Can you remind us in a few words of the genesis of the Boreal shipyard and sailboats?
Jean-François Delvoye: I travelled around the world for 6 years with my wife and 4 children. Throughout this journey, I kept asking the sailors I met what was missing from their boat to be the ideal travel boat. The answers blackened 17 notebooks with notes and sketches. On my return to France, I decided to use them to design and build the boat with which to set off around the world with my family, a 15-metre aluminium sailboat. The project was so appealing that I had two orders before launching the prototype. So I created Boréal in 2005.
In 2009, I teamed up with Jean-François Eeman, another sailor who is totally complementary and who takes care of the commercial aspect and customer support.
What does the Boréal shipyard represent today, in a few figures?
Jean-François Delvoye: Boréal currently employs about 30 people for annual sales of slightly less than 5 million euros. We have a range of 4 yachts from the Boreal 44 to the Boreal 55, the most popular being the 44 and 47 footers. We currently produce between 8 and 10 boats per year.
How would you define your clientele?
Jean-François Delvoye: Clients who come to the Boreal site are people who know what they want. They have a life project on board, with a set of specifications in mind. So we can have a real technical discussion. They've usually had a sailboat before. Our yachtsmen 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. Skipper Dominique Wavre himself was surprised by this when he tried out his new Boréal. You 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 larger boat projects. The first one is a 68 feet 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 of covered space. After having done everything in-house at the beginning of the construction site, we are now concentrating on our know-how and subcontracting the electricity, electronics, carpentry and painting. Our means would allow us to take out up to 20 boats a year, but we are cautious by nature. We know that what we have built is fragile. The most important thing is to continue to do what we like in a good atmosphere. We're ready to grow, but there's no rush!