Manufactured in France, there is no mistaking the smooth lines and elegant sailing profile of a luxury ocean going Beneteau yacht (and the Beneteau-owned Jeanneau). Whether it’s a racing yacht you seek (such as one of the the now-legendary Firsts), or a luxurious blue water cruising yacht (the inimitable Beneteau 50 and 57 and the Oceanis Clippers), or a one design classic (the Beneteau 25, the 25 Platu, the Figaro I and II and the First Class)
The first Beneteau workshop was founded by Benjamin Beneteau, a naval engineer, in 1884 at St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie. In 1912 Beneteau launched the first ever motor boat and in 1962 the third generation of the Beneteau family pioneered the use of polyester fibres in boat building. It was the launch of the First range in 1982 that made Beneteau into a leading name in boat building and blue water sailing, synonymous with clean design and top-end specifications. To this day the company maintains its dual focus on motor and ocean sailing boats, and there have been some interesting conversions of cruisers to ocean racers and occasionally vice versa. In 1995 the Groupe Beneteau bought out Jeanneau, adding another luxury marque to its already stunning stable of motor and sailing boats.
Beneteau now offers 28 different production models from 21 to 53 feet. We will endeavour to cover all of these here in due course but the best-known of the ocean sailing yachts are arguably the First 21.7, First 30, First 31.7, First 38 and the Oceanis 323, Oceanis 343 and Oceanis 423. Many older boats remain in circulation, including the Beneteau 25, the Moorings and Evasion ranges, but the ranges currently in production for 2006 are the Oceanis (suitable for blue water sailing and cruising), the First (suitable for racing and also popular with sailing schools) and the Cyclades (launched in 2005 to meet the needs of first time boat buyers, charter companies, and fractional ownership schemes).