Exclusive: Apreamare 16m — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Does the Apreamare 16m turn heads because she’s so different or so beautiful?
At the 2002 Genoa Boat Show, I walked up to the foredeck of the first of the new Apreamare 16ms and found a sofa. So I sat down. I imagined a pretty girl lying on one of the sunpads there, pictured something long and cool to drink, and marveled at the inspired idea of providing a bimini top to keep the sun off. A bimini on the foredeck—sheer genius.
Even though the boat was inside a large concrete exhibition hall, and even though it was a gray and rainy October day outside, I realized that this was where I’d want to spend most of my time on the 16m. Whether underway, in a harbor, or at anchor, this perfect little foredeck oasis seemed to me to be the height of maritime sophistication.
It took me nearly two more years to catch up with an Apreamare 16m on the water, but at last fall’s Cannes Boat Show, I finally got my chance. I was surprised to discover that this particular boat was Hull No. 14. So they sell well. The company’s range now spans eight models, from 23 feet up to this substantial 53-footer, and if the style seems a little unusual to transatlantic eyes, rest assured that these craft are prized as cool dayboats and practical cruising machines by Mediterranean buyers. Apreamare was established in 1988 (and bought by the Ferretti Group in 2001), and lookalike boats are now produced by dozens of imitators.
The hull shape is a hybrid. Based on a Western Mediterranean fishing boat, the Sorrento gozzo, its apparently round-bilge form in fact has long planing surfaces aft to make it, technically, a semidisplacement (or semiplaning) hull: happy to trundle along all week through anything at its theoretical hull speed (which in the case of the 16m is around 9 knots) but equally capable, with the application of enough horsepower, of picking up her skirts and planing off over the horizon.
All mental comparisons with sports cars and muscleboats ended after the straight-line trials, however, to be replaced by thoughts of tanks and trucks. Although smaller boats in the Apreamare range can display engagingly sporty driving characteristics thanks to their more advantageous power-to-weight ratios, the beefy 16m inevitably handles like the battle cruiser she is, with a wide turning circle and heavy steering. This is, after all, no round-the-buoys racer but a big family cruising boat: Just set the autopilot and let her get on with reeling the horizon in.
Before setting off on any long voyages, though, the serious cruising owner will want to get to grips with the 16m’s trim characteristics. The trim tabs are like barn doors: Use more than 50 percent downward deflection on both, and they lift the stern so much that she bow-steers; put just one of them all the way down, and she refuses to answer the helm at all. Fitting smaller tabs might be an idea. But, on the other hand, the benefits of such reserves of lift can be seen at low planing speeds: At 1500 rpm and tabs up, she trundled along at about 13.5 knots during our trial. With just a little tab applied and no increase in power, our speed went up to nearly 14.8 knots. This, in turn, means an improvement in miles per gallon that equates to an extra 20 nautical miles of range on a tankful—worth knowing.
This article originally appeared in the July 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.