The Riva 88 Florida, which made its U.S. debut last fall at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, has the same sexy profile as older Riva classics like the 1960s Aquarama or 1990s Bahamas, and the same open cockpit and general love of speed that defined its predecessors. The main difference between the 88 Florida and every other yacht in its open class is the retractable hard top that transforms it from an open to a coupe. The design is not just a fold-out hard top, but an innovative and complicated mechanism that is an exclusive patent of the Ferretti Group’s Engineering Department.
With the push of a button, two 9-foot metal arms appear from the sides of the hull. They lift and carry a carbon-fiber section from the bow of the boat and set it on top of the windshield, forming a sealed hard top. The arms then retract into the hull. The bow section, minus the carbon panel, becomes a forward lounge area.
Riva knew the 88-foot boat needed protection while out at sea, but the Italian brand also wanted to remain true to its open-boat bloodline. “We wanted to retain the pure design elements of the open yacht,” says Andrea Frabetti, director of R&D for the Ferretti Group. “That means that the lines must be symmetrical across the entire boat—the cockpit, windshield, and bow—either when the top is up, or when it is not in view.”
The resulting supersized speedboat looks as powerful as it does symmetrical, and it has the performance to support it, reaching 40.5 knots at its top end. With the top open, a dinette with a large sofa for lounging on the forward cockpit (and a colossal three-person sunbed aft) make the 88 ideal for tropical climates like South Florida or the Bahamas, while the coupe works in more temperate areas. Despite its open design, the 88 Florida has a spacious lower deck, with a full-beam master suite, two double VIPs, and a stateroom with two single berths, all en suite. The center salon also has a large lounge with a galley and bar, separating the master suite from the other staterooms. And like all Rivas, the fit and finish is impeccable.
“We wanted this to be the most beautiful runabout ever, so it was a challenge to make everything on the rooftop work perfectly,” says Frabetti. “We’re very happy with the outcome.” (riva-yacht.com)