Despite the new boat market having slowed under an overcast economic sky, the sport has maintained its popularity and the some 500,000 boats owned in France still need to be maintained and often upgraded. As an example, the region of Brittany has actively invested in this sector, which generates local jobs and ensures skills are passed on, by creating the Qualinautic certification involving dozens of specialised craftspeople and companies. Refitting is therefore a highly dynamic sector where new products are always innovative. This applies to paint, deck surfaces (synthetic wood, polymers, etc.), automated deck fittings (Harken), sails (new D4 fabric from Incidences, building in 3D at North Sails) and even electronic navigation aids (Garmin, Navico).
The trends in 2013 can be summed up in two words: simplicity and ease. This can be seen in the development of textile fittings which give the impression of a step back in time with flexible shackles, super simple pulleys (Karver, Wichard, Sparcraft, Liros and Antal), and even underwater copper paint that lasts five years! You can also see this overall simplification in the boom of software for tablets (MaxSea, Raymarine and NKE). Today it is much easier and more comfortable to sail compared to when Tabarly achieved his victory! Crossing the Atlantic has now become child's play with sail furling systems, satellite telephones, internet access and automatic pilot systems, with every piece of information and all controls centralised in the iPad held between your hands.