Frauscher 1212 Ghost, I am not afraid

It is a “ghost” that isn’t scary – far from it, it is reassuring. The hull by Harry Miesbauer is perhaps even better than ever. Performance and stability are delivered by Frauscher

by Niccolò Volpati

“A SPECTRE IS STALKING EUROPE…” These words were written over 170 years ago by a man with a long white beard whose first name was Karl and whose surname was Marx. And, by chance, the man accompanying me during the test also had a thick white beard. But beyond similar looks, our guy isn’t Marx but Mauro Feltrinelli, the head of the yard that bears his name in Gargnano on Lake Garda, which imports Frauscher motorboats and also works as technical consultants for the Austrian firm. Basically, he is somebody who has a hand in every new model created on the other side of the Alps.

And this “spectre stalking Europe” isn’t a new socio-economic system, but the latest cruiser made by Frauscher called the 1212 Ghost. Let’s start with the feel. I tried out the joystick in the harbour, and it handled well as if the drives were IPS systems. They are the new DPIs by Volvo, so stern drives. The work that they have done is significant because the joystick with a sterndrive didn’t work so well before. But these are much more manageable at low speed, and the gap in performance with the IPS has nearly completely disappeared. There is a speed limit of 22 knots in the gulf. We went easy getting to the outlet, but once we had got past Saint Tropez, I opened up the throttles. Offshore, the waves were a bit choppier, and when I got to 42 knots, I turned as hard as I could.

Frauscher 1212 Ghost

I had high expectations, very high actually. All the other boats Frauscher makes have always had excellent hulls. Harry Miesbauer knows what he is doing. But the boat is perhaps even better than I expected. As I turned across the slightly choppy sea and over the wakes left behind by other yachts what struck me most was how the hull was glued to the surface. The feeling you get is, every time that the boat jumps on the waves, that it quickly wants to get back in contact with the water. It is as if it had some kind of artificial intelligence that keeps it stuck to the surface. Perhaps Miesbauer has managed to invent the first software-controlled hull. Joking aside, the feeling is really something.

Frauscher 1212 Ghost
Frauscher 1212 Ghost

It is very easy to helm. It never gets into trouble, regardless of the conditions. Turning back and forth makes no difference to it. It responds very quickly and immediately finds the right trim. And is immediately right back on course. Another feeling that struck me was that it isn’t easy working out whether you are planing or in displacement mode. The trim is so flat, even when you ease off the gas, you don’t clearly notice when the boat stops planing and sits back on the water.

Rounding off the good work is the helm, and calling it soft to handle is practically a euphemism. I held the wheel with a finger, and I didn’t even need to push. With the slightest pressure from one fingertip, I managed to adjust course exactly how I want it. The Volvo drives aren’t just effective at minimum speed and using the joystick. Even when you turn at high speed it does its work extraordinarily well. The outcome is a collection of excellent good points between stern drives, helm, waterlines and weight distribution for the trim.

As well as the feelings it gives you, the numbers also tell us that we are talking about a boat that has been done very well. The most significant figure, from my point of view, is the one related to litres used per mile. At minimum planing speed that amount is 2.8 litres a nautical mile, while at top speed – which is 45 knots – that figure is 3.7 litres. A little bit beyond minimum planing speed, litres per mile even declines. That means that the hull is even more efficient between 1800 and 2600 rpm, which in speed terms is around 15 to 30 knots. It isn’t difficult to understand that we are talking about a perfect range in terms of cruising speed. I would be willing to bet that 80% of the usage of the boat takes place between 15 and 30 knots.

Frauscher 1212 Ghost

The deck design is eye catching, though without being excessive. There is nothing out of place. The shapes really reflect the car world, but there is no lack of functional choices, like the ones for the awning, the anchor or the fender attachments.

After all, it is called Ghost, but more than being scary, I would say that it is reassuring. Being on the boat when it is underway isn’t scary because it is stable and the trim works well. Being at the helm isn’t scary either, because the helm is exceptionally soft. And the speed doesn’t scare you either because although you can do 45 knots, you never get the feeling that you are in danger, and – finally – fuel consumption levels are limited and don’t cause you concern, and the hull is very efficient at cruising speeds.

It is quite simply perfect. Both in terms of how it turns, and the trim, and because it is really simple to helm. Even a newcomer can feel as if they are racing a speedboat.

And then there is the design, which is definitely not an element that Frauscher feels it can overlook. It is the work of Stephan Everwin, who had already taken on the 1017 Lido and who has often worked with Porsche. The world of sports cars is reflected in a lot of details on the deck. In some of the rounded shapes in the stern, for example, or on the sides and at the helm station, references to the automobile sector are certainly evident. I didn’t find some of the other choices made in fitting out the deck especially functional. The awning is opened by hand, but it doesn’t take any effort. By contrast, the anchor system is entirely electrical: a button on the helm station opens up the locker, and opens up the arm and does the anchoring. There is no need to take risks in the bows, and in any case, it wouldn’t even be that easy to get around given that, in perfect Frauscher style, there is hardly anything to hang onto on the entire deckhouse. But you can’t win all the time.

And I found Stephan Everwin’s work below decks less convincing. It is wide enough, and the volumes are impressive, but there isn’t enough headroom. Height has been sacrificed, and you don’t have 180 centimetres as you go below. A bit less even, and it is the kind of headroom that is deceptive. If it were lower, I would notice, and would bend down, whereas as it is I think I am going to be able to get through, and duly end up knocking my head just as I walk towards the convertible dinette.

Frauscher 1212 Ghost
Frauscher 1212 Ghost
The area in the convertible dinette is significant, as is that in the cabin, which could even take three people. There is also plenty of room in the toilet, which is in a separate room. The only flaw is that it could do with a few more centimetres headroom.

Apart from that, this cruiser has been very well done, both in terms of how it handles underway, and also in terms of looks, thanks to a design that is functional, but also very individual. It is perfect to satisfy the many demands made by somebody who is looking for a day boat, or for short and medium-range cruises. All in all, Mauro Feltrinelli’s motto, and that of the Frauscher yard could be: “yachtsmen of all the world, unite!”.

Engine room
The pair of Volvo D6s with new stern drives isn’t the only option. You can also go for a pair of petrol-powered MerCruisers, which are probably more intended for overseas markets.

Frauscher Bootswerft GmbH & Co KG
Betriebspark Ehrenfeld 3
4694 Ohlsdorf | Austria
T. +43 7612/636 55

Cantiere Nautico Feltrinelli
Via della Libertà, 59
I-25084 Gargnano (BS)
T. +39 0365 71240

PROJECT: Harry Miesbauer (hull) and Stephan Everwin (design)

HULL: LOA 11.99m Maximum beam 3.50m Light mass displacement 8,000 kg Fuel tank volume 850 l Water tank volume 150 l 2 berths

MAIN PROPULSION: 2xVolvo Penta D6 440 Outlet mechanical power 324kW (440 hp) 4 stroke 6 cylinders in line Compression ratio 1.69:1 Swept volume 5.5 l Maximal rotational speed 3700/min Dry weight 790 kg


PRICE: 590,000 , Excl.VAT, as standard

(Frauscher 1212 Ghost, I am not afraid – – January 2021)