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Thibaut de Montvalon: Making his mark with the Excess brand

An entrepreneur at heart, Thibaut de Montvalon agreed a little over two years ago to take the helm of the young Excess brand, which had officially been launched a few months earlier. It’s a challenge worthy of this sailor who has switched from monohulls to catamarans.

The son of expatriate parents, Thibaut has only lived in France for a few years...
However, he is familiar with Indonesia, Hong Kong, the south of England and even Florida... His passion for sailing came very early: the young man who became a sailing instructor dreamed of sailing the seas despite only having a handful of dollars in his pocket. After graduating from high school in Belgium, he was conscious of his technical shortcomings and enrolled at the Nautical Institute of Brittany before joining a charter company in Brittany for three years. The desire to be an entrepreneur pushed Thibaut to complete his education with a course at a business school. He then joined Sunsail and took charge of the management of boat schedules, purchasing and preparation. This position, when Sunsail and The Moorings merged, led him to become purchasing and logistics director in England and then in the United States. Thibaut then set up the French and then Asian branches of the yacht transporter Peters & May. He had been in Hong Kong for two years when the Bénéteau Group offered him the position of Asia-Pacific sales manager for Bénéteau/Lagoon. For seven years, Thibaut saw the catamaran manufacturer progress, but preferred to sail on his First 20 or on chartered Sun Odysseys. “The job was exciting,” Thibaut explains, “But I had to take 80 flights a year, without seeing the kids too much...
So, in 2018, my wife (who loves sailing) and I decided to take a sabbatical after 10 years in Asia. We would spend 6 months in the Pacific Ocean. We were about to buy a monohull when Yann Masselot, then Lagoon’s director, managed to convince me not only to opt for a catamaran, but also a new one! The idea was to sell the Lagoon 380 I had just bought. We sailed a wonderful (double) 5,000 miles aboard a catamaran that I had voluntarily simplified as much as possible to avoid any technical problems that could occur in very remote places like the Solomon Islands. So I finally discovered what a catamaran is all about and enjoyed a good average speed of 8.5 knots throughout the journey. The only frustration was that I systematically entrusted the helm to the pilot, due to a lack of feeling. At the end of the trip, I even said to myself that I would go back on the same route on a monohull...”
Although the purpose of this lovely family cruise was to switch off, Thibaut still had two phone calls with Bénéteau. He was offered the position of European sales manager for Lagoon, based in Bordeaux. It was January 2019 and the Excess brand had just been launched. The announcement of sportier, pleasure-oriented catamarans obviously interested Thibaut: “I admit I was a little disappointed by the very early models: the catamarans had elements that were common to both brands. It was a bit like our team - we were all Lagoon and Excess. For me, we had to embody something 100% new, with people focused on that: a dedicated team. I was obviously vocal about this and at the same time I felt ...

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