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From Hydroplanes to Prancing Seahorses, these Ferrari yachts made waves

With Ferrari’s announcement to compete in the world of sailing trending on social media, we had a look back at the most competitive and surprising boats and yachts that ever hit the water under the Ferrari name.

In the 1950s, boat-builders like Guido Abbate created some highly successful racing hydroplanes that broke speed record after speed record on the Italian lakes. The most daring pilots had their hydroplanes equipped with Formula 1 racing engines borrowed from Scuderia Ferrari’s grand prix cars. The most famous of all Ferrari-powered hydroplanes was Achille Castoldi’s ARNO XI that was powered by same 12-cylinder, 4,500cc V12 Ferrari engine as the Ferrari Type 375 Grand Prix car that gave José Froilán González Ferrari’s first ever World Championship Grand Prix Victory at Silverstone in 1951. The only additions were twin superchargers that boost power to a remarkable 502bhp at 6000rpm. On 15th October 1953, the ARNO XI set a world speed record for an 800kg boat on Lake Iseo in northern Italy. Amazingly, this record of 150.19mph still stands today.

More recently, Ferrari has returned to the water in the early 1990s when the brand teamed up with legendary yacht builders Riva: Only 30 Riva Ferrari 32 speedboats were built as a waterborne representation of Ferrari’s innovative and technologically advanced Formula 1 credentials. Though far less elegant than the more traditional wooden-hulled Rivas, the bright red boat – arched over by a striking carbonfibre spoiler – would certainly turn heads in every harbour. Two 400HP V8 engines propelled the boat to 100km/h, and the Prancing Seahorse was even equipped with a small cabin for when that day-long jaunt inadvertently turned into a weekend away. 

Photos courtesy of Artcurial, Bonhams, RM Sotheby's