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Review of Fratelli Aprea Yatch Transformation: Transitioning from Traditional Italian Fishing Vessel To Opulent Yacht

The essence of transformation thrives in an active evolution – dialogue evolves into imagination, imagination materializes into a concept, and ultimately– if there exists a distinct heritage within the concept, imagination, and dialogue– the outcome emerges as a fusion of past and present, of purpose and imagination. Consequently, it metamorphoses into a new concept, a new essence.

One of the latest transformative notions pertains to yachting – transitioning from the past, where they birthed the Italian Fishing Boat, known as a Gozzo — to the present–where they craft various sizes of deluxe yachts. This transition is spearheaded by a company, Fratelli Aprea, which has been in operation since 1890, established by Cataldo Aprea. Over the years, the company has manufactured Gozzo boats – traditional Italian fishing vessels– from the original shipyard in Marina Grande, Sorrento, Italy nestled by the Bay of Naples. Ever since 1890, the Fratelli Aprea, signifying the Aprea siblings, have been creating the Gozzo and other maritime crafts. Presently in its sixth generation,  Antonino and Francesco Aprea  continue to meticulously handcraft these vessels alongside their patriarch, Giovanni; his three siblings, Cataldo, Gaetano, and Antonio; along with their multi-generational team of artisans, all carrying forth the maritime craftsmanship legacy of the original Cataldo.

Nonetheless, in the contemporary era, a metamorphosis has unfolded as they transitioned from their status as Italian fishing boat manufacturers to a fresh, handcrafted Italian yacht distinction, initiated only a few years ago. This transition was conceptualized by an acquaintance of one of the younger Aprea siblings, an American named Michael Sinacola, currently the CEO of the USA division of Fratelli Aprea; not in Palm Beach, or in Newport, but in the vicinity of Boyne City, Michigan, close to the convergence of two prominent Great Lakes: Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Mr. Sinacola is not a mariner by upbringing, but a lake enthusiast – raised near Lake Michigan, he was well-acquainted with the maritime cultures of both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. He also possessed profound knowledge of the numerous boat and yacht firms flourishing in the Michigan region: Chris Craft, Crest Marine, Tiara Yachts; and was well-versed with the desires and expectations of the boat and yacht aficionado societies associated with them. Furthermore, he recognized that the Fratelli Aprea Gozzo possessed the essence required to rejuvenate itself from the classic Gozzo Italian fishing vessel into a novel life form: a handcrafted Italian yacht:  a fresh concept for the contemporary experientially-driven purchaser.

Recently, The Status Life engaged in a discussion with Mr. Sinacola, unraveling more about how the historical essence of Fratelli Aprea underpins the new yachting scenario, as Fratelli Aprea establishes new American foundations.

The Status Life:  Initially, what attributes did you identify in the Fratelli Aprea Gozzo that you envisioned could be translated into a handcrafted, artisanal yacht? 

Mr. Sinacola: I have long realized that the Fratelli Aprea vessels develop their distinct character both on and off the waters. They are sentient entities, reflecting the dedication and craftsmanship of those artisans constructing the vessels. The teak and mahogany undergo a transformation, manifesting as the vessel’s body and soul. Hence, the essence – incorporating Italian heritage and the value of the Gozzo boat — was inherently present. The process –formulating a new essence from the existing DNA – was not as arduous as it would have been had the Fratelli Aprea DNA been absent.

The Status Life: From your perspective, what sets apart smaller yachts, curated by Fratelli Aprea, from grand mega yachts? 

Mr. Sinacola: I witnessed this distinction firsthand during my visit to the Fratelli Aprea shipyard in Sorrento! A prosperous English businessman and his companions docked their mega yacht in the harbor and expressed a desire to explore the Fratelli Aprea shipyard. They sought out smaller yachts – and although I cannot recall his exact words, he indicated a preference for a more intimate encounter with the sea, waves, and the essence of salty breezes, as opposed to what his mega yacht offered. Subsequently, he purchased a smaller Fratelli Aprea yacht for personal use. That memory remains etched in my mind – magnificence does not always equate to superior experiences – particularly concerning a more sensory engagement with yachting.

The Status Life: According to your viewpoint, what other facets of the Fratelli Aprea vessels define a product possessing intrinsic value?

Mr. Sinacola: We have a personalized blueprint – devoid of standardized models. Every aspect of our vessels is tailor-made, essentially indicating that the craft and all associated components are handcrafted, rooted in artisanal craftsmanship, tailored to fulfill the desires and necessities of the purchaser. The Aprea shipyard continues to fashion, and has fashioned, numerous vessels for clients with unique mobility and accessibility requisites as well.

Furthermore, in terms of personalized interior design, our decks and all wooden elements are meticulously matched – primarily teak, cherry, and oak. Such a blueprint also delineates the presence and character of the yacht. Our yacht sizes span from 26’ to 50’. Lastly, as I mentioned previously, these yachts enable the owner to establish a closer connection with the water, be it a lake or the sea, and owing to its personalized nature, the vessel genuinely embodies an extension of the owner, reflecting their persona. The esteemed Jacque Cousteau once articulated,  “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

I often ponder upon that net of wonder,  as our vessels allow owners, once they embark upon the sea or a lake, to engage in sailing from a perspective of experiential closeness and even bonding with the water. In my perspective, this is a distinctive, transformative encounter, renowned amongst Italians, and soon to be embraced by Americans as well.

Artisanal craftsmanship on the Fratelli Aprea Yacht deck.

Image Source: Fratelli Aprea

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