Riva is famous for its rather Italian take on the glamorous open-top sports cruiser. The company’s renowned 53-foot Rivale, in particular, has done a great job of embodying that ethos. Now Riva has a new and “even brighter” star to carry that concept into the future.

Known as the Riva 56, the new design follows much the same approach as the venerable Rivale with long, low-profile lines that prioritise a big communal cockpit and a flat, user-friendly foredeck. However, the dramatically faceted appearance of the Rivale has been taken even further here with a flatter, more raked screen that plunges much deeper and runs much further aft. And the same is true below the rubbing strake, where the long razor-cut windows employ a substantial dip to increase the stylistic impact and to introduce more light into the owner’s suite.

Riva 56

The new Riva 56 is designed to take up the mantle of the much-loved Rivale.

On deck, you get that same easy movement around the central sunbathing platform at the aft end of the cockpit, plus plenty of companion seating to port of the helm station and a secondary aft-facing section for alfresco dining. The family boater might favour the use of some rails to increase security on the convertible foredeck lounging pads but the inclusion of a powered bimini is a very attractive touch.

Down below, a lounge and galley provide a useful separation zone between the forward guest double and the owner’s master suite amidships – and as you would expect, you also get a crew cabin plus a serious degree of opulence. If opulence for you means lots of high-gloss mahogany, natural teak and lacquered finishes amid generous scatterings of stainless steel, glass and leather, you are unlikely to be disappointed.

In terms of performance Riva points out that the new 56 uses a “completely new hull form” for “sportscar handling” - but on paper at least, the power options (and indeed the performance) look broadly similar. While the Rivale offered twin MAN diesels from 950 to 1050hp for a top end just beyond 40 knots, the new boat offers a choice of MAN V8s of 1000 to 1200hp operating through V-drives for performance of between 36 and 39 knots and a range of up to 260 nautical miles.

To find out more about this prestigious new dayboat-cum-cruiser, visit Ventura Europe.

Written by: Alex Smith
Alex Smith is a journalist, copywriter and magazine editor with a long history in boating and a happy addiction to the water. He’s worked on boats, lived on boats, bought boats, sold boats and – when he’s not actually on board a boat – he can generally be found in his Folkestone office, tapping away at the computer and gazing out to sea.