on 30 Sep 2022
Guillaume Andrebe, sales director of Beneteau Group Asia Pacific, takes a closer look at the sleek sailing brand the company created just a few years ago – Excess Catamarans
Asia-Pacific Boating: How long have you been Excess sales director for the Asia-Pacific region, and in which parts of Asia and the Pacific regions are you involved?
Guillaume Andrebe: I joined the Beneteau Group four years ago as sales manager. Last year, after the departure of the former director. I am now in charge of the whole Asia-Pacific region, from the north of China all the way down to Tahiti.
APB: Were you with Beneteau Group before this position? If not, what was your boating sales experience previously?
GA: I have been living in Hong Kong for 13 years now. I arrived immediately after graduation and became a sales manager in the luxury industry. I was always very attracted to boating, as this is a family passion I grew up with. We owned a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey when I was a child, we chartered catamarans all over the world, and I still sail almost every weekend here on my Beneteau Oceanis. So, when the opportunity came up to join the Beneteau Group in Hong Kong, with my experience in sales with my passion for boating, I jumped on it.
APB: What excites you about the Excess brand right now?
GA: What excites me the most about Excess is seeing how the brand has evolved since its creation in 2019. The original idea was to create a cruising catamaran brand for sailors to answer a need that was not really fulfilled by the industry at the time. After three years, with our two latest models, the Excess 11 and the brand new Excess 14, I really think Excess has found its DNA. We just released the Excess 14 at the Cannes Yachting Festival 2022, and the response from the public has been incredible. This is so exciting to witness and lets us know Excess is on the right path.
APB: Does this translate into the same reasons for excitement or attraction for the owner / potential owner of an Excess catamaran in the APAC region?
GA: Yes, definitely. With the world premiere of the Excess 14 in Cannes, Excess has established itself as a really serious player in the industry, capable of creating new kinds of boats that are modern, stylish and fun to sail. The APAC region has been convinced, and we have already delivered quite a few units of the Excess 11, 12 and 15 over the past three years, with more units on order to be delivered in the next two years. During the Cannes Yachting Festival, we also secured the first four orders of the Excess 14 for the Asia Pacific. The first of these units will be delivered by the end of 2023.
APB: Are Excess catamarans considered high-performance sailing yachts? Are a high proportion of sales made to owners who are already experienced sailing enthusiasts who want to have the space a cat offers but also the challenging performance capability?
GA: Excess catamarans are not performance yachts. They are cruising catamarans that have the same sailing sensations as a monohull. The large majority of our clients are former monohull owners who were willing to transition to a catamaran for the obvious extra volume and comfort aspect. However, most cruising catamaran brands are focused on offering more comfort and equipment on board, which is great for mooring but compromises the sailing aspect. This is what attracts most monohull owners to make the switch.
Just like on a monohull, the helm position is at the back, close to the water, with a perfect point of view on your sails. Being positioned here, helms are directly connected to the rudders, which allows a very responsive boat and great helming sensations. Moreover, thanks to VPLP’s [French naval architectural firm Van Peteghem Lauriot-Prévost] experience in racing boats, we came up with great innovations such as the asymmetric hulls, inverted bows and a ‘pulse line’ sailing plan option which brings a taller rig with about 15 per cent more sail area. We also innovate in terms of interior design to reduce the boat weight without compromising comfort.
All these efforts make Excess catamarans great sailing catamarans. An Excess 11 won the latest edition of the ARC [Canary Islands to Caribbean race] in its category.
APB: The Excess 14 was just launched; besides its unique length overall, what else distinguishes it from the three other models within the brand?
GA: The first thing you notice is the new line of the boat. With the nacelle pushed back and its inverted bows, it looks so sporty and playful. Looking at it from the dock, you feel the need to jump on board and sail it.
Secondly, I would say we have pushed even further the simplicity of this new model to make it really easy to use and very simple to maintain. We know this is very important for sailors. A great example is the walk-in wardrobe in the owner’s cabin that can transform into an extra cabin with a very simple, efficient system.
APB: What are some of the comments you remember from owners who were attracted to buy an Excess cat in the APAC region, and what is some feedback you have received after owners have got to know their yacht?
GA: The first comments were that there was finally a cat builder that answered the need of this particular type of quality cruiser-sailor client. The challenge was to fulfil the promise we were making. Today, I believe this is ‘mission accomplished’ for all our owners who are very satisfied with their boats. The best proof is that some of them are already upgrading to a bigger Excess. For example, a Japanese owner who received his Excess 11 just a year ago recently placed an order for an Excess 15, which will be delivered next year.
We are very attentive to our owners’ feedback. We created the Excess Lab for this reason. Owners, or cat enthusiasts, can use this platform to give feedback and exchange thoughts with each other and the Excess Team. These comments are very important to us in the development cycle of our boats.
APB: Are there Excess-owner events in APAC or anywhere else in the world?
GA: We are still a very young brand, but we are starting to have enough boats on the water to organise Excess owners’ events. We are organising the first owners’ gatherings with their Excess cats very soon. These events will take the form of two-to-three-days rallies with a nice itinerary, lots of fun and exchanges between the Excess team and owners.
APB: Are there any new plans for the brand – models or events – that are relevant to the region?
There will be the first Excess 11 in Sanya, China, within the first half of 2023 with Vastar [dealership]; this will be the first Excess catamaran in China, and we expect a big launch for it when Covid restrictions are lifted.
GA: The first Excess 14 will arrive in Japan by the end of 2023, followed by Tahiti – also in the same period; and in New Zealand and Australia – both within the first half of 2024.