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Mimi’s fishing boats


Cantiere Mimì is embarking on a bold expansion into international markets while honoring the rich tradition of Sorrentine fishing boats. In a conversation with Domenico Senese, the owner of the shipyard, he highlights the innovative strides taken by the company.

2022 and 2023 mark a significant turning point for our shipyard,” begins Domenico Senese. “These years have not only enhanced our brand image but also boosted production and turnover significantly.”

These achievements are the culmination of years of hard work, during which Cantiere Mimì has focused on product development, introducing new models and versions. Furthermore, the expansion of its sales network, now spanning Spain, France, Holland, Croatia, and Turkey, has contributed to a remarkable 20% increase in production in 2023. Despite this international growth, Italy remains the primary market, accounting for 50% of sales.

Salvatore Senese (centre), founder of Cantiere Mimì, with his sons Domenico (left), now the owner of the shipyard, and Massimo (right), who oversees the refitting and storage business.

Maintaining a keen eye on market dynamics, Senese emphasizes their direct engagement with customers throughout Italy, spanning sales, maintenance, and refitting processes. This hands-on approach provides invaluable insights into customer preferences and market trends. However, the demand for maintenance and refitting services has placed constraints on production capacity, prompting considerations for warehouse expansion.

Presently, acquiring a Mimì boat entails joining a waiting list due to overwhelming demand. Senese notes, “We produce one, but receive requests for three—a testament to the unprecedented demand we’re experiencing.” This surge in interest underscores the shipyard’s commitment to quality and innovation.

Tradition and modern solutions

Cantiere Mimì is based in Agnano, a few kilometers from Naples, and has been designing and building boats from 5.5 to 13.5 m – including fishing boats and powerboats – for more than 40 years. Over time, it has moved with great balance between innovation and tradition and has been adept at following and anticipating market demands. It has carried out a work of revisiting the fishing boats while keeping the traditional style and charm intact, incorporating modern solutions, and using state-of-the-art technology, for example, the hard top and walkaround deck setting, as well as 3D design and infusion processing of the hull. For the past decade, it has been working with Valerio Rivellini’s Rivellini Yacht Design Studio, a naval engineer specialising in yacht design, engineering, refitting, and composite materials.

The Libeccio 8.5 Classic is inspired by the past. It has tiller steering and a large bow sundeck. The peak can be used as a double cabin.

The Mimi range and the latest innovations Mimi shipyard’s range is in continuous evolution and renewal and is proposed to a market of modern, heterogeneous owners (Mimi boats are present in more than 20 countries) with an increasingly younger average age. There are two lines of boats:

  • the Libeccio planning fishing boats, powered inboard with Yanmar thrusters, with shaft line, single or double installation, and powers ranging from 40 to 2×370 hp;
  • the Fisherman powerboats, with outboards from 115 and 150 hp.

The trends in different countries “The best-selling models,” Domenico Senese points out, “are the Libeccio 8.5 and the 9.50 and 11 in the Walk Around version. However, in the last six months, we have had many requests for boats between 9.5 and 13 m. This is a trend we are seeing both in Italy and abroad: specifically, the larger ones are more requested in Croatia, Turkey, and France, from 9 m and up; in Spain, for reasons related to taxation systems, we sell very well the models up to 8.5 m; in Northern Europe they ask us for small sizes; in Italy, I have to say that we sell the whole range well. Another trend we are seeing concerns the Classic versions, those with tiller steering. The desire for retro is there and we are investing heavily in it, which is confirmed by the new Libeccio 9.5 Classic.”

Solid teak and infusion Cantiere Mimì makes between 100 and 120 boats a year in its Agnano warehouses. Designed and engineered in 3D, all hulls are then fabricated using the vacuum infusion process, and decks are finished in hand-curved solid teak. “Ours is a handcrafted production: we make everything in-house, including molds, except steels, upholstery, and some CNC machining. The choice of infusion, and the consequent lightening of the hull, allowed us to decrease engine power by 30% while maintaining performance and nearly halving fuel consumption.” From 9 m and above, some degree of customization is possible as to wood species, upholstery, and curtains. “Each dealer also asks us to characterize their lines in terms of colours – for example, the French dealer wants white hard tops while the Croatian dealer wants them black. On the models between 11 and 13.50 m, we are able to customize definitely more.”

A project:  Libeccio 11 Walk Around

Libeccio 11 stands as one of the most successful models of the Mimi shipyards; its two versions, Cabin and Walkaround, have both already undergone revisions over the years. The Cabin version boasts an interior with a kitchen or a sofa area and two double cabins, including a master cabin with a separate bathroom and a second cabin with convertible beds. Meanwhile, the Walkaround version offers enhanced outdoor spaces and includes a unique feature—an aft garage for tender and toy storage. Both versions achieve a top speed of 30 knots.

Cabin and Walkaround versions of the Libeccio 11.

Restyling The latest iteration of the Libeccio 11 WA represents a restyling of the 2020 version, designed to maximize forward area utility during mooring and sailing. Notably, the redesigned aft area, inspired by the Libeccio 13.5 Cabin, offers increased space. Inside, there are two cabins, a kitchen, and a bathroom with a shower. Customizable kitchen countertops and a suspended staircase provide an airy, spacious feel to the interior. Additionally, the forward cabin enjoys enhanced privacy through cleverly paneled cabinets.

The interview: Between performance and tradition

More than a decade long is the collaboration between Cantiere Mimì and Valerio Rivellini, founder of Studio Rivellini Yacht Design, which focuses on naval engineering, design, engineering, refitting, and composite materials.

Today for Cantiere Mimì, the firm’s team follows the product globally, from design to quality control.
How did you approach the project of revisiting the Sorrentine fishing boats in a modern key?
The revamping work at Mimi aims to modernize Sorrentine fishing boats, appealing not only to older shipowners but also to younger generations. This transformation involves advancements in technology, design, and performance. Mimi’s boats are all planing, with some reaching a top speed of 30 knots. They incorporate the latest technology, from onboard home automation to integrated audio-video systems and even include features like a tender garage—a once unthinkable addition to fishing boats. The decision to create a walkaround line has been particularly well-received throughout the Mediterranean.

How is a Mimi fishing boat born? And what is your role? Mimi’s fishing boats are meticulously crafted with involvement from start to finish. Designing decks and hulls is primarily handled by Domenico Senese’s studio, sometimes starting from tested hulls and modifying them to fit specific deck characteristics. The studio also oversees the design of all boat interiors, utilizing 3D software systems and CNC machines for precision.

Libeccio 13.50, the flagship of the range. It is powered by two Yanmar engines of 370 HP each. Inside, three cabins (two doubles and one twin) and two bathrooms.

What are the main features of the hull lines? Does infusion processing affect hull design? Infusion processing significantly impacts hull design, allowing for lighter weights and precise control over characteristics. Mimi’s hulls feature a centre keel and variable deadrise, with integrated flaps eliminating the need for trim tabs.

What materials do you use? Mimi’s hulls are made entirely of infusion vinyl ester, while the teak used is solid. The craftsmanship extends to every detail, with carpentry starting from logs to ensure a truly handcrafted product.

Mimi builds in an artisanal way, what are its strengths? Mimi’s strength lies in its decision to handle all aspects “in-house,” from fiberglass to carpentry, preserving the traditional construction process while incorporating modern advancements. This dedication to craftsmanship sets Mimi apart in an industry increasingly reliant on external collaborations.