AMSTERDAM — Sunseeker International founder and president Robert Braithwaite headlined the award winners Wednesday night at the second annual Boat Builder Achievement Awards by receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Braithwaite built Sunseeker from a marine dealership called Poole Power Boats in Poole on the southern shore of England into an international brand with annual sales of roughly $300 million and about 2,200 employees.
Sunseeker’s boats range from 55 to 155 feet. Last year the company reached a major milestone by building its 100th yacht of more than 100 feet in length.
“This award means an enormous amount to me because it shows you have succeeded in what you set out to do. That is very important to me,” Braithwaite said in a statement. He was not able to attend the event. The award was sponsored by Side-Power.
More than 280 people — many of them leaders in the international marine industry — attended the awards program, which was held at the National Maritime Museum. The Boat Builder Achievement Awards was first held in 2015 and is jointly managed by the METS Trade Show and Time Inc. (UK) Ltd., publishers of International Boat Industry magazine.
Overall, winners in eight award categories, including two new awards for Environmental Initiative and Best Apprenticeship and Training Scheme, were announced. Seven honorable mentions also were handed out.
The remaining award winners and award sponsors were:
- Best Retail Marketing — Sea Ray, for the introduction of its SLX series of sport boats (Saltwater Stone, sponsor). An honorable mention went to Quicksilver for its custom price configurator.
- International Distributor/Dealer Development — Axopar for its boat sales and international dealership growth (Lumishore sponsor). An honorable mention went to Galeon.
- Boat Builder & Equipment Manufacturer Collaborative Solution — Azimut Benetti and Rolls-Royce for their development of the AZP C65 lightweight thruster (Ultraflex, sponsor). Honorable mentions went to Lewmar, NV Equipment and Beneteau for development of a new sunshade design for Beneteau’s Sense sailboat range.
- Innovative On-Board Design Solution — Ferretti Yachts for its submersible garage on the Ferretti 850 (Fusion, sponsor). Honorable mentions went to ski-boat builders MasterCraft. for its DockStar handling system. and Malibu Boats for its Surf-Band and Surf Gate.
- Innovation on a Production Process — Vripak for its virtual prototyping software (Dometic sponsor).
- Environmental Initiative — Blue Glass Marine for development of natural gas fuel options (Scott Bader, sponsor).
- Best Apprenticeship and Training Scheme — Berthon (Marine Resources, sponsor). Honorable mentions went to Sunseeker and Pendennis.