The History of Jeanneau Yachts
An already passionate aeroplane enthusiast Henry Jeanneau discovered a brand new passion in 1957. It was a love of sailing and powerboating. Living in Les Herbiers, France Henry first set about building a wooden hulled boat. Henry Jeanneau then took part in the Paris National race, the largest boat race at the time in France. Jeanneau crossed the line first, this was the beginning of Jeanneau Yachts and Boats.
That was way back in in 1959,it gave Henry Jeanneau the drive to turn his hobby into a business. 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.
At this time France was seeing an unprecedented growth, coupled with the invention of domestic appliances that would allow families to spend much more time on leisure activities. Enjoying the Sun and the Sea was a leisure activity that fitted Henry Jeanneau’s products and so growth became massive in the Marine sector.
Henry Jeanneau’s dreams became a reality as he created the first all-fibreglass boat.
The swinging 60’s saw the début of Jeanneau powerboats. It was 1961, Jeanneau’s very first fibreglass powerboat made its début. It was named the Calanque. Jeanneau retained the wooden deck and featured the lines of a frigate, which made sense to Jeanneau because it was moulded onto a wooden hull. That same year, some of Henry Jeanneau’s dreams became reality as he created the first all-fibreglass boat. Fibreglass, a petrochemical product, created a boat giving it an unprecedented technological advantage over wood as from a single mould, hundreds of hulls could be created. The process was simple, fibreglass 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 has soaked into the fibre glass workers had only to wait for the new hull to cure before they moved on to the next one.
To this day Merry Fisher, named after the engineer Mr Merry, who has spent a 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. She was etched into a wall at 1/1 scale. The fabulous lines included: Skanes, Arcachonnais, Esteou, Cap Camarat, Merry Fisher, Leader and Prestige. To this day the Merry Fisher so named after the engineer Mr Merry who has spent a career lifetime at Jeanneau is still going strong.
Prestige Motor Yachts a brand in its own right.
The 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. Awards have been adorned on Jeanneau sailing boats 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.
The Jeanneau UK Dealer Network
In the early years of Jeanneau success imports into the UK were overseen by Euro Yachts, a father and son operation. Euro Yachts imported Jeanneau Boats and Yachts into the South of England distributing them all over the UK. Soon Sea Ventures would emerge and the UK would be divided in two. Angus Scott, owner of Euro Yachts, would move back to Scotland and take care of sales to the north, While Nigel Colley developed the south of England. Sea Ventures quickly became synonymous with the Jeanneau brand. Sea Ventures still the largest dealer of Jeanneau Yachts based in the Lymington and Hamble area.
Jeanneau 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 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 Henri Jeanneau was at the helm. Today, real-life tests are conducted on ocean crossings and circumnavigations.
Back 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 this allowing others into this previously English gentlemans 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 ispired by Tabarly included Alain Colas, Olivier de Kersauson, Philippe Poupon, Marc Pajot, Titouan Lamazou, Michel Desjoyeaux, Philippe Monnet, Francis Joyon, and Jean Le Cam.
Late 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. 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 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 inspiring designs that will stand the test of time.
Manufacturing excellence at Jeanneau
Performance – A Jeanneau needs to be very responsive, agile and fast. Performance encompasses not only the speed of a sailing boat but 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 that to boast a 130 strong research and development team. Boat manufactures around the word are envious of the dedication to expand research and development now leading the world in yacht production by Jeanneau-Beneteau Engineering Beauty.
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. A streamline 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 ‘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 satisfaction. 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 – 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 following 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 m and over are certified by the Bureau Veritas, an independent engineering certification. 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 your family and friends out on the water.
Saving the Planet?
Jeanneau invented and then developed the prisma injection moulding process 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 successfully 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 perspectives is boats and equipment can be manufactured for a fraction of the cost using conventional lay up systems. Those components are lighter stronger than the conventional system. 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.