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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 In the standard layout, there is a spa pool behind the dining area but on this prototype this has been replaced by a bar counter and stools.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.

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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

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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

Construction                                       Composites

Classification                                      100-A1-1.1”Y” RINA

Naval architect (name/company)        Officiana Italiana Design and Riva

Interior designer (name/company)      Mauro Micheli