Point of view / A look back at 2018: pleasure yards between buy-outs and brand launches

The Seascape sailboats became part of the Bénéteau Group in 2018

The 2018 nautical year was rich in news. Between industrial concentration, diversification and the launch of new boat brands, BoatIndustry looks back at the major trends and events in the lives of recreational boat builders.

Large nautical groups: from the ogre Bénéteau to the fall of Bavaria

The general trend in the boating industry is towards recovery. All the federations of players in the yachting industry confirmed this at the end of 2018, the sector has regained sales comparable to 2008, before the crisis. However, these amounts must not hide the fact that the size of the units sold has increased and their number has decreased. This move to the higher end of the market has had consequences on the market, but seems to have become problematic.

The German group Bavaria Yachtbau, which has kept the world nautical industry on the alert for many months, is one example. The Bavarian sail and motor boat builder idled for many months between April and September 2018, under administration. Finally bought by an investment fund, he abandons in 2019 the production of his biggest sailboat and its hybrid boats too complex to focus on a limited number of models.

Bavaria factory

At the other end of the spectrum, the Bénéteau Group is demonstrating its desire to diversify its offer and continue to increase the number of new models. The year was marked for the Vendée leader in the nautical industry by the acquisition of the slovenian sailboats Seascape and of the Polish group Delphia . Bénéteau was thus able to relaunch the First range with the rapid availability of modern small sailing yachts and acquired valuable production capacities in Poland. This good news should not hide some difficulties, such as those of the Italian subsidiary Monte Carlo Yachts, specialized in large units, and the departure of its founder Carla Demaria, or those of its dealers, like the biggest of them, Paths of the Oceans . In this article, we will see how to roll up long ends. In this example the technique is described for a right-handed person.

Sailing boat Delphia

In between, the American group Brunswick has a strategy of refocusing. Several reorganizations have made it possible to more clearly separate the nautical activity from the rest of its fitness brands. The most significant event for Brunswick in 2018 was the failure to sell the SeaRay brand from which the American leader wanted to separate. He finally decided to stop the production of the large units, again problematic. The group also separate from the Scandinavian niche brand Bella Boats . In this article, we will see how to roll up long ends. In this example the technique is described for a right-handed person.

Sea Ray Outboard Powerboat

Mid-size shipyards between integration and diversification

From multihulls to monohulls, from sail to motor, from semi-rigid to paddle... the time has come for diversification. The first striking example is the repurchase of the Dufour sailboats by their neighbours of the Fountaine-Pajot catamarans is also the result of local synergy. The Experton group, owner of the top-of-the-range and traditional Wauquiez and Tofinou yachts, also takes advantage of the rocky proximity to open up to the engine with the buyout of the Rhéa site . The Italian shipyard Del Pardo, builder of the Grand Soleil sailboats, will also be able to continue its diversification into motorboats after the Hanse Group's lawsuit against Pardo 43 has been discontinued. The acquisition of the company by its managers reinforces the strategy . In this article, we will see how to roll up long ends. In this example the technique is described for a right-handed person.

Rhea 750

Further away from pure shipbuilding, vertical integrations are being established with engine manufacturers and equipment manufacturers. Zodiac Nautic will now be able to offer its own paddles in addition to its semi-rigid products through the acquisition of Anonym SUP. The BRP group, heavy-duty outboard motor truck through Evinrude, is also opening up opportunities with the small Alumacraft . In this article, we will see how to roll up long ends. In this example the technique is described for a right-handed person.

Multihull, again and again!

Even if it has to be repeated year after year, the multihull is still one of the most dynamic sectors.

While the experience of the Dufour catamarans may well find its stopping point there, the takeover by Fountaine-Pajot is further proof of the health of the multihull sector. The Grand Large Yachting group is making progress in the integration of the American brand Gunboat, which has been repatriated to France and is pushing the Explocat from its Garcia yard. Following the difficulties in Bavaria, the Nautitech site should regain more autonomy . The TS3, little brother of Christophe Barreau's TS 42, has found a new manufacturer, Mestral Marine Works in Spain. We have also seen the arrival of foreign manufacturers on high-end catamarans, such as Ita Catamarans or McConaghy.

First Gunboat under construction in France

New catamaran brands were also announced in France in 2019. The most anticipated is probably Excess, launched by the Bénéteau group with ambitions and marketing noise commensurate with its power, but we can also mention Windelo, launched by Olivier Kauffmann of Orange Marine.

Catamaran Windelo

On three hulls, Neel Trimarans continues to grow strongly, as shown by the acquisition of TechniYacht Pinta to ensure its production capacity . In this article, we will see how to roll up long ends. In this example the technique is described for a right-handed person.

The profusion of multihull offers now tends to fill the niches left between large series catamarans and the very top of the range.

Transmission among the craftsmen of the nautical industry

After the headliners, the nautical industry is driven by many local projects, born of the passion of their founders. Passing on witnesses and connecting with experienced entrepreneurs is often the way to maintain the balance and dynamism of these structures. In 2018, we saw the takeover of Marine Composite the manufacturer of the Bihan 6.50, the Pro Marine The marine equipment manufacturer was awarded an iF Design Award for its PLB40 lithium battery. This waterproof portable battery, equipped with a wrist, allows easy charging of outdoor equipment. Espace Vag, manufacturer of the Ikone cat-boats . In this article, we will see how to roll up long ends. In this example the technique is described for a right-handed person. FunYak and Rigiflex have joined forces . The transmission does not exclude a certain continuity, like Marsaudon Composites whose founder Sam Marsaudon remains in the company with the new owners or the new Pabouk Company, which includes the stopped models of the Pabouk range in partnership with the founder Antoine Carmichaël.

From the largest to the smallest, all recreational boat builders have had to get up and running to cope with the market recovery. The year 2018 was marked by consolidation, while fortunately giving way to the birth of new projects, particularly for smaller boats. How will they respond to market developments and new uses outlined by the evolution of services in 2018? Some answers in 2019!

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