Can you remind us in a few words the genesis of the yard and the Boreal sailboats?
Jean-François Delvoye : I travelled for 6 years with my wife and 4 children around the world. Throughout this journey, I kept asking the sailors I met what was missing from their boat to be the ideal travel boat. The answers darkened 17 notebooks and sketchbooks. When I returned to France, I decided to use them to design and build the boat with which to sail around the world with my family, a 15-metre aluminium sailboat. The project was so attractive that I had two orders before launching the prototype. So I created Boréal in 2005.
In 2009, I joined forces with Jean-François Eeman, another totally complementary sailor, who ensures the commercial aspect and customer support.
What does the Boréal site represent today, in a few figures?
Jean-François Delvoye : Boréal currently employs around thirty people and has annual sales of just under ?5 million. We have a range of 4 yachts from the Boreal 44 to the Boreal 55, the most sold being the 44 and 47 feet. Today we build between 8 and 10 boats per year.
How would you define your clientele?
Jean-François Delvoye : The clients who come to the Boréal site are people who know what they want. They have a life project on board, with specifications in mind. So we can have a real technical discussion. They have usually had a sailboat before. Our boaters really want to travel with the boat. Even those who have a project in the trade winds want to keep the possibility to go elsewhere, thanks to a robust boat and details like a real protected rudder.
Customers are often surprised by this different way of navigating. The skipper Dominique Wavre himself was surprised when he tested his new Boréal. We don't go to the same places as with an IMOCA!
What are the future projects of the site?
Jean-François Delvoye : We currently have 2 bigger boat projects. The first is a 68-foot sailboat for a particular client. The second is a 78-foot monohull for expedition and charter in the Arctic or Antarctic. The polar charter market is a growing niche within our travel boat niche. We have the experience and we are ready to build these expedition yachts.
From an industrial point of view, what developments do you envisage?
Jean-François Delvoye : We have recently restructured and now have 3000 m² covered. After having done everything in-house at the beginning of the project, we are now concentrating on our know-how and subcontracting electricity, electronics, joinery and painting. Our means would allow us to sail up to 20 boats a year, but we are cautious in nature. We know that what we have built is fragile. The most important thing is to continue doing what you love in a good atmosphere. We're ready to grow, but without urgency!