Photo by Lorenzo Giulietti
Experiencing a sea trial on board a Ganz Ovation 7.6 in Lake Zurich is like driving a Ferrari in Maranello.
Relatively speaking, of course. But it’s precisely near these waters that Matthias Ganz’s open boats are built and take their first glides. The background is ideal to find out how this product of the Swiss art of boat building sails.
Although it can sound counter-intuitive to link Switzerland to recreational boating ( without taking into account all the references to the America’s Cup and the numerous ocean races won by the boats of the Swiss Confederation), doubts get clarified at the first visual approach to the boats they built. Ganz Boats is not the oldest boat manufacturer in Switzerland; on the contrary, it’s quite recent since it was founded in 2011 when Matthias realized that the prototype he had built for his private use fascinated more than one single enthusiast.
The original style that characterized his first boats is still preserved on the latest models he continues to design in collaboration with the naval architect Davide Leone. As a result, this Ovation 7.6 features the traditional stylistic elements of the shipyard: a simple-designed prominent hull, emphasized by the chine that leads the observer to look from midship to the deck which, in its turn, combined with the reverse steel, streamlines the profile of the motorboat without compromising its overall muscly appearance. In addition of working as a beauty line, as the line running along the side of cars is commonly named, the chine also has an excellent practical function: it protects passengers against water sprays.
The deck includes several steel details, such as the windshield frame which can be opened in the middle to offer a passage to the bow, the rubbing strake, handrails, stemhead fittings and stern reinforcements. Equally interesting are the air inlets, trapezoidal to the quarter, the stern sections with reverse topsides and the large windows on the bow which flood the internal cabin with natural light.
The model we tested, like any Ganz boat, has been customized by the owner who asked for a sturdy roll-bar because ” his children practise wakeboarding, so he looked for a boat suitable even for these circumstances”, Ganz Boats Sales Manager Davor Panarese explains. Despite the bulky presence of this superstructure, that can be folded in order to reduce the motorboat height in the event it has to be loaded on a carriage or pass under extremely low bridges, this Ovation 7.6 is an elegant family motorboat anyway.
Walkable surfaces, except for the fore hatchway, are totally covered with teak, including the stern swimming platform. One among the key elements of Ganz boats is just the possibility to move from the stern to the cabin walking on a one-level cockpit. However, the latter includes two separate zones: one houses the driving console and the pilot’s seat (which can accommodate up to two adults) while the other, just behind it, hosts a small galley equipped with standard sink and front-open refrigerator. Stoves and BBQ can be installed on demand. On the opposite side, a L-shaped sofa can accommodate three people while, behind it, a large sun pad completes the amenities of this amazing boat.
The cabin below deck is restricted in height but surrounded by large windows providing it with a lot of natural light. Here, two adults can sleep with no problem. The “weekend vocation” of the boat lies more in the total absence of a toilet rather than in the real sizes of the V-shaped bed.
Before sailing off for our sea trial, we take a few minutes to familiarize ourselves with on-board equipment and controls. Extremely compact but equally complete, they include just two needle indicators: the racetrack and the Volvo Penta 430 Hp inboard-outboard log along with a four-in-one device which displays fuel level, engine temperature, outdrive trim and battery voltmeter. Unlike previous models where they were located on the side, on this model, electric controls, gas/inverter throttle, electronics and engine controls (trim assist, cruise control etc.) have been installed on a specific armrest covered with the same material used for on-board upholstery.
The other electric controls are gathered in a practical button panel positioned next to the throttle. On-board and navigation functions are all monitored by a “central control unit” connected to a large display Ganz has built in collaboration with Raymarine to provide the pilot with all navigation data, alarms and waypoints of the boat.
We go out of the small harbour at slow speed, right under the watchful eye of the lake police. But, about 300 mt off the coast, we can sail up to 39.8 knots (detected by our gps device). In the peaceful waters of Zurich, it feels good to run around on board this beautiful boat that, despite sizes – you feel like steering something really stable and concrete rather than a simple 7.60-metre boat – is ready to speed up quickly.
That’s evident also because the boat was built as a wakeboarding means. Tight turns are a little less exciting but you can equally have fun changing the position of the inboard-outboard trim. But when she changes direction, the Ovation 7.6 is always stable and precise. Unfortunately the only waves we met in our poorly sunny Wednesday afternoon of early May were those generated by the other motorboats sailing the lake. But the hull makes promises of soft passages on waves.