Imagine stepping on board a new yacht at a boat show and, instead of encountering a broker who seems as if he would be just as happy selling RVs in Spokane, meeting somebody as enthusiastic as you are about boats. What if that Type A individual giving you a tour was driven into the boatbuilding business by a deep passion for cruising, being on the water and simply messing around with boats? If you happened to pay a visit recently to the new Maestro 65 Americas Series built by Apreamare, chances are just such an individual — the enthusiastic Marc-Udo Broich, CEO and president of Maestro Yachts — greeted you.
Broich is a chronic entrepreneur and serious boater, importing Aicon Yachts until 2007. Today he beams with excitement while explaining how Apreamare is once again independent (it was formerly part of the Ferretti Group). Last April the yard returned to the control of the founding Aprea and Polio families, who date back to the company’s inception in 1849. The root of Broich’s excitement is the genesis of the Maestro 65 Americas Series — fine boats for the European market when originally launched in 2006 that the reinvigorated management team just made a whole lot better. The hull had been designed by Italian naval architect Umberto Tagliavini, with a house and interior arrangement by Gianni Zuccon, who also planned many of Ferretti’s yachts. One of those who saw this original version was Broich while he was looking for new opportunities. He liked the high-freeboard hull, which made it an ideal heavy-weather boat, and the open three-stateroom interior arrangement. But the minimalist design, which reflected European tastes, didn’t seem appropriate for the American market.
In the Mediterranean, yachtsmen spend as much time off the boat as on it, preferring for instance to eat ashore so much that the galley is often an afterthought. Crews usually operate boats, and owners use them as floating hotels, not cruising platforms. For instance, the aft deck of the 65 had only a couple of aft-facing bench seats; the upper deck had a small helm, some more bench seats (no table) and space for a tender and davit aft of the centered radar arch. (It didn’t skimp on the sun pads, however). Americans, Broich reasoned, are more hands-on than their European counterparts. A husband-wife team can easily handle a 65-foot boat, and Americans like to do more things on board, like cooking, cruising and simply enjoying.
It wasn’t until 2009, when Apreamare separated from Ferretti, that Broich signed on as the U.S. and Americas distributor, with the assurance he had freedom to make changes. “I liked the openness, the high freeboard, the seaworthiness of the boat. The basics were there,” he recalls. It had a very high 8-foot, 6-inch freeboard at the bow, a nice 18-foot, 8-inch beam that allowed wide side decks, and a moderate deadrise planing hull that could take the 65 comfortably north of 33 knots.
One feature that particularly impressed Broich was the main-deck window arrangement, which afforded an unusually expansive 360-degree line of sight from anywhere inside. Forward in the pilothouse the windows were aggressively vertical. The salon area aft was even more unusual: Several windows, including the two biggest windows on either side, dropped down, daring the cruiser to close his eyes, stick his elbow out the window and feel the 30-knot breeze like he did in that ’57 Chevy convertible he owned years ago.