Guy Couach, who established the famed eponymous shipyard in France (now called Couach Yachts), passed away on January 6. He was 88 years old.
Born in 1926, Guy (pronounced “gee,” with a hard “g”) had the nautical life in his blood. His grandfather was Albert Couach, who established Couach Motors, a manufacturer of marine engines, in 1897. Guy joined the family business in 1946, designing and building boats for large-scale production. In those days, wood and aluminum were the materials of choice. Guy established Guy Couach shipyard in 1962, and he switched production to fiberglass construction. Fiberglass was increasingly being employed worldwide, embraced by boaters and boatbuilders alike for its easy maintenance. Guy’s decision laid the groundwork for innovation, which came just eight years later. In 1970, Guy Couach constructed the world’s first yacht to employ Aramat. Aramat is a composite material derived from Kevlar. The shipyard, in Gujan-Mestras, also constructed patrol boats and naval vessels the same way, gaining business from militaries outside of France, too.
From that time onward, Guy Couach built every one of its projects, whether a military ship or a yacht, with Aramat. Guy determined, rightfully so, that Aramat could save weight and boost strength.
Guy stepped down in 1986, handing the reins to his son, Pierre. While the size of the yachts gradually grew, the construction process continued. In 1996, Guy Couach added megayachts to its offerings, and it still employed Aramat. Even today, under the ownership of Nepteam, an investment group that purchased Guy Couach in 2011, the shipyard has left the construction materials unchanged. Hundreds of Guy Couach projects have been delivered in the 40-plus years of the shipyard’s existence. In fact, some estimates put the figure at upwards of 300.
Pierre Couach posted a tribute to his late father on Facebook, saying, “All those who sail or sailed on a yacht designed by Guy Couach are little orphans.” Christophe Kloeckner, the current CEO of Couach Yachts, tells the newspaper Figaro that Couach was a “pioneer.”
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