The History of Vittorino Boat
Built in 1914 at the shipyard Na-amlose Vennootschap Industrielle Maats de Noo in Amblasserdam (Holland), Vittorino started its working career in the Rotterdam port where it worked tirelessly for the entire period between the First and the Second World War. At the end of the conflict, the Tugboat arrived in Genoa where it worked for several years. After that, it was bought by the Italian Civil Engineering Department and moved to Naples to be used in the port construction works.
Inevitably, the boat underwent to several changes dictated by operational requirements: the bridge was modified, the original shape of the smokestack was changed and the original steam propulsion was replaced.
Years passed and the “old” Tugboat kept on working well, however the passage of time marked its end: it was put on sale for a sad demolition.
Gaetano bought it. He was an important personality in the port of Naples, he owned an office, made from the smokestack and the tower of an old cargo boat cut in half and located on the dock of the port of its naval demolition shipyard.
Gaetano was born in that harbour and Vittorino with its toughness has always been part of his life, so when the Civil Engineering Department decided to put an end to the long career of the tugboat, Gaetano did not think about it too much. He bought it and moored it in front of his office, with the pride of someone who saves a horse from a slaughterhouse and offers it a stable.
That the paths of Gaetano and Vittorino could cross was not impossible, but less likely was the coming into the play of Piero, entrepreneur and “Ship Dreamer”, sea lover since ever.
Ship Dreamer like Abdul Bashur by Alvaro Mutis and ready to sail to any place where there is a story on the sea which deserves to be listened to. The story of Vittorino reaches him thanks to Gaetano who surely knows all its secrets.
It is thanks to the story told by Gaetano and to the moment in which Piero got onboard on the Vittorino for the first time, that Piero has the feeling of “having found a Stradivari among the junk of an old junk shop”.
Piero immediately has the perception that Vittorino still has so much to give and maybe even more than in its past 90 years. Now Vittorino can have more dignity, prestige and why not a Gala gown.
It is not easy to describe the incredible feeling given by the discovery of a logbook, or going inside the Tugboat in the Commander’ cabin and in the crew bunks.
And then the engine room with the big diesel that in the Eighties replaced the original steam boiler, the fire fighting equipment, the reassuring thickness of the plates and their hammered nails, so many details that testify a century of seamanship.
Imagination runs wild and gives charm to the sad neglect affecting the vessel.
It is now time for the first checks, the analysis of technical aspects, the participation of technical consultants and finally the meeting of everyone around the table with the projects for the total restoration of the small Ship.
Under the safety profile, highest verification standards are respected with the direct control of the Italian Naval Register, for a total ship reliability,
For the exteriors, the best option is a philological restoration, leaving unchanged the charm of a vintage boat. The original drawings are retrieved at the Dutch Shipyard of Alblasserdam, which allow the reconstruction of the old smokestack.
Works proceed unceasingly and with passion, alternating moments of despair to moments of enthusiasm up to the day in which, finally, there is the big celebration for the rebirth of Vittorino. Sirens sound, corks pop and the bottle of Champagne, following the tradition, breaks on the bow.
And here it is, Vittorino sailing again close to the Sorrento and Amalfi coast, proud of its new Commander, Michele Russo, a native of the Sorrento Peninsula with thousands of miles behind and a deep passion for the Navy history and the Sea Culture.
What better match could be?
Working at the shipyard