POOLE’S luxury boat-builder Sunseeker is to pay tribute to its late founder through a limited edition of its latest performance craft.

The first 10 Hawk 38 boats will carry a stainless steel plaque commemorating Robert Braithwaite, who died in March at the age of 75.

The Hawk 38, Sunseeker’s new high performance day boat, was the last project Mr Braithwaite was involved with.

It sells for £535,000 plus VAT and the 38ft 11ins (11.85metre) craft has a top speed of up to 70mph.

The plaques on the dashboards of the first 10 will carry numbers RB001 to RB010.

Andrea Frabetti, who was announced as Sunseeker’s new chief executive last week following the resignation of Christian Marti, said: “The legacy of the Sunseeker brand is built on developing performance boats such as the Hawk 38 – it’s in our DNA and something Robert was extremely passionate about, having raced extensively in his early career.

“I am honoured to unveil this special edition series of the Hawk 38, a very fitting tribute to our founder.”

A Sunseeker statement said: “Robert was an inspiration to everyone at Sunseeker and to the wider marine industry, recognised as a boating pioneer, a true visionary and someone who changed the face of boating forever.

“Robert’s passion for speed and performance is at the heart of every Sunseeker ever made and embodied in this latest model which is delivering an incredible top speed of up to 70mph (62knots).”

Robert Braithwaite founded the business that would later be named Sunseeker in the 1960s. Based in Christchurch, it was called Friars Cliff Marine and sold other people’s brands.

The company was renamed Poole Powerboats in 1969 and launched the first of its own boats, the Sovereign 17, in 1971.

Renamed Sunseeker International in 1985, the company saw its motor yachts become popular across the globe, and now employs 2,600 people in Poole and Portland.

Mr Braithwaite, who was awarded a CBE in 2007, stepped down from his executive role at Sunseeker in 2012 but continued to be involved as president. After Sunseeker yachts appeared in four James Bond films, he was invited to make a cameo in the 2008 Daniel Craig movie Quantum of Solace.