Full Speed Ahead

What recession? Why business has never been better for the world's superyacht industry

Mark Read for TIME

Robert Braithwaite, CEO Sunseeker Yachts, stands with a model of the “Sunseeker 53’ Portofino” in Poole, Dorset, UK on March 11, 2008.

British yachtmaker Sunseeker launched its biggest boat yet at last year's London Boat Show: an $18 million, 121-ft. (37 m) superyacht. So far, it has built three of them; two are under construction at its boatyard in Poole, England; and eight more are on order. That kind of demand surprised Robert Braithwaite, managing director. "If we had sold five or six by now, I would be very happy." At this year's show, the company unveiled two more big boats, a $4.8 million 89-footer (27 m) and a $14 million 112-footer (34 m)--smaller than last year's model but still within the important...

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