Modernity and tradition. The traditional Italian gozzo decked fishing boat represents a perfect balance between these two tendencies: stable and robust, it is a good seafaring boat that is also easy to steer and handle
by Niccolò Volpati – photo by Andrea Muscatello
«IF YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES AND THINK OF A BOAT, IT IS PROBABLE THAT A GOZZO COMES TO MIND». Signor Moreno likes to quote this line from Luigi Scotti. An engineer, he is the owner of the historic Patrone Moreno yard, which was founded exactly a hundred years ago by Giuseppe Patrone. In 2016 it also took on Sciallino, which is basically like a child coming home, giving that the brand was founded by Mario Sciallino, who had begun his career as an apprentice at the Patrone yard.
So essentially a good slice of nautical history and that of the Ligurian gozzo has been written at Ceriale, in the province of Savona. But it is not something from the past that belongs to the history books or black and white photos in some naval museum. Because Patrone Moreno continues to produce gozzi and do so ceaselessly. And the reason for that is easy to grasp. «There’s nowhere in the Mediterranean where there isn’t a gozzo, and it is the perfect boat for these seas», says Moreno.
The D1 of 30 hp by Volvo Penta is a tried and tested engine, which guarantees the correct reliability.The pairing with the Sciallino 19’ is a good combination.
What are the special features of a day boat? Stability, safety, reliability. People who use the boat for a day trip want to do so without having too many problems and want to be sure of getting back to port if the sea gets rough. Not much maintenance apart from the pre-set ones, very efficient and, possibly, reduced running fees. And a gozzo meets all of those requirements.
We tried out the Sciallino 19’, a version with an inboard engine and which is fully decked. The hull is made out of neopentyl Gelcoat and the superstructure out of isophthalic gel coat. Neopentyl substances are mainly thixotropic, meaning they can increase fluidity. That is why they are used for spreading on hull moulds. And in the yard at Cisano sul Neva, close to Albenga, that is a job that is still done by hand. By contrast, isophthalic Gelcoat is ideal for superstructures, which in our case are made using a sandwich technique, because that is the best way to resist the sun’s ultra-violet rays and the elements in general.
The 19’ is decked throughout, and you can walk all over it. It is perfect for days out, because there is never any lack of room to stretch out during stops at anchor. The yard offers many kinds of awning for sun protection.
The sandwich-type construction technique used on the deck also helps to isolate the floor of the deck and ensure that it heats up as little as possible under the sun’s rays. Sciallino 19’ is indeed entirely covered by a deck, but you can walk across it barefoot without having to walk as if you are on burning coals. Beneath deck level, there are numerous lockers and they are easily accessible.
The largest compartment houses the engine. It is a straight-shaft Volvo Penta D1 that produces 30 horsepower. That too is a choice that shows that it is a boat that has been made so as not to have any problems. The diesel engine is a guarantee of reliability. The D1 by Volvo Penta powers the majority of sailing boats, and the sports yachting world in general. The propeller is protected and doesn’t run the risk of being damaged if it collides with semi-floating bodies. Additionally, the Volvo D1 has a double heat exchanger with fresh water and seawater. It has been developed precisely to avoid any kind of problems with the engine. It is a guarantee that it will last over time, with just ordinary maintenance after many hours of use. And how much power does it produce? Enough. At top speed, we did ten knots, but if you want to improve fuel consumption further, you can happily go at between six and eight.
The deep V-shaped bow means it can tackle the sea without difficulty. And even if it gets rough, getting back to port won’t ever be a problem.
At top speed, the engine uses 6.5 litres per hour, but if you stay between 2200 rpm, it is just 2.5 litres per hour. And that unveils another secret behind the success of Mediterranean gozzi: they don’t use much fuel at all! And if six or eight knots doesn’t sound like a lot, remember that it is what the best-performing sailing boats normally do. Finally, and another good thing, the noise levels are always low. The noise is the typical murmur of a diesel which, as well as not being especially annoying, doesn’t ever exceed seventy decibels. In practice, you can chat as you sail, without having to resort to sign language to make yourself understood.
The hand-layered fibreglass also includes structural strengtheners along the bulwarks, longitudinal beams and floors, to ensure greater strength in the structure.
Following the demands of modern yachting, it can also be customised. The yard allows you to choose the colour of the hull, the material the deck is made from (including teak), and numerous accessories. They range from the electric anchor winch to the support for the outboard and the fridge, and then onto the types of awning: semi-fixed with two poles, with a compass opening or a four-post canopy. The one on the boat that we tried out was double because the owner wanted protection going aft, over the helm so it could be used while underway, and a further one in the bow to be set up during stops at anchor.
When you do between six and eight knots you use around three litres an hour and don’t make much noise. It is pleasant underway because it is a gozzo and not just a means of transportation. At top speed, you can do ten knots using just 6.5 litres an hour.
In conclusion, the Sciallino 19’ – which is the smallest in the range – is a perfect combination of tradition and modernity. It is a solid, strong, seafaring boat. It is dependable and doesn’t need much maintenance, which is exactly what is wanted by anybody who uses a boat for daily outings. And it can also be customised. It is precisely the possibility of personalising it, and the fact that it is a boat that doesn’t cause problems which are the features that potential buyers want. And as Bertolt Brecht said “it is simplicity that is difficult to make”, but Patrone Moreno seems to have worked out how to.
PROJECT: shipyard technical department
HULL: LOA (with transom and pulpit) 6.25m • Length 5.87m • Maximum beam 2.15m • Draft 0.45m • Displacement 1,600 kg • Fuel tank volume 80 l • Water tank as optional • Maximum rated power 40 hp
MAIN PROPULSION: Volvo Penta D1-30 Diesel • Outlet mechanical power 20.9 kW (28.4 hp) • 3 cylinders • Swept volume 1.1 l • Bore&Stroke 78mm x 81mm • Compression ratio 23.5:1 • Maximal rotational speed 2800-3200/min • Dry weight 140 kg
EC CERTIFICATION: CAT B 4 people • CAT C 5 people
(Sciallino 19’, roots and wings – Barchemagazine.com – September 2021)