Beneteau’s origins can be traced all the way back to 1884, when Benjamin Bénéteau created his boatyard near the bridge on Quai des Greniers on the west coast of France to build sailing fishing boats.
But it was two generations on and at the 1965 Paris Boat Show when the Beneteau brand came of age. Now building recreational craft in GRP, the company was approached by three businessmen wanting to become dealers for the brand, and a dealership network was formed – almost unheard of at the time.
Today, the Beneteau Group is a massive company that includes Jeanneau, Monte Carlo Yachts, Prestige and more recently, American brands such as Four Winns and Glastron. Between them, they cover almost every aspect of leisure boating from multimillion-pound superyachts to catamarans, motor cruisers and sailing yachts, right down to the kind of small practical sports fishing boats that echo the company’s roots.
Beneteau’s Antares and Barracuda ranges are two of the company’s most prolific lines. The Antares range begins with an outboard-powered peche promenadestyle 6m wheelhouse boat that offers an enclosed helm position plus a small cabin, and can be purchased for around £32,000.
It sets the tone for a four-strong range of outboardpowered cruisers that stretches to 9m and overlaps with an inboard-engined Antares range that starts at 8m and rises to an 11m twin-diesel flybridge cruiser. All of them are versatile, user-friendly craft that offer yearround cruising and fine value for money.
If your focus is on fishing rather than cruising, Beneteau has that covered too. In 2012, Beneteau introduced a brand new model called the Barracuda 9. With deep, wide walkaround decks surrounding a functional upright wheelhouse, it was a new concept for Beneteau. The boat was a hit, and went on to spawn the current four-strong range of Barracuda boats from a new 9m variant to a 6m model. www.beneteau.com
the Barracuda 9 (above) is the flagship of the fishingoriented range while the Barracuda 8 here is smaller but just as capable