sunseeker, which went on to become a significant player in the luxury yacht industry.
Robert was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2007.
Four Sunseeker yachts have featured in James Bond films, before Robert went on to appear in a cameo role in Quantum of Solace in 2008.
Robert and his brother John Braithwaite were awarded the Outstanding Achievement award at the 2018 Luxury Briefing Awards.
A memorial will be held in a few months’ time, following on from a private funeral.
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