University Staff and students enjoy visit to Sunseeker International to learn more about the Superyacht UK Young Designer competition and tour the Sunseeker Shipyard and Technology centre

The 2024 Superyacht UK Young Designer competition officially got underway last week (Thursday 14 March) when Superyacht UK, British Marine and Sunseeker International hosted a launch event at Sunseeker’s client Showcase in Poole.

The event saw university Design Department Heads and staff from Staffordshire University, University of Plymouth, Southampton Solent University and Bournemouth University, as well as a representative from Pantaenius UK, alongside a number of MSc students from Southampton Solent University come together to learn more about the competition, as well as being given the opportunity to explore Sunseeker’s main shipyard and state-of-the-art Design & Technology Centre.

Superyacht UK Young Designer Competition. Sunseeker

The day got underway with a networking breakfast before Superyacht UK Chair, Ben Geary welcomed the visitors, before Giles Barkley, Course Leader – Yacht Design Portfolio at Southampton Solent University outlined the details of the upcoming competition.  It was then time to learn more about Sunseeker, one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of luxury performance motor yachts, as Ewen Foster, Chief Technical Officer and Adam Wheeler, Head of Design Operations & Engineering Management talked about conceptualisation, design, engineering, and interiors with the guests.

Superyacht UK Young Designer Competition - Sunseeker

Following a networking lunch it was time to visit Sunseeker’s main shipyard where the guests were taken through the whole manufacturing process and saw how the boats are hand-crafted before taking a tour of some finished yachts.

From the Shipyard the group moved to the Design & Technology Centre, here the guests spent time looking at how the interior aspects of the yachts come together from furniture and fittings, electrical systems, and upholstery.

Speaking of the event, Giles commented: “The Superyacht UK launch event was extremely enjoyable for both my colleague Vittorio and myself, and also my Master’s student attendees.  We were all really impressed with Sunseeker’s tour of the yard and technical offices. It really shows them how boats are designed and built and as usual, I am amazed by the range of skills and trades that the company deliver themselves, to make ‘Sunseeker’ a truly internationally recognised brand!

“It is always a pleasure to see some of our graduates, both recent and older, really applying and enjoying themselves in the industry that they chose to learn about with us all those years ago. I will continue to prepare and encourage our current students so they can very soon actively contribute to the marine industry.”

Superyacht UK Young Designer Competition - Sunseeker

Simon Hedley, Head of Commercial Partnerships at Marine Insurance Specialist, Pantaenius UK, added: “I was very pleased to see how Superyacht UK and Sunseeker are looking to the future to nurture new talent into the superyacht design sector with the launch of this competition. The tour of the Sunseeker Shipyard and Tech Centre reinforced my personal belief that we have exceptional talent in the marine sector here in the UK and we need to safeguard this by investing in the future generation of skilled professionals. It was a real privilege to witness the whole process from concept and design to all aspects of the manufacturing process, most of which is being carried out by in-house skilled staff. I’ll certainly look at a Sunseeker in future with a better understanding of the expertise and dedication it takes to build one! I wish all the students the best of luck with the competition and with their future careers in our precious industry.”

The Superyacht UK Youth Designer competition will take place at the Southampton International Boat Show from 16-18 September 2024, offering a unique platform for young designers from universities across the country to showcase their creativity and innovation in yacht design and present their designs to an international audience and industry experts.

Superyacht UK Young Designer Competition

This year’s competition introduces two categories for entry: category 1 for 2nd and 3rd year students, and category 2 for Master’s students. A total of 12 places are available, with participants required to hand draw their designs to specific briefs during the two-day event at the Southampton International Boat Show in September.

Winners and runners-up in each category can look forward to great prizes, further details will be announced soon. Entries require nomination by a tutor/lecturer and the completed entry form must be submitted to Superyacht UK by 30 April 2024.

To register an entrant please use this form:  https://forms.office.com/e/W4unaKAi8g

Once all entries have been considered, Superyacht UK will notify the successful candidates.

“The competition is becoming an ever more important event to engage with future design talent. We are proud to play a part in supporting this initiative which champions Naval Architecture, Transport and Product Design as a valuable career path. We are keen to encourage these talented individuals who will in future add immense value to businesses like ours given their inspiration, skill, and adoption of cutting-edge technology”, commented Ewen Foster, Chief Technical Officer, Sunseeker International.

Superyacht UK Young Designer Competition

In closing, Lesley Robinson, CEO, British Marine added: “It was a privilege to see so many passionate students and educators from across the UK come together at last week’s launch event, eager to learn and explore the intricacies of luxury yacht design and manufacturing. The competition is not just a contest; it’s a celebration of talent, a bridge connecting academia with industry, and a testament to our commitment to fostering creativity and excellence in yacht design. I am thrilled to see what innovative designs this year’s participants will bring to the forefront and am confident that this event will continue to be a cornerstone for discovering and supporting the future luminaries of yacht design.”

If you are interested in supporting this year’s Superyacht UK Young Designers competition as an event sponsor, please contact lwhetmore@britishmarine.co.uk for further information on the opportunities available.

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