Caravelle: the story behind one of the most successful partnerships in the yachting world

When great minds come together with the scope of creating, the result can only be staggering. Exceptionally designed yachts always take our breath away, but it’s the story behind that makes us appreciate them that much more and gives them a distinct feel.

This year marks the the 180th anniversary of Riva Yachts, one of the best luxury yachts and boats worldwide. Keep reading to discover a story not many know, but definitely worth telling.

In the 1960s, one of the most iconic and inspirational boat designers in the world, Carlo Riva, was unknowingly creating history in the yachting industry when he signed a contract with dutch shipyard De Vries.

The collaboration itself is not surprising, as both parties had already been known in the charter for some years then, but what made this relationship so distinct was the seamless cooperation between the two. Riva’s revolutionary ideas were exceptionally met by De Voogt, and the dutch manufacturer’s expertise helped them create the unique pieces that would still astonish sea travelers up to the present moment.

Together, they created three series of yachts that will soon know great success and attract distinct admiration in the marine world: Atlantic, Viking, and Caravelle.

Out of the three series, the one that stood out the most was “Caravelle”, a collection of seven luxurious yachts that, even to this day, represent some of Riva’s finest works.

But Riva was not alone in the interior designing process. He was working side by side with Giorgio Barilani to create some of the most stunning, yet efficient interiors for the renowned boats.

But the thing that made these boats truly distinct was the technical manufacture. The dutch influence really showed an imprint on the series. De Voogt knew he needed to build strong boats that would survive the harsh climates of Holland and conquer the rough waters of the northern seas.

Thus, each boat had a wood superstructure, a steel hull and powerful twin GM V8 diesel engines, making them faster than those from the Atlantic and Viking series. The steel hull was designed by technical bureau H.W. de Voogt & Zoon in Haarlem.

All the technical details were done at De Voogt’s desk. These responsibilities were later transferred to his son and successor, Ir. Frits de Voogt, who proudly continued his father’s legacy after his sad passing.

Not surprisingly, the name of the series is also a symbol of power, luxury and high quality. “Caravelle” got its name from the admiration both founding parties had for the new French civil transport aircraft: the Caravelle. At the time, the aircraft was a symbol of luxury and modernism, which described the boats perfectly.

The two parties had such a harmonious collaboration that there was even a book published describing the whole process and their incredible understanding of each other’s work processes and needs. The book, called ‘The Feadship Story’, by Andrew Rogers, includes details about Riva and De Voogt’ work, their balanced relationship and the perfectionism Riva instigated in the series.

After years of hearing about the alluring pieces Riva designed in collaboration with De Vries, we finally have the chance to not only see one of the boats, but work on the restoration of one of the most distinctive ones of them all, Big Dad, which had been held in the private sector ever since its first sail on the wide seas.

Stay with us for exclusive insights on the restoration process and sneak peaks of the boat’s interior, along with a few tips from our experienced staff and impressions from our team.