81 years ago Lucio Dalla was born. The history of his powerboats


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A deep lover of the sea, in his long career the Bolognese singer-songwriter has been the owner of several boats, peculiar as he is, with curious names, but above all authentic and capable of inspiring some of his most beautiful songs.

As a great lover of life and curious about the world, Lucio Dalla was also a deep lover of the sea. For the brilliant and eclectic Bolognese singer-songwriter, the vast blue expanse was not only a favorite refuge from touring, concerts, and record company commitments. But above all, a unique and rich source of inspiration. It is no coincidence that Dalla dedicated some of his musical masterpieces precisely to the sea: from the splendid “Caruso” to “Controvento,” via “Stella di mare” and “Come fanno i marinai.”

And then a song that in his repertoire is perhaps the one most linked to the marine dimension: “How Deep is the Sea,” an almost philosophical lyric, very lyrical and in some ways harsh, where the sea becomes a symbol of the unconscious, the unknown and the infinite, in a sort of invitation to all to reflect on our existence, on the meaning of life, on the great mystery that surrounds us.

Marine and simple boat owner

A visceral love of the sea drove Lucio Dalla throughout his career to become an owner of a number of boats. And we’re not talking about those luxurious billionaire yachts that often end up in the hands of VIPs and members of the star system.

His were all boats with soul, with genuine marine qualities, well built and not at all flashy. In short, like a real sailor. Ideal means to spend vacations, invite friends over, enjoy cruises and nights at anchor in the Mediterranean and, who knows, be inspired to compose his own songs. The Tremiti Islands were his favorite cruise destination. But he also happily sailed the Tyrrhenian Sea between Ponza and Capri. And then again in Sicily, from the Aeolian Islands to the Egadi Islands.

Lucio Dalla

From a breakdown on “Catarrh” was born the magic of “Caruso”

Lucio Dalla’s first craft dates back to the 1980s. It was a wooden motorsailer made by the Pershing shipyard. With his usual goliardic and irreverent spirit, he had christened it “Catarrh,” along the same lines as when he debuted on the scene under the pseudonym “Domenico Sputo.” Dalla became particularly attached to this boat, mainly because of a daring episode. It was 1986, and following a breakdown while sailing in the Gulf of Naples, the singer-songwriter was forced to repair to Sorrento. Here the stayed at the Hotel Excelsior Vittoria and, by a curious combination, in the very room that years ago had hosted the legendary tenor Enrico Caruso, shortly before his death.

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The hotel owners told him about the last days of the tenor’s life and his passion for a young girl to whom he gave singing lessons. It was then in that room, inspired by these stories, that Lucio Dalla composed on the same piano used by the old artist the famous song “Caruso,” later included in the live album “DallAmeriCaruso.”

Lucio Dalla

“Brilla&Billy,” his most beloved boat.

After “Catarro” for the Bolognese singer-songwriter came two more Pershing boats, the 45-footer “Dance” and the 54-footer “Two Dance.” Then in 2002 he also purchased an inflatable boat, a 7.5-meter Ace 75 powered by two Yamaha 150-horsepower thrusters.

It was not until 2003, however, that Lucio Dalla came into possession of what was the vessel he loved most and kept until his untimely death on March 1, 2012. Again he had chosen an uncommon name, “Brilla&Billy,” in honor of his two Labrador dogs from whom he was never separated. Commissioned from the Azzurro shipyard in Marotta di Fano, Italy, the yacht was 23 meters long and built entirely of wood with top-quality materials, including a longitudinal keel of solid oak. It was equipped with two thrusters and 5 cabins to accommodate up to 9 people.

Lucio Dalla

A true sailing “music laboratory”

But the real “treat” was that the singer-songwriter had a real recording studio built inside, complete and state-of-the-art for the time. In this floating and perfectly equipped recording room Dalla in 2003 composed “Tosca Amore Disperato,” the opera inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s melodrama “Tosca” and Victorien Sardou’s drama “La Tosca,” as well as “Angles in the Sky,” a song contained in the album of the same name released in 2009.

Here then is his umpteenth masterpiece: in that sea he so loved and longed for, the chance to create music freely, to stop “hot” the emotions breathed and experienced in the Mediterranean that surrounded him, to elaborate lyrics and notes with an authentic flavor, capable of striking the soul of everyone, sailors and non-sailors alike, to the heart.

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