From the All at Sea website
Groupe Beneteau is a powerhouse in the world of boat building – the largest builder of production boats in the world, whether power or sail, and a big part of the company is a state of the art manufacturing facility in rural Marion, S.C.
A Lengthy Tradition
The Beneteau family comes from the French village of Saint Gilles Croix de Vie along the rough Atlantic coast. Benjamin Bénéteau, after a stint in the Navy and earning his certificate from the prestigious College of Naval Architure in Rochefort, returned home in 1884 to build fishing boats. Unlike traditional workboats, with finer lines and distinctive hull shapes, his boats sailed closer to the wind and performed in lighter air.
In 1912, Benjamin revolutionized fishing boats in his region, producing a combustion engine-powered boat with no masts. Fishermen were skeptical, but his reputation and reliability convinced the locals. His son, André, inherited a thriving business in 1928. While continuing to design well-built boats, André was not a very good businessman. He turned for help to the next generation in the 1960s, his son André and his daughter Annette.
Growth and Innovation
Annette Beneteau reluctantly took the helm of the family company at the age of 22. In 1964, she recalls, “Pleasure boats were just becoming popular with only one such builder in the Vendée, Jeanneau.” Her brother André had just designed a small fishing boat.