Getting on top of things
The flybridge is a wonderful space for day use. The helm is at the forward end with a wide bench seat and behind this is a luxury dining area that can be served from bar and barbecue cabinets further aft. The bimini offers good sun protection, with a centre fabric panel that can be opened up as required. At speed this fabric panel flapped about in an irritating way and there is work to do to sort this out. In the standard layout, there is a spa pool behind the dining area but on this prototype this has been replaced by a bar counter and stools. The large sunbed is aft from this and up to the aft end there is a crane and stowage for a tender. This crane can be extended so that it is also able to launch tenders from the transom garage.
At speed there is considerable wind over the flybridge, with the low deflector screen offering little protection. While the breeze could be welcoming and cooling, it could also be wearying on a long passage. There is an alternative sunbed on the foredeck, where there would be an equally strong breeze but a good feature here is the low handrail around the cushions to provide security. Moving right forward, a small settee and table have been built into the coachroof.
At the stern, there is only a narrow strip of swim platform but more is revealed when the garage door is lifted. There is a slide out sunbed in the garage, which sits alongside the stowage for a jet ski. So with the door open at anchor, this area becomes a mini water sports centre. Above in the cockpit there is another dining area but the cockpit has been kept free of clutter.
Moving it forward
The pair of 2218-horsepower MTU 16 cylinder diesels from the 2000 Series look positively tiny within the engine compartment space. The drive from the engines is taken forward to V-drive gearboxes and then back to the main shafts and propellers. This helps to lower the propeller shaft angle and keeps the mechanical gear well aft. The engine compartment is nicely fitted out and the engineering standards look to be high. When underway, there is a considerablae whine from the gearboxes that is very apparent in the saloon. This gearbox whine appears to be a feature of several V-drive installations and perhaps suggests that separating out the engine and gearbox could be the responsible element.
Progress at sea with the Duchessa can best be described as stately rather than exciting. But then, that is what you look for in a yacht of this stature. The top speed hovers just above the 25-knot mark, while a sensible cruising speed would be in the low 20s. At 28 metres long, the Duchessa is large enough not to be too affected by waves and the ride of the moderate V hull is predictable and well controlled. ARG stabilisers are fitted as standard to this yacht, and they help the stately progress, but the main benefit of these would be at anchor.
In criticising this fine yacht, it has to be remembered that the vessel tested was the prototype – there has been little time to evaluate the performance and fine-tune some of the details. Most of the points made about details are likely to be cured with further attention and this latest addition to the range will only enhance the Riva reputation, showing that the Riva magic can be applied to large yachts as well as to the smaller boats which first established the Riva legend. As always, with a Riva you are going to stand out from the crowd, and the new Duchessa does this in exceptional style with its indefinable aura of quality and taste.
In South China: www.jebsen.com
Riva 92 Duchessa – Technical specifications
LOA 28.23 metres
LWL 22.75 metres
Beam 6.75 metres
Draught 2.01 metres
Displacement 82.50 tonnes
Engines 2 x 2218 hp MTU series 2000 V 16 diesels
Drive type Shafts and propellers with V-drive
Speed (max/cruise) 28 knots
Range at 25 knots 350 miles
Fuel capacity 9000 litres
Bow thruster American Bow Thruster 58 hp – hydraulic
Generators 1 x 27 KW, 1 x 23 KW. Kohler
Watermakers (Maker, litres per day) Sea recovery – 180 litres per day
Freshwater capacity 1320 litres
Communication/navigation electronics Furuno
Entertainment systems Sharp and Bose
Owner and guests (number) 8
Crew (number) 5
Classification 100-A1-1.1”Y” RINA
Naval architect (name/company) Officiana Italiana Design and Riva
Interior designer (name/company) Mauro Micheli