Published in: Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Features > Riva Domino (Page 1/2)

Riva Domino

The 86 Domino is the latest in Riva’s line up of ultra-stylish motoryachts, and Dag Pike finds himself loving the speed as well as the swish

Italian builder Riva has put itself in a difficult position. When you have a reputation as the builder of the best motor yachts in the world, with each new design you have to keep producing something better than all the competition. With all the major builders producing quite exceptional motor yachts these days it is not easy to find something that is better, something that is new. Quality has never been an issue for Riva, they simply build their boats to a higher standard than the competition but these days yachts are judged by their style and this is the real challenge facing Riva.

When it comes to exterior styling the new Riva 86 Domino is in a class of its own. This has to be one of the best designs to emerge into the modern market place and the style is quite breathtaking. It has low, sleek looks. But it is the balanced performance that really scores.

The lines of the hull are clean and uncluttered, and with the chine line keeping very low at the bow, the topside has a beautiful flowing curve that is emphasised by the reverse sheer of the deck line. Most of the coach roof sits below the bulwarks with only the wonderful curve of the wheelhouse rising up and then flowing aft. The basalt grey of the hull and superstructure gives the 86 a slightly sinister, militaristic look that may not appeal to every owner, but other colours are available. Few would dispute that it is the shape, not the colour, that will get attention.

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On the inside areas, there is lots of leather and wood as you would expect from Riva, but the interior of this Domino has a slightly clinical look that is emphasised by the stainless steel trim. It would probably qualify for the modern minimalist look, with its hard-edged furniture and style and even the leather panelling, which might have offered a richer look, has sharp corners and hard edges. The white leather of the lounge settees does help to soften the ambiance.

A large section of the glass at the rear of the saloon can be lifted up under electric power and this combined with the opening door allows the saloon and the cockpit to be integrated on sunny days. The side windows of the saloon are partially blanked off by a deep exterior moulding, which somewhat restricts the outside view – no matter apparently, as there is a giant, 65-inch TV screen mounted on the forward bulkhead facing aft. When switched off, this screen has a blank mirror finish that creates a deeper sense of space in the saloon.

The ingenious design of the dining table is definitely worth a mention. In its extended form, this tan leather-covered table can seat nine but the two inner sections of the table can be folded down and away into the side panelling to create a half-sized table. There are folding chairs to match but the whole structure does not have the solid look that might be expected of a good dining table.

That forward bulkhead forms the rear of the pilothouse and while the quality remains here in the form of a tan leather three-seater at the helm, the emphasis is more on the practical operational side. The Furuno navigation screens are generously sized for easy assessment but they are angled to catch the sun shining through the curved windscreen that rises overhead as well as to the front. Reflections on the displays could be a problem but there is an overhead concertina screen that can be pulled down to reduce the sun impact. Wide windscreen pillars at the sides restrict the outside view and there is no clear visibility astern.

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Stairs on the port side of the helm lead down to the wonderful galley that is equipped to provides excellent cuisine, while on the starboard side, the stairs lead down to the accommodation with the full-width master amidships and the VIP in the bow. There is a twin cabin to starboard and a large cabin to port, with a bed that can convert from a twin to a double. This port cabin is so large that it could be a second VIP or even take over this role from the bow cabin.

Large side windows make the master a room with a view that you can enjoy from the bed or from the lounge area on the starboard side. The staterooms have a much warmer feel than in the saloon. There is an abudance of rich fabrics and softer colours. There is also plenty of leather down here, which is almost a Riva trademark and it is also found in the side panelling of the passageway leading to the staterooms. The bathroom in the master also has a full height window so there is plenty of natural light in this accommodation.

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