Photo by Lorenzo Giulietti
Ganz Boats strikes regardless its beautiful boats. The location of the shipyard, for example, is itself a strength. The headquarters, on the left shore of the long narrow river following the bright Alpine valley, are indeed situated in the green suburbs of Zurich, a city that, in terms of aesthetical impact and life quality, looks like Duckburg thanks to its orderly opulent perfection.
Facilities are the result of the urban renewal in the late 60’s when, during the excavation works of the railway tunnel which links the city railway station to the rest of the railroad network still today, the law obliged to load end products on some barges in order to leave Zurich through waterlines and not on the road (although living in the middle of Alpes, the Swiss understood that before us who are a long dock along the Mediterranean).
Ganz Boats currently raises around one of those ramps originally built to carry materials on board working boats: “that’s why we can load it so much since it was designed to support extremely heavy moving loads” Ganz Boats Sales Manager Davor Panarese explains.
In addition to being the cradle of open boats carrying the capital G, Ganz Yachting is also a dry port which hosts 45 boats owned by different owners that “we can put into water even with an hour’s notice”.
” Berths – Davor explains pointing at the mooring places of the small port located opposite the shipyard – are managed by the city council and the waiting list to have a berth is very long -up to 20 years. It depends on the size of your boat: the longer it is, the longer you’ll have to wait for. This is why we also offer a dry berth service that is considerably appreciated”.
The double soul of this nautical care place is evident: on one side, there is a boathouse; on the other one, a real shipyard equipped with an in-house carpentry department.
There, about ten people, guided by the Production Manager Hakan Özen, assemblies and arranges the boats which will bear the Ganz logo on their side. When we visit the shipyard, the models which are taking shape within the Ganz production site located at number 264 Bellerivestrasse are three: two Ovation 6.8 and an Elovation 7.6.
” If there are no particular requests in terms of building materials and the owner chooses a classis polyester hull, we turn to a subcontractor, the Italian AMG Nautica that always ensures us high quality, for moulding ” our guide explains “otherwise, as for this second 6.8 made of epoxy and aramid resin, we directly deal with moulding and lamination phases”.
All production phases proceed very quickly: since when the hull is ready until when the boat can be delivered to its owner, it takes no more than five weeks to which additional three ones must be added in the event that the shipyard has to deal with hull and deck moulding phase, too.
Hanging from the ceiling, a narrow long wooden boat with a biconcave hull ideally separates the fitting area from the carpentry department. It is supported by two thin orange bands which apparently seem undersized for such a means that cannot weight less than a couple of tons. ” That’s a piece of my personal visual childhood experiences that has entered my reality as a boat manufacturer”, the young owner of the shipyard Matthias Ganz explains to us while getting some fresh air after a morning of hard work. “When I was child and I came to this lake with my parents, both great enthusiasts of sailing and motor boats, I always saw this beautiful wooden boat going out of a villa and sailing away peacefully. When I opened my shipyard, I looked for that boat again and, once I finally found her, I couldn’t help but take her. At the moment, she is under a never-ending restoration phase, in the sense we never have the time to complete it because we’re always busy with our deliveries but I’m sure I will be able to make her sail again”.
Matthias Ganz is also the designer of six boats ranging from 6.8 mt to 9.2 mt, all built in the Zurich-based production site. He constantly collaborates with Davide Leone, the “Roman of Lugano” as his colleagues like calling him, a naval engineer who joined the Ganz team in 2013. ” Our boats are totally customizable also because they result from extreme personalization” Matthias explains and adds: ” In addition to sailing races, I decided to take a motor boat and use it in the lake. Since nothing was of my interest, I decided to build one on my own and, when I finally realized that I could sail, I noticed that, at every outing, a small crowd stopped to look at my boat. I therefore understood that I was on the high road and I decided to start my activity in a concrete way but always leaving any owner the chance of customizing his boat to his own advantage”.
Craftsmanship and the direct designer-owner relationship are the main strengths of Ganz Boats.
” We’ve also built an Evolution 7.6 powered by a 4 Kw electric propulsion system because the owner didn’t want a means to be driven with the inevitable license that is compulsory above that power in Switzerland and we’ve also found the way to make him sail under any condition by creating a small centerboard providing more stability even in crosswind and with that minimum thrust”, Panarese explains while pointing at the keel of the boat.
Ganz Boats, however, is not only a shipyard and a boathouse but time-sharing, too. Today, ever more people understand the difference between ownership and use and more and more nautical enthusiasts choose the second option to the detriment of the first one. This led to Ganz Sharing, the organization that allows up to 8 owners per boat to have an Ovation 6.8 at just 5,000 Swiss Francs a year ( in practice, 5,000 euros) plus a one-off entry-fee of 3,000 Francs.
” The system works with time credits you can buy for just one franc. Each day has a specific value, ranging 225 credits on Monday morning to 600 credits in weekends and holiday afternoons. A short notice is sufficient to book your boat. Furthermore, you are not obliged to remain in the same place. You can enjoy all boats of the Ganz Sharing fleet now available on the main Swiss lakes: Lucerne, Maggiore, Constance and, of course, Zurich” Davor explains.