THE brothers who founded luxury boat builder Sunseeker International have been saluted for their combined 100 years in the industry.

Robert and John Braithwaite have seen the business grow from a local boat distributor to one of the largest superyacht builders in the world and a major employer in Poole and Portland.

They were given an outstanding achievement trophy at the Luxury Briefing Awards, held at London’s Savoy Hotel.

Robert Braithwaite left school at 15 and dreamt of building a new kind of boat. He founded the company that became Sunseeker in 1969 and was the public face of the business as it grew globally.

His younger brother John joined the business and was influential in the engineering and craftsmanship of Sunseeker designs.

Sunseeker began life as Friars Cliff Marine but be came Poole Powerboats when it moved to the town in 1969 and was renamed Sunseeker International in 1985.

The pair began producing innovative motor yachts, using latest technologies and cutting-edge design.

John Braithwaite was instrumental in the development of models including the Superhawk, the Predator 108 and more recently, Sunseeker’s fastest-selling model of all time, the Manhattan 52.

Sunseeker now employs more than 2,600 people.

Sunseeker sales director Sean Robertson said: “This is a phenomenal award and one that both Robert and John richly deserve.

“They have contributed so much to the marine industry and what they have achieved is truly remarkable. Words alone frankly cannot describe their influence yet they are always the first to credit our employees and wider ‘family’.

“Sunseeker would not be the global brand it is today if it wasn’t for their never-ending passion and vision. This is core to the company’s DNA today, reflected in the global success of the brand, the incredible product range and our unwavering customer loyalty.”

Robert Braithwaite stepped down from his day-to-day role at the firm in 2012. John announced his retirement ahead of his 70th birthday earlier this year, after 53 years with the company.