10 immortal boats according to designer Sergio Abrami

top 10 G 50 boats

Sergio Abrami, a naval designer of sail and power boats, has been in business for nearly 50 years (his golden wedding anniversary with boating is scheduled for 2021). Today, in addition to designing hulls for pleasure (even one of the immortals came out of his studio) and for professional use, he is a professor, consultant and, also very simply, someone who loves to sail.

10 immortal boats according to Sergio Abrami

“I confess that I don’t really like those lists “the 10 immortal boats, the ten cars/houses/vehicles/palaces, etc. But at the request of Giacomo Giulietti, (contributor of Barche a Motore n.d.r.) I couldn’t resist and played along.

The order is random, more like a shrink’s couch than a ranking, a term that is also not very apt in this case. I mix pears with apples, but also with bananas & C. In short, there are very different boats, different eras of design and construction.

Those who go to sea by definition love “classical,” and classical comes from classis, fleet in Latin, and it comes full circle.

The materials have changed, the installed powers have changed, but the sea is still there. Aesthetics and common sense seek first and foremost the correct proportions, the correct volume ratios, and above all, the fulfillment of an essential requirement: to navigate safely while meeting the design navigation schedule. So I also tell my students atISAD MYD in Milan.

Riva Aquarama – G. Barilani (1962)

Riva AquaramaWhen one thinks of a luxury runabout the thought immediately goes to the Riva Aquarama designed down to the smallest detail by Giorgio Barilani, designer for decades of the Riva range. Cartoonist as talented as he is shy. Always out of the spotlight. After Eng. Baglietto, the first president of As.Pro.Na.Di, was Barilani himself for long years to be the most prestigious representative of Italian yacht design.

Tiger – P. Caliari (1969)

tiger caliariThe modern Mediterranean M/Y was born with Paolo Caliari. Full advantage is taken of the opportunities offered by multilayer marine plywood construction. The Tiger built by Picchiotti has clean, essential lines, almost navy style. An icon, perhaps even more so than the superstructures of the classic Baglietto 16.50 m, also by Caliari.

Akhir – P.L. Spadolini (1978)

That is, Pisa Shipyards. For a long time that dark band on the side of the superstructure was the trademark of the Pisan shipyard and its designer, who imprinted the shipyard and a whole generation of M/Ys that were both elegant and understated.

Roar – GB Frare (1972)

Cantieri del Garda, GB Frare’s project: the Italian answer to US sport boats. Simple, fast, no-frills boats that have given so much satisfaction to their owners. When offshore was done with habitable production boats. PS: They have also been very successful in the south in dark blue coloring … If American Cigarettes are called that there must be a reason, right 😉

G.CINQUANTA – R.S. Levi (1968)

top 10 G 50 boats
Gianni Agnelli’s famous Levi G-50

G-CINQUANTA (also pictured in the opening photo) by master Renato Sonny Levi designed for “the Advocate.” Gorgeous, elegant, fast, minimalist. I was actually undecided between G50 and A Speranziella, a smaller, mass-produced cross laminated boat that won major offshore races (when they raced habitable boats). The G50 is a one-off closer, but only in glamour, to the Riva Aquarama. If this list is to be an ideal Olympian, or a quasi, one per class of ancient memory, the place among the immortals belongs to the G50.

Pershing 37 – F. De Simoni (1998)

Tilli Antonelli’s Cantiere Navale dell’Adriatico – Designed by Fulvio de Simoni, one of the first Pershing with that masterful “touch” of Fulvio’s later copied by many. That curved profile line, a comma that identifies speed and revolution, change of forms also linked to change of materials. No longer fiberglass boats with the shapes changed from wooden boats characterized by taut lines, but sinuous curves. Pershing 37, a milestone of modern yacht design.

PS: Over the years, Pershing would become one of Cantieri Ferretti’s brand names related to a series of boats characterized by an unmistakable style.

Boston Whaler 13ft – R. Hunt (1956)

One of the famous demonstrations of unsinkability of Boston Whalers, which continue to sail even when sawn in two.

As a lover of small boats and the history of yachting (even minor), I could not fail to mention a boat and its gull-wing configuration that has been imitated, copied, but never equaled, especially because of its construction system. A “sandwich” boat, not to sandwich me be clear. Totally foamed. This is the secret of its lightness and rigidity. The hull is a design by one who can be together with Sonny Levi considered one of the fathers of modern single-edged hull design with sustaining spray rails, here in a gull-wing version that increases the stationary stability essential for fishing. A stroke of genius by Raymond Hunt.

Bertram Moppie 31 – R.Hunt (1960)

Also by Raymond Hunt for the Bertram shipyard. The mental association (precisely from a shrink’s couch) is related to the number of illegitimate copies of this hull as of the Boston Whaler–perhaps in this size the most copied hull (and sometimes superstructure) in the world. In my professional life I have also done, but few people know it, powerboats, sometimes just structures, laminations, sometimes upgrades, refitting of production boats. It puzzled me (but I was young and easily upset) that there were no drawings of the boat on which I happened to redo sides and superstructures, interiors… the Bertram 31 is an era-defining boat, winner of the Miami Nassau. In that case, the driver’s station was practically on the transom, so as not to run the risk of “writing.”

Nuva M6 – BYD (2018)

By Barcelona Yacht Design Group. Designed by a group of young Spanish people based in Barcelona led by Raou. I met them at a conference and then at dinner, where they often speak with less formality, decades ago. They started work in 2004. Nuva M6 is a “fresh,” a la page, vertical bow, practical, no-frills cockpit. Six-foot boat that just wants to be used. But it does not go unnoticed. Good proportions. Something new even in the small. Will she remain among the immortals, we do not know, but she is well placed at the moment.

Novurania MX 6.50 – SAYD (1994)

By SAYD (Sergio Abrami’s design studio). Again by association of shrink’s couch ideas, from Nuva to Novurania, an Italian company from Tione di Trento that also has offices in Florida. The MX 650 a RIB that when it was born over thirty years ago was a “major” dinghy in size and possible motorization. An inflatable boat that is still “dinghy” even though it already has its tubulars skimming the water when stationary. Nothing revolutionary, but all well conceived and above all well constructed with quality materials and an internal production control that only people from Trentino can put in place. A German magazine spoke highly of the MX 650, which tested it with an engine then considered a monstrosity.

It became the “safety” boat of a European crowned head: they were impressed by the performance and sea-keeping of the MX650 of a German tourist who had escaped from sea controls. They wanted one with identical motorization to better carry out surveillance and deterrence. Hull also later used for SOLAS work and rescue boats. Novurania inflatable boat production is now only in the U.S., and I’m told that hull is still used with different setups and different engines. Then again, the sea has not changed, tastes for superstructures change, but the “living” part continues, if well designed to perform its service.


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