Organised by Monaco Boat Service together with the Yacht Club de Monaco and Credit Suisse, the Riva Trophy brought together the whole family from the highly regarded Italian yard for a triple celebration: 170 years of the Riva yard, 50 years of the Aquarama and 90 years for Carlo Riva.
“I don’t know what to say – I am so deeply moved! My first thoughts go to Prince Rainier who in the late 1950s introduced me to what was the real Principality of Monaco, then to Prince Albert II, President of the Yacht Club de Monaco, who did me the great honour of coming to greet me this weekend on my Aquarama LIPICAR IV.
“Riva’s history is intimately linked to that of the Principality, thanks to the Princes who have always been open to initiatives and encouraged the development of recreational boats making Monaco the reference in terms of yachting,” said Carlo Riva, the ‘Ingegnere de Sarnico’, at the Riva Trophy prize-giving which ended an exceptional weekend.
Highlights of three days of festivities included the regularity contest between Monaco and Saint-Tropez, organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco and won by Aquariva Gucci Rivanya; the presentation of the newly launched Riva Virtus 63’, the elegance parade on the theme “Be as Beautiful as your Aquarama”, won by the crew on Rombouts ahead of the 1970 Aquarama Super Gala; a very sixties themed gala evening at the Monte Carlo Beach; and a grand parade of around thirty Aquaramas in the bay to pay homage to their designer who totally reinvented the art of boating for pleasure.
Although the family had started building boats in the 19th century, it was the extraordinary energy of one man who gave birth to the Riva legend – Carlo, son of Serafino, transformed the Sarnico boatyard into a myth with his range of mahogany motorboats.
Riva and Monaco united by a passion for yachting
“His Serene Highness really loved the sea and was a big fan of the Tritone series,” remembers Carlo Riva with nostalgia. “In 1958 there was already a big and rapidly increasing problem with the lack of berths in Monaco’s harbour for pleasure boats. Prince Rainier III therefore asked me to look into a pontoon project. Despite the scepticism of some, His Serene Highness gave me his permission to build the first pontoons in the harbour based on a very simple concept. Thus Monaco Boat Service was created in 1959. Two years later, Portofino took up the idea.” He continued: “His Serene Highness also gave his consent for a tunnel to be blasted under the Rock where boats could be wintered, which shook the very windows of the palace!” The great man has certainly not lost his youthful spirit and sense of humour.
50 years of the Aquarama
Four years later in 1962 the twin-engine Aquarama was born. The prototype was brought to Monaco that summer for her first sea trial, the test driver being none other than the powerful head of FIAT, Giovanni Agnelli. Thus began the irresistible rise of the Aquarama as a symbol of pure unadulterated luxury, and the pinnacle of the brand’s achievements.
In those days, rarely had a mechanical work of art represented glamour and the jet set to such an extent. Owners included film stars from Ingrid Bergman to Brigitte Bardot and more recently George Clooney, but also industry magnates and royalty, all discovering this elegant new way of boating.
And while Riva may have joined the Ferretti Group in 2001, the patriarch is still on deck, but his work is now focused on marketing and customer service for what has always been and will continue to be his “hobbyhorse”. He still works with his other daughter Maria Pia in his marina, Porto Carlo Riva, at Rapallo (near Genoa), the first privately owned marina in Italy. Meanwhile Lia carries on the family tradition, with one of her daughters Chiara, on the Côte d’Azur with Boat Service concessions in Monaco, Cannes and Saint-Tropez. Monaco remains the largest Mediterranean base for Riva classics: 80 of the world’s 4,100 listed worldwide are stored here in winter.
Carlo Riva concluded: “I would really like to thank the Yacht Club de Monaco and all my clients as it is because of them I have been able to follow my passion and my dream. That is what has kept me so young!”