Filippo Theodoli’s Last Tribute
In 1989, Filippo launched what would be the pinnacle of his career: the Magnum 70. Laminated in Kevlar, for weight saving and hull strength, the Magnum 70 was the largest and fastest production power yacht of its time.
Long and sleek, with a rounded, wraparound windshield, the Magnum 70 was and still is being built in “open,” “hardtop,” and “flybridge” versions. In an advertisement for the Magnum 70, Filippo is standing on the bow of the impressive white yacht, looking poised and sauve in his cream-colored suit, but he is tiny compared to the long, low-riding hull. The photo represents the artist and his greatest sculpture.
The 70’ flagship of the Magnum range was generally equipped with twin Detroit Diesels of 1450 HP each coupled to Arneson surface drives and reached a top speed of sixty miles an hour. “What is really amazing with the Magnum 70 hull is that when you throttle down she seems to pick herself out of the water, vertically, like a hovercraft, and then she glides at the top of the waves effortlessly and without noticing even rough seas. It is an incredible feeling,” says Katrin.
With the 2600 HP engines installed in this model, the luxury power yacht reached top speeds of 70 mph, showing the incredible developments in engine, material, and design technology, but also showing how advanced this hull design already was when it was launched in 1989.
The first Magnum 70, built in 1989 with a flybridge and equipped with twin 1800 HP CRM engines was destined to a client in Japan who invited Filippo and Katrin for the inaugural trip on the Inland Sea of Japan. “Concerned that we would be spending a week on the boat with a wonderful client who spoke only Japanese, I felt it would seem rather rude , if we were not able to talk to him. So I took a “teach yourself Japanese” course on the flight over, continuously bothering my Japanese neighbor on the plane, asking him about pronunciation…I am sure he would have preferred to sleep.”
“My client was happy that at least I tried to converse and somehow we managed to understand each other,” says Katrin. “The inaugural trip started in Hiroshima, where the Magnum was purified by a Shinto priest who came aboard and with his bamboo wand, captured from every corner of the boat the evil spirits, if there were any; then he went to the transom and broke the bamboo and threw it out to sea. There were gifts of rice and sake to the gods. Aboard the yacht we then traveled through the Inland Sea, from island to island, the yacht being also purified by the Buddhist priest. There were large white sheets of jellyfish on the water, which were part of our daily seafood intake. The result of this spectacular and unusual trip was that the blessings of the priests seemed to be very beneficial to the yacht, which never,ever broke down during all of the many years it was in Japan and which is still running today, after more than twenty years—or maybe it was just a testimony of the quality of the Magnum!”
The Magnum 70 is a testament to the nautical empire that Filippo and Katrin had built in just eleven years. It was brand envied and copied by other builders, and compared to Rolls Royce, Ferrari, and Bentley. “There’s not much difference between this boat and a Rolls Royce,” writes Mike Smith, in Boating Magazine. “Both vehicles set standards that other builders find impossible to meet.”
The Magnum 70 was Filippo’s final tribute. The Marchese died in 1990 of cancer, not only the public face of a unique luxury name, but also a highly respected figure in the yachting world. He had nurtured a love of the sea from his youth, and used his marketing skills to promote the Magnum name, but his true contribution to boating was a new style of open boat and a new way of boating, which revolutionized the industry and also the way we go to sea today. He was a man with a passion and a vision and he had the conviction and the strength to make his vision into reality, thus staying ahead of imitators who could never quite reach Magnum’s levels of build quality and design sophistication. He left a legacy of breakthrough designs that created the heritage of Magnum and that even today, twenty years later, has not been bettered.