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The story of the legendary Riva shipyard

Riva , yachting , boating greece , boatingreece

The history of Riva has its roots almost two centuries ago, when in 1842 on Lake Iseo, in Sarnico, a small town in northern Italy, a sudden storm had destroyed the fishing fleet. However, a young shipbuilder worked wonders, restoring many of the ships to excellent condition, earning the respect and admiration of the locals in the process. And thus was born the legend of Riva and Pietro Riva, who took his fate into his own hands the moment he arrived in the small town of Sarnico.

Riva , Aquarama 1962 , boating greece , boatingreece , yachting
The shipyard "Fratelli Riva"

In Sarniko he opened the shipyard where he would launch the first Riva creations, crafts of exceptional personality and class. Riva quickly gained an excellent reputation and the yard continued to flourish under Pietro's son Ernesto, who introduced boats powered by an internal combustion engine. The era of large passenger and cargo boats on the lake had arrived. After the First World War, it was Serafino Riva who gave the company its definitive stamp, turning the yard's prestigious products into a genuine brand that would make yachting history. Production shifted from transport ships to motor boats, a still embryonic market at the time.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Riva racing yachts swept, claiming countless victories and records in national and international competitions. The 1950s belonged to Carlo Riva, whose talent and passion turned the brand into one of the brightest stars in the nautical world, as Riva boats seduced the celebrities of the day and acquired the status of a design and lifestyle icon.

Riva , Riva history , Carl Riva , yachting, boatingreece , boating greece
The young Carl Riva 1925
Basically I was born on a boat. At the age of three I had fun with a rowing boat, at the age of seven I was already familiar with the engines, bringing around my little sister Dafne. At ten years my duty was to clean up the boats of my father Serafino. Sometimes I ran away to go on the swing, but my father scolded me because my place was in the shipyard. As a kid I started designing racing boats and having ideas to innovate the shipyard.
Carl Riva

In this decade of the Italian industrial revolution, L'Ingegnere, as Carlo Riva was known, tapped into the dominant ethos - the lionisation of speed - with a series of wood-based designs of undeniable brilliance. From 1956 he began to collaborate with the designer and architect Giorgio Barilani. And in November 1962, the legend was born: Aquarama.

Her magical lines and irresistible allure immediately brought her into the category of classic – the symbol of Riva, the quintessential "boat", a brand within a brand.

Riva , Sportfisherman, yachting , boatingreece , boatingreece
The Riva 25 Bertram Sportfisherman

Another historical milestone was reached in 1969, when the company started building fiberglass ships. Riva's first two composite models were the Bahia Mar 20' day cruiser and the Sport Fisherman 25' cabin cruiser. others in the next three decades followed, notably St. Tropez and the Superamerica, the first large-scale cabin cruiser.

Even as fiberglass gained ground, Riva continued to build wooden boats until 1996, when the last Aquarama Special, number 784, was built.

Riva , fiberglass boats , boatingreece , boating greece , yachting
The Riva stand at the Paris Boat Show 1970. Where exhibited the first two fiberglass Riva boats

Frustrated by the climate of industrial turmoil, Carlo Riva sold the yard to the American company Whittaker in September 1969, although he remained as Chairman and General Manager, handing over the reins in July 1971 to his brother-in-law Gino Gervasoni, a partner since 1950. In 1989, a year after the full takeover of the Riva company by the British Vickers group, Gervasoni's 41-year association with the yard ended, bringing the curtain down on the Riva family era. Then, at the 1991 Genoa Boat Show, Riva unveiled the first yacht designed by Mauro Micheli – the Bahamas 58'.

Riva , yachting , superyachts , boatingreece , boating greece
The Riva yard in Ancona: the home of the new Riva Superyachts division

In May 2000, Riva became a member of the Ferretti Group, which restored her to where she is today, at the forefront of world sailing as a recognized symbol of the exquisite Italian art of yachting. This enjoyable journey is due to the expertise of the group's Engineering department and the sensitivity of designer Mauro Micheli, co-founder with Sergio Beretta of Officina Italiana Design, the studio that exclusively designs the entire Riva fleet.

In 2012, the Ferretti Group announced a new majority shareholder: China's Shandong Heavy Industry Group (Weichai Group), a true industrial giant, one of the world's most important groups in the automotive, commercial vehicle and construction machinery sectors. Weichai's strength and strategic vision have enabled Riva to take another leap forward, with a flow of projects and resources secured for the long term. In 2014, the brand marked its return to the megayacht sector, with the new Riva Superyachts division.

Riva , Carlo Riva , yachting , boatingreece , boating greece
Carlo Riva Yachting Corporation - Vespucci

The dream of creating Riva steel and aluminum superyachts is inspired by Carlo Riva. His ambition and restless genius pushed him to new heights, with the famous megayachts of the Caravelle and Atlantic series in the 1960s and 1970s and, from 1970 to 1978, the six motor yachts over 20 meters in the Marco Polo plus range, a 90 and 100 foot Vespucci.


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