“The Gozzo Sorrentino must be heard and understood, because it tells a story, our story, and shows us a way of searching for the quality of life that we have lost.”
To Talk with Cataldo Aprea, Managing Director of Imbarcazioni d’Italia, regardless of the subject, whether it be sea, boat or vision of life in general, you meet that ability of evoking images through the words, that was typical of past generations, when we were not stifled by images and talking was a way of being together: it was an art.
The fact that Cataldo belongs to the fourth generation of boat builders, and is the expression of a family with 170 years of history, authorizes us to imagine a vein of wisdom, which fades in the lightness of stories, in suddenly laughing, in the peaks of enthusiasm generated by a memory.
What seems impossible is to hold the enthusiastic oratory vein of the boat builder. We called him to try, in vain, to know something more about the next news, a new gozzo that will be brought to the Cannes show, and presented for the first time on September 1 in Capri. Topic cleared in two minutes: It will be a ten meter boat – said Aprea – respectful of traditions but with innovations that will surprise you.
After that, the words become cherries: one pulls the other, making sentences that become thoughts.
To continue producing “Gozzo Sorrentino” is almost a mission for you. Where does it come from? .
By the desire not to give up to what was an announced death of the gozzo. It was 1983, I was a very young boat builder, and the idea was to find a way not only to keep the gozzo from disappearing but also to relaunch it. Therefore, I began to draw the first hulls.
His idea of relaunching the gozzo sorrentino was a bit of a blow, with classical canons.
There was a widespread conception of this boat as a historic boat. I wanted to save all the power of her tale, all the weight and value of her history by innovating it. I have done classical studies, I love classics but I am a man of my time and, above all, I cannot stand seeing dying things of quality, because of the lack of courage to experiment.
In this challenge, he had a companion of adventures quite in tune with his vision of things with great respect and great desire to shake it.
Yes! We are talking of Brunello Acampora. He and I made a backward journey along the 170-year-old history of the Aprea family, with a sense of deep respect and a great desire to shake it. We convey all these pushes, opened our eyes and found so many crossroads along the way to put our ideas, and our push to innovate.
But what is this marriage between respect for classics and innovation?
It is in keeping with the classic shapes, in keeping the basic idea behind the gozzo alive, which means a beautiful boat, typically marine, capable to take you fishing at any time, all this coupled with the ability to cope with new technologies and new materials, not refusing what research and progress can bring new.
Listen; when we produced the first fiberglass gozzo, they all call me the traitor, including my family. Ten years later, everybody made the gozzos fiberglass.
Has your family played an important role in your entrepreneurship training?
Of course, my father actually wanted me to do something else, for the sake of precision he dreamed of a future notary. But I had absorbed the passion and culture of the sea since I was in the bands and in life; I never wanted to do anything else. My father had to surrender and took me to the company to sweep on the ground. At the beginning I did the cleaning works and all do I was happy. In fact, it was clear to me that I wanted to become a boat builder and wanted to build boats. However, I was 18 years old, I was a scoundrel, and I was the black sheep of a large and extended family of which my father Giovanni was the patriarch. Starting from zero even if in the family has brought me to know deeply the mechanisms of the company but above all, to absorb the craftsmanship of this work that must be preserved also by welcoming all possible technological innovations.
In 2001 you have been bought by the Ferretti group, which contributes to internationalizing the Apreamare brand. However, in 2010, in full crisis, you decide to repurchase the company. Why?
It was an act of love. There are no other explanations. An act of love for our history. Moreover, I am not just talking about my family’s story, but about generations of builders, fishermen, and enthusiast fans. A piece of history of this country and its traditions. The gozzo is one of the voices that tell us about a lifestyle different from that imposed by today’s life, it tells us that even by sea we can rediscover the pleasure of giving ourselves more time, not to look for extreme speed in all things, and to spend more time with ourselves, friends, family and the sea.
However, Apreamare has to deal with a market and production. From this point of view, how is it today?
Today we produce about 10 boats a year with the goal to reach at 20/25. In 2015, we joined the “Cose Belle d’Italia” group. A company that puts together Italian excellences and through Imbarcazioni d’Italia, 100% controlled vehicle, has signed a multi-year contract for the use of the Apreamare and Maestro brands.
Above all, you have a new project that is now a reality, which you will present in Capri on 1 September. An arrival or starting point?
Both things differently declined. Our boats are an arrival point for our ship-owners. Those who choose our boat usually have a good sea experience, do not want to prove anything to anyone else, nor want to affirm a symbol status through the boat. Rather he means to demonstrate something to himself. It is at the same time a starting point because our desire to experience does not stop here. In addition, if I think it has always been like that. Because it is true that my whole family was against me when I launched my first gozzo in the sea. Actually, the first to land a revolutionary gesture was my father when he set up a car engine, Balilla, on a gozzo. Maybe he did not know, but was paving the way for an innovation that marked the future!