Who's Who

Catherine Relandeau: Lady Multi

The high school student who doodled pictures of boats on her school work already had just one dream: “to work in the boat industry”. Since the mid-1980s, Catherine Relandeau has witnessed and above all played an active role in the phenomenal growth of multihulls. Today, as the director of CathYacht, she is recognized as a key specialist in this market - she has sold 700 multihulls!

On the quayside in Les Sables d’Olonne, the sun was shining on a late February day. At the restaurant «La P’tite cale», she feels right at home, affectionately teasing the owner, and on familiar terms with the other clients. It must be said that her excellent «canteen» is literally located at the foot of her office. We have just come down from her “lookout”. From there, Catherine does not miss any of the comings and goings in the port and she enjoys a panoramic view of the large beach. The place has been carefully furnished and decorated by its owner, who is renowned for her good taste in the matter. With her black shirt in the colors of her company, fitted trousers and meticulous hair, Catherine was not caught off guard by the improvised photo session on her balcony. Those who know her will not be at all surprised: behind her smile, Catherine is a true professional at all times.

Born in Valence, southern France, she discovered sailing on the River Rhône, which isn’t necessarily the most inviting boating destination. The family’s move to Les Sables d’Olonne, when she was only eight years old, motivated her to pursue this activity. She braved the water, which was a little chilly for her liking, on the local sailing club dinghies and did not hesitate to further her experience aboard her father’s Saphir 30. At the age of 21, Catherine started her professional life at Bénéteau. She’d done it - she was in the boating industry! But she quickly became bored in the finance department and dreamed of becoming a salesperson.

Annette Roux tried to keep her young and excellent employee... but in vain. She had to let her go, and 30 years on, the Bénéteau Group heiress, who certainly doesn’t bear any grudges, still replies to her former employee’s Christmas cards. Catherine joined Philippe Jeantot, an ocean racer and organizer of the first Vendée Globe. The man was also an entrepreneur - and sometimes a visionary. For his new Privilege catamarans, he accepted the unsolicited application of a young trilingual French - English - German woman and sent his young recruit to conquer the international market: Dubai, Bombay, Sydney, Shanghai and Miami became Catherine’s playgrounds. The Privilege story lasted almost three decades. There would be many twists and turns, some difficult moments - “the Privilège 100 debacle“ - but above all, many happy moments that would remain forever etched in her memory. Selling a Euphorie 5 to the Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya when you are a woman and not even thirty years old, for example... Two and a half million francs was a lot of money at the time! Amid the souvenir photos in Catherine’s office, I noticed one of Denis Conner - the fantastic America’s Cup skipper - aboard a Privilege 48. A key date? December 4, 1993. On ...

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