Nine Classic Boats by the brilliant Germán Frers
Germán Frers, in the sailing world, is a name that has ascended to legend, evocative of hundreds and hundreds of outstanding designs, production and non-production boats, often indelibly etched in memory. But Frers is much more than that, father and designer of thousands of boats, and many of them, Classic Boats memorable.
Frers was born in 1941 in peaceful Argentina, and grew up in a world permeated by sailing, with his father already deeply involved in design practice (discover HERE the story of Recluta, the boat born of 3 generations of Frers). The step is thus short, already set, and at 16 the young Frers designs his first boat. The goods were not lacking, and in 1965 he was summoned by Olin Stephens to join the now legendary Sparkman & Stephens design firm in New York, the number one firm. In a short time Frers became one of its leading architects, a point of reference, before returning to Argentina in 1970 to work in his father’s firm, which had been established since 1925.
In 1971, Matrero scored his first project after returning to Argentina, and turned in a strong performance at the Admiral’s Cup, attracting international interest in the signing. From that time, and after the subsequent success of the 55-footer Scaramouche (1973), the firm climbs to the pinnacle of boating, designing and supervising more than a thousand hulls of all kinds and sizes. Among the great boats that have emerged from the study in the past century, to return to the theme, here are 9 Classic Boats signed Germán Frers, brilliant hulls of undoubted historical value.
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SWAN 51 | 1980
Nautor Swan | 15.62 x 4.47 m
Iconic boat, if only because it is the first Frers-designed Swan, after Nautor abandoned its long association with Sparkman & Stephens and began an equally laudable new one. That would be enough to make it a cult boat, but the
is also an unmistakable design, capable of standing out for its elegance and excellent sailing performance. It will be produced in 36 copies, demonstrating public appreciation. In 1991, 10 years after its first launch, it would still prove competitive, winning that season’s IOR championship.
FIRST 42 & FIRST 51 | 1981 & 1987
Beneteau | 13.08 x 3.99 m & 15.63 x 4.55 m
A forerunner of large series production in fiberglass, Beneteau over the years has relied on many renowned designers for its Performance First line. Prominent among them are the
from 1981 and the
, both by Frers. The first, striking in its very elegant line, strong in the pure style of the Argentine master, derived from the legendary Gitana VII.
The First 51, on the other hand, is the French shipyard’s boat that comes closest in quality to the boats of northern European shipbuilding. Frers’ design, here derived from a racing prototype, is impeccable. Due to the maximum beam of as much as 4.55 m the spaces above and below deck are unusual for the time. In both, a hand of Frers in a state of grace.
DUFOUR 39 | 1982
Dufour | 11.98 x 3.80 m
When Michel Dufour, founder and designer of the shipyard of the same name, moved away from them, Dufour relied on Germán Frers to relaunch with the early 1980s. Thus was born the Dufour 39, built in as many as 160 examples and which, although certainly less innovative than the “original” models, offers a great design and interior layout solutions that make it very comfortable. A project that, lacking its original master, certainly directs well the first steps of the new Dufour shipbuilding industry.
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Classic Boats. GRAND SOLEIL 52 & GRAND SOLEIL 42 | 1987 & 1989
Pardo Shipyard | 16.30 x 4.75 m & 12.65 x 4.05 m
In 1987, Cantiere del Pardo presented the
Grand Soleil 52
. The signature is Germán Frers although, with that huge stern with flared ends, you can tell right away. Two separate cockpits, exaggerated maximum beam (4.75 meters!), and a very elegant retractable deckhouse. It is immediately a masterpiece.
So in 1989 the Pardo decided to replicate, now on a smaller size, launching the 52”s younger brother, the new Grand Soleil 42′ Frers. With 130 units produced, it is one of the great successes of the Romagna shipyard at the time. It is distinguished by the large single rudder wheel and the Frers lines of the times.
Classic Boats. HALLBERG RASSY 36 MKI – 42 (F) – 46 | 1989; ’90 & ’95
Hallberg Rassy | 10.87 x 3.55 m – 13.22 x 3.95 m – 14.78 x 4.35 m
An archistar of the regatta and a shipyard that, on the other hand, cares very little about the regatta. A combination destined for success. In 1989, Hallberg Rassy launched its HR 36 Mark I signed by Frers and the result is resounding: 606 hulls produced. Clean, elegant lines are defined by a clear, secure deck, crowned by a well-protected central cockpit with forward wheelhouse. The quality is highest and the living work excellent. More will follow.
Indeed, in 1990 came the new HR 42′(F), where all the qualities of the shipyard, at the apex of which lie comfort and safety, meet for the first time the beauty of the Argentine archistar’s designs. The result is a lady globetrotting boat, highly appreciated: 230 units in 11 years. The long-cruise boat by definition: easy, safe, take anywhere, anytime.
Produced in more than 130 examples, the
Hallberg Rassy 46
is, finally, the natural evolution of the H.R. / Frers pairing. Same safety and ease of operation as the previous ones, but with extra large volumes to be ultra comfortable. Another round-the-world boat. In the year of the launch he won the Yacht of the Year award. Deserved.
Three “tidbits” about Classic Boats
- Want to learn more about the world of Classic Boats (1967-1998), the iconic boats of the period, the legendary designers, the stories and races of the “golden age” of sailing? Check out our section dedicated to Classic Boats!
- Do you have a Classic Boat to sell? Put it (for free) on our classifieds market!