Located in Tarare since 1963, META is the manufacturer of Bernard Moitessier's historical JOSHUA. Thanks to the Strongall® assembly process, patented by the shipyard in 1977, and its unique know-how the shipyard designs and builds sailboats, trawlers, speedboats and other floating buildings using the deck hull prestressed aluminum technique: our constructions are efficient, innovative, comfortable and very resistant.
The History of the Site
It is in Chauffailles, in Saône et Loire, that Jean Fricaud, an enlightened self-taught metallurgist, takes advantage of his workshops to build his first 11m steel motor-sailer: the SAINTE MARTHE.
At the age of 13, Joseph, the eldest son, dreams of cars, drawing and mechanics... and of leaving school as soon as possible in order to start an apprenticeship-which he will do, with his father's blessing.
The workshops, in full effervescence, set up a construction line for hydraulic shovels, Joseph finished his apprenticeship as a mechanic in Lyon and left to enrich his technical knowledge in various regional boiler making workshops hoping, as soon as possible, to practice metallurgy on his own account.
Still in Chauffailles, Jean Fricaud is approached by Bernard Moitessier, for whom he agrees, as a good patron, to build the steel hull of JOSHUA. At the same time, Joseph set up under the name META and became a subcontractor for his father's excavator company.
Jean Fricaud, in Chauffailles, has exhausted all the possibilities for expanding his hydraulic excavator construction company and sets up an additional workshop in Tarare, on the RN7, near Lyon. META, still in Chauffailles, began to diversify and expanded its range of construction equipment.
Jean Fricaud seized the opportunity of a lifetime and sold his prosperous business to an industrial group: he had just built the motorboat NADINE and could finally devote himself to deep-sea fishing. But the buyer does not want to expand to Tarare, where the workshop has just been completed. Sensing "the emergence of a market", Jean proposed to his son to build steel boats there. Joseph obeyed and fate precipitated events: thanks to the publicity generated by Bernard Moitessier's exploits, META became a full-fledged shipyard in Tarare.
After having built more than 70 JOSHUAS, more than 30 DAMIENS II, and many other steel hulls, Joseph launches a big paving stone in the pond and abandons steel in favor of STRONGALL® aluminum, which he has just patented. His pre-stressed aluminum construction technique makes it possible to create extremely resistant deck hulls. The young subsidiary PROMETA, directed by François Fevre, also abandons steel for STRONGALL®.
Patrice Passinge is 17 years old when he joins META as a metal worker, under the supervision of André Ravatier, the company's workshop manager. Joseph carefully follows Patrice's efforts, and despite his young age, he soon proves to be an outstanding journeyman.
Patrice Passinge became workshop manager when, after his excellent career at META, André Ravatier took his legitimate retirement. At the end of the 90's, aware that Joseph was getting older, various buyers came forward with the objective of expanding the company. But Joseph wanted to preserve the family spirit of the company and decided to pass on META to Patrice, who had a solid background and an excellent culture of the business.
Joseph definitively transfers the META Chantier Naval Spécialiste du STRONGALL® brand and all its activities to Patrice Passinge.
Construction and launch of FLEUR AUSTRALE, the magnificent custom sailing boat designed for and by Philippe Poupon. This large expedition ketch travels in all the waters of the world in complete safety, from the Arctic to the Antarctic via the Pacific Ocean.
Design and construction of the Ecotroll 39 in partnership with Jean-Pierre Brouns and the Olbia shipyard. The smallest troller approved for ocean navigation, it sailed from Lyon to Greenland through canals and oceans before returning to Lyon via the Canal du Midi in spring 2011.
50 years of META Shipyard on the island of Frioul opposite Marseille. Great meeting with many clients and personalities owning META yachts.
META is diversifying by proposing hulls for various floating projects, such as the development of a floating restaurant (entre deux ô) visible on Roanne.
Based on our floating projects, Dominique Renouf called on META to build Solar Carriage. Real floating habitats with electric propulsion, the Solar Carriage are powered by photovoltaic panels and can navigate on canals and rivers in an ecological way, an important value of our company. In parallel, META is working on its first production boat, the META 36.
Thursday March 12, a few hours before the first presidential address concerning the containment due to COVID-19, Philippe Brabetz signs the takeover of META Chantier Naval Specialist of the STRONGALL®. Patrice Passinge will launch a carpentry workshop dedicated to the interior fittings of the META 36, at the Tarare location.
The takeover is final and the shipyard, renamed META Yachts—Architect Shipyard—Strongall® Specialist, resists to the COVID wave and follows its course. Philippe conceides his TurboKeels® patent to the company and initiates a range of innovative designs for modern, attractive and highly performing sailboats, new motorboats. META Yachts confirms the desire to invest in environmentally clean projects such as electro-solar housing barge carried by Dominique Renouf, and gorgeous Noé boat, carried by Nicolas Lallemand.
Inauguration de META Yachts Services, à Port Saint Louis du Rhône, sur la côte méditerranéenne, cofondée par Philippe Brabetz et Fréderic Switala, pour l'entretien, le gardiennage et la vente de bateaux META Yachts d'occasion.
Writer of great talent, exceptional sailor and philosopher recognized well beyond our borders,
Bernard MOITESSIER (1925 – 1994) has become a legend.
He has given rise to strong vocations by communicating his precious philosophy to all those who, in love with freedom, have “taken the plunge” and are blossoming far from our agitated lands. Everything or almost everything… has been said and written about Bernard, a very unusual character. “I am weighing these words because I fear that his formidable genius of simplicity has escaped some people and has disappeared into the oblivion of history, which would be unjust and regrettable. More than any other sailor, Bernard was haunted not only by the obligation of robustness of the boat, but also by maintenance, hence maximum simplicity. In this perfect sailor’s logic, the deck of JOSHUA – by its very studied simplicity – has always constituted, in my eyes, an essential work reference. Today, every builder (amateur or professional) should be inspired by the best of this masterpiece of practical common sense, on aluminum as on steel.
Drastically simple, but with minimum solutions that have been carefully thought through… On the JOSHUA bridge, nothing should catch, nothing should hurt, nothing should jam: no rails or screwed parts, but welding of sturdy rings instead (to make it easier to surf with the brush, to keep everything clean, and to do away with protective adhesives! Moreover, the most economical solutions were the order of the day, because Bernard was really not rich when Jean, my father, built for him in 1961, the hull number 1 of JOSHUA in CHAUFFAILLES. Among the original features of this deck plan – of a monarchal rigor – the famous “Chinese hood” for example, is worth the detour: 100% watertight thanks to its judicious volumes of depression in spite of the absence of flexible joint, inviolable, reducing thermal bridges, it divides by 3 the times of painting on its perimeter while maintaining the aspect of the new: who does better?
I was very young in the trade when my small team of journeymen started the construction of the JOSHUAS in TARARE, and Bernard’s sponsorship was a great help to me!
More than forty years separate us today from the launching of Bernard’s hull in LYON, and the spirit of the master is still deeply rooted in our reflexes – everything that could be tried differently often turned out to be less convincing, so thank you Bernard for your intelligent contribution to the design of the metal decks of our sailing ships.
, Founder of META Chantier Naval
Our Strongall® construction technique
There is no such thing as the a universal or perfect material, and here is why we have chosen aluminum to replace steel:
- Aluminum boats are solid: constructions are homogeneous, without joints between welded elements and without weaknesses caused by composite associations of various materials
- Aluminum boats have a great longevity, are a good investment when budgets are under control and if they’ve been well designed and especially well built, they maintain a good rating when resold
- Aluminum grades 5083 and 5086 require little maintenance
This aluminum construction method was developed and patented by META Chantier Naval in 1977. The concept is that of a self-supporting aluminum deck hull, based on the use of thick sheets: the transverse structure is then reduced to a minimum (integrated tanks, engine cradle, mast belt, crash-box or watertight bulkhead) depending on the size of the boat.
This type of construction is synonymous to robustness and longevity, warrants of the significant investment a boat represents over the years.
The Advantages of Strongall®:
- Stronger than equal weight steel construction
- About 30% lighter than the same steel shell with comparable strength
- The use of thick sheets allows a greater intensity in welding thus eliminating the risk of “sticking”, and guarantees a better fusion of the metal
- Little or no deformation of the plating sheets
- The thickness of the sheets increases the resistance to corrosion and significantly reduces the risk of metal fatigue (repeated cycles of torsion-bending of the planks where the hull is a hollow beam moving on complex waves and swell phenomena)
- The hull is treated with inorganic Zinc Silicate
- The painting of the dead works and the bridge is only necessary for cosmetic reasons, they can remain raw without consequence for the material.
- A significant advantage for the shipowner, the absence of internal restrictive structures makes the design of the fittings more flexible.
The hulls require developable hull surfaces and lively chine(s)—easily integrated in elegant and efficient designs!
Over 300 sailboats, motorboats and trollers have been built in Tarare since 1977, their extreme robustness secures navigation in particularly difficult areas: Arctic, Northwest Passage, Antarctica…
COME MEET US IN TARARE, AND GET A FEELING OF WHAT WE REALLY DO!
A solution for ballasting lead from one side to the other…
Desplacing the center of gravity without going through the complexity of a pendulum keel? Philippe Brabetz has got the solution: TurboKeels®, or how to simply ballast lead from one keel to another!
If Philippe bought META in March 2020, it was also because he was looking for a shipyard to equip his yachts with the ballast system he invented: the TurboKeels®. His innovative patent for twin-keel sailboats allows the ballast to move without overly-fancy nor damage-prone mechanisms, from one keel to another. It greatly improves the performance and stability of sailing boats, and offers other valuable advantages.
—The Stronglite® technique is undergoing scrutiny by our R&D team—
you can stay tuned and follow our social media networks
Owner & CEO
Administration & Sales
Design Office Manager
Partner & COO
Shipbuilding Technical advisor
Shipbuilding Team federator
Aluminum Ship Builder
Aluminum Ship Builder
Mechanical Engineer - Intern
Naval Engineer - Intern
Philippe Brabetz has an architecture degree from the Paris-La-Villette School of Architecture. While studying to become a building specialist, he attended Dominique Presle’s naval architecture courses and became passionate about the subject.
However, he graduated shortly after the first Gulf War, and work was hard to come round. He managed to join the Guignols’ team at Canal+ and, as of 1995, started working on the production of TV sets and special effects.
In 2005, still passionate about shipbuilding, he joined the Nantes Naval Architecture DPEA, which he topped by an internship for the construction of America’s Cup Areva Challenge monohull.
He then collaborated with shipyards and naval architecture firms in France, Spain and Morocco. It was around this period that he came up with the idea for TurboKeels, a twin-keel system whose lest is ballasted from side to side. After having patented the invention, taking over META Shipyard seemed like the next best thing to do.
His mission is to consolidate the achievements of the legendary shipyard, but also to add the creative touch it was lacking which will allow META to navigate today’s challenging waters and thus continue its fantastic adventure.
Born in the same valley as META and with a name familiar to windserfers worldwide, her career was mapped out: since 2008, Nathalie has been assisting the shypyard’s management from an administrative, commercial and accounting point of view.
An Executive Assistant by training, she favors positions which allow for the widest diversity of tasks, within human scale structures. It is an interactive and stimulating format that she appreciates and that participates to the great complementarity between her very “maritime” professional activity and very terrestrial personal interests: running, cycling, hiking are all activities which fill her up with the energy and enthusiasm we much appreciate.
Nathalie is a valued collaborator, who faithfully has and does contribute to the welfare of the company .
Romain grew up in Corsica, where he discovered sailing at a very young age. Over the years, childhood fascination turned into passion and, as an adult, he conveyed a first sailboat to the Caribbean: he settled there to learn and perfect all aspects of refitting and building yachts, all the while enjoying single-handed and skipper-mode navigation to convey yachts across the atlantic.
After obtaining his DPEA from ENSA Nantes, he embarked on the design of mega-yachts: “Designing exceptional yachts forces me to constantly seek new aspects in order to remain innovative in the field of naval architecture. That’s what I appreciate the most about my job.”
His hands-on experience working in the yacht industry, coupled with his love of sailing, allows him to create designs that integrate form and function.
His experience with META began shortly after the shipyard’s last 2020 Open-day event and has been translating into a fulfilling collaboration with his manager.
He feels happiest when sailing, fishing, snorkeling, and practicing outdoor activities in general.
Primarily concerned with improving and implementing META-Yachts operations overall, Carolina’s insight is sought for decisions regarding a wide range of situations among which improving profitability and performance, implementing strategic planning, new development projects and people-oriented management solutions all the while assisting her CEO and partner at getting the company back and running the way it deserves to be.
“META-Yachts is a historic shipyard that never stopped arousing passions, but when we bought it, it was resting on its laurels, slowly fading away.”
Carolina is working to help the shipyard confirm its capacity to innovate with technology and design but also to be management savvy.
Thanks to her creativity and ingenuity, refined during a multi-cultural and multi-professional upbringing, Carolina works with Philippe to support and implement the long-term vision of the company.
Lionel has learned and confectioned his skill at aluminum ship building at META, where he’s been a faithful member of the team since 2004. He masters ship-building from A to Z and has become our go-to person for all questions related to Strongall® boat building techniques.
He has nevertheless other skills up his sleeve and owns land where he grows grapes which participate in the making of one of the local Rhone wines.
Former primary school teacher from the Mons region, Michaël decides to go around the world. For the sake of economy but above all out of passion, in 2010 he embarked on the construction of his own 12-meter sailboat. At the start of 2021, from the Canaries where he was living with his wife, he contacted the META shipyard following the publication of a job offer; on March 15 he joined the team as a boilermaker. Its history fits perfectly into what the yard represents most beautiful: a human adventure of sailing enthusiasts.
Discover how he got to build his own boat on rbtf.be
Pascal is our most loyal employee: he’s been with us for over twenty years and, in addition to his invaluable expertise in the construction of Strongall® aluminum boats, he handles the packaging of the META-Grip we ship all over the world.
He is a reference for younger recruits, to whom he gladly passes on his secrets.
Killian is addicted to sailing which he has perfected at Les Glénans but he is also a certified welder. He has joined META to learn and perfect the shipbuilding art —not only is he our youngest recruit but, together with his family, he is a member of the Alpen Yacht Concept team.
He’s a great addition to the our own team, and we feel very lucky to have him.
Ever since he learnt the meaning of the word, Mohamed chose to get into engineering. Fascinated by transport and mobility issues in general, he studied at Polytech Lyon engineering school and specialized in mechanics.
Motivated and ambitious, he joined META’s Design office team to work on the development of the TurboKeels project—how well into transport and mobility is that!
On top of being a skilled young engineer, Mohamed’s good temper & kindness make him a nice addition to the team.
Passionate about boats and sailing since a young age, Léo has done everything he could to get closer to the sea and to naval architecture (unfortunately Tarare is not “on the sea”, but it’s still all about it!). After studying Naval engineering at SeaTech Toulon, he’s been working within META as a valuable collaborator, both with the Communication & marketing department and with the Design office where he puts to practice his know-how regarding the resistance of ship-building. His good knowledge of sailing and the marine environment, his intellectual curiosity and his very cheerful and communicative personality, make him a very appreciated member of the team.
This zinc-based product is the best protection against hull corrosion so far. We are its historical retailer and use it for all of our buildings.
Whether used as antifouling or covered by a regular antifouling, METAGRIP® welds perfectly to the steel or aluminum hull thanks to the absorption phenomenon.
It does not deteriorate and therefore fully respects the underwater environment.