How To Build A Superyacht
How It Works|Issue 114

We go behind the scenes at Sunseeker’s factory in Poole to learn how some of the world’s most impressive luxury yachts are built

Charlie Evans

Superyachts are the essence of luxury. They offer uninterrupted panoramic views of the ocean, state-of-the-art technology and a seemingly effortless capacity to cruise through the water. But behind the gleaming hull and polished wooden floors, a complex array of plywood and fibreglass houses thousands of metres of electric cables, powerful engines and computer systems. All of this is the result of an incredible engineering and design process – a product of hundreds of thousands of construction hours.

Sunseeker International is world renowned for dominating the luxury yacht industry. Famed for their bespoke products, they carry designs through from the first conversations with the clients, transforming ideas and sketches into computer-generated schematics before constructing and handcrafting the entire vessel within a couple of months.

Sunseeker’s giant factory in Poole in the UK is spread across several shipyards, with the process working on an assembly line. The factory is impressive, but there is a noticeable lack of large machinery across the manufacturing line for the company’s 116 and 131 Yachts. Instead, the factory is bustling with people who work on painting, fitting components and laying out wires. Our guide is Matt Francis, one of the on-site general managers, who explains the lack of machinery.

“You can get machines for these things. You can get spray guns for fibreglass, instead of rolling these sheets. But you’d have to change the settings for every boat, so it works better by hand. That’s why almost everything you can see is hand built.”

Across the shipyard almost every part of the yacht is being created by Sunseeker; we watch as the skilled teams work in synchronicity to build each part of the yacht’s interior, from the beds and cabinets to the wiring weaved beneath the floors and between the walls. While other manufacturers tend to purchase pre-made furniture and components, Sunseeker prides itself on producing most of these parts at their own factory.

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