Riva 88 Florida
Since the introduction of the Aquarama in 1962, Riva has stood for high style, high performance, and cachet. In fact, automotive legend Ferruccio Lamboghini commissioned a custom Aquarama powered by a pair of 350-horsepower 4.0-litre V-12 engines from his eponymous company. Riva’s yachts still stun yachtsmen and star-watchers everywhere, and the 88 Florida promises to perpetuate the brand’s status.
Convertible hardtops have been part of the automotive scene since the 1950s and have gained enough popularity to find their way onto inexpensive vehicles, Mazda’s MX-5 Miata among them. I don’t recall ever seeing anything like Riva’s clever device on a yacht. Developed by Officina Italiana Design and Advanced Yacht Technology & Design, the Ferretti Group’s R&D and style center, this patented electro-hydraulic hardtop normally rests atop the foredeck, covering a comfy playpen/dinette immediately forward of the windshield. In this configuration, the 88 Miami is a big express-bridge sport boat—wind in the hair, please pass the sunscreen.
Pushing a single button actuates the ballet, starting with a fiberglass cover, port and starboard, opening to reveal pantograph lifting arms. The hardtop begins to rise, opening the foredeck lounge and then settling over the helm/saloon. It rests on the windshield and the radar arch. Now, one has the option of leaving the lifting arms attached to the hardtop, which looks kind of cool, or detaching them from the top and sending them home to the side pods. An intermediate step in the process brings the hardtop to rest above the lounge/dinette, shading that area.
The 88 Florida rides on a warped-plane bottom with a typically fine entry transitioning to a 12-degree transom deadrise.
Belowdecks, the 88 Florida has a full-beam master suite amidships with three guest staterooms forward. Riva describes the décor as vintage. Among the motifs we find elm finished in a peach-skin treatment, which gives the surface the feel of fabric. Blue and white lacquer, stainless steel and leather inserts add visual interest to the accommodations.
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This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.