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Comitti Breva 35 test drive: Italian beauty tested in the Solent

Is there more to the eye-poppingly beautiful Comitti Breva 35 than just good looks? We find out with a blustery test in the Solent...

Owning a boat as beautiful as this Comitti Breva 35 must be a bit of a double-edged sword; on the one hand it’s very flattering that so many passers-by stop to admire it, on the other hand it’s rather frustrating that the first question they’re likely to ask is whether it’s a Riva.

The short answer is no, Comitti is a completely different yard that has been building boats on the shores of Lake Como since 1956. The long answer is that Comitti is an even more exclusive brand, building a limited range of elegant open sportsboats from 25-35ft, including a handful of classic wooden craft that can trace their origins back to the 1950s and 1960s.

That tends to shut up most casual passers-by but the more inquisitive among them might still go on to ask whether it’s as good as a Riva. And that is the question which we are hoping to answer today.

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The good news is that we have the perfect opportunity to find out, not on a mirror-smooth lake or a sun-soaked Mediterranean bay with a limited amount of time behind the wheel and an anxious PR representative watching our every move, but here in the Solent, on a blustery autumn day with just the UK and Caribbean’s new dealer James Hart to help us get the best out of it.

Backed by wealthy entrepreneur Dr Karen Dickens, who owns two Comittis (this Breva 35 in the UK and a Venezia 34 in the Caribbean), their aim is to grow awareness and sales of what they both believe to be one of Italy’s best kept secrets. They have a point.

It’s hard not to fall for the Breva’s intoxicating mix of elegant proportions and classic design cues enhanced by the occasional modern twist. It’s what Riva did so well with the Aquariva and Comitti has pulled it off with this boat too.

There is something about an elegantly flared bow, tumblehome stern and reverse sheer transom that tugs at the heartstrings, especially when they’re set off by a lustrous metallic dark blue paint job and lashings of honey-coloured teak (varnished mahogany is an option).

Modern details like the angular kink at the aft end of the stainless steel windscreen frame, the double arrowhead mouldings in the foredeck and the bespoke Comitti-branded cleats add an unexpected twist and prevent it from being too much of a retro pastiche.

Close-up one or two elements, like the fit of the cockpit upholstery and the underside of the bimini cover moulding, don’t look quite as neat as you’d expect but perhaps that’s inevitable on a hand-made product where every boat is built to order, often with new adaptations to suit each customer’s demands.

Read our full review of the Comitti Breva 35 in the February 2021 issue of Motor Boat & Yachting, out February 7.

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