A chat with Andrea Lia, CEO of AL CUSTOM on his fisherman and on the manufacturing philosophy that distinguishes all the shipyard’s line: AL19, AL21, AL25 and AL30.
Q. Which are the overall basic specifications of a well-made fisherman?
AL. Fast and confortable navigation without green water on the deck also in rough sea conditions, stability, low fuel consumption. This is undisputable evidence that we face by gliding on waves instead of shoving them down. The rest is just a matter of taste.
D. Which is the ace in the hole of an AL CUSTOM and why?
AL. No doubts. Its performances, an impressive attitude through the waves, that will leave you amazed.
Who has tried our boats in almost impossible conditions, knows what I’m talking about. This extraordinary way of facing the sea it’s achieved with 30% less power need compared to the average of American boats of equal length. These are our winning weapons. Once again, the rest is a matter of style.
D. Features such as seakeeping, smooth sailing, performances, easy plane, power need and fuel consumption, sailing comfort may struggle with one another: which has been your priority choice?
AL. The truth is that due to new technologies and new materials, many concepts and compromises existing 20 years ago, nowadays are passed. An evident example is the weight. Until 10 years ago, weight was considered to be the main aspect for improving sea endurance; today I personally consider it a stumbling block for a boat. A heavy boat, excessively powered and consuming, with high emissions, is an obsolete boat. The intensive and selective use of carbon fibre together with the design that enhances its potentials, offers impressive performances as well as drastic low weights. All the standard you were mentioning are nowadays quiet matching, providing that designing and building have to be done with modern systems. In fact these are considered to be “the future” only in the ultraconservative fisherman world, but they are already routine for regatta and high performances boats and luxurious yachts too. On the other hand numbers speak the truth: to achieve rigidity and stability according to a traditional FRP lamination process, it’s sufficient less than half of the weight, if you work on the carbon fibre. That’s why we have a variety of pieces with rigidity and strenght above average and 30/40% less weight compared to who still uses antiquated systems. Of course everything I just said has sense if, since the very beginning, the design has been planned considering these aspects. At the same time there are still vendors that evaluate boats by weighing them: “this one’s better than the other ‘cause it weighs five tons more”. This approach is certainly not low-cost, friendly environmentally and up to date. But as it is impossible to start an innovation on hulls designed 20 years ago, there are still people affirming that fat is better than slim. This time though it’s not a matter of style neither taste. For vendors being indifferent is worthwhile, yet not for clients. That is why it is rewarding to undertake innovative projects. In spite of appearing full of myself I can tell you that in a couple of years every American shipyard will design and build like I’m doing now: more performance, less fuel consumption. It’s absolutely possible so it’s an absurd not to do it. And I’ll tell you more: in the fisherman history there will be a “before” and an “after” AL CUSTOM.
Whoever wants to survive in this market simply cannot deny the existence of AL CUSTOM. Also because they will have to face the renewed standards for energetic efficiency that AL CUSTOM has proved possible.