BOAT TEST: RIVIERA 5800 SPORT YACHT
With three Volvo Penta IPS 600 pod drives and a whole new level of luxury, the latest Riviera Sport Yacht breaks new ground for the big Australian yard, reports DAVID LOCKWOOD.
SEPTEMBER, 2009 - To have whole pods of dolphins descend on your boat like sub-surface missiles during a maiden voyage is surely the ultimate in well wishes. So it was for the Riviera 5800 Sport Yacht, the biggest model in the SY range, just days after it had dashed down the east coast from the Gold Coast to Sydney. After dodging whales along the way, dolphins were now diving off the bow and doubtless eyeing off the revolutionary triple Volvo Penta IPS 600 pod drives with forward-facing propellers whirring underwater. It would be a first for them as indeed the triple engine installation is for Riviera.
We met the delivery crew as they rounded North Head and motored up to exchange pleasantries. The 380nm voyage had taken 18 hours averaging 24kts using 58lt/h per engine or 174 litres in total per hour. That's pretty good going for a 58-footer. No-one looked like they had done it tough and the boat didn't look as though it had been lashed with spray.
Problem was, it was a sunny Sunday and we had the anchor down in more ways than one. So Trade-a-Boat waited a few days to fly our film and photographic crew to Sydney for the ensuing dolphin show. As good as the footage is, the 5800 SY is more than just a dolphin-watching platform.
"We wanted to build this boat by stealth, to bring it out and stun the market," explained Riviera's CEO, John Anderson, with a twinkle in his eye as we chatted days earlier at the Sydney International Boat Show. He had a look of satisfaction and pride. However, the 5800 SY goes beyond being just a job well done.
Perfectly executed, the 5800 SY marks a completely new direction for Riviera, that is, into the realms of Euro-styled express yachts that deliver new levels of luxury and wow factor above what is found in its popular tried-and-trusted homespun boats. Look behind the scenes and you soon understand where the source of that is: a number of key Riviera designers are of UK extraction and have worked in either the automotive industry or with other big overseas boatyards.
The modern mouldings, sculptured transom and rakish lines, the interior with new edgy Italian dressing, the optional blue hull colour, and the triple IPS engine installation come together to create Riviera's most worldly and global boat yet. The 5800 SY is the embodiment of a whole lot of skill and desire to succeed on the world stage.
Of course, the 5800 SY has come about at an interesting time for Riviera. One can't gloss over the fact that Australia's biggest boatbuilder is in receivership. Upon reading some of the blogs in those first few days of that news, one stood out. A staffer was clearly upset that the 5800 SY, which he considered the most revolutionary Riviera yet, was going to be released amid
As testament to the boat, the 5800 SY has emerged a winner. After its release at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show in May, Riviera promptly sold the first model to New Zealand. Since then, six more of the $2 million Sport Yachts have been snapped up by savvy boaters coveting greater luxury, smarter performance and docking agility.
Sport Concept Design Manager, Stephen Ford says the challenge with the 5800 SY was to develop a global product that would deliver the benefits of the three previous models and build on them. The moulded fibreglass hull has been designed using NX 3D CAD computer modelling and everything down to small parts and mechanisms are fully computer-designed. The joinery throughout is CNC machine cut and coated using our robotic varnish system.
"While we had some basic parameters such as the indoor/outdoor atmosphere, we had the opportunity to break new ground with the overall design. We have gone away from the bowsprit for the first time and hidden the anchor winch and chain below the deck level to give a cleaner look to the forward deck," explains Ford, adding that the availability of Volvo Penta Inboard Performance System (IPS) propulsion has been profound.
"The propulsion system alone had a major effect on the design simply because it allowed us to utilise much more accommodation space," he says. "The result is a magnificent four-cabin, three-bathroom layout with a large, open full-beam master stateroom amidships with distinctive portlights in the hull sides that flood this cabin with light."
Realising the existence of different markets, the 5800 SY is offered with an alternative layout featuring a below-decks galley. Riviera says it opens up the saloon, providing a large additional lounge in the starboard aft quarter of the saloon. The below-decks galley, which replaces the port midships cabin, is a popular layout with Europeans, but probably not in demand by Australians who enjoy entertaining a crowd, be it behind a barbecue or while rustling up dinner from the spread of European appliances.
The 5800 SY boasts a fully resin-infused hull, while the decks and hardtop are handlaid moulded fibreglass with foam core. There is a watertight collision bulkhead forward, independent compartments throughout the hull, solid GRP keel and chines. Considering more and more boats are resin-infused these days, the construction can be considered modern, but hardly left field.
For the many Australians who are intimate with their existing Rivieras, things get interesting when you examine the onboard systems. The boat is bundled with the latest edge digital switching, CAN-bus technology that allows you to control the DC circuits from a touch-screen control panel at the helm and the electrical board. There are preset modes so you can program your 5800 SY in advance for your preferred way of boating. Night mode brings the lights on, party mode adds music DVDs and the Bose, and so on. Full systems monitoring and tank levels are displayed on the 3.5in colour control screens.
Among the other new technologies are interior light dimming, timer controls, automated circuit control, wiper speed control and wash function. Batteries are the no-maintenance AGM types, with 24V house power and a whopping great optional 5000W inverter for running the AV systems, icemaker and freshwater pump sans generator. The navigation lights are LED types. And so it goes…
Engineroom access is through a hatch in the teak-topped cockpit that leads into a huge lazarette that, with optional fitout, can be turned into crew's quarters with en suite. A waterproof door leads back aft from here to the rear-mounted triple Volvo Penta IPS 600s. Coupled with a jackshaft, the centre engine is located forward of the outboard engines. There's some suggestion future 5800 SYs might also be offered with twin Volvo Penta's IPS2 900s when they become available later this year.
As it was, there was room to perform perfunctory pre-passage checks of the essential engineering, with access to the heavy-duty sea strainers and Racor fuel filters, the Onan to port, the air-con units behind, the hot-water service, and the fuel manifold back in the utility space or lazarette. With the engines back aft, the fuel is forward.
As with all good boats, there is plenty of space outdoors, built-in and unobtrusive amenities for entertaining, and seats to kick back at the waterfront. But the 5800 SY ticks more boxes than ever as a standard Sport Yacht. There's a huge hydraulic swim platform, a garage for a 3.2m tender, such as the eye-watering Williams jet model, dual access to the big cockpit, transom lounge (with fabric upgrade) and teak table around which up to eight can be seated. Nearby are the electric barbecue/griddle, sink, and scope for fitting extra fridges (one was on the demo model) and icemaker, both of which exist just a few steps away back indoors.
There is a split sound system for the cockpit and, along the easily navigated sidedecks with bulwarks, another separate sound system with remote on the broad foredeck, which features a new double sunpad with flip-up headrest and recessed iceboxes that drain overboard. En route, you might notice the inboard engine vents well above water level and that the 22.5kW Onan generator has a gas/water splitter for hushed operation. There was an optional $6000 stainless steel anchor and, back at the transom, underwater lights.
The new integrated anchor system, inboard rear cleats with hawsepipes, and sculptured transom contribute to the 5800 SY's Euro lines. Yet the cockpit caters perfectly for our way of boating life and with the optional extended Euro awning, you will gain shade over the al fresco lunch setting.
The seamless indoor/outdoor living theme is a constant on Riviera's Sport Yachts, as is the aft galley on boats sold locally. Traced by generous Corian counters, and a new electric instead of manual awning window, the galley boasts a spread of appliances that hit new heights. There are four drawer-style fridges and freezers, Miele combination oven/microwave and grill, four-burner induction stove and dishwasher.
The wetbar opposite has icemaker, glass and bottle storage, and soft-close drawers that are also a feature of the high-gloss cherrywood cabinetry throughout. Two bar stools front the forward return on the galley, and need redesigning since their leading metal edge was chipping away at the aforesaid high-gloss joinery.
Easy-clean (optional) Amtico flooring flows forward to a portside dinette that's big enough for six, with a hi/lo riser as per the cockpit table. Opposite is a popup Sony Bravia flatscreen TV linked to the Bose AV system. Side-opening windows flanking the helm, a big electric sunroof, and plenty of glass direct air and light inside. Fair weather or foul, winter or summer, you have somewhere to entertain and live in the great outdoors and cosy indoors.
It's quite some achievement creating a four-cabin layout in the 5800 SY, but remember, there is the option of a portside galley down should you prefer. As it was, the boat sleeps eight, with a VIP stateroom forward containing a lengthened island double bed, TV and en suite; twin side-by-side single bunks that convert to a double to starboard, with access to an en suite that doubles as a dayhead; and, a portside cabin with bunks for kids or stowing gear. The big gain, thanks to IPS, is the full-beam stateroom back aft, with king bed, settee, vanity, decent television, plenty of headroom and opening portlights for natural ventilation, something needed in summer when you are sleeping aboard and a feature of all the boat's cabins and heads. Optional TV were fitted to the bunk cabins.
The heads or bathrooms, as Riviera is wont to call them, boasts bigger showers and the latest push-button Vacuflush loos, plus improved plumbing. The high-gloss cherrywood is well executed, storage space is abundant, and the styling is swish, chic and cool if not a tad calculated. But with soft furnishing options you can stamp your own style inside the 5800 SY.
There's a greater sense of purpose, pizzazz and performance when you lay claim to the black helm or co-pilot seat, cast your eyes over the carbon fibre-style automotive dash, and note that the usual spread of analogue engine gauges have been replaced with multifunction panels. Besides the electronic Volvo engine panels, and C-Zone switching, there were twin Raymarine E120s linked to reversing and engineroom cameras. The sports wheel, EVC throttles and joystick fall to hand, with the option of a second joystick docking device in the cockpit.
What ensued was a brief but satisfying blast, noting excellent holeshot and 22kts at 3000rpm for 150lt/h. Advance the throttles and you will see 24.5kts at 3200rpm for 180lt/h, a comfortable cruise and the delivery speed from the Gold Coast, then a fast cruise of 27kts at 3400rpm for 195lt/h. Top speed was an impressive 38kts and commensurate with the implication of the very term Sport Yacht. Noise levels were pleasantly low, too.
However, the appeal of 5800 SY surpasses the drive, the dolphins and the sense of achievement for Riviera. The beauty about this boat is that it cuts a swathe through the checklist of just about everyone. You can cruise the coast or kickback inshore. Entertain or take the family. Live it up or lap it up. And you will look good along the way.
Of course, dolphins are considered good luck by seafarers and it's our view that the 5800 SY is destined for greatness, Riviera is on the return, and the world will become a better place when you board this smart boat.
(Facts & Figures)
RIVIERA 5800 SPORT YACHT
PRICE AS TESTED
The Riviera 5800 Sport Yacht, hull #1, was selling for about $1,949,855 w/ triple Volvo Penta IPS 600s, and options
Painted hull, cockpit fridge, cockpit awning, upgraded upholstery, Amtico floor, galleyware package, stainless steel anchor, 5000W inverter, upgraded AV sytems, and more
$1.85 million w/ triple Volvo Penta IPS 600s
Material: Resin-infused hull w/ foam-cored decks and hardtop
Type: Moderate-vee monohull
Length overall: 19.20m (inc. bowsprit and boarding platform)
Hull length: 17.60m
Weight: 21,300kg (dry w/ standard motors)
Berths: 8 + 2
Holding tank: 272lt
Make/model: 3 x Volvo Penta IPS600s
Type: Electronic six-cylinder diesel engines
Rated HP: 435 at 3500rpm (each)
Weight: 901kg (each package)
Gearboxes (Make): Steerable IPS pod drives
Props: Forward-facing Duoprops
The Riviera Group, 50 Waterway Drive, Coomera, Qld, 4209, (07) 5502 5555, www.riviera.com.au
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