Sunseeker People Series
Sunseeker takes great pride in its exceptional people. In a new series of features, we offer an exclusive insight into the world of Sunseeker and the people behind its success. Commencing the Sunseeker People series, Oliver Smart, Ross Doidge and Adam Lane discuss the significance of the Advanced Composites team based at Osprey Quay, Portland.
Enclosed within an ex-Naval helicopter hanger, Oliver Smart and his team in Advanced Composites are hand-crafting bespoke carbon fibre features that form the striking exterior lines of a Sunseeker yacht with meticulous attention to detail.
Oliver Smart, Team Leader
I started my career as an Apprentice GRP Laminator five and a half years ago, I started as a complete beginner with limited knowledge of boats and GRP lamination. Today, I am Team Leader at Sunseeker International. During my apprenticeship, my manager asked me to build an 86 Yacht hardtop which is an enormous component fitted to the flybridge. It was incredibly satisfying to construct my first hardtop with no defects, and to be given the responsibility early on in my career was a privilege.
Eventually, I moved into Advanced Composites, where I now head up a team of 20 Moulders, Laminators and Painters. The team and I are responsible for crafting striking visual elements such as carbon fibre air intakes, hardtops and glazed sunroofs that make the boat unmistakably Sunseeker.
“Visual carbon fibre layout is extremely popular with our clients, and it makes them stand out in the marina.”
My typical day involves liaising with the team members and managing the build and manufacturing process. Quality control is a big part of what I do, ensuring that Sunseeker quality is maintained throughout. Visual components are solely manufactured at Sunseeker and within the Advanced Composites team, enabling a tightly controlled quality check process.
Pictured: Oliver with team member Adam checking a Carbon Fibre and glass sunroof panel.
I am proud of the product we manufacture and the standard of work my team accomplish every day, delivering the highest quality for which Sunseeker is renowned.
“The latest garage styling door features look brilliant, and the carbon fibre visuals and cowlings are a real talking point.”
The Advanced Composites team consists of expert GRP laminators who receive bespoke training at the Sunseeker training school. Trainees develop the skills unique to Sunseeker craftsmanship. Meet Ross and Adam from Oliver’s team, experts in the field of lamination. Ross and Adam started their careers at the Sunseeker training school, learning the necessary skills to build the impressive carbon fibre rooftop of the 90 Ocean and the vast sunroof of the Predator 55 EVO™.
Ross Doidge, Laminator
I am a GRP laminator, having worked at Sunseeker for over 12 years. I started my early career as a trainee laminator working on various elements of the yacht build from hulls to decks and infusion finishing. Today, I lay carbon fibre weave onto hand-crafted mouldings that form the striking features on the yacht exterior.
Carbon fibre is a delicate material to work with, and it requires expert handling. To effectively lay carbon fibre, an enormous amount of concentration and skill is required. The nature of carbon fibre means that any creases or bumps will become visible if fitted improperly. The team possess the necessary skills to produce a perfect carbon fibre component every time. Often, a laminator only has one chance to achieve a flawless finish using carbon fibre weave.
Pictured: Ross dry laying the carbon fibre weave by hand to an air intake mould.
As one of the first employees to work in the department, I have seen the growth of manufacturing capacity at Sunseeker. The new design direction has increased the emphasis on exterior detailing and the use of visual carbon fibre. Significant exterior design changes have meant that the Advanced Composites department has grown exponentially, manufacturing an impressive 68 visual components and counting.
Adam Lane, Laminator
I started my career at Sunseeker as a laminator in Advanced Composites and have remained there ever since. In 2015, I attended the Sunseeker training school and learned the skills required to become an expert dry lay laminator. My current project is a carbon fibre and glazing sunroof of the new Predator 55 EVO™. But we are continuously crafting new visual elements for every yacht in the Sunseeker range.
I feel a great sense of satisfaction and pride in my role and team, who craft the enduringly popular hardtop sunroofs, distinctive carbon fibre air intakes and smaller components like cup holders and canopy nosings. There are many stages in building visual parts that take place within the department from start to finish. I spend a lot of time inspecting a finished component, ensuring a perfect finish for clients.
Pictured: Adam wiping down a Carbon Fibre and glass sunroof.