The Jeanneau boats story began in 1957 when Henri Jeanneau, a keen aeroplane and automobile enthusiast, developed a passion for powerboat racing.
Buoyed by winning the 6-hour Paris race in a wooden hulled boat he made, he went on to start a trade in boatbuilding. Opening a shipyard in 1958, he ventured into creating boats with fibreglass hulls, which would later become the preferred option over traditional wood.
The first ever powerboat, the Seabird, rolled off production in 1963, before its much acclaimed first sailboat, the Alizé came along.
Keen to make sailing accessible to all, the company came up with the Love Love Alize and Sangria sailboats in 1970.Jeanneau went on to prove in a trans-Atlantic race of 1976 that its production model, the Melody, was more than capable of powering its way single-handedly across the Atlantic.
The Eighties was a busy time for Jeanneau Boats, with the launch of its solid dependable 6-foot Flirt sailing boat, the shipyard’s participation into powerboat racing and the unveiling of its new iconic Cap Camarat 75 powerboat.
Other new additions to the range included the large cruiser Sun Kiss, the Fleury Michon 7, the arrival of the first Lagoon catamaran, and Jeanneau’s entry into the luxury yacht market with the first Prestige model.
World attention turned to Jeanneau yet again in the 90s as its Jeanneau One model became the official sailing boat for the Sailing Tour de France and replicas of its Pierre 1er featured in the Kevin Costner-starring big-budget movie Waterworld. A high-profile collaboration soon followed between the Phillipe Briand and Phillipe Poupon, leading to the birth of the super-charged Sun Fast 52 racer-cruiser.
With the dawn of a new Millennium came further expansion (as Jeanneau extended its shipyard production to more than 40 hectares, making it the world’s largest production site for boats). It also coincided with the growth of the range of Jeanneau boats, with the new Sun Fast 3200 winning the coveted title ‘European Yacht of the Year’ in 2008.
The Sun Fast generation continued to grow throughout the next decade, with the debut of the Sun Fast 3600 and later the Sun Fast 3300, along with Jeanneau’s first product yacht in the 60-foot-plus category, the Jeanneau 64. Meanwhile, they achieved another breakthrough in sailboat cruisers with the introduction of walk-around decks. After the launch of the Sun Odyssey 440 came the Sun Odyssey 490 and 410.
Still innovating to this day and continuing the passion that was forged over 60 years ago, Jeanneau’s name is understandably widely esteemed around the globe.