Sense of Style
The Riva 76 Bahamas is a dayboat on steroids that impresses with its attention to detail and a movable hardtop unlike most any other.
It’s rather difficult for a yacht to set itself apart at the Cannes Yachting Festival, where the glitziest new offerings from Europe’s top builders convene on a picturesque and cinematic setting to strut their stuff and find new owners. However, the Riva 76 Bahamas was able to do exactly that this year, which is a feat that many serious boaters should take notice of when she comes to the domestic market next year.
It should come as no surprise that this boat is super-stylish even from afar. The impression one gets when first laying eyes on her is that of a machine that was born to move. Her sharp hullside glazing runs nearly the entire length of the boat, flicking forward like a switchblade. Layered upon that is a ruler-straight shearline with knee-high guardrails that require deckhands to have sure footing. A sharply raked and elegantly rounded superstructure has major elements done in carbon fiber—something that somehow makes itself apparent before any investigation into the materials is done. The cumulative effect of all these design elements is a boat that looks like an arrow freshly loose.
Stepping aboard, one is met by all the necessary accoutrements for a dayboat in this size and class but with a few extra details that make this model sing. The teak-soled, hydraulic swim platform is not overly large but is big enough for swimmers to comfortably congregate there. A Williams TurboJet 325 tender was housed in a garage that had a massive sunpad above it. After all, what would an Italian dayboat be without a sunpad that dominated the aft portion of its main deck?
For the fairer-skinned among us (including yours truly), there were stowable carbon fiber poles that can prop up a sunshade, though a part of me suspects this feature was added as an afterthought for the American market to keep our dermatologists from needing to see our cardiologists too frequently.
Among my favorite features on this boat, and, truth be told, at the entire Cannes show, were the stainless steel vents atop the aft of the gunwales to port and starboard. They provided a visual growl and hearkened to the Italian sports car world with which Riva and its parent company Ferretti are so closely aligned. (Ferretti’s CEO Alberto Galassi is married to a Ferrari; a woman, not a car.)
The rest of the cockpit featured lounge seating, a large, aft-facing bench seat to starboard and a smaller, more geometrically cut one to port. One small step up on the teak sole led to a C-shaped dining settee to starboard with room for eight guests. A full-service console to port with a refrigerator, sink, and barbecue, plus extra stowage serviced the area. The fit and finish in this space, and throughout the boat, is exemplary. The leather is soft and supple with expertly measured and delicate stitching. Teak accents throughout the deck lend the air of a classic to this new boat.
What is far from classic about the 76 is a fascinating feature just above the forward portion of the main deck. The carbon fiber hardtop is hydraulic and lifts completely off the superstructure to move forward and fit snugly over the bow. This effectively transforms the boat from an express to an open, and in my 14 years covering this industry, I can’t recall having seen anything quite like it. I’m not a massive fan of too many moving pieces on a seafaring vessel, but from what I could tell, all the machinery and joints here looked and sounded dependable and sturdy.
I don’t suspect owners of the 76 Bahamas will spend too many nights aboard. This boat strikes me as best used as a very posh way to get from Miami to Baker’s Bay and then spend the night on land. However, the accommodations level is actually quite lovely. An amidships master benefited from those hullside windows, and natural light flowed over the island king and glinted off the testosterone-charged stainless steel accents and rich, dark leather upholstery. The head even had about seven feet of headroom, which I certainly was not expecting on a yacht this sleek. A forepeak VIP had similar stainless and leather styling, and good, natural light, but wasn’t blessed with quite nearly as large a head compartment. Sacrifices must always be made.
Where that statement is most true on this boat is in the crew’s quarters. It is rather tight. I had to squeeze down the ladder in the cockpit to access it, and once there, I managed a few deep breaths before making my way topside. I’m not typically claustrophobic, but that space got to me.
The engine room was, thankfully, less cramped, with six feet of headroom and dual access through the crew’s quarters and through a hatch in the cockpit. The garage eats up some space here, but access to the gensets was workable, and the twin 1,550-hp MAN V12 engines and Racor fuel filters were easily serviceable.
With that propulsion unit, the 76 Bahamas tops out at 32 knots and should cruise around 28. A burlier engine option, twin 1,800-hp MAN V12s, offers a top end of 37 knots with a cruise of 32.
Regardless of engine choice, this yacht is an excellent platform as an upper-end dayboat with an option for overnights. Her exterior and interior styling stand out, and the two play with each other well to create a real personality for this boat. Her onboard features are impressive as shown with the moving hardtop but certainly not ending there. And her performance is right in line with what one would want for a fun time on the water. You can do it all on board this Riva, and you can do it all day too. Riva Website
-by Kevin Koenig
Looking to entertain on board? Check out this recipe from Southern Boating