Romuald Tuffery, new owner of Franck Roy Shipbuilding, answers questions from BoatIndustry.
How was the resumption of the work with Franck Roy organized and what is your background?
After a professional baccalaureate in electronics and embedded systems, I quickly created my own company in IT, which I have been managing since 2013. WestInfo currently employs 21 people. During my first meeting with Franck Roy at the Nautic 2018, we discussed his sale project at length. I then went to visit the construction site in Marsilly. After 1 year of working with Franck on the takeover, the necessary team and the development project of the company, the sale became official on November 4, 2019. I already have links with sailing, as I come from Les Sables d'Olonne where it is very present. WestInfo also participated in the computer installation of Benjamin Dutreux's IMOCA.
How is the recovery going from the point of view of the industrial tool and the personnel?
The yard moves from Marsilly to Les Achards in the Vendée. We are in the process of moving in. All the tools and moulds of the boats are being moved. The shipyard is settling in an old carpentry, made of wood, with nice parquet floors, which fits well with the identity of the shipyard. Finding the right premises took time. From the point of view of the organization of the premises, we start from scratch.
The move was necessary because the new team will rely on Romain Dana for the design office, formerly of Bénéteau, and Antoine Potier as workshop manager, both from Vendée. It was therefore easier. I'll be in charge of sales, assisted by a technical-sales assistant. In addition to that, there are 3 people in production, plus a recruitment campaign planned for early 2020.
What is your development strategy and what are your production objectives?
The idea in the short term is to rework the brand and refocus on the flagship models of the Solenn and Morgann ranges. Then there is the idea of a new range close to the Solenn for dayboat.
Out of the 208 boats sold since the creation of the yard by Franck Roy, 90% have been sold in France. I would like to go and find foreign customers. This will be done through a dealer network, even if we're obviously not familiar with the workings of a group like Bénéteau. We need to find a few sailing enthusiasts for customers who are suitable for the yard. The idea is not to make 30 boats a year. Today, we build 10 of them in the best years, the aim is to double that in a few years time.
Franck Roy built some motor boats. Is it still in use today?
I'm considering developing the engine range, but it's not a priority. Today we're already concentrating on the sailing boats and in the short term on preparing the Nautic.