Frauscher turned 90 years old this year and to celebrate this maritime milestone, the Austrian shipyard released its 858 Fantom Air, a day cruiser loaded with first-class features and a large helping of style.


From its shipyard on Lake Traunsee, Frauscher has been building innovative yachts since 1928. As you can imagine, the Austrian boat manufacturer has gained its fair share of knowledge over the years, and now it specialises in building fun, innovative boats, such as its celebratory 858 Fantom Air.

The Air is the open version of the popular closed 858 Fantom, meaning the bow section loses its cabin and instead is fitted with two large seating pads. This sun-lover’s delight can be turned into a dining area courtesy of retractable table, which, when set at the seat level and with the additions of a large cushion can be transformed into a large sunpad. There’s plenty of hidden storage here too, with under seat systems for luggage and fenders, with a retractable 30-litre drinks refrigerator installed under the sofa at the stern.

Frauscher opened its first boatyard in Vienna back in 1927. Six years later, the Olympia-Jolle sailing boat is launched and the adventure begins.

The centre console has a wide walkway either side, with the Frauscher’s C-shaped sofa behind the helm seats backing onto a pair of sunpads mounted on the engine cover. The split pads allow guests to head on board, or back to the swim platform without disturbing the relaxing sunbathers.

Despite its modest 8.6-metre length, there’s plenty of usable space here, with the four areas – bow, lounge, sunpads and swim platform, creating the feeling of being on a much larger day boat. However, this is the Middle East, so it’s reassuring to know that the folding bow and stern bimini tops can be erected in mere seconds, shading the Air’s occupants from the heat of the sun – ideal for lunchtime drinks.

The Austrian boat manufacturer has gained its fair share of knowledge over the years.

The Fantom Air comes with three engine variants: a 300hp Volvo Penta and two MerCruiser V8s putting out either a 350, or 430hp. It was the latter Big Block V8 that was powering our Fantom Air in Cannes and we can confirm that the boat quickly gains speed, smoothly gets up on plane and quietly lands, without any sharp impacts and jolts going through Cannes’ infamous chop. It’s a dry ride too, with even the most spirited driving from the skipper failing to make a salty mark on any of the guests.

While we’re at the 858’s world premiere in Cannes we heard from Michael Frauscher that the shipyard has already received the first orders for the day cruiser, with the boats leaving the Ohlsdorf shipyard before the summer. “With the 858 Fantom Air we hope to continue the success of the 686 Lido, the 747 Mirage Air and the 1017 Lido,” Michael explains. “The 858 Fantom Air is yet another model that is ideal for a quiet picnic in the bay or for an adventurous sprint through the waves.” One thing’s for sure, with over 200 centre console yachts sold in the last few years, Frauscher’s craft are definitely proving a hit with boaters across the globe.