Who's Who - Xavier Bouin: The Emir of the Multihull

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It’s not summer yet, and it’s «only» 102°F (39°C) on the terrace of the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club where our host is waiting for us, thankfully under a parasol. The DOSC is the haunt of local sailing enthusiasts, their exclusive haven in an emirate where the motorboat, even the superyacht, is king. The atmosphere of bling-bling luxury doesn’t seem to faze this Breton, who knows the first city of the United Arab Emirates very well, Xavier having settled here thirty years ago. An entrepreneur at heart, he soon left the luxury group that employed him to set up his own structure and ride the wave of growth (12 to 20% per year) that the Emirate experienced at the turn of the millennium. Once his company was sold in 2009, Xavier launched himself in the nautical sector: he created Tan Services as a trial project, with Fountaine Pajot at the top of the list. I should mention here the dhow, the traditional sailboat of the pearl fishermen in the Persian Gulf, that has become an extremely sophisticated racing boat, and of which Xavier is a connoisseur.

Once he had sold eight catamarans, the intrepid entrepreneur took the risk of changing sides: he signed with Lagoon, the world leader. And the brand undoubtedly found its audience: 40 units were sold in 9 years. These 40 Lagoon boats represent 10% of the local sailing fleet, which has tripled in number in ten years. If you add the 10 Dragonflys that he’s sold in just 3 years, you begin to understand the exceptional nature of the achievement in this terra incognita for sailing and multihulls. While the large volumes and the pullman comfort of catamarans seduce a wide audience, it’s the folding trimarans which convince the local sailors. Experienced sailors appreciate the Dragonfly’s performance in light airs and the quality of its construction. And with Xavier, demanding sailors are dealing with a real enthusiast! He spent the summers of his adolescence in the French sailing Mecca of the day, La Trinité-sur-Mer, in Brittany. He first practiced windsurfing there - with an aluminum board! Next, he switched to the Prindle 16, a sport catamaran. Xavier then aimed higher with a Grainger 28, to be followed by a 53-foot (16 m) cruising catamaran in Dubai and a Dragonfly in France: when you’re really into multihulls, you stop counting them! The same goes for the hours of work: the Frenchman seems to be everywhere at once - at boat shows, doing ...

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