From the river Po to the Northern Seas. Crossing from Norway to Denmark on board Capelli RIBs. The passionate tale of Umberto Capelli
by Carla Pagani, photo by Umberto Capelli
Mothers, children, young kids, adults, and even some elderly. But also people who had travelled from afar, like three American women. And then Umberto Capelli, head of the historic shipyard from Cremona on the banks of the river Po. These are the protagonists of the original early summer crossing from Norway to Denmark on board inflatable boats.
The idea was launched by Capelli’s dealer in Norway, Morten Eikeland, in collaboration with the distributor Erling Sande. Eikeland is based in Risør, between the best preserved wooden towns in Europe. Sloping roofs, white houses, crystal-clear waters. The 17 ribs equipped with Suzuki engines set off from here to embark on their two-day navigation adventure.
The sky was absolutely breathtaking. And so was the water: cold, ice cold. Umberto Capelli tells us about this magnificent experience with enthusiasm and joy, conveying extremely lively and warm impressions made of shared experiences and athletic spirit. All around are deeply green forests, with saturated and contrasting colours – spectacular landscapes.
Fjords and small islands look like a bunch of small pebbles thrown into the deep blue see from up high. A long summer of light: the sun never sets and creates a magical and enchanted atmosphere that only very few places on the planet can reproduce with such visual power. An extraordinary scene for a social experience speckled with entertaining and convivial moments. Navigation takes place in groups at a speed of 20-25 knots. The temperature above water is between 13 and 20 degrees Celsius.
In Northern Europe, Capelli is the leading company in the industry. It started 14 years ago and has been a success ever since. Thanks also to the way Northern Europeans experience and live on the sea. Because on these latitudes no one fears a cloudy day and even less do they fear the rain:“we always navigate, regardless of the weather conditions”. Also because in these cultures, boating is not just a leisure activity; it is used for transportation, and boats are considered equivalent to motorcycles or cars. Therefore, it is no surprise that participants happily welcome the good dose of adrenalin brought on by the rather difficult outward voyage.
On the morning of the first day the wind blows with 30 knots and the waves reach 4 metres in height. When the groups depart, however, the weather seems to improve and the crossing begins with 2-3 metre waves and a 12-knot wind.
«The itinerary is truly suggestive, because you are so far offshore that you cannot even see the highest tip of Denmark. You just have a sense of the destination, the journey. Then, gradually, you start to make out Skagen on the horizon. It is an overwhelming feeling», says Capelli. On the way back you stop in the middle of the sea and take a dive. The water temperature is 12 degrees Celsius. But that doesn’t matter.
The inflatable boat was conceived to provide entertainment in direct contact with the water.«It could be compared to our motor cross bike», explains Capelli who passionately works in the company founded in 1974 in Spinadesco, in the province of Cremona. The Tempest line of fibreglass keel ribs has created a benchmark for the industry. And today, more than ever, it is available to anyone who wants to become more familiar with this world. There is a cutting-edge online configurator on the shipyard’s website that allows users to entirely personalize their own watercraft. Almost like a videogame for fans and newcomers: a friendly, simple, and attractive interface. «Today, customization has become standard. We want to make people’s navigation experience even simpler».
The crossing of the Northern Seas has reached its third edition this year. «You are always right in the water, in contact with the sea’s surface». More adrenalin, more speed, more fun.«The fact that the barycentre is very low allows passengers on board to truly feel the sea, the wind, and the waves. And then it is a fantastic way to communicate, to be in contact with your clients, a new and original way to get together».
The figures clearly show that there is a growing interest: ten more vessels have already been planned for next year. Capelli explains that he wants to export the format elsewhere as well. For those who participate in the crossing it is a truly immersive way of experiencing the sea. One of those experiences that mark you forever. And then there are those who travel from the North to Italy to spend their holidays or visit the shipyard. «People often perceive Cremona as an exotic place: Stradivarius, the Po, the plains», says Capelli as he smiles. Exchanges, contaminations. The sea is all that. Absolutely amazing.
(From Norway to Denmark, beyond the adventure on board of 17 Capelli RIBs – Novembre 2018)