From the All at Sea website…
Editor’s Note: Last issue we took a look at the history of Beneteau, their factory in South Carolina and their popular sailboats in French Style for American Fun – The Beneteau Story. This month, we look at their powerboat strategy.
Beneteau, the French boat manufacturer, had an early start in the powerboat market when Benjamin Bénéteau took a revolutionary step in 1912. He built a boat with no masts and with an engine! The fishermen in the Vendée region along France’s rugged west coast were skeptical, fearing the engine would scare away the fish. Fortunately, the success of Benjamin’s boats convinced the locals and his son, André, inherited a thriving boat building business in 1928.
In the early 1960s, André’s children took over the company. Daughter Annette expanded the sailing component while her brother André continued designing motor yachts, developing the popular Antares line. While still in production in Europe, the model is not imported into the United States.
Today, Beneteau produces a line of sleek express cruisers, the Gran Turismo; the Swift Trawlers for comfort cruising; and the newly introduced Barricuda 9 that combines fishing and cruising capabilities.
The Barracuda is fun and funky-looking, very different from any other Beneteau line. The wheelhouse is reminiscent of a tug boat at first glance, but it certainly doesn’t perform like a work boat. Bob Denison, owner of Denison Yacht Sales in Fort Lauderdale and a Bénéteau dealer, compared the boat’s performance to driving a sportscar. “Particularly when you’re on the flybridge, it’s a wind-in-your-hair type exhilaration. I loved it!”