The story of boater Tomas Garcia came to us originally from a European Boston Whaler representative who met him at the bustling Friedrichshafen Boat Show. When asked in casual conversation how his 220 Outrage was treating him, Tomas’s response was an emphatic, “That boat has changed my life!”
Which turned out to be no exaggeration. A resident of the French city of Sciez, Tomas had been working for a dealership located in the Naval de Corsier-Port shipyard, a reasonable 25-minute drive from his home. Then, in October of 2012, he was offered a prime new role: the chance to work for Port Vidoli S.A., an affiliate of Whaler’s Swiss distributor W.A.R. Bootbau, as director of its repair and maintenance shop. It was a much deserved promotion, but one that came with a significant drawback: the drive time was now at least 75 minutes each way. “And that’s if everything goes well!” Tomas says. “Because it involves crossing the French/Swiss border, it’s rather between 90 and 120 minutes each morning and evening.”
As anyone who’s endured a long, congested drive to and from work well knows, the situation was less than ideal, to say the least. But Tomas had an idea. He lives surrounded by the vast Lake Geneva. Water is literally everywhere. Boats are woven into the very fabric of the place. What if the Boston Whalers around which he’d built his career could also provide the antidote to his toxic commute?
“It didn’t take me a long time to decide I could take the 220 Outrage to work,” Tomas says. “Now, I cross the lake by boat, and it’s less than 30 minutes door to door. Even abiding by the speed limit along the coast, the crossing is very quick,” he says. “I do have the good fortune to lead a private port, where my mooring is just 20 meters from my office.”
The unconventional commuting method has had other upsides, including a surprise boost to his salesmanship. He recently sold a 210 Montauk to a customer who swore, after a test run on Tomas’s Outrage, that he’d “never seen anyone more passionate about his boat.” As these things tend to be, the best passions are contagious.
Tomas might be a bit effusive in describing his new ride, but who among the road-weary former traffic warriors wouldn’t be? “The 220 Outrage is perfect,” Tomas says. “It behaves well in all weather conditions, even the most difficult, and I feel perfectly safe. With the center console and its T-top with the weather curtains set, I’m protected from the wind and rain.”
Given that the region sees plenty of both—one weather database describes precipitation that is “not only plentiful but reliable and frequent”—the optional added protection was a smart choice. But the area receives a nice share of sun, too, and benefits from temperatures that are mostly mild, and certainly within acceptable Whaler conditions. Summers on Geneva are spectacular.
In addition to its considerable commuting perks, the Outrage affords Tomas the opportunity to explore and play host. “It’s very nice and handy for trips with family and friends,” he says. “Lake Geneva is the largest lake in the Alps, and above all a great playground and a place of wonderful freedom.”
He cites numerous can’t-miss attractions that line the shore, including the Chateau de Chillon, a beautiful island castle dating back to the 12th century that draws tourists from around the world with its dramatic architecture. Other favorites include the medieval villages of Yvoire and Nernier, places rich with history and charm that happen to be accessible by boat. There’s also Geneva, with its famous water fountain, the Jet d’Eau, where Tomas and friends travel by Outrage to take in the hour-long fireworks display each summer at the Fêtes de Genève.
Beyond the many destinations around the lake, its rich nautical heritage is perhaps its best feature. From old sailing boats like the Barques du Leman, to classic runabouts impeccably preserved, to experimental hydrofoil sailing craft like Syz & Co catamaran and Hydroptere trimaran, the waterways have encouraged innovation and enjoyment for centuries. “You’ll see an impressive number of prototypes that are changing sailing day after day,” Tomas says, rattling off a list of famous craft seen from aboard his Whaler. “There are too many things to say about this magnificent lake! The best solution,” he adds with a grin, “would be to come visit and see for yourself.”