There's nothing bashful about Riva, and no owner of one of Italy's most iconic products is ever going to be lacking in a certain quality. But even so, the idea of the company naming its latest poetic incarnation of the boating ideal after what the average Freudian analyst would advise keeping under wraps does strike this Englishman's ear as, well, slightly bodacious.
But then this Riva 68 Ego is one bodacious boat. And it was fitting that my sea trial should debark from Porto Carlo Riva in Rapallo, Italy. This is the marina that was created by Carlo Riva when he retired from Riva after supervising its transition from a builder of the classic wooden Rivas into one of the early users of fiberglass. That Carlo Riva himself came down to see us off put a monogrammed stamp on the occasion.
The 68 Ego certainly looks the part of the perfect accessory for a robust psyche. Here is a sports yacht like you have never seen before, a style you cannot ignore, with its black hull and bronze-hued superstructure. In fact, if outside style were the only criteria on which to judge a new yacht, then the Ego would win hands down. Not only is the color scheme stunning (and there is a whole range of alternatives to choose from), but the exterior styling leaves you in no doubt that this design has been produced both to impress and to perform.
Personally, I would stick to the black and bronze color scheme, perfect unless you're the rare owner who wants his yacht to pass unnoticed in the marina. Part of the Riva ethos is that you go yachting in style and the Ego certainly achieves this.
The Ego also oozes quality. It may be small things like the teak of the handrails or the way that the grating on the passerelle has curved cross strips. Wherever you look, you notice the attention to detail that is the hallmark of the Riva style; and inevitably you end up thinking: "I bet that costs money. Which is another reason to own an Ego-it buffs your ego in the eyes of the beholder.
Riva has brought in the design team of Micheli and Beretta of Italiana Design to work on this new 68. They have opted for a very modern interior, which is in keeping with the current Riva style. Interestingly, however, they have introduced furniture that looks as though it was produced in the 1960s. Retro is all the rage in design these days, and the sharp-edged, teak-veneered furniture on display here most resembles the Scandinavian style that was so popular during the Swinging Sixties. Does it work on a yacht of this size and personality? There is no getting away from the luxury of the white-leather settees, though for comfort the backs could be higher-which is something I remember being a problem with modern furniture back in the days of Austin Powers, too.
Down below the more traditional Riva style is much stronger, beginning with the black walnut paneling. A wood with a strong, straight grain, this contrasts well with the off-white fabrics, the metallic silver panels and the silver Venetian blinds. Glass and stainless steel tables extend the ultramodern look.