Mauro Feltrinelli, Never never land

Mauro Feltrinelli, the Frauscher importer for Italy, told us about the TimeSquare 20, which is powered by two Torqeedo outboards. It is the Austrian yard’s first electric catamaran. All revolutions start from a provocation

by Niccolò Volpati

My boat is different, one could say, misquoting a well-known advertising slogan for a bank. Once onboard I was welcomed by Mauro Feltrinelli, the exclusive Frauscher importer for Italy who also works with the Austrian yard on developing all of their new projects.

As he normally does, Mauro went straight ahead and hit me with a conundrum: «Which uses more energy, an LED or a halogen bulb?». He came to my aid with an answer while I was thinking that one over. «A halogen bulb that isn’t on uses less», he said. That is the approach to the TimeSquare 20. And frankly, one has to agree. If you want sustainable yachting then you have no choice but to reduce energy consumption. It is pointless to use electric, hybrid, or any other form of less ecologically damaging power system if you then use it a lot to produce more energy when at anchor. So essentially, if a yacht has a hybrid power system, but burns through energy like an iron smelter when it is in use, can you call that ecological? «That is why we have developed a catamaran project», says Feltrinelli. «At the end of the day, a multi-hull is very efficient. It takes less power to move, and for this design, we decided to use two Torqeedos. There is the standard model with 2 kW electric outboards, and a more powerful one with a pair of 10 kWs».


The partnership between Feltrinelli and Frauscher goes back to 2013 and the Garda-based boatyard has set itself for work on R&D for the Austrian firm. The work done by Feltrinelli has helped to develop the hulls of the motor boats and also contributed to a shift in production to fast commuter craft: quick, planing boats, powered by internal combustion engines, and from 25 to 46 feet long. Before then, Frauscher had almost exclusively produced electric boats and, still today, it has the Sanremo 600, Alassio 650, and 740 Mirage in the catalogue, which have now been joined by the TimeSquare 20. A great deal of painstaking research was put into the hull of this model. It was done, as is the tradition at Frauscher, by Harry Miesbauer, who has significant experience in the sailing world, as well as with Austrian motor boats. «It was a long research process, and an important investment for Frauscher, not least because – in addition to the design – work had to be put in to bring the yard into line for it», said Feltrinelli. «The aim was to give excellent directionality to TimeSquare 20 so as not to end up with a mismatch in the rpm in the two engines. It just takes a few revs difference to stop a boat from going perfectly straight. We didn’t want owners to have to correct the course with the wheel, also to reduce the risk of collision. That is why they studied the hull design closely to create a kind of depression that helps the boat hold its course better. It is a bit like wheel alignment on a car, something that takes trial and error until you get it just right».

TimeSquare 20 is a catamaran because it is more efficient than a single-hull boat. It needs less energy to get it moving.

What the Frauscher Italia is looking to do is to create a small distribution network that can offer all of the traditional endothermic fast commuter boats as well as all the electric models produced by the Austrian yard, including the latest arrival, throughout Italy.

Just doing a computer-based fluid dynamic study was never going to be enough, although Miesbauer did do one. Before deciding on the catamaran, Frauscher also evaluated using foils, but that idea was almost immediately scrapped because they don’t give room to handle the unexpected. «It only takes a tree trunk, some seaweed on the surface, or just a slightly bigger wave to make it difficult to control. And the challenge of the TimeSquare was to create a boat that was perfect for the sea, and not just for a lake with flat water», says Mauro. As we said earlier, Frauscher has been making electric motor boats since the mid-1950s, when they weren’t yet fashionable and were even looked down on, as Stephan Frauscher recalls. They never stopped making them, and indeed the yard now has around three thousand motorboats afloat on lakes around the world, and some of those models have been updated recently because there is more and more demand. But TimeSquare is something else. It is pure research and perhaps also a provocation.

It is powered by two Torqeedo outboards. The base version has a pair each producing 2 kilowatts, while the most powerful one has 2×10 kW.


«In reply to anyone who asks me what this boat is for», says Mauro Feltrinelli, «I answer that TimeSquare 20 isn’t a boat, but a floating island that didn’t yet exist but now does. It is not a craft to go TRAVEL by sea but one for ENJOYING the sea». It is indeed a different way to see pleasure boating. It has a decent range, and the design project has materialised with excellent results. To get to the quay at the Arsenal in Venice where we met up, Mauro told me that he had done eight nautical miles at 15 knots. He set off with the batteries at 100%, and when he arrived, they were still at 65%. It’s what you need to spend a day at sea, without running the risk of not being able to get back in the evening. The set-up seeks to promote socialising, under an awning or even two, if you want the whole deck to be in shade. There is also a stereo system and a lot of room in the fridge.

Anyone that comes on board should be aware that they may get their feet wet. The deck has been specially designed, so if you meet a wave that is higher than expected, the water comes in at the bow and exits at the stern. It is a boat you can use in the summer and which means you can have a private space far from the crowds and beaches that are overrun when it is hot.

Frauscher 1017 GT
Frauscher 686 Lido

Feltrinelli is the only exclusive Frauscher importer. It operates in Italy and up to now it has done so from its headquarters on Lake Garda, but the intention is to build up a small distribution network that can offer all of the fast internal combustion commuter boats and also all of the electric models produced by the Austrian yard, including the latest arrival. «And also, is it perhaps not true that a lot of people use a boat just to get to the closest bay to go swimming and then spend the rest of the day at anchor? TimeSquare 20 has been created for precisely that kind of requirement, and it has done so with two electric outboards and a catamaran hull that is very stable and efficient».

Frauscher Italia

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

Harry Miesbauer

LOA 8.30m • Maximum beam 2.50m • Light mass displacement 1,150 kg • Maximum 7 people on board

From 2×2 to 2×10 kW

(Mauro Feltrinelli, Never never land – – January 2023)