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Exploring the Evolution of Fratelli Aprea: From Fishing Boat to Luxury Yacht

The idea of transformation thrives within an engaging journey – dialogue morphs into imagery, imagery transforms into concept, and ultimately– if there exists a distinctive heritage to the concept, imagery, and dialogue– the end result integrates elements from the past and present, from purpose and vision. Thereby, it shapes into a fresh concept, a new existence.

Among the most recent and revolutionary notions lies in the realm of yachting – a venture that transitions from the bygone era, originating with the creation of the Italian Fishing Boat, known as a Gozzo — to the contemporary era– wherein an array of opulent yachts are meticulously crafted. This transformation is spearheaded by a renowned enterprise, Fratelli Aprea, established since 1890 by Cataldo Aprea. Over the years, the company specialized in the production of Gozzo boats – traditional Italian fishing vessels– from the initial dockyard in Marina Grande, Sorrento, Italy overlooking the Bay of Naples. Through the passing decades, the Fratelli Aprea, denoting the Aprea siblings, have been fashioning the Gozzo and various other vessels. Today, in its sixth generation, Antonino and Francesco Aprea carry forward this legacy in tandem with their father, Giovanni, along with his three brothers, Cataldo, Gaetano, and Antonio, complemented by their collective lineage of skilled artisans, all embodying the seafaring heritage of the original Cataldo.

In the current era, a remarkable metamorphosis has unfolded as they transitioned from their status as Italian fishing boat connoisseurs to a newfound realm of crafting handmade Italian yachts, an initiative that commenced only a few years ago. This visionary shift was inspired by an acquaintance of one of the younger Aprea siblings, an American named Michael Sinacola, presently at the helm of the USA division of Fratelli Aprea; not within Palm Beach or Newport, but situated in Boyne City, Michigan, nestled near the intersection of two prominent Great Lakes: Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

While Mr. Sinacola did not inherit a seafaring legacy, his upbringing revolved around the culture of lakes – nurtured in proximity to Lake Michigan, he possessed intimate knowledge of the lake-faring traditions prevalent on both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Familiar with the diverse boat and yacht manufacturers flourishing in the Michigan region: Chris Craft, Crest Marine, Tiara Yachts; he comprehended the desires and requisites of aficionados associated with the boat and yacht industry. Recognizing the innate potential within the Fratelli Aprea Gozzo to metamorphose from the traditional Italian fishing vessel into a bespoke Italian yacht, tailored to cater to the sophisticated sensibilities of 21st-century clientele.

Recently, JustLuxe engaged in a dialogue with Mr. Sinacola, delving into the symbiotic relationship between the historical essence of Fratelli Aprea and its contemporary yachting endeavors, which are now establishing solid roots in the American territory.

JustLuxe:  Initially, what attributes caught your attention in the Fratelli Aprea Gozzo that paved the way for its evolution into a handcrafted, artisanal yacht?

Mr. Sinacola: I’ve long recognized that the Fratelli Aprea boats exude a distinctive character, both in and out of the aquatic realm. They embody a living essence, reflecting the dedication and artistry of the craftsmen involved in their construction. The transformation of teak and mahogany into the vessel’s essence and soul is a testament to this. Thus, the intrinsic DNA – encompassing Italian legacy and the essence of the Gozzo boat — was already ingrained within. The process of breathing new life into the existing DNA was facilitated by the presence of this heritage.

JustLuxe: Based on your experience, what sets apart the smaller yachts crafted by Fratelli Aprea from the grand megayachts?

Mr. Sinacola: This distinction was vividly portrayed during my visit to the Fratelli Aprea shipyard in Sorrento! An affluent English entrepreneur and his companions docked their mega yacht at the harbor and expressed a keen interest in visiting the Fratelli Aprea shipyard. What captivated him were the smaller yachts – for he sought a more intimate connection with the ocean, the waves, and the salty breeze, distinct from his experiences aboard his mega yacht. Eventually, he opted to acquire a compact Fratelli Aprea yacht for personal indulgence. This episode left an indelible impression on me – underscoring that larger doesn’t always equate to better, especially concerning a more sensory engagement with yachting experiences.

JustLuxe: Which distinguishing features of the Fratelli Aprea vessels, in your opinion, contribute to their inherent value?

Mr. Sinacola: Each of our creations is bespoke in nature – devoid of standardized production models. Every facet of our vessels, inside out, is personalized, embodying a handcrafted, artisanal essence tailored to fulfill the desires and whims of our clientele. The Aprea shipyard has, and continues to, craft numerous vessels catering to clients with specific mobility and accessibility needs.

Moreover, in terms of custom interior design, our decks and woodwork are intricately matched in grain – typically ranging from teak, cherry, to oak. This distinct footprint not only defines the yacht’s visual presence but also echoes its unique identity. Our yacht sizes range between 26’ to 50’. Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier, these yachts enable the owner to forge a closer bond with the water, be it on a lake or sea, and since it is bespoke, the vessel truly embodies an extension of the owner’s identity. The illustrious Jacques Cousteau once remarked,  “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

This sentiment resonates deeply with me, for our vessels grant owners the opportunity to immerse themselves in the seas or lakes, fostering a profound experiential intimacy and connection with the aquatic realm. In my perspective, this transformational encounter, a hallmark of Italian maritime traditions, is poised to resonate strongly amongst the American audience in the times to come.

Image Source: Lucibello Positano

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