This powerboat clearly isn’t a superyacht. Not even close. But, there’s one heckuva story behind it—one of the most emotionally powerful stories you’ll ever learn, in fact. Which is why we want to share it with you: Stories often move us to smile, to laugh, and even to cry, whether tears of sadness or joy. This is the story of a twentysomething (!) who borrowed £5,000 from a friend to set up what became one of the world’s most successful boatbuilding businesses. More than that, though, it’s the story of how, 50 years later, a speedboat is being built in his honor.
If you’re a longtime cruiser, you may recognize the name Robert Braithwaite. He and his brother John were the brains, and the beauty, behind Sunseeker International for the past half century. In fact, Robert started the company in England in 1969, seizing an opportunity to buy the molds to a suddenly ceased model line. Within two years, Robert had built two boats. He promptly sold them both upon their global debut at the London Boat Show in 1971.
The years that followed saw sport cruiser after sport cruiser, bearing model names like Tomahawk, Thunderhawk, Superhawk, Predator, and more. While Sunseeker entered the superyacht market about 20 years ago, it never forgot its roots. Neither did Braithwaite. He was involved in the creation of all sorts of craft, including the boat pictured here.
Which brings us to our story. This boat is the Hawk 38, the newest Sunseeker. “Hawk” is meant to harken back to the early offshore powerboats that Robert loved to build. He even had a hand in creating her, naturally. Sunseeker announced production plans for the 62-knot Hawk 38 this past March—just one day before Robert sadly passed away.
To say that Robert was a true visionary is not hyperbole. He had a profound impact on the state of recreational boating and yachting. Fittingly, his spirit will live on in the Hawk 38 in a very special way. The first 10 Hawk 38s will be part of a limited-edition series, bearing a polished stainless steel plaque at the helm. They’ll bear the series numbers RB001 to RB010, with “RB” being his initials.
Sometimes the smallest gestures stir the most in our souls, and make for the most magnificent stories.