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Beneteau Yachts – a brief history

Beneteau Oceanis 37

Beneteau Yachts is one of the world’s largest sailboat brands. It was founded over a century ago on the quays of Croix-de-Vie in Vendee by Benjamin Bénéteau, a man famous for his desire for innovation and developing the perfect boat.

It all started when Benjamin got his first job as a ship’s boy on a lugger at a local boatyard at the age of 12 and his dream of building boats began.

By 1884 he had started his own boatyard and called it Beneteau. Although they initially built sail-powered fishing boats they went on to pioneer those using engine power, allowing their ships to return to port quicker than the competition and land their catch for the highest price.

World War One brought a halt to boatbuilding, but in 1928 production started again and this time the yard went back to its roots becoming the leading builder of sail powered fishing boats under the guidance of Benjamin’s son Andre.

40 years later and the company decided to completely reinvent itself by focusing on the fibreglass market for leisure boats. Thousands of customers were using Beneteau fishing yachts, but some of them left the brand because they wanted faster yachts.

A First at the Paris Boat Show

The Paris Boat Show of 1965 was a landmark event for the brand. The Beneteau family turned up to the show with a very different boat offering – the First Yacht. It was a very different boat to everything else at the show. However, within a few hours of opening three businessmen had introduced themselves and said the Beneteau First range were just what their customers were looking for. The company came away from the show with nationwide distribution contracts – something that only Jeanneau had done in the past.

Before the end of the 1960’s, the company was building boats from 3.6m to 5.8m. Sales of the Guppy, Flétan, Capelan, Cabochard, Galion, Forban, Kerlouan, Baroudeur, and Ombrine were developed, and two notable designs (that are still built today) including the First and Antares.

Flyer & Oceanis join the range

During the 80’s, Beneteau launched the Flyer and Oceanis range and the famous designer, Philippe Starck was recruited to reimagine the Beneteau First. Rather bizarrely, they loaned Starck a 35-foot yacht which he set up in his garden – and set about experiencing the boat first-hand from his home in Paris. After a few nights onboard, Starck proposed a new set of boat plans which included two rear cabins – another first in the yachting world.

Beneteau has gone on to manufacture thousands of yachts with extended production runs including 500 First 265’s; over 600 First 235’s and more than 800 Oceanis 321’s. In 2014 the company opened its own state-of-the-art Vendee headquarters and began to manufacture under a system called Product Lifestyle Management – designed to maximise efficiency using computer aided design and manufacturing processes.

Beneteau – Leading Yacht Innovation

Beneteau has always been at the forefront of innovation and new ideas, claiming several firsts. It was the first boatbuilder to fit Volvo Penta’s IPS drivetrain and developed six new hulls just to specifically suit this revolutionary propoulsion system.

The recession of the 90’s saw many boatbuilders struggle as the market for yachts began to shrink. There were several mergers and acquisitions throughout the next few years as companied vied for position. In 1995, Beneteau bought its long-term rival Jeanneau and saw the two biggest boatbuilders join forces. This would become one of the highlights of French sailing history.
When Annette Beneteau-Roux decided to retire from heading up the family company she set about a restructure that would ensure the company would become a global player. The company became Group Beneteau in 2008 – and includes brands such as Monte Carlo Yachts (with their range of luxury cruisers) and Boat Holding LLC, Four Winns, Glastron, Wellcraft, Scarab, Jeanneau, CNB, and others.

Beneteau Sailboat Range & Popular Models

The Beneteau Yachts Range consists of five main models:

Beneteau Oceanis Range

Beneteau Oceanis-341

A range with superb accommodation and comfort. Quality and workmanship is second to none and Beneteau’s innovative engineering ensures the Oceanis range stands out from the rest. From the Oceanis 31 to the NEW flagship Oceanis Yacht 62 the range is elegant, fast and easy to handle. An Oceanis will swallow up the miles effortlessly and with high residual values your Beneteau will give you years of fun and represents excellent value for money.

Beneteau Yachts First Range

Beneteau - First 24

The signature features of the First range have not changed since its conception in 1977. Now in its 7th generation, First models have always been designed for sailors who enjoy club racing as much as cruising, bringing the best of both worlds into one single product line. In 2021, Beneteau is launching the new First 14, 24 and 27.

Beneteau First Yacht Range

The First Yacht 53 officially launched at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September 2019. She is 53 feet of sheer audacity and performance, perfectly in keeping with the new brand signature ‘Avant-garde in boating’. The Yacht has a tender garage, optional carbon rigging, lots of large spaces inside, with a real lounge area, teak mouldings and top quality materials, all of which make her a boat to rival those of other yacht enthusiasts.

Beneteau Oceanis Yacht Range

A collaboration between Berret Racoupeau Yacht Design and the Italian stylist Pierrangelo Andreani. The range consists of the Oceanis Yacht 62 and the Oceanis Yacht 54, offering a new whole new degree of quality to life at sea.

Beneteau Figaro Range

Beneteau Figaro 3

Drag Reducing Propellers For Beneteau Yachts

Darglow have supplied drag reducing props for many of the models in the Beneteau yacht range. We keep an expanding database of technical information on many of our installations along with feedback from our customers.

Check our full list of Beneteau Yachts we have supplied propellers to here.

Rope Cutters for Beneteau Yachts

We have supplied rope cutters for various boats in the Beneteau Yacht range. We keep a database of technical information on many of our installations along with feedback from our customers.

Check our full list of Beneteau Yachts we have supplied rope cutters for here.

Visit the Beneteau Yachts website

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