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10 Interesting facts about Riva boats

10 Interesting facts about Riva boats

As one of the most famous names in the ship building industry, Riva has become a major part of European shipbuilding. They have been around for many years, with the company first rising to prominence in the 1840s when they started building boats out of Lago d’Iseo. In just a few years from its foundation, the company quickly rose up the ranks and made an immediate and positive impression. What, though, makes Riva and its boats so special? What are some interesting facts about the company and the boats that it has produced?

1.      The desire to race

While the company had an all-purpose aim when it was first formed, it wasn’t until the grandson of founder Pietro Riva, Serafino, started to focus on the racing market that things truly changed for the company. Serafino has the ambition of making small racing boats, and they soon become a world-leader in the development of such boats – many of which Serafino himself would race.

2.      Known for standard

In the 1950s, though, it was down to the son of Serafino, Carlo, to take over. He started to focus more on pleasure boats, and in the 1950s and beyond the company became known as the maker of boats for Hollywood movie stars, business bigwigs, and even royalty from across the globe. Even the likes of Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers owned major models during their pomp.

3.      An eye for progress

While technology is often the reason for a company usurping their rivals, with Riva it was a little different. Carlo Riva was able to evolve and develop their unique and famous hull design – the same hull design even used by modern boats – simply by watching the water. He watched how the parting of the water took place, and built a boat that could follow that perfectly.

Carlo also played a role in bringing in things like wood lamination, varnishing, and chrome plating to the industry alongside their industry-breaking Riva Crusader engines which dominated.

4.      It’s a family affair

Part of the Riva boats range is the Ferretti Group. The company itself was formed in 1968 by two brothers: Alessandro and Norberto Ferretti. The two brothers worked hand-in-hand for many years to slowly but surely build up their company, helping to develop it into a business of genuine means and opportunity for years to come.

Come the 1990s, the Ferretti family was now moving into the international market and by the turn of the millennium they were already selling in the USA, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

5.      It’s not just for fashion

While Riva boats are mostly known for their fashionable appeal, they are used around the world by many people. For example, the company entered the fishing market when they started to build sport fisherman crafts through their Miami shipyards in 1998. This is a company with an eye for using its boats not only for pleasure, but for professional sporting pursuits as much as anything else along the way.

6.      A reinvigoration

Did you know, though, that at one stage the Riva name was nowhere near as prestigious as it might be today?

Indeed, the 1960s through to the 1970s seen the company sold to US giants Whittaker’s. This came due to intense unionisation within Italy and a militant nature to the trades, leaving the company under pressure to make changes that it simply could not. This led to a steady decline that left the once-famous name of Riva nowhere near as popular or as celebrated as it had been for a long time.

However, when current owners the Ferretti Group invested in the company it was slowly but surely restored to the once-glorious name that made the group one of the most popular in the ship building industry.

7.      A combination of new and old

One thing you might find with a modern Riva ship is that it tends to bring in a happy blend of the new and the old. You’ll notice some rich and classic use of the old-school timbers that made their boats so popular on the first place. by the same token, you should notice a whole new host of innovations and modern features that, if it were still up to the original developers, might never have been embraced.

The modern Riva boats are a unique combination of the new and the old working together as one to create a pretty spectacular looking boat series. They combine the classic style of Riva with the modern features that one would expect.

8.      Still setting standards

Another thing to note about Riva boats is that they still set the standard. The 2000 Aquariva and its 2010 successor, built alongside Gucci, restored the Riva name to the pinnacle of the industry and ensured that they retained their reputation as some of the most impressive bespoke ship builders in the world.

9.      Investment from afar

One thing to note, too, is that Riva boats are now becoming a truly international development. This comes thanks to the introduction of investment from China thanks to the work being put in by the Shandong Heavy Industry Group. Otherwise known as the Weichai Group, they invest large sums of capital into the business ensuring that the companies’ craftsmanship and access to resources is as strong as it has arguably ever been.

This led to the development of the 2014 mega yacht in the form of the new Riva Superyachts.

10. A dream inspired

Carlo Riva always wanted to build massive steel and aluminium superyachts; this led to developments with the likes of the Caravelle and Atlantic megayachts of the 1960s as well as the modern Marco Polo series. The company dipped its toes in the water with mostly wooden boats to begin with, though the long-term aim was always to move into other avenues and industries.

Thanks to the hard work of Carlo and family ever since, the Riva dream was met long ago and, to this day, continues to be fulfilled.

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