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Lengthening a proven hull has resulted in a seakindly 42 that also meets DAVID LOCKWOOD's real measure of a good cruiser — adventure plus the comforts of home.

Riviera 42 Flybridge

JULY, 2003 - People find adventure in the darnedest places. They take on Mount Everest, hike the Kokoda trail, backpack around Beijing and tour Antarctica. None of these places are particularly comfortable, accessible, or even necessarily enjoyable.

But buy a cruiser like the latest Riviera 42 and you can enjoy five-star comforts and ocean-going adventure on the doorstep of your local harbour or bay. That's the thought that crossed my mind when we reached the deep blue on Riviera's latest boat, just an hour after throwing the mooring lines.

Given a few spare days and a fuel card, I could have kept going all the way to the tropics. The stylish new cruiser has self-sufficiency, a handy range and a feeling of solidity and seaworthiness at sea.

To these things you can add the real measure of a good cruising boat. This 42 was fitted with standard issue air-conditioning, an optional washer/dryer, dishwasher, icemaker and bowthruster.

The conveniences added more than $100,000 to the $695,000 base price, but they took the boat to the next level. Adventure, plus the comforts of home.



The owners of this Riv 42, the first to arrive in Sydney, bought it sight unseen. As former Riviera owners, they knew what to expect - namely a lot more space and comfort than their previous 36 single-cabin and more contemporary lines - thanks to the so-called Millennium styling.

Typically of Riviera owners, this couple enjoys a mix of on-water entertaining, offshore fishing and adventure cruising to neighbouring ports. They clocked up 350 engine hours in 18 months on their 36, and the owner has already racked up sea miles on the new 42 during its delivery trip from Queensland in mid-June.

The benefits of being keen boaties and former Riv owners were evident in the factory-fitted options chosen for this boat. The outward-opening marlin door, which ensures the footprint of the cockpit never changes, is a factory initiative. You no longer have to play musical chairs every time someone wants to walk through to the swim platform.

Like most Riviera owners, this couple ordered a teak-topped cockpit and swim platform, and a moulded GRP hardtop over the bridge. As the flybridge is the sole driving station on the 42, it is best to make it as substantial as possible.

To this end, extra storage lockers were built in, a Raymarine Coastal Cruising package comprising a GPS chartplotter and sounder valued at $14,810 were added, along with an intercom down to the galley so you can dial up lunch. There is also a drinks fridge up top.

The new 42 looks sweeter than the Riviera 40 on which it is based, due to the extra length in the foredeck. That also ensures there is plenty of room for a rigid-hulled inflatable tender mounted on chocks on the foredeck, plus an electronic and telescopic crane.

The fender baskets, foot controls for the windlass, and cabin hatches remain accessible around the bow.

Even though I was sporting a broken toe, I found the decks safe to scuttle around. Moulded steps in the cockpit and grab rails that fall intuitively to hand, toe rails and an aggressive non-skid pattern contribute to a surefooted passage forward.



The new 42 has a terrific mix of indoor and outdoor living areas. But there is no doubt the broad cockpit will be the hub of activity. It has the necessary floor space for everything from serious fishing to alfresco entertaining.

For the former, the owners have fitted a spread of heavy-duty rod holders. The in-transom live-bait tank was plumbed with pick-up and circulating pumps, and a light was added along with the lift-up lid. The tank can double as an icebox when the boat is in party mode.

The cockpit is big enough to swing a gamefishing chair, or plonk a teak table and some deck chairs, and is graced with serious cruising amenities such as a built-in fridge/freezer, sink with running water and a concealed garbage bin for the empties. The moulded lids over the amenities centre make useful impromptu seats.

A mark of a serious cruising boat is the amount of dedicated storage space you find aboard. The 42 has loads of room in a sub-floor lazarette that can be accessed via any or all of three floor hatches. There is room for stowing diving and fishing gear, an outboard motor, spares, and accumulated trash.

Sidepockets were stacked with fishing lines, cleaning products, mooring ropes and so on. I also found the shorepower connection, a saltwater deckwash, and a hot/cold handheld shower. The remote engine fuel shutoffs and dedicated firefighting system are safety features that hopefully will never be needed.

The above deck cleats and pop-up cleats for swinging fenders are a response to customer calls for fittings that make tending the mooring lines a snap. Another nice detail is the boarding platform, which is wide enough for a director's chair or two, and a perfect spot for sundowners.

The owners have fitted an optional three-quarter length rear awning to provide shade over the cockpit. While it will be appreciated in summer, I wasn't so keen on the fact you couldn't see the transom or boarding platform from the helm. That made parking a bit of a guessing game.



Riviera has improved its engineering as a result of demanding export markets. Local owners will be encouraged by the logical layout in the engine room, which is accessed under the moulded sink in the cockpit. There is good access to fuel filters, dipsticks on the centreline, sea strainers and the standard-issue 9.5kW generator with its own strainer.

The freshwater-cooled 535hp electronic QSM11 motors - an upgrade from the standard Volvo 480hp engines - looked the part, with big stainless-steel exhaust elbows. There was room around all sides of the Cummins, though the walkway between them was a little tight.

Both 12V and 240V lighting and the white gelcoat finish assist with spotting oil leaks, rust and corrosion. There was a freshwater tap and I noted all the lines were double clipped (and fitted with ball valves) below the waterline. The motors include an oil-change system.

Utilities such as air-conditioning and eutectic fridge/freezer units, a 240V and engine-driven hotwater heater, and 450lt polypropylene watertanks were mounted in the engine room.

The boat also has visual and audible alarms for high water, temperature and low engine oil pressure. The wiring and plumbing is coded.



More than a driving station, the flybridge is a big balcony with lounges, (optional) drinks fridge and (optional) moulded hardtop. This boat's Strata Glass clears are the ant's pants, pre-tensioned so they don't slap the thick stainless hardtop supports in strong crosswinds, and nice and thick for a long life.

The flybridge seating arrangement caters for captains, co-pilots, cruising couples and guests. The Pompanette helm chairs with optional covers are staggered for easy access to the inside helm seat. The L-shaped lounge ahead of the console can seat three people, or one person napping. A small lounge alongside the fridge and sink to port can seat a couple.

Guests will welcome the abundance of handrails, the carpeted floor and the aforementioned amenities. From a skipper's perspective, the bridge is comfortable for feet-up passagemaking.

While gung-ho gamefishers might prefer split throttles, the electronic Twin Disc shifts are a darling, offering fingertip control and less than one second's delay. Three separate idle speeds let you program the boat for go-slow zones and trolling offshore.
The overhead radio box was fitted with the searchlight control, VHF radio and electronic data displays for the motors. The owner ordered an optional rocket launcher to stow his fishing outfits.

The big black wheel and carbon-fibre dash panels with chrome-rimmed Cummins gauges and keyless engine ignition added to the boat's contemporary look. There was an optional 6hp Sidepower bowthruster, autopilot and Muir windlass remote.

The key thing is that the ergonomics are just right. The hardtop provides plenty of headroom and the handrail around the radio box provides support so you can drive on your feet in rough weather.

Those five-star Strata Glass clears give the bridge a feeling of integrity instead of the chook-pen feel that results from flapping clears on so many convertible flybridge boats. Summer or winter, this is a comfortable convertible cruiser.



It's a no less enchanting world indoors. The saloon is surrounded by big picture windows and the views are available from the big L-shaped leather lounge to port. The lounge doubles as a sofa bed and is set around a glossy teak coffee table that sets the theme for the joinery throughout the boat.

The supplied décor on this 42 is best described as timeless. There were simple cream-coloured headliners and leather lounges, sand-coloured carpet, teak joinery and buff-coloured Roman blinds. Nautical style came from blue-and-white scatter cushions. The lighting comprised trendy halogens and big 240V domes.

A wetbar opposite the lounge had an optional icemaker, but the entertainment centre with a DVD up front is standard. De rigueur these days is a second TV in the master cabin - the slim LCD model fitted to this boat was perfect for the job.

The 4.54m beam, which is the same as the 40, allows for a separate dinette big enough for four. Add a couple of loose chairs to the high-gloss finished teak table and it's possible to stage a sit-down dinner party for six. And - bravo! - more great views out the picture windows.

The galley on a mezzanine level opposite the dinette is bigger than the Riviera 40's. While it is set down a few steps behind a teak servery, the chef can still relate to guests in the saloon or at the dinette.

Strolling past the galley, I noticed the water gauge and 240V outlets for appliances. Galleying gourmands will find the convection microwave/grill can do everything from roast a joint to cook an omelette. The two-burner ceramic hob with extractor fan could be used to finish off with some flambéed crepes.

In summer, I would offer grilled seafood on an aftermarket outdoor barbecue.

The home-sized fridge/freezer - the same size as on the Riviera 47 - is big enough to chill a big school of prawns, while post-party clean ups are aided by the dishwasher hidden in a drawer. There is plenty of storage room, dedicated cutlery drawers and crockery spots, and room for hiding bulky appliances.

Serious cruisers will appreciate the space under the galley floor, which is big enough to crawl into. It could be used to hold everything from golf clubs to dry goods or spare clothes.

The washer/dryer and linen press in a cupboard down a flight of stairs should keep you looking dapper.



The owner's cabin in the bow is separated from the guest's cabin to port by the second ensuite and day head. This adds to the sense of privacy in both cabins and caters for entertaining very well. The second head will also appeal to couples with young children.

Among the details I noted were Italian-style door handles, double-toothed catches to prevent rattles at sea, and lined hanging lockers. Blue bedspreads with white piping looked the part.

The air-conditioned guests' cabin has twin single beds that convert to a big double, plus a child's bunk above. There are two drawers and two lockers for clothes and personals; the half-length hanging locker lacked a hanging rail.

Up front, the owner's cabin was fitted with one of Riviera's signature island double beds, flanked by steps to improve access, plus twin hanging lockers and overhead cupboards.

Ensuites are a key selling point of Riviera cruisers and the new 42 has two beauties. These easy-clean bathroom modules had Grohe fittings and groovy showerheads, vanities, moulded sinks and Vacuflush loos. There was a separate shower stall, headroom and a hatch, but I couldn't find an extractor fan in one ensuite.



Of course, none of it would be any good if there wasn't a ride that you could live with at sea. It's my considered view that the new 42 is one of the best ocean-going Rivieras yet. It rates behind the 47 and 58 only because they have more waterline length.

With twin 535hp Cummins motors, the Riviera 42 doesn't hang around. The electronic motors are very responsive and the hull comes out fast and level. It also displaces far less water than the older-style Rivieras. In short, the 42 is a dry, smoke-free and quiet boat.

Outside Sydney Heads we found the last vestiges of autumn, with a weak north-easterly sea breeze. The 42 surfed down the 1.5m swell and headed north at a smooth cruise of 26kt. Before long, Manly was astern and my thoughts raced ahead to the Gold Coast and beyond.

At heavy weather cruising speed of 16.5kt and 1500rpm, the Cummins motors consumed 97lt in total. This translates to a safe cruising range of 275nm over 16.7 hours running, leaving 10 per cent of the 1800lt fuel capacity in reserve.

A sensible cruising speed of 22.5kt kicks in around 1800rpm for a 258nm range. Fast cruise speed of 26kt at 2000rpm burn 168lt/hr for a safe range of 250nm. Flat out, the Riviera 42 ran to 31kt, but both motors consume 236lt of fuel for every hour of playing the show pony.

With two bathrooms and two double beds (the owners fitted a sofa bed in the saloon), you can invite a couple away on your boating holidays on Riviera's new 42. And there's no vaccinations, security checks, airport queues or foreign currency to worry about. Now that's a holiday.



(Facts & Figures)



$695,182 for base boat



$804,257 with Cummins GSM-11 diesel engines



Engine upgrade, bowthruster, GRP hardtop, teak cockpit, icemaker, flybridge fridge, rod holders, rocket launcher, live-bait tank, rear awning, bridge carpet, Strata Glass clears, second flat-screen LCD Sony television, Raymarine electronics, interior decorator packages and more



Material: Fibreglass with  composite superstructure
Type: Deep-vee planing hull
Length overall: 15.50m
Hull length: 14.21m
Beam: 4.54m
Draft: 1.27m
Deadrise: n/a
Weight: About 15,000kg dry



Berths: Five plus two
Fuel Capacity: 1800lt
Water Capacity: 450lt



Make/Model: Twin Cummins QSM-11 diesels
Type: Six-cylinder freshwater-    cooled diesel engine w/electronic management, turbo charging and after cooling
Rated hp: 535hp each
Displacement: 10.8lt
Weight: 1125kg excluding transmission and props
Gearboxes (Make/ratio): Twin Disk 1.51:1
Props: Bronze four-bladers



Riviera Sales Sydney, Rushcutter's Bay (NSW), (02) 9363 0000.

Source: Trade-a-Boat, Jul 2003

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