Riva Perseo 76’, on the sea with the gods

Refined, sporty and attention to details. It’s easy to say, hard to do. Officina Italiana Design has succeeded. As if by magic

IT’S EARLY MORNING, NOT YET EIGHT O’CLOCK. The 76’ awaits me at the quay in Cannes. The boat show is on and there are already plenty of people at the Riva stand. There’s continual coming and going among sailors, cleaners, PRs of various brands and stand staff. While I wait for my travelling companions I sit at the counter of the stand to have a coffee. I’m still a little sleepy when my gaze falls on the cockpit of the yacht. Then the caffeine kicks in and my brain starts working. I look at the steps leading up from the cockpit. Where do they go, I wonder? Where d’you think they go, I answer myself, can’t you see the flybridge? Crikey, it’s true, there’s a flybridge! You often hear it said about boats, “the superstructure is not heavy”…but this time it really is the case. It’s not just a cliché.

Mauro Micheli and Sergio Beretta from Officina Italiana Design have succeeded in doing what many declare, but few actually achieve. The lines of the 76’ are sporty and you don’t even notice the flybridge. I go on board and another over-used phrase in boat description comes to mind: “there’s continuity between interior and exterior”. Here too, the Riva 76’ Perseo is the living demonstration of the concept. Not on paper or in a brochure, but in reality. On board there are more than 40 metres of windows and the stern door is not only transparent but rolls away completely, thus contributing to the creation of a single space between the saloon and the cockpit. The deck layout is extremely balanced.

Everything is there, but not to excess. There is no cluttering with furnishings. In the bow, besides the sundeck there’s a living area with a linear sofa and a genuine Bimini top to protect from the sun. The cockpit is fairly uncluttered too; partly because there’s a dining table and chairs inside. I climb the ladder to the flybridge and notice that there’s no second console. It can be installed as an option on request, and in fact the sofa is already designed to slide away and make room for the steering gear. But this solution works really well. After all, what need is there for a second console when the internal one has great visibility? It’s not as if we’re on board a fishing boat with a tuna tower!

The windscreen is fairly horizontal, and the visibility from the internal driving position is undoubtedly wide. Moreover, the numerous side and stern windows give the sensation of having everything under control. Below decks, besides the owner’s mid beam cabin in the centre and the VIP cabin and twin guest cabin at the bow, there’s also a space for the galley. This means the entire dining area is devoted to living, eating and driving.

Nothing seems to be left to chance. This is evident from certain details. At the bottom of the flybridge ladder I don’t see the normal opening hatch because the sliding door disappears under the sundeck. It’s actually pretty ugly to have the open hatch, also when you’re moored at a quay or elsewhere. Why not have it disappear and one essential, but unattractive, element can’t be seen. The crew is all here, there are nine of us. It’s time to cast off. Outside Cannes harbour it’s a beautiful day, without wind or waves. The two 1800 hp Man engines drive well. The acceleration is slightly delayed to avoid jerking. Sporty but never excessive, this is the 76’ philosophy. It’s more than 20 meters long with a displacement of 50 tons and at the top speed we exceed 37 knots.

The consumption is normal, starting from 200 l/h which are needed to plane to about 700 at full throttle. Both the layout and interior design ensure good comfort when navigating. I realized it when I was lying on the bed in the master cabin during the sea trial. In addition to the great perception given by the side windows, quietness is well appreciated: just 78 decibel at the top speed and less than 70 at the minimum to plane. It’s thanks to the crew cabin too which is located between the master cabin and the engine room. On board, the yacht’s elegance, style and perfection is perceptible. I desperately try and find a defect, but in vain. The only thing I can come up with is the linear shaft transmission, which does not give enormous manouevreability. To complete a 360° turn, in fact, the boat needs a diameter of at least 200 metres, and the steering is somewhat heavy. Apart from this, the deck and the interiors are bordering on absolute perfection. The elegance comes from the materials and their combinations. This is perceived, but never flaunted. The quality not outspoken. This is not easy to achieve. It’s not enough to have wonderful ingredients, you have to know how to put them together. If the ingredients are the best, but the cook is a disaster, the end result is not memorable. The people at Officina Italiana Design, however, are excellent cooks, and the Riva 76’ Perseo is a masterpiece. I imagine that a few centuries from now, in a museum somewhere, a guide will explain to visitors the concepts of lightness applied to the superstructure and continuity between interior and exterior.

Dinette headroom 198 cm • Dining table 80×180 cm • L shape sofa in the dinette on the left 142×280 cm • L shaped sofa in the dinette starboard 255×170 cm • Sleeping area access 73 cm wide • L shaped galley 164×13 cm • Master cabin headroom 200cm • berth 200×160 cm • High above the berth 148 cm • Linear sofa in the master cabin 147 cm • Vip cabin headroom 200 cm • Master bathroom headroom 200 cm • Double beds cabin headroom 200 cm • Berth 194×66 cm (each) • High above the berth 146 cm • L shaped sofa in the cockpit 296 cm • Walkway at side 36 cm wide • Forward sunbathing area 206×210 cm • Linear sofa at bow 239 cm • Fly access 49 cm • Sunbathing area on the fly 190×197 cm

Gyro stabiliser • Twin MAN engines of 1,800 hp (twin 1,550 hp as standard) • Desalinator • Battery-charger • Generator • Thrusters • Steering station on the fly • Air conditioning

Via Predore 30
I-24067 Sarnico (BG)
T. +39 035 9240111

Project: Officina Italiana Design and Ferretti Group Engineering

Hull: LOA 23.32m • Waterline length 19.07m • Max beam 5.75m • Draft 1.9m • Dry displacement 45,800 kg • Full load displacement 53,500 kg • Fuel tank capacity 5,600 l • Water tank capacity 840 l

Engine: 2 Man V12 • Power 1,800 hp (1,324 kW) • 4 stroke • Bore x Stroke 128mm x 157 mm • Swept volume 24.24 l • Compression ratio 17:1 • Max torque 2300 rpm

EC Certification: CAT A 16 people

Price: 3,550,000 Euro, Excl.VAT (standard version) 4,417,900 Euro, Excl.VAT (as tested)

(Riva Perseo 76’, on the sea with the gods – Barchemagazine.com – June 2016)