French Sailboat Brands (Complete List)

French Sailboat Brands (Complete List) | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

August 30, 2022

France is home to many sailing organizations and individuals that want to experience life on the water. There are many excellent French sailboat brands too.

Whether it is a monohull or multi-hull, there are plenty of great choices to consider if you are looking for one. So what French sailboat brands come to mind?

You are likely familiar with popular French sailboat brands such as Beneteau, Jeanneau, and Fountaine Pajot. However, other French brands like Amel, Dufour, and Pogo definitely stand out. In addition, you cannot forget about RM, Bali, Excess, Garcia, Lagoon, Nautitech, Outremer, and Windelo.

Each brand has something a little bit different to offer to help create the best sailing experience. While no brand is absolutely perfect, some are making a strong case.

According to experts in the sailing realm, there are some French sailboat brands that happen to have the best sailboats in the world. While this is heavily debated and different for each individual, there are a few that rise above the rest.


Table of contents

French Sailboat Brands to Check Out

Many French sailboat brands strive to be the best, so it will take some time to pick and choose the top of the line for your situation. Taking a look through all the brands is the only way to do it.

Many will pick one French sailboat brand over another due to a variety of factors. These include price, the reason for that particular sailboat, and comfort.

Beneteau and Excess

Beneteau is a one-of-a-kind sailboat brand that has found a way to combine racing and cruising without compromising comfort. They are one of the most popular sailboat brands in the world, offering many variations to fit sailors' needs.

For example, the Beneteau First 36 is an excellent full-scale sailboat that provides sailors an opportunity to get on the water safely and in style. Their stable hulls and light weight make them fast and reliable.

The brand has put together timeless classics for around 136 years now. From the living spaces, to the craftsmanship, you cannot go wrong with a Beneteau.

An elegant take on catamarans has been brought to customers by the Excess brand. They have one of the most intricate details with increased sailing area to provide sailors with the best possible experience.

Beneteau owns Excess, but both seem like independent versions of sailboats. Either way, both are excellent in their own categories.


Back in 1973, Alubat began production with their aluminum sailboats. They are the leading aluminum blue water sailboat brand and have served France proudly.

Since it is 100 percent aluminum, the hull is light and welded together. This creates a unique advantage compared to other fiberglass hulls that try to challenge weight.

In addition, Alubat uses lifting keels that allow you to take your adventure onto the beach. They have one of the best craftsmanship and put together a unique design.


The Kirie sailboat brand has been around since 1912 when they began building sailboats in Rue de la Forêt. While starting out on smaller sailboats, they eventually turned their production to racing boats.

Their most popular models include Feeling, which has a handful of variations based on size capabilities. In 1987, this boat received boat of the year honors.

You will likely have a hard time finding one of these boats now, especially since the brand was bought out by Privilège. This brand also makes top-of-the-line sailboats, but they are typically custom ordered and not mass produced.

Privilège has a few in their lineup that they make for the public. These are their Signature Series catamarans. You can expect quality builds and some of the best catamarans here.


Wauquiez is determined to help sailors get out on the water. Over the last 20 years, they have established excellent sailboats with modern interiors and elegant hulls.

They offer three popular models known as Pilot Saloon, Centurion, and Optio. Each one has plenty of room due to the design of the deck layout.

They are all catered to fit the needs of sailors that want to experience blue water sailing at different levels. Whether you want an easier sailing boat as a beginner or want a larger boat to race, Wauquiez offers them all.


One of the more prestigious families in French sailboats, Jeanneau offers one-of-a-kind sailboats to anyone. Their most popular sailboat is the classic Sun Odyssey 380.

Starting in the 1960s, Henry Jeanneau was looking to go fast on the water. He was able to develop a powerboat to compete in the 6-hour Paris race and won.

This particular design has everything down to the last detail to offer customers the best experience on the water. Just like many of their designs, you can count on efficiency, ease of use while sailing, and excellent sail area.

Fountaine Pajot

Fountaine Pajot is all about helping you create memories while in luxury. They are known for their beautiful catamarans, most notably the Astrea 42.

Their inverted bows are easy to spot, making them appealing to look at while you glide across the water. They even made sure the interior was as comfortable as possible, with some models having large windows below the deck.

Dating back to 1976, they have become a standard for French sailboat brands. Whether you want an entry-level catamaran or a luxury one, they have options to get you going.


Amel is one of those brands that has stood the test of time. They have put together one of the most comfortable, yet easy-to-sail boats that everyone can enjoy.

Over the last five decades, Amel has been able to set itself apart from other competitors. They have made themselves the standard when it comes to French sailboats. One of their best models to check out is the Amel 50, which is a powerful and comfortable ride.

They pride themselves on safety, having reliable hulls, and offering fun on the water. You can count on Amel to create a quality boat and honor the French.


Dufour has been in the business for over 60 years and provided sailors with some of the best sailing yachts. These boats have an assertiveness like no other and you can quickly tell them apart from the rest.

The newer Dufour 32 offers a classic spin on style and comfort, all while giving sailors peace of mind when it comes to handling. They even have an aft sunbathing area that can be adjusted in minutes if needed, which means they have thought of everything when it comes to comfort.

Dufour has partnered with Fountaine Pajot to be a part of the ODSeaLab to be more environmentally sound for bodies of water near France like the Atlantic Ocean. By 2030, they hope to have net carbon-neutral cruising sailboats.


Pogo Structures has been around since 1987 building cruising sailboats and racers. It was not until 2017 that they debuted their own line of powerboats using the same name. As for sailboats, they began building them in 2000.

While they are primarily still a shipyard producing close to 60 boats a year for other clients, they have reputable sailboats to look through over the years. These include the Pogo 40, Pogo 10.50, and Pogo 44.

They have served a lot of sailors throughout France, primarily in Combrit where they have their headquarters. You can likely find these sailing on the Atlantic coast.


RM Yachts is another quality shipyard in France that has doubled as the maker of many sailboats for other brands and created their own. They have focused on making their own for the last 20 years, with some custom accommodations along the way. They are known for their easy-to-handle boats that are not only comfortable but of high quality.

Back in 1989, they came up with their first design of the RM900. This was an epoxy-soaked plywood boat that had metal reinforcing the inside. Not too much has changed, other than having fiberglass sandwiched in between.

They continue to provide opportunities for sailors in La Rochelle that want to get on the water, as they produce roughly 50 yachts per year. RM Yachts can have either two keels or a lifting one, giving sailors customized options that best fit their needs.


Bali sailboats offer a little something for those that love catamarans. Not only are these some of the most beautiful catamarans on the market, they are also well built.

They have a partnership with Catana shipyard, located in France at Canet en Roussillon. This is one of the most famous shipyards out there, providing top-of-the-line yachts and catamarans.

This French sailing brand has listened to what customers want for luxury, which includes rigid cockpits, sunbathing areas, sliding windows, and plenty of room on the roof to lounge. It is no wonder this brand has quickly risen to the top since 2014.


Garcia yachts were started back in 1974 by two brothers, Jean-Louis and Jean-Pierre Garcia. Both were metalworkers and they played around with the idea of building steel boats.

They are an excellent shipyard in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France, where they have also built a line of their sailboats. These include the Exploration series and the Explocat.


Lagoon is another beautiful catamaran brand that thrived along the coast of France. They are easily recognizable for their racing sailboats.

From 1984, they quickly developed a huge following for their offshore catamarans. The Lagoon 55 and 47are two perfect examples of their craft.

They are easy to maneuver, fast, and have the awards to back up their performances in races over the years. They are part of the very popular Beneteau Group, so it is no surprise that they are widely recognized.


Nautitech is aiming to provide sailors the capability of traveling around the world in a catamaran. While you may not want to travel full-time on the water, these sailboats are meant to handle anything.

Previously owned by French sailboat brand Dufour, the company was sold in 2002 to Bruno Voisard. They eventually moved their operations to La Rochelle, France, and dominated the market for catamarans along the coast.

One of their more famous designs is the Nautitech 40 Open. It is an award-winning yacht that has an open concept and is easy to sail.


Outremer is another French sailboat brand that wants to help sailors live out their dreams of living on the water. Dating back to 1984, there are well over 400 of these catamarans sailing across the world.

Sailors love what Outremer has been able to do in their designs, especially the Outremer 55. It is a completely livable catamaran that is easy to operate even if you are short-handed. No matter which model you find yourself in, Outremer is an excellent French sailboat brand.


Windelo is a revolutionary French sailboat brand leading the market in clean sailboat energy. Their catamarans are equipped with electronic motors that are able to swap over to hydrogen generation.

These are definitely ahead of their time, especially when they produced the Windelo 50 Adventure. With all of those clean energy options, it does not comprise luxury or the performance of these catamarans.

These are also easy to handle even if you are short-handed. If you are wanting a catamaran that can handle anything and use clean energy, Windelo makes an excellent option.

History of Sailboats in France

France has a long history of boats due to its geographical location. Generations have developed models and tweaked designs to get it right.

Over time, it has grown into a large economic output with over 20 French sailboat brands or shipyards. These companies are responsible for employing over 20,000 people, so the economy of France depends on sailboats.

The oldest French sailboat brand is Beneteau, which dates back to 1884. At that time, Benjamin Beneteau started his boat building company with a focus to make sailboats and powerboats for French fishing fleets.

Throughout the years, demand for sailboats, racers, and cruisers all popped up with different French brands meeting those demands. Today, the marine industry is quite busy along the French coast.

Chantiers de l'Atlantique is one of the largest and most popular shipyards in the world. It is located in Saint-Nazaire, France, and they handle just about every boat you can think of.

What is it Like to Sail in France?

France is a unique location in the world that has a rich history. Sailing happens to be intertwined within that history, so naturally, you will see sailing as a common occurrence.

There is over 2,000 miles of coast to explore, meaning you have more than enough room to check things out. This alone makes it an interesting travel destination on the boat.

Sailing Options

France has four different bodies of water surrounding the country. These are the Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, English Channel, and the Mediterranean Sea.

Since there are many locations to sail, you can have fun no matter where you are. Rivers and canals are perfect for smaller sailboats. The Atlantic side offers many opportunities for larger boats.

Social Clubs

There are also over 400 boat clubs that have different options for sailors. Each one will have different levels of expertise and groups of people to communicate with.

Depending on which one you choose can help you save time and money on select membership perks. Some will let you dock for free or offer other incentives if you a member.

Perfect Weather

The climate in France is nowhere near as consistent as sailing in Florida year-round, but it is another factor that allows sailors to enjoy their time on the water. France typically has cool winters and mild to moderate summers.

While the temperatures do show up around freezing, the summers are not that hot. If you can handle the temperature ranges then sailing in France will be a breeze.

What is the Market Like for French Sailboat Brands?

Since sailboats are a symbol of luxury in France, many are proud to own one that can afford it. The sailboats you will likely see are typically all made in Poland or France.

Depending on the brand and size, the prices can range between $14,000 all the way to $16 million, if not more. For mega yachts, these are well above $40 million.

The average selling price for French boats comes in around $240,000 according to Yacht World for used and new French sailboats. The most common brands that were researched were Beneteau, Jeanneau, and Sunseeker.

It is important to know how much a particular sailboat is worth before committing to buying it. Check the brand you have in mind and find out all price points based on age, condition, and location so that you can determine the best deal possible.

Why are French Sailboat Brands Popular?

The French had a passion to follow their dreams and design something that they loved. While this sounds like a familiar story for most successful brands, it is a little bit different in France.

Since the competition is so tough, you have to be able to make top-quality sailboats in order to survive. If your product is lacking in any way, you will be out of business quickly.

Some French sailboat brands have a generation or two of the family business under their belt, while others are new to the game. Either way, you still have to be able to impress the customer, which many have done so.

In fact, if you were to ask a sailor what their top five favorite sailboat brands are, they will likely choose a French one somewhere on that list. The most popular one so far is still Beneteau, which also happens to be the most common French sailboat out there. The next in line is Amel, which is up for a bit of a debate.

How to Buy a French Sailboat?

If you are interested in buying a French sailboat from one of the brands mentioned, there are some variables in play that you need to be aware of. While many of these brands are popular, they may not be available to you depending on your location.

In addition, some sailboat brands only make so many models per year and it might be difficult to obtain a particular one. If you do your research ahead of time, it could save you a lot of steps in trying to track one of them down.


Depending on where you are currently at, buying a French sailboat is going to be tricky. If you are in the United States, you will either need to find a dealer that can ship one to you there or buy a used one already in a marina.

There are some locations that have a market for French sailboats. It might be beneficial to make phone calls first or check online before just showing up.

Budget Friendly

Just like any major purchase, you need to make sure you have the correct amount of funds available to you. This means getting a loan set up in advance, saving more money, or selling something to help fund this purchase.

French sailboat brands do not typically cost more than other sailboats. However, the brand and size of the boat will make a huge difference.

You have to ask yourself if having 10 or 15 feet more is worth the extra thousands of dollars. If you can go smaller, this would also save you money.

Straight from the Source

If you find a French sailboat brand that you like, you could always try to purchase one online. By visiting their website, you can check out the next steps in the buying process.

They could help you in locating a dealer or find a way to ship it to you. This could save you time and money if they are able to work out a deal.

What to Look for in a French Sailboat?

Looking for a French sailboat is just like looking for another sailboat brand, unless this is your first time. You need to make sure you understand your sailing goal first before buying one too soon.

Sailing goals include your purpose of sailing, how much you want to spend, and how long you plan to do it. If you can confidently answer those questions, then you are on the right path to what a good French sailboat brand is.


If you are aiming for comfort, you need to see if it can accommodate what you have in store. You need to find out if it has room for guests if you can live on it full time or the extra features that separate it from the rest.

The living space and other features make a huge difference for boats that aim for comfort and simplicity. You need to find one that does not compromise comfort for performance.


Monohulls have the capability of righting back up after the motion swings back and forth. Catamarans, or multihulls, have more stability and it will be a smoother ride.

If you plan on using your French sailboat for quite some time, you want to make sure you have the safest option of all. Both sailboat types have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is up to you to decide which to favor.

Ease of Use

Do you want a sailboat that comes equipped with everything you need to sail full time? What about one that is easy to handle by yourself or just two people?

These are basic questions to ask yourself, but you must do the research thoroughly before buying. Staying ahead of the game when looking for French sailboats will help you out in the long run.

French Sailboat Brands (Complete List)
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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French Sailboat Brands (Complete List)

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