Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, Frauscher is one of those small yacht builders that has always gone its own way, with edgy, cool designs. The Frauscher 858 Fantom Air, debuting this week at the Cannes Yachting Festival, is the open version of the Frauscher 858 Fantom. But the 28-foot Air is much more than just a cabin-less day boat. One gets the sense of superior design and quality immediately on stepping aboard the Air, with a slender teak gangway that passes two large sunbeds at the stern and connects with the center cockpit. The “exposed” helm seat, as the Austrian builder calls this center-console design, is a Frauscher staple that has been a trademark feature on its three other successful models. The design of the helm, with a helm and companion seat, allows free movement through the rest of the cockpit, with seats aft and lounges just forward, and a similar teak passage leading up to the teak foredeck.
Overhead, the 858 Fantom Air is a piece of floating art, with a beautiful sense of proportion from stem to stern. Frauscher included some nice aesthetic touches like a slightly rounded front and windlass shaped like a Darth Vader helmet at the prow. But practical details like good storage under the seats and in the cockpit floor define the boat. Two biminis shades lift from hidden compartments in the hull sides, opening in seconds to provide sun protection. They lift and retract in seconds. The boat also has a spray hood for rain.
The design was a collaboration among Thomas Gerzer, Frauscher’s head of development, yacht designer Harry Miesbauer, and the KISKA design firm. The Air can be powered by inboard engines ranging from 300 to 430 hp. The Air’s 98-gallon fuel tanks allow for longer excursions at slower cruise speeds. Options include a refrigerated drawer (think cruising sailboat) and lounge package. Frauscher also has a range of colors to suite the owner’s preferences.