International Hydrofoil Society

Award Citation

Cavaliere del Lavoro Carlo Rodriquez

(Last Update 14 Feb 01)


The International Hydrofoil Society honors, posthumously, Carlo Rodriquez for his many contributions and innovations to the field of hydrofoils. It is most appropriate that this first annual award be presented to the Rodriquez family in recognition of Carlo Rodriquez's many achievements and his continuing support of the International Hydrofoil Society as a lifetime member since its inception.

In the early 1950s, Carlo Rodriquez recognized the potential of the hydrofoil principle for high speed waterborne transportation. As a result he formulated a working arrangement with Supramar to build their designs at his shipyard in Messina, Italy. Construction of the first PT-20 started in 1953, was launched in 1956 as FRECCIA DEL SOLE and began regular passenger service over the waters of the Strait of Messina. That route is now the oldest continuous, hydrofoil operation in the world.

In introducing the Messina service he also recognized the desirability of maintaining an interest in the operation of a new hydrofoil craft until it is debugged and proven. Only then is that design ready for sale to ship owners. To follow this principle, Carlo organized the Aliscafi Shipping Company who were the operators of FRECCIA DEL SOLE as well as other designs in the waters around Sicily and the mainland of Italy. Rodriquez also built a number of the Supramar PT-50 design.

In the early 1970s Carlo, having kept abreast of the worldwide developments of hydrofoils, made the decision to develop his own designs with an electronic seakeeping system. These designs, known as the RHS series, have been built in different sizes from the small RHS-70 to the largest RHS-200. The launching of the RHS-160 in 1976, a hydrofoil over 30 meters in length and carrying over 200 passengers, was the beginning of a long and productive success. Over 200 hydrofoils have been built by Rodriquez Cantieri Navali and most are still operational today. The name Rodriquez is recognized throughout the marine world as the designer and builder of most successful hydrofoils.

Carlo Rodriquez's lifetime interests were much broader than just hydrofoils. He managed shipyards other than the one in Messina, managed a company that repaired railroad cars, was engaged in agriculture, and owned hotels. For his achievements in the industrial field, particularly for the development of the hydrofoil, the President of the Republic of Italy in 1960 nominated him for the title of Cavaliere del Lavoro. Upon receiving this highest Italian honor for an industry manager, Carlo was the youngest person ever nominated.

It is with great pleasure that this award, in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding achievements, is made by the International Hydrofoil Society to the Carlo Rodriquez family.


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