How to restore a vintage Riva yacht? Part 2

From the engine tests to the painting operations and final testing to bring your Riva yacht back to life

In the last post of our blog, we promised a description of each of the stages involved in the restoration of a vintage Riva yacht.

So, here they are: let’s take a look at the magic behind a restoration with the scent of the Dolce Vita.

1. Engine testing

Restauro Riva - Prova motori

First, the boat is immediately put into the water for the engine test, and when it returns it is taken to the Volvo Penta certified workshop inside the boatyard. All chrome plated components are inspected and where appropriate, are subjected to a very delicate 20 micron chrome plating procedure. A specialized technician checks the frames, which are then recovered with a new, very original leatherette.

2. Stripping of coatings and disassembly operations

Restauro Riva - sverniciatura e smantellamento

The boat is completely stripped and scraped by hand, down to the bare wood. Once the components and parts to be repaired or replaced are identified, the yacht is turned upside down and the hull is totally dismantled, to then move on to taking care of the transverse frame, which is the rib cage of the boat. The holes left by the more than one thousand screws are filled and closed one by one with tiny wooden wedges and glue.

3. Deck replacement

Restauro Riva - sostituzione della coperta

After flipping the yacht back over, the staff begins replacing the deck, making sure that the pitch is strictly 34mm. Once the old deck is removed, the deck beams are inspected and repaired when appropriate, and only then is it possible to install the new deck, fastened with screws hidden by caps of the same identical wood, glued with the grain oriented perfectly so as to be as invisible as possible.

Come si restaura un Riva d’epoca?

4. Sanding and coating operations

Restauro Riva - carteggiatura e verniciatura

The hull is then sanded with sandpaper with different grits sizes and then the coating process begins. This operation involves from 22 to 24 coats, the first 15 of which are carried out with a brush. In this way, the paint is distributed thoroughly thereby facilitating its greater and deeper penetration into the wood pores. This process lasts about 6-7 months, given that every 3 coatings, the yacht is sanded and left to rest, allowing the wood to complete its natural shrinkage process. The final coats are applied by spray and in a drying cabin to obtain a shiny mirror effect.

5. Mounting the accessories

Restauro Riva - montaggio accessori

The process continues with the installation of the on-board accessories which at that point have all been rigorously restored and/or overhauled one by one, as well as the electrical, hydraulic, and fuel system. The yacht begins to take shape again and it is possible to glimpse the inimitable beauty of when she was originally built. It is like coming back to life, a magnificent phoenix rising from its ashes. As all of the chrome parts are installed, making sure that the crosses of all screws are exactly straight and aligned, the yacht gets its shiny beauty back.

6. Final testing

Restauro Riva - collaudo

Extremely important are the final inspections and testing in the water carried out before the yacht is completely reassembled, so as to immediately locate any leaks or abnormalities. After the yacht passes these initial tests, it returns to the boatyard for the final installation of all the rest of the equipment and accessories, including the soft furnishings made with the most scrupulous care from the first to last seam.

Would you like to see our restorations live? Come and visit our museum and the Vintage Riva Collection, a unique collection of Riva’s vintage yachts.

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