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On board Lady Jane II with owner Ettore Cicchelero

22 September 2021• Written by Grace Trofa

BOAT steps on board Lady Jane II with owner Ettore Cicchelero and learns how a love of boats runs in the family...

My father passed his passion for boats on to me very early. In fact, it started before I was even born: I was cruising around the Greek islands while still inside my mother’s womb.

I was raised in Switzerland, but I spent most of my childhood on the Adriatic coastline of Italy. Our family cruised along the Croatian islands on my father’s eight metre boat, Snoopy II, built by Cantieri San Marco in Venice with a powerful 450hp engine. I still have videos of me when I was five years old standing on the seat, driving the boat.

Daughter Annabel takes the wheel with dad
Courtesy of Ettore Cicchelero

Our next boat was a wooden Canados 12 metre day cruiser called PAC. My father was in the automobile industry, so he set up a team of mechanics and workers in a garage to do a complete refit of the boat. I was fascinated; every day after school and on Saturday I would run over to watch the progress.

In one unforgettable summer I cruised with my father and my cousin from the south of Venice to Ithaca, the Ionian island of Ulysses. There was no GPS, and on this cruise my father taught me how to do the routes on the maps. By the age of 13 I was treating that boat like it was my toy.

The Bulldog design by Cantiere Navale Santamargherita
Courtesy of Ettore Cicchelero

By the time my father bought Lady J, named after my mother, a stunning Sanlorenzo 15 SP with double mahogany planking of the hull, I was 20 years old and my father put me in charge of the complete refit.

When I finally bought my own boat in 2009, an Alalunga 72 from Cantiere Navale Santamargherita, I, of course, had to do a refit. My boat, Lady J II, has four cabins and an amazing wooden interior with all the comforts, but with this size boat you are still connected to the sea. I have a five-year-old daughter, my princess. Just like my experience years earlier, she had already started cruising while in my wife’s womb. She comes on board and fixes and cleans just like I did with my father.

The Alalunga Lady J II was the first boat Cicchelero owned himself
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About a year ago, I bought the company Cantiere Navale Santamargherita. The decision was made in just a moment. There is a lot of nostalgia. I remember as a child going to Portofino and Santa Margherita; the shipyard was on the beach and I used to spy, looking to see what they were doing. I felt we could not lose the heritage of the brand. We have put together the remaining old team with some new experienced members and launched two new designs, Blade and Bulldog, at the Monaco Boat Show. This passion for yachts remains strong within me.

Cicchelero’s Lady J II from 2001
Courtesy of Ettore Cicchelero