remember the 53 Rivale blowing me away when she joined Riva’s portfolio in 2003. We flung her around the Bay of Cannes off the South of France during what was known then as the Cannes Boat Show. Here we are now, 15 years and an extra 3 feet later, with the next-generation model: the 56 Rivale, which I stepped aboard this past September at the Cannes Yachting Festival. My expectations were high, and so are Riva’s; more than 100 of the 53 Rivales were delivered, the last one just a year ago. Indeed that’s a worthy tally for any mass-market branded mid-50s model, but that’s not Riva’s market position at all. Fitted out, a 56 Rivale can weigh in north of $2 million. But, of course, such things are purely relative. Top-end open cruisers don’t get much better than this. Rivas are yachts of a different breed and, as they say, vive la différence. The 56 Rivale does not beat her competition by being faster, offering more accommodations, or even by being better engineered — although she happens to score very highly in that last category. Instead, she wins by presenting just about every square inch of her many attributes in the most exquisite of bundles. Few brands have such caché. Her profile doesn’t just imply class; it sings it, with every design element contributing harmoniously, from her proud stem to stepped transom, tinted wraparound windshield to arch mast, and shark-gray metallic livery to gray-caulked decking.