Originally designed as racing boats for the Mediterranean and used on mountain-surrounded lakes across central Europe – think Italy, Switzerland and Germany – Comitti Boats are about to become de-rigueur on the Solent, and around the UK. As, once you’ve feasted your eyes on one, it’s hard to imagine ever wanting anything else. And as exclusive UK (and Caribbean) dealer, CEO Karen Dickens says: “beautiful boats will always sell.”
Recently set-up Comitti Boats UK & Caribbean is the result of Dickens’ ambition to own a powerboat. Her introduction to the brand was via a friend in 2018. After being shown a photograph of his, she flew to Italy the next week and bought a Venezia 34, Octopussy.
Once she realised how well her Comitti was being received, the next obvious step was to step-into the business.
It didn’t take her long to get the partnership going and she’s not looked back.
Even though she is the proud owner of a Discovery 58 and has been messing around on sailboats since her childhood in Cornwall (and all through her years at university studying chemistry and maths with a PhD tacked on in physical organic chemistry), she says she’d been looking for a classical powerboat as “the downside of sailing is that it sometime takes too much time to get places.”
Comitti provided what she needed, and the Italian company was delighted to partner with her.
“Comitti is very much a family run business, owned between brother, sister and father,” Dickens says. “When you step into the factory you can feel the huge passion for the boats and the dedication that goes into crafting them.”
Dickens expects it’s people like her, who’re looking for bespoke, high-quality beautiful items who’ll form a large proportion of her customers.
“Comittis are perfect to add to the collection,” she says. “For example, they’ll appeal to drivers of supercars if they want a new toy.”
But her market isn’t limited to drivers. She says the brand families of Breva, Venezia, Isola and Di Legno (each with unique features and ranging in lengths from 22-42) are ideal for all sorts of buyers, from families making use of the spacious decks with easy water access, to tenders for superyachts or even for traditional sailors who want something to get them from A to B quickly.
“They’re built for speed, and handle amazingly well in all winds and tides, and across the sea, rivers and lakes,” she says.
Dickens has had her hand firmly in the design of her latest Comitti Breva (based in Lymington, her Venezia takes pride of place for the Barbados arm of the business).
“We reconfigured the cockpit area with plenty of room, which made much more seating than on the original Breva design,” she says. “We had an electric bimini installed for instant access to shade, and I worked with my interior designers here in the UK to finish and tailor the boat to the next level.”
She’s made sure the build craftsmanship, passion and quality extends to every little detail.
“While she handles beautifully, we discovered the boat was designed for the Solent but her fixings in high winds weren’t,” Dickens says. “We lost a few cushions over the side.” This is something she’s since remedied and is carrying through with all those she finishing with owners.
Currently her Breva – Property of a Lady – is sitting pretty in Bucklers Hard, where Dickens is welcoming visitors, rather than at Ocean Village Boat Show.
“I’m obviously very disappointed,” she says of the show’s last minute cancellation by Southampton City Council. “Having previously worked in the oil industry for many years, I’m very cautious about health and safety. I wouldn’t have put myself, my staff or clients at risk, and the show was very well organised.”
But Dickens is pragmatic about what the future holds.
“We are in a period of uncertainty with Brexit and coronavirus, but beautiful boats and beautiful items will always sell,” she says. “Almost anyone who is interested in lovely things will continue to buy lovely things.”
Contact details for Comitti Boats UK & Caribbean are online.