Some Beneteau Stuff

Click this link for a fascinating insite into the start of André-Benjamin Bénéteau's career as a boat builder

Beneteau began building boats in France in 1884 when Benjamin Beneteau opened a yard for the purpose of constructing trawlers at Croix-de-Vie. Eighty years later, under the direction of his grand-daughter Annette Roux, Beneteau built its first fiberglass sailingboat. It is the largest builder of production sailing boats in the world, producing twice as many boats as its nearest competitor.

Beneteau launched the First Series in 1979 with the sleek, ultra modern Jean Berret designed 30. Although it seems passé today, Beneteau should have patented the term “performance cruiser,” as the First Series turned out to be very successful both as racers and later on as cruisers. Berret followed up the 30 with the First 35 and First 38.

The early First Series boats were hard hit by the dreaded pox that swept through the industry from around 1983 to 1985 due to resin problems. Bénéteau itself was nearly sunk by the unexpected crisis. By 1986, the company had been forced to recall some 600 boats, including nearly all of its flagship First vessels, produced between 1983 and 1985. A supplier of a catalyst used to harden the gel-coat on the vessels' hulls had replaced an ingredient with another, water-soluble ingredient, resulting in the hulls developing a condition called osmosis, described by Bénéteau more or less as the "cancer of plastic." Although Bénéteau later successfully sued the supplier, the company struggled to rebuild its reputation and its sales through the middle of the decade. By 1987, the company, which absorbed the costs of refitting its recalled vessels told owners to take their boat to the yard, have a complete bottom job done and send them the bill. The result was that Beneteau established an impressive reputation and almost all their boats had professional osmosis jobs done.

Beneteau's production efficiency with traditional construction techniques to build affordable and strong boats that have proven themselves on countless ocean crossings. In fact, it’s safe to say that more Beneteau's have crossed the Atlantic on their own bottoms than any other boat. Beneteau boasts that its boats have logged more that five million miles during more than 1,000 crossings.