The Riva 50 Metri takes the iconic Italian brand into genuine superyacht territory.

Race. It’s hard to think of a more appropriate name for a yacht owned by Piero Ferrari, son of the late Enzo Ferrari.

The steel and aluminum displacement motoryacht, the first to emerge from the Ferretti Group’s Riva Superyacht Division, is not Riva’s first association with the famous prancing horse marque. Thirty years ago, a limited number of Riva Ferrari 32s were built. Painted bright red and sporting Testarossa-style air intakes, they had twin 390-horsepower Vulcano V-8 engines for a top speed over 50 knots.

However, at 164 feet (50 meters) length overall, Race is the largest Riva ever built and clearly in another category. Piero Ferrari, as a shareholder in the Ferretti Group and head of its Product Strategy Committee, had a direct role in the yacht’s development. Riva’s previous flagship was the 123-foot (37.5-meter) Mythos, and with a little squinting you could just about discern stylistic cues in her curves that recalled classic Rivas of the past. But on a trideck superyacht of nearly 500 gross tons, preserving any commonality with a 1960s Aquarama is altogether more challenging.

Warm mahogany, statuario marble, light gray leather and polished accents are the cornerstone of the interior styling by Officina Italiana Design. Previous spread: Race shows off her gracefully self-assured profile. 

Officina Italiana Design, the designers of the Riva range, argue inspiration for the 50 Metri’s exterior lines came from the 1964 Caravelle, a 73-foot (22.3-meter) collaboration between Riva and De Vries (Feadship) in the Netherlands. Indeed, there is some similarity in the parallelogram-shaped windows.

“The challenge was to update that design DNA and integrate it into a much larger contemporary yacht without losing sight of the brand’s heritage,” says Mauro Micheli, chief designer at Officina Italiana Design. “If you look carefully, you’ll see that the exterior profile is based on three straight lines that correspond to the main deck, upper deck and sundeck, and this purity of form is continued throughout the yacht.”

Other design motifs are so subtle, you need to be a Riva connoisseur to spot them. The solid mahogany caprails, for example, recall the Aquariva by Gucci created to mark Gucci’s 90th anniversary in 2011. The bespoke door handles are similar to those on the Riva Dolcevita, but were resized to fit the owner’s hand perfectly.

The master stateroom in pride of place on the main deck forward. 

The adjective poised—having a graceful, elegant bearing or composed, self-assured manner—best describes the yacht’s uncluttered profile. The forward-leaning fashion plates and windscreen add a hint of impatience, much like a thoroughbred racehorse champing at the bit, while the lack of ostentatious detailing lends the exterior styling an air of masculine reserve. Even the “Ferrari silver” paintwork has a 20 percent gloss finish to reduce distracting reflections on board.

The same rigorous approach has been applied to the pared down interior design—also by Officina Italiana Design—based on a palette that ranges from warm mahogany and statuario marble to gray leather and polished stainless steel accents scored by laser to bend the metal into 90-degree angles. The freestanding furniture is by Italian designer brands such as Minotti, while the soft leather upholstery is bespoke. Slatted mahogany ceilings and wall panels serve several purposes: They add visual interest, help to dampen ambient sound, and disguise the air conditioning vents.

dining on the upper deck aft.

To reduce weight and, hence, fuel consumption, the marble in the bathrooms is mounted on aluminum honeycomb. Mahogany veneers are atop a sandwich of fiberglass and lightweight Nomex. Powered by twin 1,360-horsepower MTU engines, the full-displacement Race reportedly has a top speed of 15 knots, burns less than 80 gallons of fuel per hour at 14 knots, and has a range of 3,500 nautical miles at 11 knots.

The owner wanted the galley to be on the lower deck with extra dry and cold storage, as well as a dumbwaiter serving three decks above. This freed up space on the main deck that could be devoted to the salon, dining room and master stateroom, which besides a private office and walk-in wardrobe includes a media room (transformable into an extra ensuite cabin) decorated with Ferrari memorabilia and a painting of the owner’s own car.

The designers sacrificed some volume in the upper skylounge in favor of a walkaround deck. Windows in the lounge can be dropped to increase the sense of airiness. The sliding glass doors aft open onto an aft deck with a dining table that looks like marble, but is actually made of Corian. The aesthetics of this synthetic alternative to real stone have improved dramatically in recent years; not only is it cool to the touch, but scratches can also be easily polished out.

The foredeck seating and sunbathing area. 

Guest accommodations on the lower deck include three double staterooms and a twin single, finished in the same materials as the master. Also on the lower deck are a mess and quarters for eight crew (the captain’s cabin is on the bridge deck). The laundry is on an intermediate deck in the bow.

When the 20-foot, 8-inch (6.32-meter) Williams Dieseljet 625 tender is launched from the side-loading garage, and the transom door is deployed as a swim platform, the aft area is transformed into a beach club and gym. A crew tender and a Ferrari-red personal watercraft are stowed on the bridge deck under the forward sunpad.

Just as a Ferrari car is designed to maximize driving pleasure, the wheelhouse aboard Race is a maritime showpiece. The integrated I-Bridge by Team Italia is equipped with a remote diagnostic system that technicians can access from dry land. The mahogany and cedar sole is classic Riva, while the custom helm wheel designed by Micheli is milled from a solid block of titanium.

Slatted mahogany and stainless steel accents help define the contemporary interiors. 

Then there’s the black leather pilot’s chair.

“The seat comes from a Ferrari California and, as you would expect, the positions can be adjusted electronically,” says Stefano de Vivo, the Ferretti Group’s chief operating officer. “The trouble was that the circuits only function with the key in the car’s transmission, so our technicians had to completely re-engineer the electrics to make it work on Race.” 

When the tender is deployed, the garage is transformed into a water-level beach club.
Facing page: 

Race Specifications

LOA: 163ft. 7in. (49.9m)
BEAM: 28ft. 6in. (8.7m)
DRAFT (full load): 8ft. 7in. (2.63m)
CONSTRUCTION: steel/aluminum
SPEED (max./cruise): 15.5/14 knots
RANGE: 3,500 nm at 11 knots
INTERIOR DESIGN: Officina Italiana Design
EXTERIOR STYLING: Officina Italiana Design

For more information:

This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 issue.

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