A nautical barn-find: The yard of the forgotten wood-boats
When the shipyard filed for bankruptcy in 2011, the 160-year tradition of boatbuilding on the Elbe River came under threat. Fortunately, an investor surfaced with the intention of saving this age-old maritime venue and, while assessing the site, the new owner found hidden treasures in the corner of one of the halls – seven Swiss-built classic boats, left literally high and dry for many years.
This was a stroke of luck for Jörg Schaaf, the owner of the eponymous boat manufacturer now entrusted to sell this unique ‘boat package’. In the automotive world, barn-finds are becoming increasingly (and somewhat suspiciously) common, though ‘shipyard-finds’ remain something of a rarity – particularly when some of the subjects are over a century old.
The search has now begun for an owner interested in taking up the complete collection – however, there may be an opportunity to purchase each boat individually. Each can be found in the Classic Driver Market.
Though clearly in need of some extensive restoration, it doesn’t take much imagination to picture this wooden beauty – built circa 1928 at John Faul shipyard – shimmering away on Lake Zurich during a late summer’s evening.
The ‘Paraiso’ is ideal for skippers inspired by the boats of Pedrazzini or Boesch. Built at Weft Müller shipyard in Switzerland, the 6-metre-long boat appears to be in good condition, though a thorough check on its functionality would be strongly advised before attempting its (second time around) maiden voyage.
Measuring 9.6 metres, ‘Annie’ is the longest boat in the rediscovered collection. Built circa 1912 by Leeman of Pfäffikon, Switzerland, this round-bulkhead runabout offers not only seating for seven passengers, but also two crew members – leaving the new owner to do nothing but enjoy relaxed maritime life with a select group of friends.
Like the Lido, Tom II also came from the John Faul shipyard and measures 9 metres in length – but it’s a different proposition altogether. The tall mahogany hull and cabin affords room for 6-8 people, and beneath the rear deck lies a 90HP Ford V8.
Fittingly (for obvious reasons) named ‘Le Pelican’, this 8.5-metre long daycruiser was built at the Mégevet shipyard in 1919. Unfortunately, only the hull of this gentleman’s motorboat has survived, but the unusual form is plenty enough to show its potential once restored.
The Flaneur is the only boat in the collection to have already undergone restoration, back in 1991. It has not only been planked fore to aft in beautiful mahogany, it also has some exquisite details, such as retractable side windows, a chromed searchlight, and cream leather seats.
As yet un-named…
Thought to have been launched from the Werft Treichler & Co shipyard (later bought by Boesch) in 1906, this nameless open cruiser remains in an unrestored state, displaying some fine historic details – even more reason for it to be finally christened after 107 years of anonymity.