Carlo Riva, the man behind some of the world's most iconic boat designs, passed away yesterday at home in Sarnico, Italy

Legendary yachting entrepreneur Carlo Riva, passed away at the age of 95, the Ferretti Group have announced.

Riva was born in Sarnico in 1922 where he still resided before his death, and at a young age he joined the Riva family business, which was founded by his great-grandfather Pietro in 1842.

In 1954 he opened the new Riva futuristic shipyard which he organised based on a modern and innovative production structure. It was during this time that Mr Riva transformed how boats were seen, not simply as a method of transport for goods and people, or just to be enjoyed in sporting events, but he saw craft as an object of pleasure and luxury.

The Master shipbuilder transformed the Riva brand into a veritable status symbol with models such as  Tritone, Sebino Florida Aquarama and Ariston. He said of the latter: “It was designed with love and is strong and pure like a thoroughbred horse. Unforgettable! My Lord of the seas!”.

Riva’s boats became very popular with celebrities and royalty alike. Sophia Loren, Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot and Paul Belmondo were just some of the famous fans of the craft, all wanting a slice of the Italian dolce vita.Mr Carlo Riva always showed his forward thinking and innovative streak and in 1969 he created the first fibreglass boat.

The entrepreneur decided to leave the shipyard in 1972 to concentrate on working on the International Tourist Port of Rapallo, in the northern Italian coastal region Liguria. The port was dedicated to him in 1975 and it still bears Riva’s name.

In 2005 he was conferred the title of Personnalité de la Mer Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Alberto Galassi, the Ferretti Group CEO, said in a press release: “Carlo Riva has left us, the greatest of them all. The world has lost a brilliant creator of boats, a master of style, a giant in Italy’s industrial and business history.

“To me this is a personal loss of a master, an example of brilliance, of commitment and of dedication to work. Carlo taught us the meaning of vision, creativity and passion. His vision and inexhaustible energy make him the leading personality in the 20th century yachting world, a man whose extraordinary creations have already become legends.

“Carlo Riva’s boats will always be the finest in the world. A source of inspiration to all of us who feel a strong sense of responsibility for the stewardship of and for taking forward into the future the leading brand in the world of yachting.”