YARD UPDATE '08: Ocqueteau...

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YARD UPDATE '08: Ocqueteau...

Yard Updates

A consistent 500 boats a year; €10 million turnover…


With its commercial offices in Nantes and its factory 200km (125 miles) away in Le Château d’Oléron, Ocqueteau’s in-house designed portfolio now includes 18 power models from 4.85—9.75m (16—32ft). Most of those are pêche promenades powered by either outboards and inboard-engine installations and the biggest have flybridge options. Then there’s a few centre-console runabouts and a couple of cuddy-cabined sportsboats. Plus there is one small sailboat, the Bernard Veys-designed Tilapia 6.50, a easy-sail bilge-keeler with twin rudders and a draught of just 60cm that makes use of just one sail on a unstayed mast located well forward and no boom, plus an optional outboard — sailing doesn’t come much simpler.
“Our sales for the year to the end of August ‘07 was around €10 million,” says président Jean-Pierre Mellier, a former Jeanneau executive that headed a management buy-out a dozen years or so ago following the crash of GCI/Jeanneau group that had owned the yard since ‘87. “Our turnover has been around that level for a few years now… We have to work hard for it… It is tough trying to compete with the Polish builders… We employ a consistent 100 or so people full time and builds a fairly consistent 500 boats a year, although we could do a lot more without major changes to our existing facilities… We could probably do 50 per cent more with little more than a different shift pattern, although market conditions would suggest we’re in for a tough year or two rather than significant growth.”

'It infuses all its hulls, plus the deck of the sailboat. Plus it uses RTM techniques extensively for small parts...' 

When it comes to production systems Ocqueteau is progressive. Take its use of closed-mould techniques; it is a lot farther ahead on that score than most. It infuses all its hulls, plus the deck of the sailboat. Plus it uses RTM techniques extensively for small parts.
Roughly half of the Ocqueteaus built are outboard-engined models and 50 per cent inboard diesel and shaft-drive models. The majority of the latter boats are delivered with Nannidiesels, although Volvo Penta and Yanmar engines are also used.
In its domestic market Ocqueteau feeds some 40 dealers that account for 55 per cent of its turnover. Exports account for the remaining 45 per cent. Its best markets are presently the Spain, the UK and Norway, although in all it has representation in place in now fewer than 20 countries. It started in Germany last year and now exhibits at both Hamburg and Düsseldorf shows. It even delivers regularly as far away as Australia, albeit with just a handful of boats each year. It is currently looking to secure distribution channels in Sweden, Finland and Croatia. In doesn’t have any one in Italy or Switzerland either.
Normally Ocqueteau refreshes its line-up with two new models every year. The newest two are the Ocqueteau 6.15 and the Abaco 19 Open.
For more, www.ocqueteau.com.

© Phil Draper