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The Yachting World Mourns Carlo Riva

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Riva shipyards, the Ferretti Group and the entire world of yachting are mournng the loss of a unique and unrivalled creator of boats and a master of style and elegance.
Carlo Riva was an extraordinary man who built the Riva family name into an iconic brand synonymous with yachting itself.

The world of yachting bids him an emotional farewell following his passing on 10 April at his home town of Sarnico at the age of 95.

Carlo Riva's genius designs and passion for technological evolution consistently produced masterpieces that embody the allure of Italian style, from the vintage class of “La Dolce Vita” through to the modern elegance of today.

“Carlo Riva has left us, the greatest of them all. The world has lost a brilliant creator of boats, a master of style, a giant in Italy's industrial and business history. To me, this is a personal loss of a master, an example of brilliance, of commitment and of dedication to work.” said Alberto Galassi, Ferretti Group's CEO.

“Carlo Riva taught us all the meaning of vision, creativity and passion. His vision and inexhaustible innovative energy make him the leading personality in the 20th century yachting world, a man whose extraordinary creations have already become legends. Carlo Riva’s boats will always be the finest in the world, a source of inspiration to all of us who feel a strong sense of responsibility for the stewardship and for taking forward into the future the leading brand in world yachting."


Carlo Riva

Carlo Riva was one of the most respected and renowned entrepreneurs in the yachting industry. Born in Sarnico on the 24th February 1922, when the first speedboats were being built, he went on to join the family business following in the footsteps of his father Serafino, his grandfather Ernesto and his great-grandfather Pietro, who founded the company in 1842.

In 1954, Carlo opened the new shipyard, still protected by Italian Superintendence for Artistic and Architectural Heritage to this day. At the same time he transformed the concept of the boat from a transport vehicle or a powerboat to an object of pleasure and the luxury lifestyle. 

Driven by a fascination for speed and racing cars, Carlo created Riva's golden age thanks to models such as Ariston, reflecting, “It was designed with love and is strong and pure like a thoroughbred horse. Unforgettable! My Lord of the seas.” 

Another masterpieces was the Tritone, the first twin-engine boat, Sebino, which ushered in standard production, and the Florida, whose name was a tribute to the United States, followed by the legendary Aquarama launched in 1962. Such boats became a status symbol for aristocrats, actors, sports champions, businessmen and celebrities, including Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, Liz Taylor, Sean Connery, Jean Paul Belmondo, Richard Burton and Jackie Stewart.

Carlo Riva demonstrated his entrepreneurial vision yet again in 1969, with the creation fo the first fibreglass boat. His ability to predict owners' needs also led to the Riva Boat Service, providing technical and sales assistance.

After leaving the shipyard in 1972, he focused his attention on the Port of Rapallo, which was dedicated to him on 25 July 1975 and still bears his name. In 2005, in his beloved home of Monaco, Carlo Riva was conferred the title of 'Personnalité de la Mer' by Prince Albert II.

Carlo Riva always maintained his connection with Riva boatyards, and his presence at the launch of Rivamare in Sarnico last spring is remembered with great emotion. 

Carlo Riva died peacefully in his home town of Sarnico on 10 April 2017, perhaps, as he himself used to say, “With a touch of nostalgia in reliving the long ride of my wonderful life as a boatman”.

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