No Other in the World Like the Magnum 53′
The Magnum 53′ was launched in 1977. There was no other boat in the world like her. She was a giant race boat with a deep-V hull and powerful diesel engines. She was the world’s first power yacht and exactly what Filippo had envisioned.
“It was a revolutionary boat,” says Katrin. “It had everything the first Magnum 38′ had, but better and much larger.” To demonstrate its size, twenty Magnum workers who built hull number one stood in the cockpit and another six on the foredeck for a photograph.
The 53′ had a breakthrough interior and cockpit , that no performance yacht had ever seen before. Katrin, who designed both, used the unusually generous space to create more of a sophisticated living room inside and out. Recognizing the primary need of functionality and livability—clients would use the boat for extended cruising—she designed a new instrument console, where the most important gauges were more visible; a cockpit with comfortable lounging cushions; custom designed top loading refrigerators; ice makers that used bottled water; storage space for everything needed to lunch outside; and interiors that were bright and open, with all the comforts of home. In her inimitable way, she made sure that space was both well organized and stylish.
The new Magnum 53′ was luxurious, comfortable, and provided a fast, dry ride, thanks to the deep-V hull design, and the General Motors diesel engines that had been marinized by Stewart Stevenson.
Count Urbano Rattazzi, a friend of the Theodolis, bought the first 53’ and took it to popular cruising destinations across Italy. Urbano loved the sea and introduced his Magnum to everyone, everywhere, including the late Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and his entourage. Katrin remembers that Urbano organized an outing on his new Magnum, inviting not only Brezhnev and his friends, but also Princess Irene Galitzine, a Russian noblewoman, who had founded one of Rome’s leading couture houses. While one might expect a gathering of Red and White Russians to be a catastrophe, Katrin remembers how much fun everyone had. Urbano’s captain made “spaghetti al tonno” for the group, while one of the Russians popped champagne corks with his gold teeth.
Urbano was also related to the Agnelli family, of Fiat and Ferrari fame. Gianni Agnelli’s brother, Umberto, also bought a large Magnum and, says Katrin, “He said he loved the privacy of the boat; he was surrounded by so many people in his daily life that being on a comfortable Magnum without a crew, and with only his family, was his favorite vacation.”
Another one of Filippo’s friends was Hannibale Scotti Casanova. He loved the large boat and stayed at sea for long periods of time; however, he also liked to be perfectly dressed, changing shirts three times a day. So he asked Katrin to design a closet with ninety shirt drawers, so that he could stay at sea for a month while always looking impeccable in the shirts that had been freshly pressed by his housekeeper back home.
The Magnum 53′ became the favorite powerboat for the Mediterranean elite. Prince Lillio Ruspoli, publisher Giorgio Mondadori, and singer Johnny Dorelli, amongst hundreds of others, enjoyed their Magnums. Postcards from the late 1970s of the docks in Porto Rotondo, Sardinia, show practically only Magnum boats.
The Magnum 53′ was also designed and built as a Flybridge model, which was very successful. The first Magnum 53′ Flybridge model was built for the famous Venezuelan Capriles family, who took the Magnum down the Bahamas and Carribean islands to Venezuela. There the Magnum 53′ Flybridge enjoyed cruising Los Roques, the most spectacular archipelago National Park.
This wonderful trip down the island chain to Venezuela was many years later followed by the Magnum 50′ Bestia Six Pac, owned by the powerful industrialists and Polar beer brewers, the Mendoza family.
The Magnum 53′ Flybridge and Hardtops cruisers were also the models of choice for the ruling family of Kuwait. National Guard’s Deputy Chief, H.E. Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah opted for a beautiful red Magnum 53′ Flybridge cruiser with Valentino interiors and twin 16 cylinders General Motors engines. His cousin H.E. Sheikh Naser chose a similar Magnum 53′ Hardtop model. Both Magnums were shipped to Kuwait and were enjoyed by the ruling family for fishing and relaxing in the Arabian Gulf.
It wasn’t long after it was made that the Magnum 53′ became a symbol of the new Magnum range: sleek, luxurious, elegant, safe, and fast. It was a brave move by Filippo; once again his judgment had proved correct.