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Jeanneau Yachts – a pocket history

Henri Jeanneau used to run a hardware store and in 1956 started building small power boats in his father’s workshop. He entered his first wooden hull power boat in to the “Six heures de Paris” power boat race – at the time, the largest boat race in France. Henri was clearly very talented and he came first in the race. His win was the catalyst for turning his hobby into a commercial business and so the Jeanneau yachts brand was born.

Following the creation of his first wooden outboard motor dinghy design, Jeanneau built the first moulded fibreglass hull in 1958. In 1960 he expanded operations to build the “Sea-bird” speed boat, Jeanneau’s first full production fibreglass boat.

Growth during the early 1960’s was unprecedented, with many more families enjoying a disposal income and spending more time on leisure activities such as sailing. The Jeanneau shipyard produced over 1,500 boats in one production run. The boat names that followed all came from the passion and dedication found in their design: the “Squale,” the “Lion de Mer,” the “Caraïbe,” and then the first great Jeanneau motor yacht, the “Impérator 900,” launched in 1966.

Jeanneau Sailboats lauched

The very first Jeanneau sailboats were launched in 1964. That same year, Éric Tabarly captured the public’s imagination when he competed in the English transatlantic race aboard his 44-foot ketch, the “Pen Duick II”. It was the first time that a French national beat the English on their own turf.

By the late 1960’s, pleasure cruising sailboats had become mainstream and shipyards like Jeanneau-Beneteau were producing sailboats solely for the leisure market.

The innovations in manufacturing techniques and lower production costs meant that pleasure cruising could be accessible to the masses and many more people were able to enjoy the sea. Sailboat construction exploded and in 1970 Jeanneau launched the fabulous Sangria model which sold over 2,700 boats. This model cemented Jeanneau at the forefront of the design and construction of sailing yachts.

During the 80’s and 90’s Jeanneau went through several corporate acquisitions and changed ownership a number of times. In 1995 the company was acquired by Groupe Beneteau to create the largest sailboat group worldwide.

Jeanneau Yachts today

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 319
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 319

The engineering arm of Jeanneau-Beneteau boasts a 130-strong R&D team – a show of their dedication to push the boundaries of yacht design – and a long way from the small hardware store that Henri worked in.

Today, computerised production processes and advanced supply chain management ensures that the group stays at the cutting edge of sailboat design. Their developments in superior composite technologies like the closed moulding process called the Prism Process has helped them keep ahead of their competition, whilst developing “greener” ways to produce yachts and boats.

Jeanneau Sun Fast 35 and Sun Fast 37
Jeanneau Sun Fast 35 and Sun Fast 37

The use of rich interior woodworking throughout their boat ranges has always been a trademark signature of Jeanneau. Quality hardwoods and marine grade composites, varnishing machines adapted for precision work and CNC routers, provide parts finished on an industrial scale but with a 10th of a millimetre accuracy.

The dedication to detail is as clear as it has ever been, these parts are individually assembled and carefully hand crafted by the Jeanneau team.

Jeanneau Popular Sailing Yacht Models


Drag Reducing Propellers for Jeanneau Yachts

 Jeanneau 40.3 – 3B FeatherStream propeller
Jeanneau 40.3 – 3B FeatherStream propeller

Darglow have supplied drag reducing props for many of the models in the Jeanneau 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 Jeanneau boats we have supplied propellers to here.

Rope Cutters for Jeanneau Yachts

We have supplied rope cutters for various boats in the Jeanneau 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 Jeanneau boats we have supplied rope cutters for here.

Visit the Jeanneau Yachts website

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