By Gilbert Vacheret, France Chapter

I’m happy to present to you my Pedrazzini boat, she is an European classic boat with lots of American boat character traits. 

In the beginning in 1906, Augusto Pedrazzini emigrated from Italy to the shores of Lake Zurich where he started his nautical experience. Even though this brand is a bit less famous than the most iconic Italian boat-builder, Riva, it worth noting that nowadays, Pedrazzini is the only shipyard that keeps building mahogany wooden boat in Europe. The production remains very limited with only 6 to 7 units per year, each requiring between eight and 10 months of work.

Ferrucio Pedrazzini with his sister, Fernanda, in boat demonstration.

We go boating with her on the calm waters of lakes or those often more turbulent of our rivers and sometimes on the choppy water of Mediterranean sea.

I live in Bordeaux, southwest of France, a famous wine country. 16 years ago one of my clients had a project to build a boatyard on the bank of the Garonne river in Bordeaux, it’s there that I found my boat in a very poor condition. It was like a childhood dream, the pictures of the Riviera and the Mahogany classic boats were there, I decided to purchase her.

The hull and the decks with the hardware were complete, unfortunately the upholstery wasn’t the original and the windshield was missing.

In 2006, the Pedrazzini before restoration work.

One by one bad frames and transom were removed. Besides, bottoms with keel and planks had been damaged and had to be replaced. Decks were rebuilt with African Mahogany and Hornbeam wood for deck seams.

After all varnish work was done and before their reinstallation, the hardware parts were re-chromed. The steering wheel comes from a 1930s Mercedes Benz car, the upholstery is of my own design and the bracket of the windscreen were copied from a 30 ft Hacker Craft triple cockpit. However, I have informed Pedrazzini that if they were able to give me any information on these original parts, I would be ready to remake them identically.

Cockpit of Liberthines.

The first round of restoration took 3 years and in June 2009, we boated for the first time on board of Libertines. As everyone knows, a boat restoration is a process that never really ends and each year, works are necessary and keep transforming the boat.

It’s not easy to find informations about Pedrazzini classic wooden boats as the boatyard located in Bäch on lake Zurich, Switzerland, burned with all their archives. I believe that my boat is a 21-foot Runabout Sport de Luxe built in 1947, powered with a Gray Phantom SIX 88 Hp #D-13371 and re powered after the restoration with a modern engine Mercruiser 5,7l V8, yet I still have the original engine.

During the restoration we found the number #506 engraved on the keel, it’s seems that isn’t the hull number but the number of the boat model, indeed the regular numbering of the hulls in chronological order was introduced in 1958.

2018 in Como Lake Italy.

In the 1930’s the first runabouts Pedrazzini were built, with an austere luxury, they were endowed by a strong freeboard. The Pedrazzini family and their craftmen, have always preferred quality rather than quantity.

During the second half of the 20th century, Pedrazzini runabouts are boats that harmoniously look like the Italian runabouts Riva with this inimitably elegant design from the 1950s. Previously, from 1932 to 1952, under the influence of famous American shipyards, Garwood, Hacker Craft, the first Pedrazzini runabouts had many similarities with them, they were built mainly under the Swiss Mobile brand.

Until today, I never saw another model like Liberthines, during meetings we often see more recent models like the 21-foot Mistral, a semi enclosed. I don’t know if she is unique, as Pedrazzini yards build each model in few units per year, it will be difficult to find another one, maybe one day. 

The name Liberthine was the previous name of my boat, it has been a long process to find a name and with Severine, my wife, we imagined to do a contraction of the first names of all the family members, LIBER for me Gilbert, TH for Mathias and Thomas, my twin boys, INE for Marine, my daughter, and Severine my wife. Recently we have added a S for Jules, my last son, hence the name of the boat became Liberthines.

France Chapter members.

With her, we have boated in Monaco during the Classic Week – La Belle Classe, In Aveiro at the south of Porto (Portugal) it’s an amazing city with a lot of canals through the city center, like Venezia, on the Como Lake in Italy for the A.S.D.E.C. meets and every early June, we take part to the Cap Retro meeting in Cap d’Agde on the Mediterranean Sea.

At last, every year at the end of September just before the winter season, with classic boat lovers we meet us on the Cazaux lake near Bordeaux for a boating week-end.


Since my last article with Libertines was published in ACBS Rudder, we participated to the Classic Week in Monaco. Last year we were honored to welcome some members of the ACBS board in Bordeaux together we navigated on the Garonne and Dordogne rivers across the vineyard of Bordeaux.

During this last month of May we were in Venice (Italy) for the international meeting organized by A.S.D.E.C.. We navigated in the Venetian lagoon, in Venice all the trips are by boat. Big or small boats, bus or taxi, gondola, ambulance, safety and police boats, fast or slow and private or public boats, it was a crazy experience. Every day it was a new trip to the islands: Murano, Mazzorbo, Torcello, Burano, San Francesco del Deserto with the convent dated 1200, Sant’Erasmo, the Vignole and at sunset, to end the day, a navigation on the “Canal Grande”  boating under the Rialto bridge.

29th Voile d’Antibes – Il Sogno, 1962 Arcangeli commander; Liberthines, Tosca, 1962 Arcangeli, Super Jolly Moni Billy, 1969 Riva Olympic Vent d’Est, 1963 Riva Ariston

Two weeks longer we were invited to participated to the 29th meeting of The Voiles d’Antibes on the Mediterranean Sea. This meeting was, until this edition, open only for the to the classic sailing yacht regattas. This year was a special edition with for the first time the participation of the wooden classic motor boats and Liberthines won the Grand Prix d’Élégance 2024. 

Next year will be the 30th birthdays of the Voiles d’Antibes and we ‘ll be there with more boats. 



  1. Really great story, thanks for sharing. Here in the US we don’t realize how much boating you can do over in Europe.

  2. It is tremendous to read about classic boats from overseas like yours. It would be an amazing to experience other countries like France, Italy, and Spain from the water in a classic boat!

    Thank you very much for sharing her story and travels.

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