Riva’s SportRiva 56 is a dangerous yacht. It will blur your eyesight, disturb your emotions, mess with your mind. It is that older woman with the sultry eyes sitting alone at the bar. Walking down the pier toward the SportRiva, your mind says, “Run! Run for your life!” But you are powerless, drawn inexorably like metal filings to a magnet.
Get close enough to touch the SportRiva, and it’s all over. It only seems to be fiberglass: It’s actually carved from a solid block of lust.
Okay, I admit it. I was prepared to dislike this yacht. Perhaps “dislike” is too strong: disdain might be a better word. This is no longrange expedition yacht, loaded with charts to faraway places, nor is it an ocean-racing thoroughbred for serious sailors. Rivas have always had a (well-deserved) reputation for being chick magnets. They build boats for collecting crumpets in Monaco, preferably in itsy-bitsy bikinis, and transporting them to St. Tropez for a lazy soufflé and a bottle of Donny P, followed by a nap on the sunpad.
I was wrong. Oh. So. Wrong.
The SportRiva bears as much resemblance to an ordinary yacht as a 2002 Sassicaia Super Tuscan does to a screw-top jug of Red Mountain. This is not like buying a Ferrari: It’s more like taking Sophia Loren home to meet your folks. The SportRiva was as delightfully unexpected as a diamond ring in a glass of champagne.
The SportRiva is a new design concept for Riva, but it draws on a DNA chain that dates back to when Carlo Riva was building sexy wooden runabouts on the shores of Lake Sarnico. The SportRiva blurs the distinction between express cruiser and flybridge motoryacht: It has the lines of an express, but with a well-concealed bridge. This isn’t, emphasized Enrico Della Casa, Riva’s American manager, “an American flying bridge.”