A small boat for humanity, but a big step for tradition and design: The Boatyard Frauscher.
Austrian boatyard Frauscher is one of the leading manufacturers of design-motorboats. Founded and captained by two brothers, the production is set to only about 80 boats per year – and that with great success. Although the Traunsee, neighbouring the production facilities, is by far not a big name in his class. Whereas the boatyard Frauscher very much is.
On the outskirts of Ohlsdorf, an impressive logistics centre blocks the view into the Alpine foothills. Romance, at a first glance, is far fetched at the production site of Frauscher. Although it is here, where cutting edge technology and minimalist design are magically fused into magnificent motorboats. Hand-crafted leisure entertainment for the successful and the ambitious. Some might turn up their noses over the unusual nation of origin. To some extent understandable, Austria being usually renown for dried bacon and skiing, then for its extensive coastlines or beautiful harbours. And yet, a Frauscher-boat even made it to mainstream television: featured in an episode of CSI:Miami and the spectacular script-line of a police man: “He is escaping on a Frauscher 757.” No matter if Miami or the Traunsee, the boats of Frauscher advocate with striking serenity: The journey is the reward. And in that light, “small” Austria is once more one of the big players. With top speeds of some models at well over 100 km/h. What for, one might ask, when the speed limit on most Austrian lakes is set to a strict 50 km/h? Well, one might just as well ask the next sports car about the road speed limits.
At the blue Danube.
A glance back at the company’s family history grants some insight into the manufacturing traditions and the old boat builders craftsmanship: In 1927, the young carpenter fellow Engelbert Frauscher takes over an old, worn-down boatyard at the Old Danube in Vienna. The young man from a small village in Upper Austria, at the time, is just 24 years of age and uses the boatyards equipment to repair and restore all kinds of wooden naval vessels. After second world war Frauscher relaunched his business at an old shipyard in Gmunden am Traunsee – a start from scratch. With state of the art equipment, making use of the benefits of technological advance. And so in 1955 the first electric boat, and in 1958 the first motorboat were watered at the Austrian shipyard of Traunsee: unique Austrian quality by Frauscher.
His two sons Ernst and Hans Frauscher would later continue the family tradition. In 1969 however, Ernst – to the family’s consternation – built the first boat from polyester. Controversial pioneer work, so to say. Then, years of sailing boats (H-boats) followed, until 2002, when the Frauscher shipyard reinvented the e-boat. 2012 the family business upgraded to the current manufacturing site in Ohlsdorf, to increase construction efficiency. Not a simple task, when every boat is custom-crafted to personal preferences. Each year, the 50 craftsmen of Frauscher manufacture about a 100 naval vessels. Since the fabrication site upgrade, sales revenue annually increases in double-digit percentages. And just like Hans Frauscher banked on new materials like polyester in 1969, his sons bank on innovations – specifically the latest engine technologies. The third generation of Frauscher now builds hybrid technology engines, combining classic combustion engines with electric engines, to max out propulsion and fuel efficiency. Hydrodynamics and classic design lines, besides production to detail, are quality elements of Frauscher. High-grade materials like fibreglass, stainless steel and carbon fibre compounds are used alongside wooden mahogany elements. Up to twelve layers of high gloss varnish seal the seamless boat hull, breaking the sunlight like morning dew. Not to mention the instruments, the leather seats or the sparkling chrome fittings and details. The make-a-man-smile sound-design does the rest – in ecologically conscious times, where an electric engine is utimately an accepted alternative to fossil fuels.
Classics and novelties (an excerpt).
Compelling beauty: The 858 Fantom breaks the mold of classic boat designs and is considered to be the “sports car” among the Day Cruisers. The trademark of Frauscher boats – the characteristic “Z” on the protecting stainless steel rib – is a three-dimensional build. A real challenge for the designers and craftsmen, and therefore a rarity among boat-builders. The Fantom is built for the open waters and does not only look like a sports car, it also feels like one: The Frauscher speedboat, equipped with a series of customisable V8 engines (petrol or diesel with Z-drive) , punches through the 40 knots barrier in no time. With an optional 8.2l V8 motorisation – at an impressive 430 horsepower – it effortlessly reaches speeds well over 48 knots.
Never outdated: The classic design, clever space management and sophisticated details of the 650 Alessio. The bestseller amongst the motorised naval vessels. The e-yacht at 6.5 meters length offers an impressive maximum engine output of 60 kW. Effortless, almost inaudibly, the electric boat slides through the water, the sundeck sparking severe holiday-cruise feelings. No wonder really, that the Alessio sells well: Especially at lake Starnberg, the Chiemsee and the Wörthersee.
Never treading water: The elegant Mirage 747, with looks not shy of a 007-blockbuster casting. Designed by the renowned team of Kiska and Thomas Gerzer in Salzburg, also accountable for designs of Bugatti and KTM. The top speed of the Day Cruiser is at about 60 knots, approximately 100 km/h, which admittedly feels a lot more intense on water than on any road.
Ingenuity and passion eventually pay off: today the Frauscher shipyard holds 14 international subsidiaries abroad and builds exclusive models at prices up to 750.000 Euro, which can be found elegantly cruising the Gmundner Esplanade as well as Saint-Tropez and Miami.