Dufour Yachts, a French sailboat manufacturer, named an Annapolis-based business as its new U.S. dealer on Wednesday.
Atlantic Cruising Yachts recently ended its long relationship with rival French maker Jeanneau and has ordered three new Dufour sailboats. The boats being built now should arrive in Annapolis by July.
Christian Bent, CEO of Atlantic Cruising Yachts, said the company would hold a party to mark the arrival in Annapolis, then stage a large presence at the U.S. Sailboat Shows in the fall. Other rollouts are planned at Florida boat shows. Sea trials are planned in Annapolis.
Bent said much of the sailboat cruising market has shifted to catamarans that focus on value buyers. Dufour’s monohull designs are more attractive to performance sailors, Bent said during a Wednesday video news conference with Dufour executives in France.
“We feel Dufour really has a strong position in the U.S. market,” he said. “We think that sailors that are buying monohulls today are wanting something more.”
The company has purchased a 390, a 430 and a 530 model. The 530 is a new model that will make its U.S. premiere in Annapolis during the fall boat show. The price was not immediately available.
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The announcement of the 11th U.S. dealership for Dufour comes as part of an effort to expand its presence in North Amerca that also will include customer service, company officials said. Dufour had 30 orders going into the coronavirus pandemic and has one cancelation, officials said.
Annapolis Boat Shows, which operates the fall powerboat and sailboat shows in Annapolis, canceled its spring events this year because of the virus. It has not announced plans for adjusting its operations in the fall.
In addition to its brokerage, Atlantic Cruising Yachts operates Waypoints, a charter network with six sites. It sells about 50 new yachts a year and reports $40 million in average sales.
Bent said buying some of the yachts for his cruising operations would help build the company’s presence on the East Coast. Other U.S. East Coast dealers are located in Hollywood, Florida and Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Bent and his partners opened Atlantic Cruising Yachts as a dealer for Jeanneau sailboats and Fountaine Pajot sailboats and power yachts, in addition to offering brokerage and cruising services. It also offers specialized ownership programs designed to reduce the cost of yacht ownership.