MIAMI 2015: New owner charts course for Bertram Yachts

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MIAMI — With Bertram and Baglietto banners hanging in the background and Italian and American flags at his side, Italian industrialist Beniamino Gavio said Thursday that he’s still deciding how to revive Bertram Yachts, an iconic sportfishing brand, but one thing is certain: “You can trust that I will treat Bertram with great, great, great respect — the same as I’m doing with Baglietto.”

Argo Finanziaria, one of the Gavio Group of companies, signed a letter of intent with Ferretti Spa to buy the sportfish builder, which shut down production last summer at its leased boatbuilding plant on Merritt Island, Fla.

Gavio, president of Baglietto and Argo Finazaria, said in an interview at a reception at Miami Beach’s Soho House that he plans to buy the Bertram name and perhaps some of its molds. He said he is inclined to return to Bertram’s roots, building first a Bertram 31 based on the wood-hulled, Ray Hunt-designed deep-vee that won the Miami-Nassau Race in 1960. He might build an open and a flybridge version, then maybe a 25 or 28, a 36, then a 46.6.

Gavio bought a Bertram 54 in 1999.

“I love these boats,” he said. “Very simple, very strong.”

He promises that the new Bertram also will be simple and strong. “I’m not going to make an Italian yacht,” he said. “I’m going to make an American boat.”

He expects that the bulk of Bertram’s market will remain American. He said he’ll probably build the first couple of boats in Italy and try to have them ready for the Miami show next year. Meanwhile, he’ll be looking for a U.S. plant, probably in Florida, Georgia, or North or South Carolina.

He hopes to call Bertram dealers together during this year’s Miami show, and again at the Palm Beach International Boat Show, and share his plans with them.

The Gavio Group bought Cantiera Cerri in September 2011 and Baglietto in February 2012. Both were struggling yards. Gavio said he has invested 14 million euros in them.

Gavio says he has a passion for boats and the sea and a lot of respect for history and tradition. Bertram and Baglietto are steeped in both.

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