At a press event earlier this week at the Cannes Yachting Festival, Groupe Beneteau outlined a host of notable updates to its products, including revamped model lines, e-propulsion and an all-new catamaran model line.
“The epidemic and its consequences have accelerated the various transitions already underway,” said chairman and CEO Jérôme de Metz in a statement. “There are new expectations and user habits, new ways of travelling and latest technologies: a new world of pleasure boating and marine leisure is coming into view . . . and all of us throughout Groupe Beneteau are positioning ourselves to be the leading players in this new world.”
Acquired by the Groupe in 2017, Wellcraft said that it will be expanding its portfolio significantly to include a range of “adventure cruisers.” The first in this new line will be the triple-outboard powered, 35-foot Commuter 355, set to premiere stateside in the spring of 2022.
“There is a clear trend in the market for commuter-style boats, boats that can take you to your private island. This seems like a very fitting direction for us because of the history of Wellcraft [as a performance brand] and the trends in the market. It’s going to be very different from what’s out there today,” Wellcraft brand director Nick Harvey told Power & Motoryacht editor-in-chief Dan Harding. “We’re going to have a much beefier boat with a higher freeboard, which will bring a much faster, smoother and safer ride for passengers.” (Power & Motoryacht and Trade Only Today are both published by Active Interest Media.)
An inboard-powered line that Harvey refers to as, “a picnic boat but with a modern twist” will ride closely on the heels of the Commuter 355.
Rounding out this new range will be a line of luxury center consoles, though details on that model are still under wraps at this time. “It’s all part of the adventure cruising umbrella,” said Harvey. “We want to bring an international dimension to the Wellcraft brand.”
Harvey, who is also brand manager for Four Winns, announcing the first model of its redesigned H4 Series.
“We are kick-starting a new era in dayboating by offering more sophisticated dayboats and setting a new standard to be matched,” Harvey told Harding.
Prestige Yachts also unveiled its all-new power catamaran M-Line, aimed at both owner-operators and the charter market.
“We wanted to take the private island concept, which we already started exploring with the X-Line, to another level,” said Prestige CEO Erwin Bamps. “We thought: How can we add more space, more room, more comfort and also more interconnectivity to the water and also more stability? Then we came to the multihull concept.”
Bamps also hinted that the new line can potentially be powered by a fuel source other than diesel. “For Prestige it’s also the ideal platform to introduce new, alternative propulsion technologies. More sustainability is our mindset there.”
Although a launch date was not disclosed, Bamps said that more details on the M-Line will be made available next year at the Dusseldorf and Miami International Boat Show.
Another major development was the announcement of electric and hybrid propulsion systems for the sailing Beneteau brands, Delphia and Excess.
“Our vision is that 100 percent electric propulsion will usher in a new phase in boating and our mission will be to create the leadership in electric boating on inland waters,” said Excess general manager Martin Schemkes. “This new chapter is defined by a mindful approach to cruising.”
The first e-propulsion models are set to premiere early next year.