Visual mystery is something of a theme aboard the 110 Dolcevita. It’s a svelte, streamlined and beautiful motoryacht with a hidden secret that doesn’t reveal itself until you’ve spent some time exploring. But if you make your way up to the forward seating area and turn to face aft, all is revealed. The starboard walkway leads to a companionway down to the side deck, where you can continue aft to the cockpit, or open the door into the interior. To port, the walkway runs directly aft to the sundeck.
It sounds logical and straightforward, and it is, but it’s also a radical piece of asymmetric thinking that makes getting through and around the yacht quicker and easier for guests and crew alike. And with the forward seating and the aft sunbathing areas connected on one level, it effectively creates a single, giant, on-deck entertaining space.
The reason we don’t see more of this sort of thing is probably because everyone expects boats to be symmetrical—which is certainly why Riva’s designers have made sure that the Dolcevita’s secret is in plain sight.
The yacht has another secret, but this one remains entirely out of sight. There is a stainless steel skeleton beneath the carbon fiber skin of the superstructure, which allowed the shipyard to install huge windows on the main deck with very thin vertical pillars that barely intrude on the view. They give the salon the feel of a modernist apartment, especially given its rigorously rectilinear layout and light-enhancing, high-gloss surfaces. If you feel compelled to let even more of the outside in, fold-down balconies can be fitted on both sides.
Step forward past the glass dining table and along the port side and you find the master stateroom, a truly impressive living space with huge windows and equally generous headroom, which on our particular 110 was fitted out in a striped tropical rosewood veneer known as palissandro, contrasting attractively with the white lacquer. Other finishes are available.
For a fast motoryacht of this size, there is only one pair of engines that can do the job—the 2,368-hp V16s, which sit at the pinnacle of MTU’s compact and powerful 2000 series. Mounted flat in a spacious, bright and well-organized engine room with 6 feet, 10 inches of headroom, they drive straight shafts and have just one job: to propel the Dolcevita’s 120-ton mass toward its advertised 26-knot top speed.
Once onto plane, the Dolcevita’s great momentum imparted a sense of implacable authority, and while she won’t win any prizes in the slalom, the steering was nevertheless taut and precise. With the interceptors and fin stabilizers set to auto—they were so effective it seemed sensible to just let them get on with it—we barrelled across the dark blue Mediterranean at a maximum of 26.8 knots, to the great satisfaction of the Riva chaps on board.
The captain recommended 2150 rpm as a comfortable and relatively efficient cruising speed. This equated to 22.7 knots with a fuel consumption of 192 gph. Minimum planing speed with the interceptor fully engaged worked out at about 17.5 knots at 1800 rpm, which would give a safe cruising range of well over 500 nautical miles.
It wasn’t just in fulfilling the promise of its advertised performance that the Dolcevita delivered. On our sea trial it showed itself to be a supremely accomplished machine which satisfies in all departments, whether your particular weakness is for lustrous lacquer work, luxurious relaxation spaces or solid engineering. —Alan Harper
Displ. (light): 273,373 lbs.
Fuel: 4,042 gal.
Water: 793 gal.
Power: 2/2,638-hp MTU 2000 16V M96L
Cruise Speed: 23 knots
Top Speed: 27 knots