Jeanneau Factory Tour Report:

Whilst across in Cannes for the boat show in September I took the opportunity to visit some of the Jeanneau yacht production facilities located near Nantes in the Upper Brittany region. Jeanneau operate 4 separate production facilities for the yacht range all within approximately 90 mins drive south and east of Nantes.

Jeanneau Facility Yacht Range Produced
Challans Sun Fast 3200 & 3600 / Sun Odyssey 349
Cholet. Sun Odyssey 449, 440, 479, 490, 519 and J51
Le Poiré Sun Odyssey 389, 419 / Jeanneau 54 & 64
Les Herbiers Jeanneau 58 (also the Prestige Motor Yachts facility)


I planned to drive myself to two of the facilities at Cholet and Challans. Having not driven on the wrong side of the road for nearly 10 years this brought a degree of trepidation which was only heightened when I realized I had also added to the challenge by inadvertently booking a manual transmission. My fears were however allayed after tackling the first 20 roundabouts exiting Nantes – the French love a good roundabout, in fact they invented one of the first roundabouts in 1907 with Place de l’Étoile around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The Jeanneau production facilities are all ISO 9001 certified. ISO 9001 sets out the criteria for a quality management system it can be used by any organization, large or small, regardless of its field of activity. This standard is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and engagement of senior management, the process approach and continual improvement to ensure that customers get consistent, high quality products and services

The Jeanneau production line generally runs through 7 core processes work stations with quality assurance inspections performed by a dedicated team before release from each station;

  • Hull and hull inner pan build – Two approaches are used across the Jeanneau hulls and inner pans with the majority of hulls constructed with a traditional hand lay-up approach, the J54 / J58 and J64 however utilise a resin infusion method. For both approaches fiberglass matting is pre-cut by computer and numbered to enable specific and consistent position of matting to ensure strength and rigidity with foam inserts to form ribs and mouldings.
  • Deck build – The decks are all injection molded with the exception J58 and J64 which are hand laid due to their size and production volume. The J54 deck is still currently the largest single injection moulded component in the world. Jeanneau invented the Prisma Process injection moulding which gives a clean gelcoat finish on both sides and reduces weight whilst still delivering superior strength and rigidity. The lighter deck also results in a lower center of gravity for improved stability.
  • Hull and deck milling & finishing- The completed hull and deck components are all finished by a 5-axis robotic milling and drilling machine to finish all edges of the hull and decks and to drill and perform cut-outs for all components and fittings. This ensures exact finishes and precise fitting of all hardware. A single person overseeing this machine can accurately complete in 2-3 hours the work that would have taken 4 workers 2 days manually.
  • Interior Component Unit Build and Upholstery – offline work stations build complete finished interior component units such as complete head/shower units with all fittings / furnishing / plumbing and electrical components fully fitted to enable these units to be dropped into the hull in the next production line workstation.
  • Hull fit-out / and deck installation – Fitting of engine / tanks and all of the pre-built interior component units into the hull is performed in this workstation and all plumbing and electrics are centrally connected. The deck is then fitted to the hull and all deck hardware fitted.
  • Water Tank Testing – the completed yacht is transferred to a water tank for testing, this includes testing of all below hull fittings as well as water spray testing of all above water-line hatches windows and fittings etc. The interior fittings are also tested and any required adjustments made to ensure correct operation of doors and panel alignment when the boat is floating free rather than sitting under load on the workstation stands.
  • Finishing and Packing – once final QA signoff has been achieved from the water tank test the boat proceeds to the final stage where final presentation and cleaning is performed before wrapping for shipping. Note for all our Australian orders the keel is left separate from the hull and shipped in its own cradle for fitting at time of commissioning in Australia.

The facilities are an impressive and sleek operation to view and the engagement of the staff and their commitment to the product is obvious.

Jeanneau welcome existing or new customers to visit their facilities for a guided tour, we have recently had a number of PBS new yacht buyers visit the facility to get a personal walk through of the production process and to view their own yacht in production. I’d like to thank Matthieu Quelin for taking me through the facilities, Matthieu performs the tours for all of our clients. So, do call us if you wish to discuss the potential of us arranging a tour of one of these facilities during your next trip to France. It’s an eye-opening experience!

Jay McEvoy