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WHAT MAKES A SUNSEEKER : EWEN FOSTER, SUNSEEKER CTO INTERVIEW
This story begins in 1985. Foster had recently become a design draughtsman for a radical boat building company based in the unassuming town of Poole on the South Coast of England. When a job opportunity with the legendary Braithwaite brothers and Don Shead came up, Foster, in his early 20s, jumped at the chance to work for a renowned designer. Working on early design concepts directly for Sunseeker founders Robert and John Braithwaite, Foster quickly fell in love with this up-and-coming area of yacht design with two pioneering company owners whose passion for delivering the ultimate customer experience knew no bounds. The sky was the limit, and Sunseeker was ready to reach the stars.
Foster recalls the Renegade 60 as a defining yacht in Sunseeker's heritage range. At the time, in 1990, it was a very ambitious project. The Renegade 60 was an exhilarating sense of pioneering risk and experimentation. Never had a production boat been fitted with water jets rather than traditional propellers. It was unthinkable at the time but Sunseeker never shied away from ambitious design concepts. The design team continue to push the boundaries while always keeping the customer in mind. When the Renegade 60 was in development, Sunseeker trialled a prototype in Poole Harbour and the surrounding waters testing speed, manoeuvrability and reliability. Today, Sunseeker tests every yacht that leaves the shipyard with a dedicated team of engineers.
Reflecting on an impressive 39 year career with Sunseeker, Foster recalls many stand-out models. The 28M Yacht was a true fusion of Predator, the performance-lead family of Sunseeker yachts, with a conventional full-volume Yacht. It was a crossbreed between two proven yacht ranges, deliberately designed to appeal to both client personalities. The 28M Yacht was a first for Sunseeker, integrating increased interior space with an aggressively elegant profile. This same design philosophy can be found within Sunseeker’s current range. The award-winning 100 Yacht flashes glimpses of performance DNA in its unique shape. The Sport Yacht family is another milestone in the industry. The Jamaican 35 from the early 1980s is, in Foster's view, the original Sport Yacht. It was a performance boat reaching speeds of 30 knots with a flybridge. Sunseeker has formulated the blueprint of design excellence while continually pushing boundaries, inventing new solutions but always with traces of legacy designs that have trailblazed the industry.
Until the 1980's, all Sunseeker yachts were open cockpit performance boats. Soon after Foster's arrival, the market in Europe and the rest of the world started to pay attention to a fresh approach Sunseeker had to yacht design. Fundamentally, Sunseeker understood the market needs. Quite quickly, Sunseeker was offering hardtops with its performance boats. Customers were spending more than one day on their Sunseeker. Soon the product was evolving to facilitate extended cruising. The hydraulic bathing platform was born from a demand to facilitate access to the water. There was no shortage of innovation, and in 1986, Sunseeker added the flybridge deck. No longer was compromise an option. Owners had the external helm and sunbathing area, but they also had interior volume but always with the same aggressive styling that Sunseeker is known for.
The evolution of customer demands has led to an expansion of the product range. Each offers something unique, from the Performance, Predator, Manhattan and Yacht ranges. Sunseeker introduced the new Ocean range with its 90 Ocean in 2021 since this new fleet of yachts required their own identity. The concept is very much performance heritage meets interior volume, extended range and larger exterior spaces.