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The 18 winners of the ShowBoats Design Awards 2017

17 of 18 17/18
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17

Lifetime Achievement

Germán Frers 

Naval Architect

Buenos Aires, Argentina

First yacht design: Mirage, 1958

Some people are said to be born with a silver spoon; for Germán Frers it was more like a silver pencil. There was little doubt that Germán would learn naval architecture as his father, also Germán, was a leading figure in sailboat design. He grew up racing dinghies and later crewed on powerful yachts his father designed for offshore races such as Buenos Aires to Rio, the Bermuda Race and Onion Patch, Admiral’s Cup and SORC. Helping in his father’s studio as a draftsman after school, in 1957, the first boat launched to his design. It was a 10 metre offshore yawl and the first fibreglass boat ever built in Argentina. He was just 16. While Germán was still at college, Rod Stephens heard about his talents and invited him to work at the legendary Sparkman & Stephens design firm, where he became one of the principal architects, before establishing an independent studio. 

In 1970, however, he returned to Argentina to take up the reins of his father’s studio. His first two yachts for the Argentine Admiral’s Cup team did well and his next big project, the 55 foot Scaramouche, won nearly every race it entered. His designs have won all the major trophies around the world and his client list is a Who’s Who in both racing and luxury cruising circles. Straddling both those worlds, he began designing for Nautor’s Swan in 1979, a relationship that continues to today. In 1989 he moved to Italy to design Raul Gardini’s America’s Cup challenger, and in so doing created Il Moro di Venezia, the fastest challenger of the new America’s Cup class of yachts that replaced the 12 metres in 1992. The Frers team next joined Prada for the 2000 Cup and the Frers-inspired Luna Rossa also won the Louis Vuitton challenger series. 

He maintains a design office in Milan, run by his son, naval architect, Germán “Mani” Frers. Together, three men named Germán Frers have designed more than 700 boats. In recent years, Germán’s star shines in the stratosphere of superyachts, from Rebecca and Hyperion in 1999 to Indio in 2009 to 2013’s multi-award-winning Inukshuk, and 2016’s Unfurled, Sailing Yacht of the Year in 2016. We congratulate Germán Frers for his lifetime of yacht design excellence.

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