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Time to do some landscaping

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-WorldCruising.com 12 Sep 2018 22:30 UTC
The unveiling of the new XCS (Excess) Catamaran brand by Beneteau. © Groupe Beneteau

The great Jon Sanders once said to me that he went sailing because he could not garden. That makes a lot of sense to me, and obviously Jon as well. Yet today, our pursuit is not so much about horticultural interests, but rather seeing the landscape change in the global marketplace. Something we do have a bit of a fascination with in these here miscellaneous ramblings, as regular readers will attest to.

The world is presently focussed on the glorious Cannes Yachting Festival, which is really turning out an abundance of new craft, gear and ideas. So it was very interesting to take in all of what the largest boat builder on the planet had to say. Particularly, Groupe Beneteau's statement about a new brand of cats was important on two fronts, to me.

Firstly, when Lagoon was already highly successful and now kind of entrenched in its own (somewhat conservative) niche, how would you go about serving the next wave of clients into this ever-burgeoning sector of the overall market? Next, given that Beneteau have a voracious appetite for expansion, what are they seeing as the lay of the land, and how quickly are they moving to harness it?

Over the last while I have seen them study the green, much like a pro golfer, before going back towards the edge of the fairway, and then sink the huge, 20m putt that rolls in on a gorgeous vector, as if mini rails had been laid out for it. Remember that this is an organisation that makes cruising sailboats, all manner of powerboats from trailable outboard-driven vessels to grand motor yachts, and is making a huge foray back into racing craft, as well.

Now one of Groupe Beneteau's prime directives is to make the upper echelons more available to general consumers. The specific new catamarans are to be called XCS (Excess), and allow the company to go places that they simply do not have the time to take Lagoon, nor drop off the existing buyers as they herd in the new ones.

To my mind, it is all about seeing what the likes of Gunboat and Outremer have achieved, and making it their own. Clearly there is an adroit focus on modernity, aesthetics, outright pace, and capturing a more adventurous lifestyle that can combine with other sporting interests or outdoor pursuits, as people clamber to escape the ever-expanding cities.

Certainly some of the imagery would indicate all of this, but it is also in their own commentary, which reveals that she will have twin helms to connect one with the very elements you are there to enjoy. OK. Even Bavaria/Nautitech have this with their 'Open' style vessels, but the point remains...

Design wise, the pitch is pretty clear, too. Words like assertive, bold, sporty, and beautiful will speak volumes to her intended audience. Yet Beneteau's own statement may well seal the deal. "In a day and age where it's become crucial to reconnect with the planet, her living area was imagined around you." And to this end there are three different interior 'worlds' to be offered. Seems the me generation has taken to the sea...

Given that it is at least a two-year process, then we know they have already been into it for at least a year already. How so? Well, there will be more information made available at Düsseldorf in January, and then in 12 months time, back at Cannes, an unveiling to the world. Does it have any bearing on Beneteau's desire to secure Nautitech? Unlikely. The two would have been run in parallel, for XCS would have been happening well before the Bavaria situation arose.

OK. Today you will find that we have information for you from Ballina to Fiji, San Francisco to Portugal, Cape Town to the Atlantic, Cape Town to Virginia, then there is information about sharks, reefs, raising the spectre of population growth and how to handle it, whales, Hurricane Florence, Hawaii, Lighthouses in Maine, as well as much more.

So you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please do savour... We're really enjoying bringing you the best stories from all over the globe. If you want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Remember too, if you want to see what is happening in the other Hemisphere, go to the top of the www.sail-worldcruising.com home page and the drag down menu on the right, select the other half of the globe and, voila, it's all there for you.

In the meantime, do you love being on the ocean? Well remember to love them back too. They need our help. Now more than ever! Until next time...

John Curnow Editor, Sail-WorldCruising.com

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