SYT's Merijn de Waard sits down at the Palma Superyacht Show 2021 with Sean Robertson, Sales Director of Sunseeker. In an exclusive interview the pair discuss the success of the Sunseeker 90 Ocean model, how Sean sees the range expanding over the coming years and what it's like to be back at a yacht show after last years hiatus. How successful has the 27.1-metre Sunseeker 90 Ocean model been without clients having actually seen it in the last year?
Well that really is the fantastic thing, this is the first show that people have been able to step aboard the yacht, but the first 12 have already been sold, most of those sales being concluded by zoom introduction and video walkthroughs. We've had a few client visits in-keeping with regulations, but considering that this is the first public viewing and we’ve already sold 12, it's a fantastic success.And if you wanted to buy one, what is the next delivery slot?
The next available delivery is summer 2022, a year from now, so the model is really starting to push out into the future.Photo: McKenna TownsendAre these clients mainly repeat Sunseeker customers, or are you seeing clients from other brands coming to you now?
Normally in the Sunseeker range we would see about 70% of our annual sales going to repeat customers, but because this is a new concept in terms of the overall look, design and space, the percentage is slightly lower. With this model I would say it is about 50/50 between repeat clients and clients coming in from other brands.
Yes absolutely, the key with this now is not just to use the name without making a substantial change. We want to really build a niche into the sector, and we certainly see one size smaller, perhaps two and then definitely one or two sizes larger. Does this boat compete with your 26.76-metre Sunseeker 88 model, because they are similar in size but the concept is very different?
That is a great question, because we brought the Sunseeker 88 in at a similar time to the 90 Ocean, but there is quite a sustained price difference between the two because of the volume. We were concerned that a client looking around the 90 foot mark would be dissuaded from buying this yacht because of the price difference, or that clients would go for this yacht over the 88 because of the volume. But at the moment we have great success with both models – I think it's two different mindsets. One about beauty, style, almost traditional yachting look, whereas the Ocean gives you the practicality, space and a different concept about how the yachts will be used.Photo: Sunseeker InternationalDo you think this 90 Ocean will also appeal to first time buyers?
I think if you were new to yachting and were looking at how you would use your money, space, and berths for your family, I think this yacht has a lot of appeal. She has lovely lines, a great exterior area and if you’re out for the day you have different zones, you can link them together, keep them separated – it really works well. On the bigger end you have the 42-metre Ocean and the 52-metre Ocean, have you had any traction on those models?
Given the situation last year, we decided to almost hold back in 2020 with those models because we could see regulations that were supposed to be ratified but there was little confidence in the industry. Our suppliers, particularly the engine suppliers were also telling us that even if they did get ratified they weren't ready, so we held back, we did some work with the existing 40-metre Sunseeker 131 and 32.5-metre Sunseeker 116 and extended that for another 18-months. We have six of those currently in-build, all sold, and we are re-looking now at how we future-proof the 42-metre Ocean. So we are back at the drawing board now to fine tune those refine the detail and refine the spaces, but we absolutely still expect those projects to go ahead. Photo: Ocean IndependenceSo what are the six yachts currently in-build and will you add more orders for those?
In-build we have two Sunseeker 131 and four Sunseeker 116’s, and we will still continue on with those models, they have a classic look and are very flexible in terms of layout and finish. If someone comes and likes the 88 in layout and style, we can implement that in a 116 or 131. So we will continue to do that until the demand ceases. Photo: Julien HubertSo, what do you expect of this show here in Palma, do you think clients are ready to come back and look at boats?
Just talking to the industry, everyone is ready for a boat show. Normally when these first shows happen, everyone is so busy, but this year there is a lot of excitement. We had meetings with clients last night who are just unbelievably excited about being able to walk around a show and look at the different products together in one place – this could be a really important event. Photo: Palma Superyacht Show