Philippe Briand was born into a sailing family. His father was an Olympic sailor and Philippe was 9 when he started racing dinghies in La Rochelle, France. He designed his first sailboat at 16, he was sailing on his own designs by the age of 22, and he grew into a skilled and talented helmsman who won several World Championships during the 1980’s.
In 2003, Briand’s Mari-Cha IV (pictured above) held the “fastest monohull in the world record” after the boat crossed the
Atlantic in 6 days, 17 hours, 52 minutes. Mari-Cha IV is an iconic design and has become an industry acknowledged benchmark for other super yachts.
Briand and his team have actually designed more than 25 super yachts (like Mari-Cha IV and Bristolian pictured above) that range in size from 100 to 252 feet long.
But the cool thing is that Briand has not only designed some of the most iconic super yachts to be built in the last 25 years, he’s also been designing production sailboats for Jeanneau since 1978 such as the Jeanneau 57 pictured above and the Jeanneau 469 pictured below.
You can see his style in nearly every new Jeanneau model that’s available today. But nothing makes more of a
statement, or is a more logical progression for both Briand and Jeanneau, than the new, Briand-designed 64 (pictured below) that was launched last year in Europe and is about to be introduced at this year’s Annapolis Sailboat Show. The 64 is the largest sailboat that Jeanneau has built (so far) and I was fortunate to be able to hear all about it from the man himself. Here’s what he had to say:
Bill: So where did the idea of a new 64 come from and what was the objective?
Philippe: “We started the design in 2009.’ says Briand. “The length was there and we spent a lot of time identifying the best versions of the accommodation layouts.Then we did at least four different versions of the exterior lines designs
until we were all satisfied by the aesthetic. Finally we along with Jeanneau wanted to get the engine room perfect—like one would have on a mini super yacht—and we talked to professional super yacht captains to make sure we got it right.”
Bill: Briand and his team focused a lot of their attention on making the Jeanneau 64 into a small super-yacht.
Philippe: “We are really proud of her totally contemporary lines and we hope the future owners will be too. Indeed we believe that the first function of a sailing yacht is the aesthetics and we spent a lot of time in refining the lines during the project.”
Bill: They also focused a lot on designing a boat that would be affordable and more in keeping with that of a production boat than a highly custom one.
Philippe: “From the very beginning the idea was to create a yacht that would be highly engineered in order to keep the cost down, with the idea of opening up an entirely new market for sailors looking to own larger and more comfortable yachts but at a highly competitive price. We believe we have accomplished this with the Jeanneau 64.”
Bill: And how does all this come together, I asked? And what were some of your greatest design challenges?
Philippe: “Every foot of the yacht is used to maximize the comfort and experience for the owner. For example, we had to struggle effectively to combine the large owner’s cabin aft with a huge and very comfortable cockpit right above. After much thought and a lot of work, we were very pleased with how it came out. In the end the yacht provides the same owner’s stateroom aft that many center cockpit yachts have, but with a much larger cockpit and without the big inconvenience of all the internal space lost amidships. None of our competitors do this.”
Bill: And how did this project differ from that of other projects you have done with Jeanneau?
Philippe: “The biggest difference was the time of development. This project required the significant attention of several large design teams, and a highly skilled team at the shipyard for the last 4 years.
Bill: And how about working with Andrew Winch, the designer of the interior of the 64?
Philippe: “I always enjoy working with Andrew Winch and his team. We have collaborated in designing two large sailing yachts, the 117-foot Hamilton and the recently launched, 108-foot Inoui (in green pictured below). Our two teams know each other well and our studios are five miles away from each
other in London. It was a great pleasure when I heard that Jeanneau had invited Andrew on board and as you can see he brings an added “yacht touch” to the project that has the pedigree of a true super yacht.”