The logo for Bertram Yachts has long been an eagle but perhaps these days the mythological phoenix would be more fitting. At the end of March, Italian entrepreneur and owner of Baglietto Yachts and Cerri Yachts, Beniamino Gavio purchased the rights to Bertram Yachts, and reignited a brand from the ashes. While new ownership for the company, which shuttered its doors last year, could only be good news, the Bertram faithful anxiously wait to see where this private owner will lead this brand. We sat down with Gavio to find out just what he’s planning for Bertram.
Can you start by telling us a bit about your boating backgound?
I bought my first boat back in ’96; it was a Fairline 48. Then I moved to a Riva 54 and in ’99 I bought a 54 Bertram because I liked sportfishing a lot. I loved everything about that boat. Three years later I went to go see the Bertram 67 by Ferretti and didn’t like it because too much had changed. So from there I spent some time in the United States and bought a 65 Viking. I also owned a 65 and a 68 Hatteras.
When did you first consider purchasing Bertram?
Well, last year in November I was at the Ft. Lauderdale boat show, which to me was a very sad show because it was the first year that Bertram was not there. So I came home and spoke with [Ferretti CEO Alberto] Galassi and asked him, what is going on? Before Christmas he told me I could buy Bertram. In February we were walking down the street in Milano before dinner and we shook hands and set the price for the company. Two days later we met with the board and signed a letter of intent.
I think a lot of readers want to know, where will future Bertrams be built?
It is my intention to start this new adventure at a location in the United States. I’m looking hard for the right location in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area. But if we don’t find the right place, I might consider moving to Georgia or the Carolinas.
Were there any past mistakes that you hope to avoid?
Well for one, the quality suffered. But another thing is understanding the brand. When I went to see that Bertram 67 I was telling you about, it was inside the closed-off Ferretti area. I will have multiple brands at shows but they won’t all be grouped together. They need to stand on their own. I want to be in a location [during shows] where you can get a Budweiser and see our boats. You know what I mean? I want everyone to be able sit on Collins Ave., have a Bud, and see the new Bertram.
Rumor has it that you want to rerelease the iconic 31 (shown), any truth to that?
The 31 was a fantastic boat and as most people know they built it in 1961 and sold 100 boats in the first year and produced a total of about 2,000. We want to restart and grow from there. We have met with multiple American designers including [Power & Motoryacht contributor] Michael Peters and C. Raymond Hunt & Associates. Maybe we’ll create a double version, a convertible and express of the 31.
Do you have plans for new models after that?
Maybe in two to three years we’ll be able to grow a little bit. We might bring back the 43, which was a very popular model. Or maybe we’ll build a 52 or 53. Another idea is to do something with outboard engines. Then maybe we get into the megayacht market. Then we can bring them from there to Baglietto. I know, I know, I’m quite crazy.
- Builder: Bertram
This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.