5000 crafts built to date. Some models have been in production for over 15 years. A mark known and respected all over the world. When it was decided to build GRP moulded boats, at Sipla in Forlė (Italy) way back1961, surely no one could have expected such a success! In those days, GRP was a gamble in every respect: something pioneering and experimental.

So it was Sipla that was obliged to run the gauntlet of obtaining the homologation of the first GRP craft, a "Flying Junior". The hull was painted brown and received false wooden veneers. They put the boat to a Boatyard well known for building classic yachts. When the RiNa (Italian Naval Register) engineers were coming to the yard to homologate a big yacht, they showed to them, in an obscure corner that small dinghy, presented as a diversion from the daily work, kindly requesting them to homologate it too. Considering the Yard's fame and grappling with an important boat, those engineers didn't hang about in evaluating that "small (apparently) wooden Jewel" and so they unconsciously gave wings to that flight which has taken us so far.

MeteorIn a rise without pause, the Sipla Company thus laid the foundations for popular sailing. The Meteor a Van de Stadt designed small fast and liveable boat gave the Italians at sea what the Fiat 600 gave them on the road: an easily maintaining craft, accommodating for family summer week-ends and fun for winter racing. But the revolution came in Sipla with the Comet 910, a boat that marked an important stage in competition sailing, (including the international scene). It was designed jointly by Van de Stadt and a very young Finot, in 1971. The 910 was so innovative and original that without collusion both designers, before launch and with the boat already entered for the Middle Sea Race, phoned Sipla the very same day and denied fathering such a revolutionary object.

Comet 14Today we know how well it did. That poor small uncommon orphan easily won, heavily outdoing bigger boats that were previous prizewinners. This first victory was followed by a huge and lasting commercial hit: the Comet 910 was built for more than fifteen years, from 1971 until 1987, totalling near one thousand boats. Thanks to this success, the Sipla could build new plants, at the time the most modern in Europe and, without commercial stress, quietly develop the new models. Meanwhile, at the same time (1971), the company, then with ten years of experience, changed his trademark to Comar S.P.A., a name that was to sparkle on the nautical Italian and European market. Comar and Finot became a highly successful team. They produced very innovative and fast boats, with a huge commercial success. Comar in this way started the nautical industrial era in Italy. The Comet 801, the Comet 11, 13 and 14 were built in large numbers. They incorporated unusual features, daring those days, such as roller main and jib, all controls led back to the cockpit, spacious and accurately crafted interiors, where the saloon was separated at the aft end of the boat.

420In the eighties, Comar brought in other designers, like Doug Peterson and Andrea Vallicelli. As a result we have more conventional, yet very elegant and fast boats. A great number of owners participate with their strictly standard Comets in all kind of regattas, sweeping up most of the awards: from the club races, to the Winter series, to the long races, as the Rimini-Corfu-Rimini, or the Giraglia. Our new Comet 1050, from Finot's board, the Comet 375, designed jointly by Finot and Peterson, the Comet 420 by Vallicelli, and the Comet 460, also from Finot, while having to deal with a strong and trained competition, became the benchmark for the market. Thanks to their success, Comar became the greatest Italian boatbuilder and exported a good deal of its production. At the end of the eighties, the company had a clear expansion trend, with big projects for the times to come. In 1989 it occupied an area of 43.000 sq.mt., 16.000 of which were covered by buildings. It produced 145 boats per year and had 160 workers with a turnover of near 11,5 million pounds, to say nothing of the fact that the Comet 333 (Vallicelli design) was chosen as the official boat for the first Giro d'Italia a Vela (Italy's sailing circumnavigation).

StradivariaDuring the nineties, Comar introduced the new models, which constitute part of today's range. They were fitted out with accuracy, from the drawing board to completion, from selecting materials to their assembly. The company pioneered a completely new production policy. Beginning with the adoption of building techniques, which were completely new for those times: balsa and Termanto cored sandwiches, vacuum lamination, etc. This continued with the introduction of new models: the Genesi, a thirteen metre in three versions, Cruising, Racing and Sport, and the Phoenix, a fifteen metre, the new yard flagship. The Company was also in the one-off racing market. The Comar built, Vallicelli design "Stradivaria" won the hazardous Centomiglia del Garda four times, and still came fifth at the last year "Barcolana", being second in her class.

In the meantime, the Company changes ownership and with a new management makes preparations to face other challenges. During the last ten years the market has had an unexpected evolution. At the end of the eighties the economic crisis caused big troubles for marine companies and some boatyards. For this reason, a long chain of mergers created a few industrial giants, capable of facing the bad period. This also gave acceleration to the industrialisation process that Comar herself had started gradually with her innovative models. In France, government policy clearly encouraged mass production. The early nineties saw the big industrial holdings ready to conquer the international market, overwhelming those who tried to take them on the same fields of forced industrialisation. This process, however, favours an over simplification of production details, which is at times extreme.

In these changing times, our new management at Comar had to ask itself if there was still a place for the Comar philosophy. And in seeking their new position in the market they found that, in fact their old position was still there, where some people were rejecting the sameness of what was being uniformly offered and still sought a sailing boat of character and quality.

However, for those mass produced boats, their very cheapness was still a market factor with the same quality seeking person resisting paying an "arm an a leg" for what they really wanted.

Fortunately, Comar was able to draw upon its deep construction experience, including advanced technology, from dinghies through volume production, to "one off", to give the market a range of high quality boats at a competitive price.

The challenge is deeply felt by all of us at Comar, from the management trough production workers, to the agents. We all want seaworthy, stiff, quality built sailing boats, but competitive priced. Our new results are keenly encouraging, the new Comet owners are today's enthusiastic testimonials of the new age and ensure that Comar, in the years to come, will remain strongly in the leisure marine market.

We have all the basics: advanced techniques, high quality products, and happy customers. No lack of a competent and trained international selling networks, with expert agents. Our efforts are currently followed with interest by the international specialised press, with articles and sailing test in many magazines.

How far we have sailed! Starting from that first "wooden" Flying Junior, to the vacuum bagged sandwich lamination of our latest craft, from the early pioneering to the latest in these present technological times. The spirit however, the working enjoyment and the uncompromising love for quality are the very same as at the start. Men and objectives may have changed, but Comar remains the same!
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