Henri Jeanneau had just discovered a new passion in his life – powerboating. Mr Jeanneau, in Les Herbiers, France, began building a wooden hull with which he participated in the 6-hour Paris race, the largest national race at the time, he won it. This gave him the motivation to make a trade out of his experience.
In 1958 Henri Jeanneau decided to build his first fibre-glass hull, a technological breakthrough without precedent. “In the beginning, we built three boats a week. It was very artisanal. We built everything from wooden preforms, from the keel to the ribs. It was necessary to demonstrate to customers that the fibreglass would perform as well as wood. The first model was called, “Sport polyester.” Then came the “Mirage” and the “Prélude.” Fibreglass became the material of choice, definitively.”
Robert Rigaudeau, Naval Architect, Design Department
Jeanneau produced there first production model the seabird and then went on to build there first production sailboat the Alize, both huge successes during the 1960’s. The 1970’s proved a huge success to all boat production companies including Jeanneau and during this period Jeanneau had produced the Love Love and Sangria, these models put Jeanneau on top as the market leader. 3,000 boats were sold during 1970.
In 1976, handled by Yves Oliviaux, the Jeanneau Melody completed crossing the Atlantic single handed. A huge step for the Jeanneau brand. The 1980’s proved a big hit with the power-boating market and Jeanneau had already competed in racing and dominated the competition. In 1981, the Cap Camarat range was born.
1982 saw Jeanneau become exclusive supplier for the sailing tour de France, this stretched to 1998 with 3 generations of sailboats. In 1984 Jeanneau produced the Fleury Michon 7, the well known and largest catamaran ever built at the time, this model which evolved dramatically won a number of titles all the way through the 1980’s.
Jeanneau produced many boats which went onto win many awards and races during the 1990’s and even featured in the American film ‘Waterworld’. In 1995 Jeanneau joined the Beneteau Group, a relationship that still lasts today, making the group, the largest boat builder in the world. 1996 saw the arrival of Jeanneau in America.
During the 2000’s Jeanneau has produced a very successful inboard range along with the Sun Odyssey and Sun Fast range, all still hugely popular today. The future is looking bright and Jeanneau have advanced technology within the marine industry and factories are now not only in France but Poland.
Jeanneau has had a successful past and is looking to have an even a more successful future.