Yacht Class n°14 (sept-oct-nov 2018)
She is more spacious, more comfortable and better equipped than her predecessor, the eponymous 52 foot. The new Rivale has set a high standard in a segment where open speedboats are always more ambitious. And she once again proves that the heritage of the Sarnico-based shipyard is in safe hands, and its expertise shows Latin seduction in every detail.
Written by: Philippe Leblond – Photos: All rights reserved
This 56 foot is definitely a Riva and joins the large family of open speedboats launched by the Sarnico shipyard over the last few years, which now counts seven stars, from 8 to 27 metres. With her 17 metres, the Rivale is at the centre of this galaxy, which has inspired her modern, yet timeless design, styled by Officina Italiana Design, Riva’s official designer since the late 90’s. It joined forces with Ferretti Group’s (the shipyard’s parents company) Product Strategy Committee and Engineering Department for the study and conception of the hull… Attention don’t forget to use her entire name, “56’ Rivale”, as she is the second of the name after the 52’ Rivale launched in 2003, which, by the way, has not aged… Designing lines as timeless as possible is actually one of the main qualities of this shipyard located on the banks of Iseo Lake. Yet, this newcomer also uses some latest achievements, such as the submersible swim platform, the teak with clear joints or the hull windows bathing with natural light the cabins below deck while offering a view on the sea…
An island sunpad
Visually speaking, the new Rivale is one step ahead of many competitors. What elegance and what harmony emanating from her taunt and voluptuous lines! Her metallic gray painting, reflecting the waves of the French Riviera, captures all the gazes. She clearly has a sporty identity, with a slender bow and an elusive stern. Her flanks were exquisitely designed, without giving in to easy effects. Boarding aft, we gladly noted her swim platform that can be immersed at the push of a button to launch the tender or facilitate the swimming. On each side of the tender garage, designed to house a Williams 325 Jet tender, three steps lead to the cockpit. At dockside, the moorings winches and hawse pipes are good reminders of Riva’s seaworthiness – an asset considering that the shipyard is still trying to counter the idea that boats from Sarnico are lake ones. In the cockpit, the island sunpad is dominated by a compact radar arch. One step further, a deck lounge with a beautiful varnished teak folding table face a well-equipped kitchenette, plus another L-shaped sofa near the helm station. Standing next to the skipper is impossible, because the sofa slightly shifted the cabin door to starboard. The foredeck offers an even more spacious sunpad, accessible via narrow side decks without rail. To get there, safety requires to hold on the windshield frame, a beautiful glazed structure extending far back ending with small streamlined stainless steel part logoed Riva. Comfortably seated on his chair with a flip-up settee (for a comfortable steering standing), the helmsman faces a superb dashboard, with a mirror effect, encircled by stainless steel, integrating the large-screen navigation system. He also enjoys a starboard lateral console with the MAN electric controls and the joysticks for the bow and stern thrusters.
Three cabins, three bathrooms
A deck below, the interior living space exudes a contemporary atmosphere, with its combination of noble materials – varnished mahogany, polished stainless steel, leather, thick wool carpet, mirrors… – highlighted by the contrast of the black lacquers structuring the space. The staircase directly leads into the saloon (headroom: 2.01m), flanked by three cabins. The full-beam master (headroom: 2.03m) with its bathroom and shower. A second cabin with bunk beds (for the children or a sailor), is also en suite, as is the forward guest cabin (headroom: 1.99 m). She offers a high finish and an omnipresent impression of luxury and comfort, all the way to the deck hatches and door handles logoed… “Riva”
Let’s now check if she lives up to her promises… With ten guests on board and about 40% of the fuel tank, the Rivale left her berth in Cannes, with gentleness and precision. As there was no wind, we had not use of the bow and stern thrusters. The two massive 1200 hp MAN caused no smoke, nor vibrations during port manoeuvring. But a fairly light touch is needed to handle the throttle and reversers, as the colossal torque of the German diesels require some vigilance during direction changes in the vicinity of quays and other boats. We gradually picked up revs when at a distance from the pier. She planed at around 15 knots and 1 400 rpm, causing the Rivale to nose up and reducing our visibility until we reached a flatter trim. The turbos then propelled us forcefully towards the maximum speed, 37 knots, close to the one announced (38). Note that the basic engine configuration (2 x 1000 hp MAN) should make her hit 35 knots, a small difference that should plead for it. Yet, we cannot say it with certainty since we do not have extended measurements, but the ratio of the distance travelled / fuel consumption may be better in some regimes with the most powerful version, as engines will be less stressed at equal speed.
At the helm a sense of perfection
A residual swell (80 cm) plus some speedboats’ wake tried to disrupt the comfort provided by the Rivale’s thin hull. In vain… she skilfully disregarded them, no matter the speed. Only in sharp turn, as the boat was heeling, did we detect impact on the waterline. And yet… The soft and precise controls contribute to the pleasure of driving. More than the thrill of speed (she is an heavy 17 metre boat), we were delighted by the impression of perfection, with a reactive helm, an adapted power and accurate keel guidance, both in curves and course keeping. We had no use flaps during our trial. Maybe in a more capricious sea and with crosswind… Our power measures highlighted one particular engine speed, combining consistency and economy: 1 900 rpm. She goes then at 28 knots, enough for a round trip from the continent to Corsica without refuelling, and in less than four hours in each direction.