The collaboration between Icon Yachts and Sunseeker was announced on the opening day of the Monaco Yacht Show

In a surprise development, British luxury yacht maker Sunseeker has selected Icon Yachts of the Netherlands to build its next flagship – the Sunseeker 161 – in aluminium at its yard in the Dutch city of Harlingen.

The plan is for Icon to build five Sunseeker 161s a year, starting next spring. The first is to be delivered in 2021.

Also, all Dutch-built Sunseekers will have a Fast Displacement Hull Form, a patent of Van Oossanen Naval Architects of the Netherlands that generates significant fuel savings and onboard comfort.

The Sunseeker-Icon collaboration was announced by the two companies at a joint press conference at the Monaco Yacht Show today.

It comes at a time of great uncertainty over the conditions of Britain’s exit from the European Union next March. Sunseeker CEO Sean Robertson said he expects Brexit “to have an impact, but we have looked at worst-case scenarios and decided to move forward. About 60% of our business is into Europe.”

The deal marks Sunseeker’s first foray into metal hulls. The company has been making motorboats since 1969 and superyachts since 2001. Of the latter, it has sold 121 to date – all in composite material. Sunseeker is owned by China’s Dalian Wanda Group.

Robertson hailed Icon Yachts as an accomplished builder that “will deliver exactly what we need to bring to our clients.”

Icon Yachts CEO Jen Wartena said he can build eight Sunseekers simultaneously. His company recently added a new floating shed of 130m x 30m x 28m, doubling the yard’s capacity. Icon will build Sunseekers from the hull up, including all finishing.

Robertson expects Icon Yachts will build about five Sunseeker 161s a year. That would match his annual output of Sunseeker 131 yachts. Robertson said clients who step up from the latter category want a Sunseeker 161 “but not in composite material. It has to be metal.”

Icon Yachts’ core business is in new yachts, refits and reconversions, but generally of boats well above the 161ft length of the new Sunseeker.