Guy Couach, founder of the French shipyard that bears his name, passed away on Monday at the age of 88.

An icon of French nautical history, Guy Couach was a descendant of Albert Couach, founder of Couach marine engines in 1897. He later joined the family business and was the first to initiate industrial-scale production of boats, laying the foundations for mass production of motorboats in 1946 under the Arcoa brand name.

In 1962 he founded Guy Couach shipyard for the manufacture of boats using composite materials. The yard claims to have built the first ever yacht made from Aramat, a Kevlar-based composite material, in 1970.

From this moment on, the shipyard has given its name to several hundred yachts known worldwide for their high performance hulls. Guy Couach continued to head the company and design models until 1986.

Couach specialises in the manufacture of 20m-50m (66ft-164ft) luxury yachts in composite, as well as patrol and rescue boats for national navies, customs and coastguard services. The company, which was acquired by regional investment group Nepteam in 2011, is based in Gujan-Mestras on Arcachon Bay.