There is no shortage of spectacular boats to view at the PIMEX Boat Show and, whether you are a serious buyer or just enjoy looking at them for sheer pleasure, there’s something for everyone. To say that it has something to offer every budget however would be over zealous; you have to have a healthy bank balance to even think about investing in one of these castles on the water.
Amongst the many brands showcasing their lavish boats at the show, ‘Ferretti’ is one particular name that stands out from the crowd. This luxurious collection boasts some familiar brands including the iconic ‘Riva’ and ‘Pershing’ models, the latter being the picture-perfect setting to meet up with Ferretti’s Commercial Director, Alberto Perrone da Zara.
A man with such a diverse and demanding job, he still finds time to provide a detailed insight to his character, and discuss the brands he represents. Prestige brands and products don’t simply sell themselves; it’s all down to connections and establishing business relationships. Alberto is a true gentleman; engaging, polite, sincere and interesting and it is no surprise that he is so successful at building and maintaining long-lasting associations with his colleagues, associates, suppliers and clients.
Alberto is Ferretti, and the blood running through his veins pumps with a passion for boats. Reflecting on his past he says, “I was always in love with boats. When I was a child I drew pictures of sailboats, powerboats, perspectives and designs all over my schoolbooks.”
Italian born and raised, he was initially encouraged to pursue a career in law by his father, who was involved with insurance and banking. Although his family aren’t involved in the boating industry, his great grand uncle was an Admiral in the Italian navy.
After beginning his studies in economics at university, Alberto discovered he had no enthusiasm for his intended career direction. “I didn’t love it at all. Then one day something extraordinary happened, I destroyed my left leg, broke my femur and spent a lot of time in hospital. I had sleepless nights and when I came out I told my mother that I wanted to stop studying economics. She put me on crutches and sent me straight off to Southampton to study a degree in ‘Yacht and Boating Design’, it was a wonderful decision”.
Completing his degree in 1992, he then went to Argentina to open his own successful boat design office where he worked for 5 years. Full of entrepreneurial spirit, Alberto offers some advice to young start-ups, “You must understand exactly what it is you really want to do, and if this is the right thing. Some activities are difficult and unpleasant, it’s not always easy, but you must like it, sorry, love it, you have to be passionate about it.”
After almost 5 years of doing everything independently in Argentina, Alberto went on to work for a naval architect firm in California, “It was very different working for a formula one team, the exact opposite from being on your own”. During his tenure in Long Beach his team designed the Whitbread, now known as the ‘VOLVO Ocean Race’ challenge.
Alberto joined the Ferretti group in the United States in 2002. He worked for the Leva brand solely in the beginning before going on to become Commercial Director overseeing the sales and customer service of all of the brands under the Ferretti group. Leva, the Bentley equivalent of the boating world, is the best known brand within the Ferretti range and has a century’s worth of history behind it.
When asked what makes Ferretti thrive he states several reasons. “The integral factor to their prosperity is the people, everyone involved in designing, building, selling and maintaining Ferretti’s portfolio has done their homework, they are experts at what they do and have a complete understanding of the whole process.
Alberto also firmly believes that taking his mother’s advice many years ago put him in good stead for personal and professional achievement. She advised, “Do everything on your own first”. He expands, “Simply put, don’t just join a big team and only concentrate on one aspect, you must learn and see and do everything, see the challenges and the joys of each of thing, designing something, building the moulds, have your first unit sticking to the mould, making mistakes and having to remedy them – it’s all a wonderful learning process.”
“Luckily, I have experience of design, construction, sales and customer service. When you are in a position overseeing all of these things, and when you have actually done all of these things first hand, it puts you in a credible position with your associates and clients”.
Alberto deliberates whether people have any idea of how much work goes into designing the cabin that we are sitting in, “You must imagine what is involved in creating a great looking cabin in a fast boat. Most people don’t. There is so much research and so many people involved who must have done their homework well. The concept, so much design, engineering, the execution, maintenance, proper customer service to get to this point and all those things have to really work”.
The majority of people involved in the boating industry have mostly grown up around them, although this isn’t to say they don’t also hire from outside. He explains “This industry has imported other people from luxury brands in separate industries in the hope of bringing new energy, but it’s a formula, in my opinion that does not work very well, those who have credibility and know how to communicate to the media and prospective clients, must know boats. But like anything, if you’re not familiar with it it’s a little difficult to pretend”.
Alberto believes that Ferretti is the accomplished brand it is today because “The Company hires well. It provides ongoing training support not only to its associates but also to captains and buyers. Although its boats are modern and embrace technology it has a traditional approach that is balanced, reputable and sturdy. It sticks to its brand values and this restores confidence in Feretti boats”.
The Ferretti Group is a world leader in the design, construction and marketing of luxury motor yachts, and has an unparalleled portfolio of eight exclusive and prestigious brands, each with its own distinctive and unique features including Ferretti Yachts, Pershing, Itama, Bertram, Riva, Mochi Craft, CRN and Ferretti Custom Line.
A specialized network of approximately 60 selected dealers grants the Ferretti Group’s presence in over 80 countries. The Phuket based Lee Marine is the group’s authorized broker in Thailand. Lee Marine works to maintain their reputation by offering excellent sales and service to boat owners who have purchased a Ferretti product.