Hans van der Velden has created the Arcangeli Boats Website for the purpose of documenting the history of these beautiful classic boats. The following is based on excerpts and photos from his Website, and are used with his permission. Kudos from boatXchg.com to Hans van der Velden for developing this fascinating and comprehensive Website focusing on Giuliano Arcangeli and his Arcangeli Boats..
Carlo Riva once said, “Riva is like Rolls Royce; Arcangeli is like Bentley.”
Giuliano Arcangeli, was born an Italian citizen in 1923. He started his nautical experience as a teenager on Lake Iseo, together with Serafino Riva. He moved to Switzerland to start his career at Cantieri Pedrazinni, manufacturer of Pedrazzini boats, where he learned his craft. He later worked at Cantieri Riva, manufacturer of Riva Boats.
In 1958, Giuliano began building his own motorboats on Lake Iseo (Lago d’Iseo) in Lombardy, Italy. In the same year, he started the boat construction company known as Arcangeli & C with his friend Giovanni Besenzoni. Giuliano took care of the woodworking while Giovanni handled the technical side of the business.
In 1960, they built a new shipyard in Sarnico, a municipality in the Province of Bergamo in the Italian region of Lombardy, about 44 miles northeast of Milan and about 12 miles east of Bergamo, at the southern end of Lake Iseo, where they employed approximately 60 people. In the early years, they produced about 70 boats per year; later increasing that to approximately 120 boats per year.
In 1963, they built the Jolly model with an outboard engine, followed by open runabouts: Super Jolly, Labrador, Commander, and Enrico. They also built Sebino cabin cruisers.
By 1965, Arcangeli Boats had representation in Germany and France, and they exhibited at leading fairs in Europe, including Milan and Genoa in Italy, as well as France and Germany. In those years, they built approximately 1,500 Arcangeli boats, of which only about 100 remain today worldwide.
In 1968, due to the national economic crisis, the Arcangeli shipyard closed forever.
In 1970, Giuliano Arcangeli moved to Salò near the seat of the city where he started a boat yard on Lake Garda for the restoration of Rivas. During the late-Seventies and early-Eighties, Giuliano’s son Alberto joined the yard, which he currently manages, operating as Arcangeli Centro Nautico Salo.
At this point, nothing remains of the Arcangeli shipyard, nor any of its documentation or drawings. It is said that Giuliano Arcangeli himself destroyed all the plans, photos, and anything else left in the yard because of his disappointment at the closing of his business. Today, the boats are all that is left, approximately 80 to 100 worldwide.