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An Unrivaled Product of Carlo Riva's Passion

Voice Of Design

The Late Carlo Riva lived with a powerful vision. As a boat builder and designer, he pushed the common boundaries of boatmaking to position Riva as a mainstay in the pleasure boating industry of today. His legacy lives on now and in a crafting, such as the Riva 56' Rivale, it looks like his splendid taste for the luxurious, will continue to live on in the stylish design languages of Riva.

Within the confines of our cosy little office space in Damansara Perdana, Selangor, Malaysia, our team has grown fond of the Riva brand. While it has a lot to do with exterior looks and a certain, discerning love for Italian luxury, there is no mistaking that the Italian pros of boatbuilding rest at the very summit of creating some of the finest yachts to take to waters world-over. This new 56' Rivale is another beautiful one for the times, and as bias as we can be towards Riva, objectively speaking/writing, this open yacht ticks all the boxes of a pleasure boating aficionado.

It is the first yacht to be launched since the passing of Signore Riva, and as the nervy jitters of living up to the legacy of a true icon goes, there was much fanfare to the 56' Rivale's world premiere in Sarnico back in June 2017. As one can imagine, there is a thoroughbred process behind the creation of a new Riva boat that involves the very foremost techniques, innovations and applications of the naval world. From the moment it was unveiled during "Reflection", a magnificent spectacle that was held at the historic Sarnico shipyard that celebrates the timeless elegance of Riva, the 56' Rivale has fascinated a growing number of enthusiasts beyond the 300 selected group of international guests that first saw it earlier this year during the grand launch affair. It must be noted here, that the grand evening also featured another Italian icon in its own right, the Abarth 695 Rivale, presented by the FCA Group (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), that is inspired by the lines, colours and stylistic traits of the 56' Rivale which points towards the new open's own dramatic philosophy.

The Riva 56' Rivale expresses some great deal of dynamism, elegance and sportiness from the moment your eyes catch it. The new 56-foot Riva yacht is of course the product of the joint efforts of Officina Italiana Design, the Ferretti Group's Product Strategy Committee and the Engineering Department. At a brief glance, one will notice its large glazed windows running along the hull, set with flush portholes. From other angels, the striking metallic colours of the exterior teas and tempt with a certain Italian design language that gives it a very recogniseable look, especially with its stylish details in steel and teak. The hull of the first vessel is in a magnificent Shark Grey shade with details in Bright Black; the unique windshield protecting the cockpit is a translation of some good engineering and design work which completes the strong aerodynamic profile of the yacht. 

It is some of the simpler features that make the Riva 56' Rivale a good option for those looking for an intimate escapade away out at sea. For example, the stern, hidden inside which is a Williams 325 tender, features a major innovation by Riva's standards: during underwater movement of the swimming platform, the steps on the left become partially submerged revealing additional steps in the hull, providing a convenient stairway for getting into the water and back on board without having to use the steel ladder. Over in the cockpit, at the far end of the stern, there is a large sun pad. The mooring equipment is housed in compartments set in the bulwark; these are covered by grilles made in stainless steel, as is the fairlead to keep things minimalist.

Underneath the roll bar, which adds a beautiful finishing touch to the profile and acts as a supporting structure for the antennas of the electronic apparatus, the main deck lounge features a spacious, forward-facing sitting area completed with L-shaped sofa and teak dining table on the left. This convivial area continues through to the forward section with a raised dormeuse, on the left of the new bridge, equipped with control, monitoring and navigation systems featuring touchscreen displays, including MAN-Boening's innovative wide version engine data display.

Behind the control station is a cabinet unit set along the bulwark, which houses a fridge, ice-maker, grill, sink and bar equipment for at least 6 people. As with the Rivamare, there are practical containers for separate waste collection as well as various storage compartments running all the way to the helm seat and integrated into its base. And, in case of bad weather, or if you'd simply want some shade, the electro-hydraulically operated bimini top can be opened as can the clear side shields, offering excellent shelter and protection for the whole area. 

Heading below deck, the 56' Rivale is expectedly a sight of very elegance, like the lounge-dinette, where mirrored surfaces alternate with varnished mahogany, dark lacquered woods and dark leather coverings. The resulting interplay of different colours and materials is the "signature" of Riva interiors that we've come to appreciate more and more over the years. Sofas and ottoman seats are covered in fabric created by Ivano Redaelli, an Italian company that also supplied the decorative cushions and tartan blanket too. The wall-to-wall carpet is manufactured by the Dutch company Van Besouw.

The galley at port side, is partly invisible thanks to the mirrored walls - where the TV screen is located - and the sliding lacquered surfaces covering the sink and work tops. It features a host of storage cabinets and, in the fridge area, a unit equipped with the bar set includes a special compartment for storing a Champagne magnum. A glass hatch cover, in addition to the large hull windows, ensures there is abundant natural light in the galley. The independent day-head, accessed directly from the dinette, makes it possible to exploit the full potential of the open yacht for day cruises, as guests can use this facility without entering cabins and bathrooms used by those staying overnight.

In terms of accommodation, the 56' Rivale features two en suite cabins decked out in similar fashion of the lounge-dinette, with an addition to a striking contrast between the white leather covering of the headboard and border, and the dark leather on the tops of the bedside tables and bases of the beds. Once again, the soft furnishings (cushions, bedspreads, tartan blankets and wall-to-wall carpets) are also designed and supplied by Ivano Redaelli and Van Besouw. The master suite has the head on the left side, while the VIP cabin situated in the forward area features many storage compartments and a starboard side head. The head décor consists of different woods, light and dark lacquered surfaces, mirrored surfaces and white Corian. The crew cabin has a single bed with bathroom with separate access from a hatch in the cockpit, concealed by the dormeuse. It can be replaced by a third guest cabin.

Propelling this exquisite boat out on water are the more-than-capable twin1000 HP MAN engines, or twin 1200 HP MAN engines. Should one opt for either engine selction. the propulsion system is V-Drive. With the standard engines, the 56' Rivale can reach a cruising speed of 31 knots and a maximum speed of 35 knots. With the more powerful engines, performance increases to a cruising speed of 34 knots and a maximum speed of 38 knots respectively based on preliminary data. That's a lot of thrust out on water and can also prove to ignite some thrill and fun should one chose to man his/her 56' Rivale on their own.

Looking at all these functional, design-filled and innovative elements of the 56' RIvale by Riva, one can't help but notice a more solid consistency by the Italain yachtmaker, especially since the recent Rivamare has also taken on this more modern voice of design without abandoning its heritage. Understandably so, there might be certain fractions of pleasure-boaters who would call this 56' Rivale by Riva, boring, un-inspired and the like. This writer however believes that there is an immense amount of heritage and history that is actively evolving with this new Italian open yacht and that is real value, a value that lives and breathes just as you sail with it. It is finished off with the right doses of high-gloss mahogany which is then accentuated by a typically luxurious interior. When you stare at the natural teak of the exteriors, as well as lacquered finishes, stainless steel details and the rest of the mirrored and glazed surfaces, suddenly, all you want to do is to rest your being on some of that superior leather fitments and to just soak in all of its refined tonality. How much more luxury can one wish for in such a package? If you're looking for more, take our word for it, you should be looking at some bigger superyachts instead.

Images: Riva Yachts