Kirk and I spent this past Monday afternoon water-testing a 1953 Riva Ariston that we recently helped Macatawa Bay Boat Works restore. Our restoration work on the boat included replacing all bottom framework and about 1/2 of the deck framework as well as installing a new plywood bottom (as per original) and new hullside and deck planks. Later Rivas were built with laminated wood sides and plywood decks, but the early Rivas such as this one were built with batten-seam construction similar to Chris-Craft, Century, and other classic mahogany speed boats. Rather than using deck grooves and seam compound to achieve the classic striped mahogany deck, Riva used maple inlay to seperate the deck planking.
Even though this boat is an early example of a Riva, they had the design spot-on from the start. The photo illustrates the gorgeous flared bow which flows seamlessly into the barrel back stern. She’s no slouch on the water either. If you’re interested, take a look at our project gallery to see other beautiful wooden boats we have restored.