The chic 56 Rivale by Riva Yachts is giving speedboats a run for their money

n Unrivalled Debut

In Sarnico, Lake Iseo sparkles in the sunlight. The water’s brilliant surface is peppered with Riva Yachts originating from the iconic shipyard, which was established here in 1842. At the launch of the all-new Riva Yachts 56 Rivale (from €1.5 million, S$2.4 million), the bucolic tempo of this corner of Lombardy was transformed into a high-octane afternoon with the vessel gliding out from a mirrored enclosure built over water, soaring James Bond soundtracks and Riva’s members of staff in their Dolce&Gabbana uniforms. “Let me tell you a secret,” says Alberto Galassi, CEO of Ferretti Group. “Riva is passion. No passion, no Riva.”

This gorgeous open yacht is the latest in a line of fibreglass boats from the Italian vessel maison. It’s also the first launch following the passing of company patriarch Carlo Riva. Although Carlo had not been involved in actual management for some time, his blessing was a necessary step from drawing board to prototype. This includes, of course, the conception of the 56 Rivale.

The windswept sleekness of the 56 Rivale’s profile may be attributed to Riva Yachts’ long-time collaborator Officina Italiana Design.

It’s all about the aesthetics

A curvaceous beltline draws the eye, with this clean textured, aesthetic accentuated by oversized glazed windows running along the hull.

Mirroring these windows is the sharply raked windshield protecting the cockpit, serving stylistic and aerodynamic functions. Hull One was finished in a striking Shark Grey, with the familiar Riva Yachts aquamarine tone adorning minor details.

Rivale’s main deck lounge offers an L-shaped sofa and teak dining table. Mauro Micheli, the chief designer for Officina Italiana Design, made the generous space within the main deck possible by “reducing the foredeck somewhat and bringing forward the windshield”. Shade is provided by an electro-hydraulically deployed bimini cover, fabricated by an atelier that also supplies cabriolet tops to Bentley Motors.

At the stern, a hidden garage opens upwards to reveal a Williams 325 tender — or any other sea toy. The tail end also holds a true Riva innovation; during motorised submerging of the swimming platform, a set of steps follows into the water revealing additional steps for conveniently getting back on board, a complement to the steel ladder.

Below deck, an elegant and spacious lounge-dinette features varnished mahogany, dark lacquered woods and sumptuous leather. Seating options found here, for example the sofas and ottoman seats, are upholstered by Italian firm Ivano Redaelli, which also supplied the cushions and tartan blanket.

On the port side is the galley, partially obscured by mirrored walls serving as a television mount, which includes a storage compartment designed for a champagne magnum.

Life at rest

Two ensuite guest cabins are found in the rest area. A crew cabin with separate cockpit hatch access may be replaced by a third guest cabin. In these suites, the interplay between contrasting materials and leathers are illuminated by an abundance of natural light streaming through the glass hatch cover and generous hull windows. Wall-to-wall carpeting throughout comes courtesy of Dutch outfit Van Besouw.

Powering through

Propelling the 56 Rivale are a choice of twin 1,000hp or twin 1,200hp MAN engines, whisking passengers along at maximum speeds of up to 35 knots and 38 knots respectively.

Rivale’s profile is unmistakably Riva, evoking the Aquarama in a contemporary proposition with the latest technology and features. To appreciate the creative mandate behind the 56 Rivale Galassi’s parting words summed up the brief perfectly, “Make a dream that doesn’t go away when you wake up in the morning.”

Riva Yachts