Beneteau shipyard was created in 1884 by Benjamin Beneteau. At the time, boats were called luggers, dundees, and smacks, all with sails of course, but for these fishing boats, performance was judged by who got back to harbour first, since the first there would sell his fish at the best price. For this reason and many others afterwards, this search for performance would remain central to architects and builders, leading them to surpass themselves; never satisfied, and constantly innovating.
In 1909, the approach of the engine had sounded and, whatever the cost and consequences, he would design the first engine-powered fishing boat in the region.
Then the Great War intervened. The Beneteau shipyard would get underway again in 1928, orphaned of his mother and father, and the time had come for André Bénéteau, only son of Benjamin, then aged 21, to take over.
Benjamin’s absence was experienced by the inhabitants of St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie as the end of the Beneteau shipyard. Admittedly, our father 1probably did not have his force of character, being rather “taciturn”, as was often said of one of our greatest sailors, but father had the gift of drawing.
A fisherman had faith in him, and under the shed, he would draw and build his first fishing boat. I personally recorded this account from the old folks, when I was very young. They explained that on the day the boat was launched, the people gathered, as was customary, to participate in the event, and were stunned by the elegance of this fishing boat. The Beneteau shipyard was back in business!
Then the Second World War came, together with the departure of a few companions. Father married our mother Georgina, and our brother André was born in 1934. At the end of the war, with the return of some of the companions there from the start, the Boatyard would be back in full swing again for an exceptional period that would last until the 1960s.
In 1964, Beneteau shipyard was created the first sailing boat and, in 1665 a full range from 3.60 m to 5.80 m. Then the fiberglass came, the brand expanded its range with new sailing boats and new motor boats.
From the 1970s, they were investing in export insofar as they resources would permit, setting up a network of dealers and importers, in particular in European countries, with the exception of the United States, where they opened a subsidiary in Annapolis, in 1976. The aim of this was to establish their brand, but especially to understand the American consumer’s tastes by being present on site.
In 1994 Beneteau shipyard started to buy other brands and shipyards. In 1995, Jeanneau was their second area of external growth. A chance to make peace with their long-time great challenger. Then the group expanded buying different brands to become the world leader with boat from 16 to 105 ft, with sailing boat and catamarans with 17 brands in 2019.
|Head Quarters||Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, France|
|Range||Boats and Motor yacht from 17 to 105 ft|
Sailing boats from 14 to 76 ft