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Article selected from thousand boat trials performed by Nautica in nearly 50 years

Navigation trials

Please remember that the boat model described in this article could be no more available and its price, if indicated, could be outdated as it refers to the Nautica Magazine paper issue

For possible updated information on the model tested in this article and on all other models builded by this shipyard please search our YACHTING CATALOGUE

Text and photographs by Antonio Bignami


Riva Dolcevita 21

Indeed Riva boats have something special that makes them unique and easily recognizable. Even the most recent product of the Sarnico-based yard, the Riva 21 Dolce Vita (one of the most beautiful and mostly admired boats of all boat shows I participated in) sticks to the rule and sticks to the beauty and sophisticated elegance of her origins. Her outside line, trim and aggressive ride and her interior and on-deck layout follow a new direction and reflect new and charming solutions that the leisure motor yacht market may follow in the future.

The Riva 21 Dolce Vita surely pleases and makes people dream; she is a product of the Italian yacht design that may be used as a point of reference. The description of the Riva 21 is difficult, almost impossible. Life on board is pleasant and relaxing, yet full of emotions if one considers that she is a masterpiece of the Italian shipbuilding industry. In order to feel these emotions I suggest climbing on the flying bridge (by way of the access ladder from the cockpit and from the salon), caressing the cockpit table, sitting on the salon settee.

Try to savor the overall balance of the salon on two levels, to enjoy and move freely in the cabins and in the rational and ample crew's quarters. Observe the several practical solutions - aft garage, swimming ladder, access to the side deck, units, foredeck. Last but not least, I suggest a sea trial to take notice of the trim and soft maneuverability of the boat (eventually riding an another boat to have a different point of view).


Designer: Cantieri Riva
Yard: Cantieri Riva, 24067 Sarnico (Bergamo, Italy); tel.+39-035-910202, fax +39-035-911059
EC A Category type
Italian VAT: 20%
LOA: 69'11"
Beam: 17'8"
Depth: 12'5"
Draft from lower tip of propellers: 5'9"
Light displacement: 32 tons
Full load displacement: 38 tons
Maximum passengers capacity: 16
Berths: 6 + 2 in 4 cabins
Test boat power: 2x1150hp MTU 12V 183TE94 turbo diesel inboard
Total installed power: 2,300 hp
Total engines and reduction gears weight: 7,726 lbs.
Light displacement/installed power ratio: 31.19 lbs./hp
Type of transmission: in-line shaft
Maximum declared speed at 2,400 rpm's: 34 knots
Cruising speed at 2,200 rpm's: 32 knots
Declared fuel consumption at cruising speed of 30 knots (2,000 rpm's): 87 gallons/hr
Range at cruising speed of 30 knots: 420 nautical miles
Fuel capacity: 1228 gallons
Freshwater capacity: 238 gallons
Price with standard equipment and test boat power: to be quoted depending on the requested layout and fittings
Notes: interior layout may be requested with a VIP cabin instead of the double guest cabin to port.


Hull: planing V-hull
Hull and deck construction material: fiberglass
Bow area: pulpit, stem fitting with anchor and anchor chain, windlass, two anchor lockers, sunning area, 2 mooring bitts forward and 2 amidships
Cockpit arrangements and fittings: aft settee with folding table and four Riva director's chairs, shower with cold/hot water mixer, awning, hatch for access to crew's quarters, multi-function hydro-electric davit, lighting system, hydraulic gangway, teak deck
Characteristics of the aft platform: teak deck, garage with hydraulically-operated port for PWC and launching and hauling davit, swimming ladder concealed when not in use
Superstructures and windows materials: stainless steel structures, windows in tempered glass
Description and characteristics of the flying bridge: signal and radar mast, stainless steel railings, pilot's settee for three persons, settee with table, searchlight, intercom, sunning cushioning, cabinet with sink, refrigerator and lockers, access ladder from the salon and from the cockpit, dashboard with full engine instruments, steering wheel, engine controls, compass, VHF connection, depth-sounder and log.


Layout and characteristics: forward Owner's stateroom with two closets, central double bed, stereo radio and CD player, dressing table with seat, en suite bathroom with shower stall; two guest cabins with twin beds both with en suite bathroom with shower; aft crew's cabin with two berths, closet and en suite bathroom with shower; salon is on two levels with settees, bar, dashboard, full stereo radio and CD-player, color TV set with VCR, bar with sink, refrigerator and ice-maker
Helm station in cockpit: chart storing area, depth-sounder with log, full engine indicators and instruments, auto-pilot with rudder angle indicator interfaced with GPS plotter, pilot's seat, lateral door, 48-mile radar with color display, VHF semi-duplex radio and telephone, Riva meteorological station, full dashboard with compass, power assisted hydro-electric wheel steering, throttle and reversing gear levers
Chart table: in helm station
Galley: to starboard of the salon, access is by way of ladder, it is fitted with cabinets, drawers, pantry, cupboards, extractor, combined oven, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, 4- ceramic hob range, Corian worktop with two sinks and hot/cold water mixer, stainless steel cooking set


Standard fittings: air conditioning system, heating system, hot water plant with water heater, CO2 fire-fighting system, water desalination plant, generating set, trim flaps.


Wind: 10 knots southeasterly
Sea: slight to moderate

Time needed to reach planing speed: 6 seconds
Minimum planing speed at 1,300-1,400 rpm's: 15 knots
Maximum speed at 2,400 rpm's with 2,300 hp engine: 34.5 knots


Seakeeping ability, turning and behavior on waves: the Riva 21 Dolce Vita has an excellent trim and a smooth ride. The boat returns rapidly and smoothly to its trim after impact with waves
Wheel and flap response: precise and efficient
Visibility in different weather conditions: excellent
Docking maneuverability: excellent.


Deck: with an elegant design and very practical
Flying bridge: of adequate size, with excellent fittings (beautiful design and very practical)
Interiors: top-quality woodwork, plush interiors, sophisticated and elegant design
Passengers' comfort: typical Riva prestigious comfort
Chart table: ample and practical
Helm stations: perfectly located and offering maximum comfort
Galley: beautiful and elegant
Bathrooms: ample and very well fitted
Engine room: excellent access and with adequate working space
Electrical switchboard and plants: excellent.