Valentine’s Day, the first boat is never forgotten. Tell us your

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Happy Valentine’s Day Sailors! To celebrate Lovers’ Day, we asked our deputy editor Eugenio Ruocco to tell us the story of his first love. We are talking about boats, of course. Read the story, make up your mind and send us, by writing a comment to the article, the story of your first boat!


I have never forgotten you, Mistress II!

On Valentine’s Day, the holiday of lovers, I remembered the old saying “you never forget your first love.” How true, I thought to myself, thinking about my first cruising boat. Named “Mistress II,” she was a Comet 28 Race that my parents bought in 1998 in La Spezia.

A great little fiberglass missile by Finot (from 1986, a Classic Boat), narrow, boliniero. Mistress II had Cariboni’s oversized mast, laminated sails, and it walked so much in racing that we got a lot of satisfaction out of it. But for me, it was the adventure boat. From Genoa, our home port, my family and I had an unforgettable time. Now that my mother is gone, I feel them even more precious. And what about impromptu cruises to the French Riviera with my friends, little more than 18 years old?

valentine's day
The Comet 28 Race Mistress II moored in Genoa quite a few years ago…

We kept Mistress II for 12 years and then moved on to other bigger boats (a First 34.7, a Grand Soleil 39 by Jezequel…) but that little Comet of just over eight meters by two and a half meters has always remained in my heart.

In search of my former boat

So much so that a few months ago I decided to look it up. I had heard that the boat had ended up on Lake Maggiore at some point, but I didn’t know what condition it was in.

I do a search on Comet285.co.uk, dedicated to Comet lovers, and find it:

Model: Comet 28 race
Name: Mistress II
Year of construction: 1986
Owner: Laura/Roberto/Linda
Location: Arona
Sailing Club: LNI Arona

It’s her! He’s doing great, he’s happy!

It’s her! Naviga, the photos show it and it is still beautiful. She has found someone who really loves her! There is also email from the owners. Moved, I immediately write to him.

Mistress II 2
Mistress II sailing on Lake Maggiore. She looks great! (photo from Comet285.co.uk)

In that email I let go: “I vividly remember the smell below deck, the green alcantara cushions (are they still there?), the removable galley, that Cariboni oversized mast that forced you to give the first hand in less than 15 knots… Then other boats came along, but never any like her! I saw from the photos that it is perfectly kept, ITA 31 is in very good hands! If I pass through Arona someday, maybe, I would love to meet you and say hello again!

The next day, the answer: they confirm that Mistress arrived in Arona in 2012, and that she has been with them ever since,“filling our lives and delighting us on daily sailings and cruises of a few days on Lake Maggiore.” And everything has remained as I remembered, “only the cushions have changed, which are no longer green alcantara, but are golden yellow. Left in green alcantara are the 3 storage bags that are still attached to the wall of the pull-out galley, in the dinette, and in the forward cabin“.

They also tell me that sailing with her “is very fulfilling, because even with little wind, and on the lake it is often like that, we are able to move excellently, with stronger wind it takes its tilt and sails. When it is well balanced, letting go of the rudder adjusts itself to the heave or lean, clearly on the lake there are fewer waves“. Yes, that’s right, I remember it like it was yesterday.

A tear drops – really – down my face. When I pass through Arona, I will definitely visit Mistress II. Because the first boat is like the first love. It is never forgotten!

Eugene Ruocco


What was your first boat?

Let us know what your first boat was by commenting on this article. And your love for her. After all, it is Valentine’s Day! We will publish the best “amarcords”!

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