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48 Dolceriva: On Board the New 15 metre Riva Motor Yacht

7 July 2020By Cecile Gauert

We step on board the 48 Dolceriva, the new 15 metre motor yacht by Riva...

A sea trial with a group of marine journalists can take the romance out of a boat ride. As we talk revs, consumption and knots, one can almost forget what this is – a brand-new Riva built in the brand’s historic lakefront hometown of Sarnico, Italy, with an attention to design detail that borders on obsessive: 20 coats of varnish on mahogany; air intakes in carbon outlined in stainless steel; a one-piece wraparound glass windshield; a spacious indoor saloon; a luxurious cabin; and even an optional crew cabin.

Owners have their choice of layouts. The standard has a spacious open lounge with dinette and galley and a generous owner’s cabin. Options include adding a crew cabin or a second twin-berth cabin aft.

There is nothing more fun for boat writers than to get their hands on the (leather-covered) wheel of a new boat, and there is no shortage of volunteers to submit the new Riva 48 Dolceriva to a rise and decrease in RPMs and extreme moves that it will rarely – if ever – have to do under normal circumstances. But hey, when a boat is built like a sports car, you want to make sure it handles like one. I am happy to report that the Dolceriva goes from zero to 37 knots in about 30 seconds and is able to satisfy all skill levels, from speed enthusiasts to more leisurely boaters.

The newest Riva dayboat (as opposed to the superyachts the brand is now building), the Dolceriva is the heir apparent of the Rivarama and shares some of the strategies behind the 11.8-metre Rivamare that the Ferretti Group introduced in 2016. “The main driver of the project was a timeless, long- lasting design – a Riva that can be iconic, though renewed, and at the same time up to date in terms of technology, propulsion and steering platform,” explains Michelangelo Casadei, the Ferretti Group’s director of engineering.

The master cabin sports two walk-in closets.

It was a tall order for designers Officina Italiana Design to come up with a successor to the 13-metre Rivarama, which has enjoyed great success for years. The hardest thing may be to edit your own work and Officina Italiana Design did just that, cutting out details from an already sober design to produce a modern boat that remains respectful of the Riva heritage. From my point of view, it looks to be a winner – the lines are pure and simple (but far from simplistic). In fact, the new Dolceriva is so good-looking, I lose myself in contemplation and miss out on some of the technical chatter.

However, a boat is much more than a sculpture and it needs to be safe. One might even argue it is primarily about the naval architecture (the hull shape is a deep V with 15.9-degree deadrise), the engines (two high-performance Volvo Penta D13s), the drives and the steering (which is velvety and awesome to my hands). The steering package includes rudders and V-drives, but this boat also comes with a joystick, which is a really useful tool in tight corners.

The new Dolceriva is streamlined and modern but still very much part of the Riva family.

Once at the wheel, I appreciate how the navigation information is integrated in a couple of easy-to-read screens placed at just the right height. Everything is at hand: horn, wipers, radio, even a bottle of water, thanks to judiciously placed cupholders. The windscreen, a feat of engineering by Italian maker Isoclima, offers good wraparound protection from wind and spray with primo views. Automated interceptors remove any guessing game in terms of optimal trim and efficiency. All that’s left to do is rev up the engines and let the Dolceriva run while keeping a lookout for other craft on the water.

Riva built the boat according to CE regulations and it is certified for up to 10 passengers. On the day of the sea trial, I am one of eight on board and the boat is loaded with about 75 per cent of the fuel and water it can carry. Our test boat, which displaces 21 tonnes, is fresh out of the factory and reaches a top speed of 38.9 knots (just shy of its 40-knot maximum capability). Cruising speed is a comfortable and fairly quiet 35 knots.

The lounge features a 43-inch television.

But what’s the hurry? There is plenty to enjoy here. The beautifully angled transom transforms into a swim platform for easy water access. Two removable sunpads unfold from a storage compartment to fit the swim platform exactly, while two more permanent ones just above allow adults to stretch out fully, which is great, particularly after a meal. The varnished deck table unfolds for mealtimes and a smart system allows an automated bimini to rise from hidden compartments and shelter the entire cockpit. Need more shade? Retreat down below to an elegant saloon, decorated with perfectly stitched leather panels, dark wood, venetian blinds and light fabrics. As always, Riva branding is everywhere, but it is discreet.

“All materials recall the Riva heritage, such as mahogany and steel combined with mirrored surfaces and leather elements,” says Stefano de Vivo, the Ferretti Group’s chief commercial officer. Steel and glass are used on the hatch that accesses the luxurious interior and on the master cabin’s sliding door. This metallic mesh allows light in but guarantees privacy, “a strategic choice both in terms of functionality and style”, adds de Vivo. The cabin is certainly comfortable enough for an overnight stay, complete with dayhead and shower with good head height.

She can reach a max speed of 40 knots.

Riva offers a couple of layouts, including one without a crew cabin. Most clients so far are opting for the crew cabin, I’m told, because when you own a Riva like this, you deserve a captain. A luxury dayboat you’ll love to take for a ride, with room for a crew – that’s the best of both worlds.

This feature is taken from the June 2020 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.