Dorset

Sunseeker founder Robert Braithwaite dies aged 75

Robert Braithwaite Image copyright Sunseeker
Image caption Mr Braithwaite was appointed a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2007

Robert Braithwaite, the founder of luxury boat builders Sunseeker, has died aged 75.

Mr Braithwaite began making craft for the emerging sports and leisure market in Poole, Dorset in 1969.

The company now employs more than 2,500 staff and exports superyachts around the world. It supplied craft to four James Bond films.

Chief Executive Christian Marti said he was a "true visionary who changed the face of boating forever".

Under the company name of Poole Powerboats, the first craft Mr Braithwaite launched was the Sovereign 17 in 1971.

Sunseeker International went on to design and build high performance luxury superyachts and grew a global distributor network in more than 70 countries.

Image caption Sunseeker is based in Poole

After Sunseeker boats appeared in four James Bond films, Mr Braithwaite was given a cameo role in Quantum of Solace.

Mr Marti said: "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."

Mr Braithwaite was appointed a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2007 and was a vice-president of the RNLI.

In 2015 after being treated for bowel cancer at Poole Hospital he donated a £3.5m robot for advanced keyhole surgery for cancer patients.

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