In my hometown of Annapolis, Maryland, a sliver of water stems from the harbor and slices right up to the bottom of Main Street. On any summer afternoon, this “Ego Alley” entertains a parade of souped up go-fast boats with flashy graphics. They cruise up and down the alley, bashing nearby eardrums with straight exhaust, driven by an unusual sort wearing bathing suits that might have fit back when gas was 75 cents a gallon. Usually, the routine is a simple cruise down the alley, a turnaround in the narrow basin (my favorite part to watch) and a ceremonial wave to the occasional onlooker before shooting back out the end.
I shrugged the ritual off for years, until I saw the new Apreamare Don Giovanni. I want to drive this sensual beast down Ego Alley, waving like the pope.
This yacht is simply irresistible. Her wide, clutter-free, flush teak decks curve sumptuously to the rounded stern. The beautifully sculpted trunk cabin, surrounded by a stainless-steel window frame, appears to have grown out of the deck, not been plopped on it like a wedding cake bride and groom. The aft-facing seats, in a whimsical touch that’s intriguingly perverted, are shaped like lips.
Her name could not be a better choice. Mozart’s Don Giovanni played by his own rules and refused to be bound by moral codes. His only goal was to satisfy his physical desires. In the same vein, the Apreamare Don Giovanni has invented her own set of rules. Not only is she (suddenly, the feminine reference seems quite appropriate) a departure from other vessels in the marketplace, she is a departure from other Apreamare models, as well. This is the type of yacht you build when you simply want to stir the pot and have a little fun. Apreamare is doing quite well around the world, producing about 100 boats every year, and Apreamare North America is doing its share to sprinkle a little more beauty along the waterfront.
The Don Giovanni is more than a pretty face. She is a hot rod. Powered by twin 420 hp Yanmar diesels coupled with two-speed ZF gears, our test boat reached a top speed of 34.6 knots. With no trim tabs applied (I’ve tested two Apreamares and have never touched the tabs), we cruised effortlessly at 31 knots in high gear. We were on a full plane seven seconds after hammering the electronic controls forward. Even at these speeds, I could carry on a normal conversation with Apreamare of North America President Bob Fritsky.
Throwing the yacht into high gear created a sonic boom and dropped the tach several hundred rpm. For example, in low gear we cruised at 27 knots at 3100 rpm and maxed out at 3600 rpm. In “Speed Racer” mode, we got 34.6 knots at 3100 rpm, the maximum rpm when you flip the switch. You could argue about the practicality of two-speed transmissions, but if you want to be practical, buy a Buick.
The Don Giovanni, using the proven hull of the Apreamare 11-meter, turns likes she’s on rails. To avoid a few traps off our bow, I nudged her wheel. She responded effortlessly. Playing in our own wake, there was no pounding thanks to the sharp entry and solid hull. She remained dry, even going through the sloppy Ft. Lauderdale inlet.
There are no helm seats, but the two bolsters work fine. Grabrails are within reach. The engine gauges are in the line of sight, an important factor when you’re cruising at 30 knots. The dash to port could house large electronics displays. Our boat was equipped with a navy top, but I would have to be stuck on the equator before I opened it and fouled the Don Giovanni’s profile.
The afterdeck has two curved settees facing the “lips,” providing a nice conversation and dining area. Two ladders offer access to the huge teak-grate swim platform. The lazarette has plenty of space for cruising stores and a couple cases of Chianti.
Engineroom access is in the middle of the deck. If the engineroom were a mess or an afterthought, it could almost be forgiven on this special craft. However, this space, too, is beautifully executed. Wiring is run in an art-like fashion, and items are neatly placed and easily serviced. Our test boat had an easy-to-reach 6.5kW generator forward of the engines.
A king-size berth dominates the interior, although Apreamare left room for a galley, a large head and a leather settee to starboard. The glowing cherry joinery is well finished, and Apreamare resisted the growing trend of putting the interior together with vinyl panels and thin veneers. This will still look like a yacht 10 years from now.
A friend of mine is the Apreamare dealer in Annapolis, and you’d better believe I’ll be giving her a call for that cruise. Nowhere far, just up the alley. One good turnaround and I’ll be happy.
Apreamare of North America Inc., (954) 525-7447; fax (954) 525-7451; www.apreamare.it.