200 Special - The story, the people

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The summer of 1984. Two members of France’s Union Nationale des Multicoques (National Multihulls association) are writing the association’s latest newsletter. André Manchon is the owner of a Tornado, and Gilles Abeloos of a Victress 40 - Piver design. They’re almost done, when Gilles suggests to André that they ought to set up a more professional publication, along the lines of the British magazine Multihulls International, or the American Multihulls. The project starts to take shape: an agreement is reached with UNM to take on the title Multicoques Magazine, and the pair are supported by an investor, Jean Gravel. The adventure can begin:

“In May-June 1985, number 0 was produced in André’s kitchen, in his bungalow in Deuilla- Barre, near Paris”, recalls Gilles. “It was sent to the members of the UNM, to my clients in foreign magazines, to sports catamaran associations, to potential advertisers, to boat-builders... We received a few subscription orders and a few advertising contracts. Next thing was to get down to business and get started on issue number one. The problem: none of us has the slightest experience in producing a magazine, its publishing, its distribution, and so on. Faced with our total incompetence to produce a professional magazine worthy of the name, to get out of it, we call on a nautical photojournalist from the SIPA agency, Gilles Klein. He showed us how to set up the layout and content. Number 1, with one of his photos of Formule TAG on the cover, was also created in André’s kitchen, using scissors and glue sticks. Following an agreement with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry as a business start-up, André found an office to rent in Cergy-Pontoise, benefiting from a secretary, photocopier... all the essentials. Several issues were to be published from this new address. Gilles Klein, of course, but also Christian Février, Erik Lerouge, François Salle, Jean-Luc de Moras, Philippe de Gorostarzu, Charles Chiodi (Multihulls), Jack Heming (Multihull International), Dick Newick, Derek Kelsall, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some others, all took part in the launch of those early editions.”

These first issues of Multicoques Mag featured racing, beach-cat sailing and cruising. We discovered the presentation of the Bénéteau Blue 2 and the Catana 40. Boat tests – the Bourbon and Catana 40 - started in n°2 with the journalists making their first tacks and gybes as boat testers. Ever since, the magazine has closely followed the development of today’s biggest boat-builders, practically all of which were born in the 1980s. For the next edition, at the beginning of 1986, the editorial staff proposed a “Boat Show Special” edition to coincide with the Paris Boat Show, nowadays called Le Nautic. This special issue was to become our famous Buyer’s Guide, now published every December.

First Catana advert MM n°15, 1988.

Subscription form in MM n°3, from 1986.
“Marc Lombard, an up-andcoming naval architect” - MM n°4, ...

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