Welcome to Boat-Her!

I am the Social Media Manager and Default Marketing Person at a InterMarine, one of South Florida’s largest boat dealers. This is my personal boating blog.

I love being on the water. I feel it “fixes my head” when I’m cranky, sad, or feeling stuck. However, I am not a boater – YET. I get on a boat whenever I can and I am learning a lot, but I still have a long way to go. I don’t feel confident docking a nice vessel, but I feel more comfortable “cutting” the waves when I’m running than when I first started.

I began my employment at InterMarine back in January 2012. A feminist at heart, I could not help but notice early on that very few women are actively involved in the entire boating experience. I’m not saying there aren’t female boaters, because there are. And I’m not saying there aren’t women in boats, because there are. What I am saying is that there is just a huge gap in the level of involvement and the LEADERSHIP in boating that is taken by women.

The marine industry is still a male-dominated industry. There are gems like Madame Anette Benneteau Roux, chairperson of the successful Groupe Benneteau, and my understanding is that there are a lot more women boaters in states up North. But for the most part, here in South Florida, boating is more of a male-hands-on experience. I’d like to encourage more women to get involved in the art of boating and to take charge of their vessels.

Let’s go Boating!

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Meet Madame Annette Beneteau Roux

I want to talk about Madame Annette Beneteau Roux. This is one classy and intelligent lady.

Mdme Beneteau-Roux, “The First Lady of Yachting”, has been running one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world since 1964. Her grandfather, Benjamin Beneteau, started building artisan fishing boats back in 1884 in the little fishing village of Croix-de-Vie in the Vendee region of France.

Mr Beneteau truly loved innovation: he introduced a motorized sardine-fishing boat back in 1910. His son eventually took over the business and produced some truly beautiful fishing boats, but by the 1960s the fishing trade was declining and the company was in trouble.

Madame Annette Beneteau-Roux courtesy of YachtsMagazine.com

Mdme Annette Beneteau-Roux is an inspiration. Photo courtesy of YachsMagazine.com

Enter young Annette Benetau.

Like the Warrior Princesses I love so much, Miss Annette Beneteau (later married to Roux), decided that she was NOT going to simply stand idly by while her family’s business faded away. So she decided right there and then that she would join the business (for better or for worse) and try to save it. And she jumped right in with both feet.

The first thing she did was participate in the 1964 Paris Boat Show, where she began to tap into the growing industry of sport and leisure fishing. Little by little, the Beneteau boat designs changed and by the next boat show her company’s leisure fiberglass boats became a hit. The rest, as they say, is history.

Under Madame Beneteau-Roux’s leadership, Beneteau Groupe has become one of the largest companies in the world. I mean, they are HUGE. They have 5 factories in France and one in the United States, along with countless divisions. The American factory alone has “doubled in size to about 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2), with roughly 25 million of total capital invested in the US. This is considered to be an advanced marine factory; it is newer than most of its competitors factories” (Wikipedia).

All in all, Madame Beneteau-Roux demonstrates what a woman can do even in a male-dominated industry and in a time when it wasn’t that common for women to take the reigns. Madame has recently stepped back a little from the forefront, but she is still in active leadership and oversees operations. She truly is an inspiration to me.

If you’d like to read more about Madame Beneteau-Roux, here are a few links of interest.
Yachts Magazine article released in 2012, when the Madame won the first AIM Marine Group Editor’s Choice Lifetime Achievement Award. There is a good interview here.

Transcript from an NPR feature on Beneteau and the grand dame of yachting’s part in it.

Beneteau’s official timeline. This link goes directly to the year Madame Beneteau took over.

Another cover of the award presented to Madame Beneteau for her achievements in the world of yacht and boat building.

Another angle of the Beneteau story with a little more in-depth information.

Shareholder information stuff, if you are into that. Even if you aren’t the growth of their shares is pretty impressive.

PREMIERE! “Sets In Motion” – A Women’s Wake Film

One of my first posts was about Amber Wing’s film project “Sets in Motion” and her vision of creating a platform where female wakeboarders could shine. She has reached a milestone in her project with the Premiere of the completed film by the same name, a collection of all the footage she has collected over the last few years.

Naturally, here at Boat-her.com we are thrilled with the success of this project and support Miss Wing and her fellow female athletes.

Also noteworthy is OakleyWomen.com, a shopping/fitness community site entirely dedicated to female athletes. May not be strictly boating-related, but hey- I’m always for Fempowerment regardless of chosen medium!

This gal likes driving boats

This whole week I got really lucky and was able to get behind the wheel of several new boats. Starting with the two Chaparrals at the annual dealer meeting, assisting in performing a PDC test on a 2013 Four Winns 375, and driving my tipsy friends back from the sandbar aboard a Chaparral Sunesta Extreme, one thing became clear to me: My desire to drive a boat has moved beyond the initial thrill of the challenge of doing something unexpected. I really, truly, love driving a boat. I love to feel the water under me, and the wind in my face. It is so freeing.

While I was running all these boats, I learned a few new things, too…

1. First of all, wearing sunblock is of the utmost importance.

2. If you can afford a sterndrive joystick docking system, then get one. Even if you enjoy the thrill of manual docking, if you ever needed a less experienced passenger to help you dock, you’d be covered. Continue reading

Chaparral Dealer Meeting and Boat Reviews

August 13, 2013 I had the pleasure of attending Chaparral’s Dealer Meeting. It was held at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo after my employer’s suggestion, and it was just beautiful! This place, being its own little resort-city, truly is Paradise. The meeting itself was very informative. Chaparral is introducing a new jet boat for 2014 as well as a larger 21′ H20 model and a new 307 SSX (bowrider) model.

Now, on to the fun stuff. After lunch, we got to get on the water and test drive some boats! I though I would be brave and ask to drive the 327. However, my boss Patrick kinda beat me to it when he bellowed from the docks: “MAKE SURE THEY TRY DOCKING WITH THEY JOYSTIIIIIICK!!!” – or something to that effect, as we pulled away, causing a bit of a panic.

Nevertheless, I pretended that I was a lot braver than I really am and actually manned the boat. Thank goodness for Mercruiser rep Steve who was there by my side in case of an emergency. We made it back safely to the marina, and then I docked the 327. Having the Axius docking system makes all the difference in the world. It controls the outdrives in a way that makes sense.

After driving the 327, I figured I had to drive the 216 and the 21′ H20 as well because, you know, I had to compare them all. So here are my observations.

Chaparral 327 SSX with Axius – Very smooth handling- almost TOO smooth. The steering wheel is highly responsive and almost feels like it’s sliding on butter. The throttle was very, very smooth as well. Naturally, it feels solid. When I increased the throttle though, I looked back and was afraid I was going to lose the passengers sitting stern; I guess the bowrise was a little higher than I had expected. My real only gripe with this model is that I cannot see over the windshield. The upper metal beam was right in my line of vision. I had to sit up on the bolster seat, which is fine unless there is a lot of spray and your windshield is salty. So I ended up having to stand on my tippy-toes most of the time. Big thumbs down for that.*

Chaparral 216 SSi – This one was my favorite. Surprisingly, it was large enough to accommodate 10 of us (though I’m not sure that was legal), and the steering wheel and throttle were smooth enough without being too “buttery”. It was just right. The boat felt solid even though we took it out in the ocean. It wasn’t scary – though mind you, I’m only scared because I had so many people with me and I would have hated to get us killed…

Chaparral 21 H20 – Nice enough for this size boat, but not as “solid” as the 216 SSi. All 10 of us fit in it just fine, but it was a lot scarier than the 216. It just felt like it skipped more on the water. Also the throttle is a little bit tighter than the other two, so it is harder to control.

Overall, the Chaparral Dealer Meeting was a success. It was nice seeing the company’s growth in market share of the last few years. And naturally, I’m just grateful any time I get to be on the water and driving a boat. I’m going to tell my boss that their media person really *should* cover more dealer meetings…..

* In all fairness to the Chaparral 327 SSX, I must disclose that I am a very short boater standing at only 5’0… but still, that windshield issue would probably keep me from purchasing this boat for myself.