Brief History of the Gozzo


A type of work boat born from the popular experience that has always remained current and today is synonymous with elegant and refined boating

The gozzo is a wooden boat of Levantine origin which, like the Latin sail, was introduced into the Mediterranean by the Arabs

There are few types of boats that have managed to survive the last sixty years of technological progress unscathed; among these, the gozzo is the only one that has known new life thanks to its very marine characteristics suited to the needs of our day and, therefore, it has carved out a significant space in modern pleasure boating.

The gozzo is a wooden boat of Levantine origin which, like the Latin sail, was introduced into the Mediterranean by the Arabs and copied by the sailors of the Italian maritime republics who frequented the eastern Mediterranean ports. Each navy subsequently gave its customization to the hull, so that the boat could best meet its needs in fishing and working techniques. Animistic or superstitious beliefs were often expressed with decorations such as, for example, the eyes painted on the bow.

In Italy the most well-known goiters are the Ligurian and Neapolitan ones (pozzolani, sorrentini, procidani) which in ancient times were used in oars or sailing. 

Created for logistic and communication needs, this boat was made by the shipwright who knew all the construction secrets in mind. Without the aid of drawings or mathematical formulas, the goiter was built by eye or with the use of garbi, that is, life-size wooden skeleton models, which the ax masters jealously transmitted from father to son. The choice of construction materials was very accurate and took into account the type of use of each piece.

The most distinguished element of the Ligurian gozzo, the "pernaccia" - that is the extension of the forehand - was made thanks to the inspiration of an ax master; however its manifestation was considered by the shipowner a clear constructive error and he, seeing his gozzo different from the others decided to cut it away. Curiously, today no real Ligurian gozzo could be defined as such without showing off this personal element. 

Like any boat, even the gozzo is born from the right compromise between speed and stability, that is a fast hull to return as soon as possible with the catch but not at the expense of stability. From here squat shapes but harmoniously connected that allow excellent maneuverability. Despite its limited size, the gozzo also traveled along long routes in search of fishing waters and more convenient markets.

The gozzo is today universally classified as "the mother of all Mediterranean boats" and combines technological and performance features honed over hundreds of years of slow evolution that have allowed this boat to always remain current. Not only has the gozzo kept its market share but it has even experienced growth when the construction capacity of some construction sites and the wise choice of new forms of hull and adequate powers have given birth to the modern gozzo, the one of our days, without betray the historical legacy and the great navigability.

Although the first use of the goiter had been that of a work boat, the skill of the shipwrights had given the hull a grace and ductility such as to allow uses different from the initial ones, such as the pleasure craft one. During the 1930s, the first outboard engines appeared, followed by inboard engines made from car engines. The progress of the sixties pushed the yards to other innovations, facilitated by the presence on the market of smaller engines in the shape and weight that allowed greater speeds also to goiters.

The needs of modern yachting require the use of the boat for pleasure or fishing at relatively high speeds, so the need to reach maximum speeds of 30-35 knots while maintaining the original characteristics of a gozzo type hull has pushed the yards to search for additional hull shapes and the choice of a material that would also give the required strength, that is fiberglass. The first molds of goiter in fiberglass produced in Italy were the exact reproduction of old boats still sailing. In this context, some shipyards have created a series of innovative boats, such as the Sorrento gozzo Apreamare, whose yard, before many others, has introduced a modern sporting declination of the original Mediterranean work boat.

Built in fiberglass, motorized, made with a hull able to glide, the Apreamare gozzo - thanks to a careful design - keeps alive the stylistic features of the real gozzo in some quotations such as the round stern and the wooden bulwark but has become a product with its own aesthetic quality. Today the gozzo is considered a refined and elegant boat. Having lost the original role of a work boat, this typology has been rediscovered in pleasure boating to meet the needs of a wide range of users.

Translated from Elle Decor.