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Jeanneau History


Jeanneau History 1957 to 2018 –

Changes in the Manufacturing of Jeanneau Sun Odyssey and Merry Fisher Motor Boats.

See also Jeanneau Archive   Jeanneau Post Production

Jeanneau Beneteau Group banner

Boat building giant Jeanneau and Beneteau, were in 2006 and still are the biggest boat builders the world of mass production leisure boats. Jeanneau Sun Odyssey Yachts were in close competition with rival’s Bavaria, Dufour and Elan Yachts, making sailing boats for the same market, along with many smaller boat builders.

Most small boat and yacht building rivals would fail in the following years as they struggled with the scale and depth of the insuing downturn from 2008, caused by the global recession. Small boat and yacht builders simply could not keep up with the innovative relentless genius of the Jeanneau design and boat building team, this was funded by a parent company Beneteau who had an anual turnover in excess of one £1000,000,000 in 2007 .

This is a record of some of the events in the Jeanneau history as seen by ourselves. We are the North West UK Jeanneau Dealers, we will updated this document as major changes take place in the history of this global company.

 At the leading edge of marine progress.

Big changes in new boat building since 2006
Jeanneau History Prisma ProcessJeanneau have been at the leading edge of boat building for many years. The big change in boat building by inventing injection moulding in boat building has though been masked by the global recession of 2008 to 2014.

Jeanneau has shown great determination in this period, by pushing forward with the development of Prisma Moulding (injection moulding of fiber glass resin). This development commitment has enabled the Jeanneau dealers who are part of the masive Beneteau group to not only beat off competition from other boat builders and dealers, but to emerge from the recession of 2008 as leading boat building company, by a very long way.

So successful are the Jeanneau boat building plants, other boat building companies commission them to mould boat parts on their behalf. This has improved Group Beneteau’s global domination of boat building for the marine leisure industry. Group Beneteau have now developed a number of  factories in France, Italy, Poland, America and China.

Inventing the Prisma Injection Moulding of Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) on a global scale.

The introduction of Prisma Moulded boat parts was brought about partly due to the need to cut the cost of boat building. Lots of GRP was wasted in the old build process. In 2007 the race was on between Group Benneteau and Bavaria to build a quality low cost Yacht. Invented by Jeanneau, injection moulding would prove to be the winning formula.

In the past, in order to form a shape in GRP, wet chopped glass fibre would be either sprayed, or layered out onto a mould. All sorts of outline dry matt shapes would be put onto a mould in order to enhance further detail to the required form. Wet resin would then be introduced on to the matting either by roller, brush or spray. The GRP would be left for a period to cure, before being lifted from the mould.

Jeanneau History Factory Not surprisingly, back in the early days of GRP boat building, pockets of air would become trapped in the wet GRP matting.  Workers knew this air should be rolled out soon after the wet resin was applied. However often and almost inevitably some pockets of air were missed. Boat builders simply didn’t realise that these small pockets of air (missed in production) would become osmotic, causing osmotic blisters that became visible in the Gelcoat. Often the blisters would start to show up years after the hull was first laid and almost always after a manufacturing warranty had expired and the boat builder had gone bust. This was a real problem for Yacht Dealers and owners. As often clients would buy a new yacht from a small builder only to find they went out of business a couple of years later, leaving owners and dealers to pick up sizeable repair bills.

European boat and yacht owners will not accept blistering of a hull.

As a result of the poor boat build process of many boat builders, osmosis treatment yards appeared all over the world in order to deal with the growing problem. Although in the USA attitudes to the blistering were far more laid back. Owners seemed much less concerned in the USA about the what we call the pox (as osmosis blisters were referred to in the marine trade).

Group Beneteau were not the only company to fall foul of osmotic blisters in early boat building years. Indeed virtually all, even small traditional yards who made boats and yachts in GRP would have made boats that develop osmosis in time.

Hot-Vac services sprang up all over the world

As the treatment of osmosis evolved and in the late 80s and 90s “hot-vac” services grew,  boat builders and dealers became aware that boat owners would not accept used boats with osmosis. Boat building improvements in most yards were implemented, Jeanneau / Beneteau being one of the first companies to realise the need for improved construction.

So the race to build better  boats was well under way by the mid 90s. A boom in the leisure industry caused by individuals’ disposable income growth delivered an unprecedented  number of buyers into the Yacht and Powerboat market place.

Jeanneau History Spray GRPBoat builders and Jeanneau Dealers were struggling to keep up with the demands of the boom years from about 2004. The race to the produce a low cost way to improve traditional  boat building was in full swing at Jeanneau by 2006.

Inventing Prisma Moulding

Jeanneau was determined to push ahead with Prisma Moulding techniques, having discovered that a Yacht deck built using the Prisma process was much stronger, quicker to produce, lighter and much cheaper to make than the conventional yacht deck.  It was also forecast that by 2015 it would be against European law to make Yachts and Boats using a traditional layup, this due to the heavy and harmful vapour given off during normal boat building and curing.

In 2006, the Jeanneau 42 Deck Saloon was introduced at boat shows around the world. Sales teams were encouraged to educate buyers about the new Prisma build process. The shape of the 42DS would make her an iconic Yacht, one that will go down in the history books of Yacht building. For a number of years, the deck of the Jeanneau 42DS was the largest one piece off injection moulded creations in the world. The entire deck was Prisma (injection) formed. This was the revolution that other boat builders could not begin replicate. Bavaria Yachts in particular continued to produce traditionally laid-up boats, but the design and heavy inefficient build meant that Bavaria would need to sacrifice interior build quality to get near the cost price of a Jeanneau Yacht.

Jeanneau History Fine Teak sellectionSome say that the interior revolution meant the demise of real teak;  laminates already used by most boat manufacturers would be a revolution too far in boat manufacturing.  The interior of a pre-laminated  “fine teak” Jeanneau Yacht was the main selling point over the rival yachts and boats.  The French influence in design and the real wood feel, meant that the early Jeanneau Yachts would become classics themselves returning excellent resale values entirely based on excellent sailing performance and beautiful interiors.

Sports boat and motor yacht manufacturers have been using a man-made wood veneer for some time. Some American manufacturers were using a wood photograph, varnished and glued onto inexpensive ply or even chip board. Sports boats would typically have exposed wooden frames for seats and end grains would not be protected against the ingress of water. This way of building boats was very cheap and yacht manufacturers were looking at the sports boat and motor yacht market for inspiration on how to cut costs of production.

 History Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 44 DS Interior

 Jeanneau History; the most modern yacht interiors

Group Beneteau settled on a technique that involved creating laminate from wood types sourced from sustainable rain forests. This wood veneer, that they would call “Fine Teak”, took some time to develop and therefore the early boats manufactured in this way had a rather undesirable orange tinge to the finish. Later boats were to be much improved and in fact, boats built using this process have a real wood veneer that is in many ways better than the genuine wood veneers (which  have become simply too expensive to produce).

The development of Jeanneau goes on, with the quiet revolution in boat manufacture. Boats built in Group Beneteau factories all over the world benefit from innovations in build technique.  Jeanneau as a company will always be led by market forces and therefore as we move into a new era where owners expect longevity and cutting edge design we are certain Group Beneteau will be delivering exactly what yacht buyers want for many years to come.

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 Jeanneau History Of  Yachts

Jeanneau History old boats Henry Jeanneau discovered a new interest in 1957 that turned into a passion. It was a love of  sailing and power boating. At that time living in Les Herbiers, France, Henry’s  first adventure in boat building was to  set about building a wooden hulled boat. Henry Jeanneau then enthusiastically took part in the Paris National Race, it was the largest boat race at the time in France. Jeanneau came first in that race. Clearly talented, Henry Jeanneau was well on his way and this was the beginning of Jeanneau Yachts and Boats.

That was way back in in 1959 just as people were starting to recover from the Second World War. The race win gave Henry Jeanneau the drive to turn his hobby into a business. At first Henry Jeanneau decided to call his enterprise “The Nautical Hall of the West”, a few busy years later it would be branded “The Jeanneau shipyard”.

In the early 1960’s  Europe and France was experiencing unprecedented growth, coupled with the invention of domestic appliances that would allow families to spend much more time on leisure activities. Families learned to enjoy the sun and the sea and so it was with the zeitgeist of the times that leisure activity  dovetailed with  Henry Jeanneau’s products. Growth became massive in the Marine Sector, demand outstripping supply. Popular brands were purchased by more and more buyers but still became extremely sought after.


Jeanneau History; dreams became a reality when his yard created the first all-fiberglass boat.

The swinging 60’s influenced Jeanneau design and in 1961, Jeanneau’s very first fiberglass motor boat, called “The Calanque” made its debut. Jeanneau recognised the popular shape and beauty of the classic frigate’s  wooden deck and hull to be a well-founded design which he strove to emulate in his new fiberglass designs. That same year, Henri was successful in realising his dream, when he created the first all-fiberglass boat. Fiberglass, a petrochemical product, created a boat with an unprecedented technological advantage over wood, because hundreds of hulls could be created from a single mould. The process was simple, fiberglass matting was applied to a mould and then impregnated with resin. Some skill was needed to spread the resin on by a roller but this was simple in comparison to building a wooden boat. When the resin had soaked into the fiberglass workers had only to wait for the new hull to cure before they moved on to the next one.

Jeanneau History; about the name “Merry Fisher” named after the engineer Mr Merry De La Poeze, who has spent a career lifetime at Jeanneau, he is still going strong.

The Jeanneau ship yard 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. An image of her  was etched into a wall at 1/1 scale. The fabulous lines included:  Skanes, Arcachonnais, Esteou, Cap Camarat, Merry Fisher, Leader and Prestige. Jeanneau continues to capitalise on the exceptional natural gift for design of  Mr Merry De La Poeze, the brilliant marine engineer and  inspiration behind the naming of the Merry Fisher, who continues to design exceptional motor boats that always seem to be market leaders.

Jeanneu History; Prestige Motor Yachts a brand in its own right.

The Jeanneau Prestige luxury motor yachts have been successfully developed into a brand in their own right with the Prestige 500s winning the coveted boat of the year award in 2012. Jeanneau sailing boats have been adorned with awards over the years, too many to mention in this introduction to the sailing boat range. A dedicated team of employees at the factory and a dedicated team of distributors have made, and will continue to make, the brands associated with Jeanneau/Beneteau world leaders.

Jeanneau History; revolutionised boat building all over again.

Within half a century, a revolution had taken place,  changing from the artisan work of the 1960’s that was the normal in France and elsewhere as each boat was unique, and often individually customised, while still travelling the production lines. Then in 2007 new technological advances, not dissimilar to those seen in aeronautical production, allowed Jeanneau to create boats using a 3-dimensional design. This design was created by computer software and manufactured using digitally controlled laser-cutting machines. It revolutionised boat building all over again. It is important to remember the individual skills and development of the work-force at Jeanneau over the past 50 years; the men and women of Jeanneau have evolved in their fields while still preserving their passion for the sea and love of producing well-crafted work. At the Jeanneau factory, the woodworkers and skilled workers have held on to their tools and mechanics have kept their spanners for repairs.

Remembering the beginning, to test the rigidity of a Jeanneau Yacht or boat, a boat was hitched to a tow rope and pulled  to Lake Tricherie, about 10 km. from the Jeanneau factory. Then, at full speed, it was launched over a wooden ramp  into the air, clearing a nearby road, to land in a field, of course Henry Jeanneau was at the helm. Today, real-life tests are conducted on ocean crossings and circumnavigations.

Jeanneu History; Forward to the 1970’s and pleasure cruising for the masses –

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”. Where would French ocean racing – or even pleasure cruising – be without Eric Tabarly’s victory in 1964?  It was the first time that a French national beat the English on their own turf. The English were very graceful about  allowing others into this previously “English gentleman’s” dominated sport. Tabarly became the pride of France, he passed his passion for the sea on to a new generation, and he created a passion for sailing among the French people. He inspired many young careers, leaving in his wake a number of skippers who would have fame in their own right. Skippers who were inspired by Tabarly include  Alain Colas, Olivier de Kersauson, Philippe Poupon, Marc Pajot, Titouan Lamazou, Michel Desjoyeaux, Philippe Monnet, Francis Joyon, and Jean Le Cam.

Jeanneau History old YachtLate in the 1960’s, pleasure cruising sailboats became mainstream and shipyards like Jeanneau-Beneteau would produce sailboats to benefit from this new enthusiasm for sailing. Technological innovations lowered production and therefore purchasing costs, and so pleasure cruising became accessible to the masses; ordinary working classes could enjoy the sea and leisure time with family and friends as never before. Many sailing schools opened for business and the RYA (Royal Yachting association) found its place in Marine history. It was the end of the age of the aristocratic sailor, and sailboat production exploded! The fabulous” Sangria”, a model launched by Jeanneau in 1970 sold over 2,700 boats. This formidable success cemented Jeanneau’s place at the forefront of marine production in the design and construction of cruising sailing boats. From the beginning Henry Jeanneau set a trend that has been followed with a passion by the Jeanneau production team. This passion has been copied and emulated by many manufacturers over the years to gain market share. Jeanneau boats benefit from “The Technology of Beauty”, but first and foremost the strength of Jeanneau can be seen in the aesthetic beauty of the boats. World-renowned designers and architects work with in-house teams from inception of each project. They provide expertise and innovative ideas. This results in a partnership both captivating and inspirational with  designs that will stand the test of time.

Jeanneau History; Manufacturing excellence at Jeanneau

Performance – A Jeanneau boat needs to be very responsive, agile and fast. Performance encompasses not only the speed of a sailing boat but also exceptional handling under power: a smooth passage through heavy seas is most important, it gives confidence and control. Every experience on board a Jeanneau is enhanced by well-balanced sail plans, very modern hulls, high- specification sails and the use of quality deck hardware.

CATIA® – each new Jeanneau is comprehensively designed via the powerful CATIA® design software. CATIA® allows the Jeanneau team to design a better boat with more attention to detail in a shorter time frame.

Research & Development – Jeanneau are proud  to boast a 130-strong research and development team. Boat manufacturers around the word are envious of their dedication to expand research and development. Jeanneau-Beneteau Engineering Beauty.now leads the world in yacht production.

The formula of success is not a simple journey : Jeanneau-Beneteau combine 50 years of practical boat building with the latest construction technologies.   Jeanneau-Beneteau invest and continuously improve technologically-advanced factories with ergonomic production lines. Streamlined computerized processes and efficient logistic supply chains translate these efficiencies into lower costs and higher quality products for the customer.

Superior composite technologies – 20 years ago Jeanneau developed a closed moulding process called the Prisma Process. This technological edge yields a higher-quality part with a much lower weight, but also reduces airborne VOCs by 90% compared with traditional GRP moulding, therefore making it a much “greener” way to produce boats and yachts.

Jeanneau still have a passion for wood – rich interior woodworking, it’s always been a trademark signature of Jeanneau quality. The use of quality hardwoods and marine grade composites, computerized advances, varnishing machines adapted for precision work and CNC routers, provide parts finished on an industrial scale and tolerances. These parts are individually assembled with the experienced eye and carefully crafted by the hand of the Jeanneau craftsman.

Economies of Scale – No other boat builder enjoys the economies of scale available to Jeanneau-Beneteau. Jeanneau is an integral part of the world’s largest sailboat building group and Jeanneau benefits by having access to the very best marine suppliers. This access allows Jeanneau to fit the highest quality materials, outsourced materials and components only sourced from the leading suppliers in bulk, at great savings to our customers.

A Computer-controlled Craftsman – Wood furnishings on all Jeanneau boats are produced with incredible precision thanks to the capabilities of the  ‘computer-controlled craftsman’ a computer which cuts and mills wood to within a 10th of a millimetre accuracy. Building with wood is a tradition the Jeanneau workers are proud to continue, having the technology to advance time-frames of build, “The Craftsman” can produce more products in less time with greater precision.   Solid-wood furnishings as well as the veneer- trim pieces are finished by hand and checked for accuracy at every stage of production.

The Timelessness of Beauty – The quality control system tracks a product through the entire production process and beyond.  It is the goal of Jeanneau Beneteau to build two production walls at the factory. The intention is that no boat will leave the factory with any known defects. This ambitious approach will be fully implemented by 2015  giving Jeanneau the market edge once again. The laboratory tests of each batch of resin followed  up by customer satisfaction questionnaires and frequent supplier reviews allow Jeanneau Beneteau to continually seek ways to improve their boats taking the lead from the automotive industry.

Jeanneau boats carry the CE certification which ensures strict standards for stability, safety and structure. In addition, all boats 12 metres and over are certified by the “Bureau Veritas”, an independent engineering certification institution. This certification includes every part of the conception and building process. You can be certain that buying a Jeanneau Beneteau product will stand the test of time and give countless hours of enjoyment to you, your family and friends out on the water.

Saving the Planet? Group Beneteau in the Future

Jeanneau invented and then developed the “Prisma” injection moulding process for Group Beneteau in order to improve GRP manufacture. This revolution led by Jeanneau saves the planet from harmful emissions during the vessel manufacturing process by 90%. So successful is this process that the EU are introducing legislation that will ban the traditional lay up process for vessel construction.  The advantage of using the Prisma process from Jeanneau and the boat builders perspective, is that boats and equipment can be manufactured for a fraction of the cost of using conventional lay-up systems.  These components are lighter and stronger than the conventional ones. Prisma manufactured parts have smooth edges on both sides and can be formed into far more complex shapes, thus creating much more detail in hull and manufacturing detail than ever before.

Jeanneau History Discontinue the following Yachts from the line up in 2013:

Jeanneau History Sun Odyssey 30i – Production ended 2013

The Jeanneau history is evolving, discontinued yachts are as followed; Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 30i, designed by Marc Lombard, was the entry level model to the popular Jeanneau Sun Odyssey range. She offered all the features and comforts that you would find on a larger yacht such as standing headroom throughout the interior, two closed double cabins, a fully equipped heads compartment with marine toilet and shower and a well appointed and equipped galley area.

Jeanneau  built a yacht that was suited to all sailing conditions. As standard, the Sun Odyssey 30i offered a 1.75m fin keel and single rudder. For shallow bays and drying harbours, a beach-able swing keel  yacht with twin rudders was available.

The standard tiller steering provided excellent space in the cockpit area and a great feeling of control at the helm, although there was an additional option to have wheel steering complete with an integrated electronics pod, compass and folding cockpit table. The binnacle also housed the engine throttle for easy control.

Jeanneau History Sun Odyssey 45 DS Yacht.

The aim with this design was to give the owner all the comforts of the Jeanneau Sun Oddesey 50 DS. Philippe Briand  achieved this by designing in all the features of the Jeanneau Sun Oddyssey 50 DS. His innovative solution was to simply dispense with the climb-down locker from the 50 DS. Effectively, the 45 DS was  almost identical internally to the 50 DS. The beam was taken all the way back to the transom on the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45 DS, giving exceptional stability and off-wind speed due to the increased buoyancy of the stern. The raised deck showed off the distinctive lines that have become extremely well received in the yachting world. The raised saloon floor allowed  for additional storage which owners who have ventured far and wide have found invaluable for storing provisions. The attractive wrap-around windows allowed light to flood into the saloon without restriction. This Yacht was perfect for long distance cruising or as a “home- from- home” base in any marina. Main-sheet control was led back to the helm, making short-handed sailing very easy. This boat was available with 360 docking or a conventional sail drive configuration.

Jeanneau History End of Production  Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 33i Yacht

The very Popular Jeanneau Sun Odyssey came to the end of its production run in September 2013. A short description of this popular Yacht is below. she has been replace by the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349.

Designer Marc Lombard and the Jeanneau team The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 33i is a comfortable and attractive category ‘A’ family cruiser that provides a level of standard equipment that is unequaled in her class. Boasting a spacious cockpit, the Jeanneau SO33i offers easy handling as all the required functions are within easy reach of the helm. The SO 33i sail plan makes for a perfectly balanced yacht

As the big sister to the 30i, this model is also available in different versions to adapt to the needs of the user. The standard keel configuration is a 1.90m fin keel and single rudder; however you do have the option of a beach-able swing keel and twin rudder or 1.47m shoal keel.

The inviting and open interior of the Sun Odyssey 33i features good quality fittings and trim and more importantly, a practical layout. Traditional ‘L’ shape open galley, an adjustable chart table, a comfortable, light and airy saloon, and a fully equipped shower and head compartment with marine toilet, shower and built in wet locker.

Jeanneau History 2014 world dealer meeting.

Jeanneau and Prestige dealers met at the world dealer meeting in Nantes, France on July 24th and 25th to share the ambitions of Jeanneau for the upcoming season. This event is a huge annual meeting, Its also an opportunity for the dealer network to discover new models for 2015, introduced by the Jeanneau marketing and sales teams. Its also an opportunity for dealers to catch up with old friends, listen to stories of sales during the past year and make plans for the future. the Jeanneau dealer Network has evolved into one of the largest boat and yacht dealer networks in the world today. Jeanneau Beneteau are the largest manufacturer of leisure craft in the world. It was announced at the meeting that a recent purchase had taken place by Jeanneau to buy REC Boat Holdings who have in their stable brands such as Four Winds, Glastron, Welcraft, and Scarab.

Dealers will be able to sell the brands afore mentioned in the coming years knowing that they will be supported by Jeanneau Beneteau Group.

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