Published in: Saturday, 25 April 2009
Features > Riva 92 Duchessa (Page 1/2)

Riva 92 Duchessa

The Riva 92 brings the legendary Italian builder’s sense of style to superyachting

Riva is a magic name in yachting. They are one of the classic builders that have weathered the storms of time and still remain at the top of the tree. With so much good quality design coming into the motor yacht market from other builders, staying at the top becomes harder and harder. Riva faces the continual challenge of standing out from a growing field of competitors.

Style is one thing where designers can be different, but the emphasis at Riva has always been on quality, and there is no doubt the new Riva 92 Duchessa has quality in abundance, and that makes it unique in the motor yacht market. This new design does not offer any technical breakthroughs, but rather, close attention to details and using only the best of materials and craftsmanship. Those are the Riva trademarks and the 92 is a worthy successor to the Riva heritage.

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Profiles in power

The 92 has a powerful, slightly aggressive profile that towers upward to be topped by a fixed bimini stretching forward from, and integrating with, the angled arch mast. It is this bimini that gives the 92 a sporting character and it helps to bring the design to life. The pilot house comes in at half height between the main deck and the flybridge and it is dominated by the huge curved front windows that benefit the view ahead but the designers have forgotten to include a view astern from the pilot house.

On a yacht like this, it is likely that the flybridge will be for the private use of the guests, leaving the crew to cope with the lower helm. The deep windscreen windows are steeply angled, and there could be problems with reflections on the dashboard. There are also very wide-angled side pillars to the windscreen that obstruct a considerable sector of the vision from the helm. Combine this with the lack of view astern, and it could be a struggle to navigate safely from this main helm station.

Both helm stations have been kept simple in their layout, with a single navigation screen on the flybridge and two at the main helm. At the lower helm, the displays are separated by the engine panels, so it is not easy to make direct comparisons between the chart and the radar. Similarly, the buttons that control the flaps are spaced far apart, so it is not easy to get both flaps acting in unison. The lower helm features a huge Bezenzoni adjustable seat, which dominates the helm. Comfort is therefore assured, but it would have been nice to see more attention paid to the layout of the dash and the visibility.

Apart from this, the layout of the 92 is very practical in separating out the crew and the guest areas. The crew quarters are located forward and down from the main deck with direct access to the galley, which is in the same area. From here, there is a vestibule with an outside doors and direct access to the pilothouse. The laundry room is tucked in under the lower helm, so the crew can be totally separated from the guests, except when service is required of course.

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Inside the Duchessa

The lounge and dining areas in the main saloon are the formal areas, with design simplicity being the main focus. At first glance, the décor is rather stark. White leather settees, white oak on the deck, a white dining table and white reconstituted marble on the deck at the dining area create an Art Deco look. Even the cupboard doors, some of the deckhead panels, and the low coffee table are in white leather. To contrast with so much white, the side panelling, the window frames and some furniture is in a warm coloured Canaletto Walnut, a wood with a contrasting straight grain. The overall look is one of cool sophistication and there is no doubting the quality of the construction.

From the forward end of the saloon, there are stairs down to the accommodation on the port side where there is a day bathroom and on the starboard side there is direct access to the pilothouse and from there on to the flybridge. Moving about on this yacht is easy thanks to wide doors and passageways. The flow of guests and crew has been thought through very carefully.

Down below the design theme is similar, but there is a warmer, more welcoming feel thanks to the greater use of wood and fabrics. The master suite is glorious, with a chaise on one side and a vanitory unit incorporated into a chest of drawers on the other. The bed in the centre, and it looks very inviting and comfortable amid the refinements. The full width bathroom, aft of the main cabin, is equally inviting with a full size bath, a separate shower and twin washbasins.

Two twin cabins offer similar low-key luxury, each with its own bathroom. Moving forward, there is the VIP cabin that rivals the master for luxury, but on a more compact scale. Mirrors have been widely used within the accommodation and in some places the floor-to-ceiling mirrors can give a disconcerting effect. Uniquely, the Duchessa features large side windows in every cabin which is great for the occupants but it does look a bit strange from the outside. However, the tinted windows do not stand out too much against the dark hull.