Producing A Sunseeker
The boat layout and drive options agreed, the interiors designed, co-ordination and compliance come into play.
With the precision of a military operation, the production of a Sunseeker boat relies on timing, communication and expertise. By the time the hull is moulded and ready for fitting out, every single component will have been production planned and its progress recorded on the central Sunseeker IT system.
Accuracy in manufacturing thanks to the CAD/CAM technology means that each component matches perfectly with its neighbour, even though they may have been produced in factories or workshops hundreds of miles apart. If the smallest piece of wiring is to be countersunk behind a bulkhead panel, the groove will have been specified from the earliest design plans, programmed into the CAM computer, and milled to the exact tolerance required.
At the Technology Centre a highly skilled workforce of artisans, covering disciplines including carpentry, cabinet-making, engineering, upholstery, metal work, electronics and composites laminating produces, tests and hand-finishes the fittings for the boat using only the finest quality materials.
At the ship and boat yards, predetermined thicknesses and weaves of glass fibre and carbon fibre are applied to the interior of the hull by hand with resin by skilled laminators to produce a quality of construction that no machine can replicate. The process of constructing the interior then continues in methodical fashion, from the tanks in the bilges to the radio antenna aloft, then from stem to stern to ensure that no completed section can be soiled or scratched once the gleaming decks and fittings are installed and hand polished.
Every hour of the construction process is logged, monitored and analysed in the pursuit of quality and efficiency; there is constant communication and collaboration between team leaders, production planners and designers to ensure that every single action involved in the construction is right first time, every time.
Timing is critical in the production process, but so is communication. More so when you consider that if something were to go missing, be faulty, or not fit, on a structure that is up to 40 feet high, 120 feet long and weighing up to 190 tonnes, any delay will have serious repercussions down the line. You cannot just move it to one side and let the others pass along. Daily briefings involving all teams and disciplines provide a forum for spotting a snag long before it becomes a problem, thereby averting one.
Imagine the construction materials and mix of trades that are required to build a modern multi storey luxury apartment and your vision will be similar to that of a Sunseeker shipyard today. The exception being that the luxury apartment that is a Sunseeker may be capable of achieving 50 knots in open water. The top of the range brand names on the constant flow of delivery vehicles will also be familiar, from kitchen appliances to audio-visual systems, carpets, glass and chinaware.
Putting all these elements together requires genuine team spirit, which at Sunseeker is not just a nod to its family-firm ancestry. It is genuine, and also remarkable in a workforce that now stands at over a thousand more than it was in 2002. This team spirit and pride in one’s workmanship is what really brings a Sunseeker into being.
Once construction and decoration are complete, finally comes the testing and handover stage. The seas around Poole Harbour, one of the largest natural harbours in the world, offer a variety of currents, winds, waves and conditions representative of just about any to be found where the boats are likely to be used – an ideal proving ground for the world’s finest motoryachts. The yachts are then delivered to their destination ports by land or sea. With 99% of Sunseeker production destined for overseas markets, boat transportation has a dedicated logistics team to ensure that every boat is delivered in pristine condition and full working order.
With the larger yachts, the Master and selected crew are welcomed to the shipyard as much as four weeks in advance of final handover for familiarisation and technical briefing, during which time they live aboard. In line with MCA regulations a detailed manual and build specification is provided for every boat. Any final finishing touches or last minute décor changes required by the owner are also discussed and executed during this period, and all the ships’ systems are fully tested again.
Another Sunseeker takes to the waves, proudly bearing its name and its British heritage.