The Argentario Sailing Week 2018 regatta that wrapped up last Sunday offered three generations of the Frers family – grandfather German, son Mani and grandson German Jr. – a much awaited opportunity to sail together on lovely Fjord III, owned by Scott Perry and designed by German Frers Senior in 1949.
On the last day of racing, four-time Italian Olympic Medal Champion and current member of the Italian Olympic Committee Alessandra Sensini also joined the all-star crew to share her knowledge of local weather and racecourse expertise.
“I must say today was an unforgettable experience. To sail with three generations of Frers was an unexpected gift: grandfather, father and son are so similar to one another and the coordination between them is incredible. We shot through the starting line right on time and, despite the little instrumentation onboard, you could see German following his gut, his instinct, his nose. There wasn’t much talking, they moved as one,” stated Alessandra Sensini at the end of the race.
Back on the docks and in front of an ice-cold beer, Mani Frers recalled how he got the idea to take part in the Tuscan leg of Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge with his father and his son. “I was sailing on Folly and I realized that we, as a family, had never sailed together so I proposed a family reunion of sorts. Argentario Sailing Week seemed like a perfect opportunity to come together and race.” Each of the three Frers then shared what the family values and heritage of the previous generation had passed on to them.
German Frers was the first to talk about his father’s legacy, “German Frers Senior was a very good man with a great heart. He talked lot and sailed even more. His yachts have been studied from every angle and his defining trait was harmony. My father’s gift to me was teaching me to be passionate about what I do and the magic he put into his drawings is what has inspired me over the years. I have seen great changes, just think of the transition from pencil drafting to computer-generated design. But one aspect that has not – and will not – ever change is that of creating connections with everyone putting boat together; and respecting the people who work for and with us is at the heart of our vision. I am proud of the fact that as a family we have managed to carry on the magic,” he concluded.
Next, son Mani Frers spoke of his father’s life lessons. “My father German is a man of very few words, who leads by example. If you go into any marina you can immediately identify the yachts he has designed; they just stand out for their elegance. As a child, I remember my dad would bring home wood scraps from the boatyard and let us use his tools to build anything we could imagine, encouraging us to be creative. We are used to doing things together and enjoy it. For many years, we had a family cruising boat and my son German first sailed on her when he was just 6 months old. Her name was Heroina, in memory of the original frigate Heroina that fought in the Falklands War in 1841 and that belonged to my great-great-grandfather. My father has taught me to embrace the passion and fun of sailing while relentlessly striving to improve. At all times.”
Finally, the youngest of the Frers – 18-year-old German Junior, also contributed to the discussion “I have lived on boats for most of my life and sailing has taught me to live fully in the moment. However, what my father and grandfather have taught me is that boat lines need to be good for sailing but that at the same time lines must be sweet on the eyes.”
Alessandra Sensini also comes from generations of sea-lovers and spoke about what her father’s legacy is. “I inherited Dedo’s passion, his love of the sea. My father also taught me the importance of knowing the sea intimately, inside and out. Not only above its surface but also below. And most importantly, he taught me how to be at sea. I experienced the sea in so many ways… Windsurfing initially started out as a game, soon became a dream and then a means to achieve my dreams. Eventually windsurfing became my job, a job that opened the doors to the life that has followed a competitive career. Now I can experience the sea in any way I like, swimming, surfing, kiting, sailing. I have learned that this is the best part of our sport and it is what I want to pass on to the next generation”.
When asked where she sees herself at German Frers age, Alessandra Sensini answered, “I see myself on the sea, in a place where I can have a boat and lots of other sea-toys. Perhaps a classic yacht with its different approach, spirit and a greater sense of harmony with the water. What I really loved about sailing on Fjord III was the sound; so much lighter, softer, rounder and organic… more like the sea”.
more info argentariosailingweek.it
by Tessa Wiechmann