Boats never die. Story of Beatrice’s second life


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Boats never die when you love them. All true. All you need to do is follow the story of Beatrice, a 15-meter (15.56 x 3.78-meter) two-masted wooden vessel built by the Sangermani shipyard more than 60 years ago. Let’s start from the end of the story. On July 15, 2021 Beatrice officially became the property of the City of Imperia and will be managed by the Andrea Doria Nautical Technical Institute, after restoration by the students themselves with the help of the shipwrights of the Ligurian city. The boat was donated to the municipality and provided with the necessary funds to carry out the restoration by pharmaceutical industrialist Diana Bracco through the foundation that bears her last name.

A passion born in Istria where everyone goes sailing

It is the passion for the sea and sailing that has led to Beatrice’s rebirth. Diana Bracco, 80, was born in Istria, the home of great sailors. Just to name one name Tino Straulino. Diana was already sailing at age 4, as was her entire family.

As luck would have it, her husband, Roberto De Silva (who passed away in 2012), was also a great lover of the sea. Roberto in 1999 spots Beatrice, falls in love with her, buys her. Diana and Roberto De Silva spend beautiful years on Beatrice around the Mediterranean. The boat also participates in early vintage hull rallies.

Then, like all fine objects, after a while you have to redo the look. Beatrice goes to the construction site in 2010 for refit, but in the meantime Roberto De Silva dies. The boat remains stationary. And it is known that a wooden boat must live at sea in order not to decay.

Thus came Beatrice’s second life

Is this the end of Beatrice? No, because there is a third protagonist in this story, the boat’s captain, Giancarlo Gaudino. It was he who suggested to Diana Bracco that she see if there was a possibility of donating the boat to the Imperia Naval Technical Institute, where he had studied. Said and done, he contacts Luca Bonjean, his friend and lecturer at Nautical.


Bonjean is famous because he is the one who has taught so many young people how to sail, on Equipe and 420s, not only in Imperia. He does not lack passion either. He also has the opportunity to involve an exceptional crew, his Nautical students.

Thus came the rebirth of Beatrice, a precious 15-meter Sangermani that was in danger of being lost as firewood. Students and the city’s best nautical skills worked on its restoration.

Diana Bracco and Beatrice

On July 15, 2021 in the port of Imperia, all the key players were smiling. Diana Bracco who saw as beautiful as ever in port the boat that gave him so much happiness. Luca Bonjean who was the soul of the restoration. Commander Gaudino who came up with the idea. And all the students of Andrea Doria Nautical. Beatrice will now sail as a school boat and participate in vintage boat rallies. What better second life for Beatrice?

If you want to know what boat Beatrice is, click HERE



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