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Combining good looks and cruising comforts with an impressive range of gamefishing features, Riviera's 4000 Pro Tournament offers anglers and their families the best of both worlds, writes DAVID LOCKWOOD...

Riviera 4000 Pro Tournament

JANUARY, 1999 - We've all heard fishermen personify their boats. They're almost always a 'he' or a 'she' rather than an 'it'. But can a gameboat be sexy?

It can if it's Riviera's new 4000 Offshore, because it's already received widespread praise for its good looks, fine figure and sporty spice. But only now does it get a wrap for its fishing flexibility.

Fitted with a polished anodised aluminium tower, the 4000 Offshore has evolved into a long, lithe fishing boat - a model Riviera calls the 4000 Pro Tournament - that can now strut its stuff offshore with a full complement of anglers and tackle.

Indeed, bearing a navy blue hull and lots of shiny anodised aluminium, to some patrons of aesthetics, the Pro Tournament looked very bit the young-and-wealthy man's fishing machine. The Porsche Boxster of the bluewater if you like.

The 4000 Pro Tournament has been enhanced by the addition of polished (or powder-coated) aluminium rails in place f stainless steel. This is the trend in America where many smart anglers favour an open or canyon runner-style boat over the conventional convertible.

For the money rich and time poor, this boat offers more useable, better-integrated space for day fishing than many closed-door boats with rarely used saloons and tiny outdoor living areas.

When surrounded by clears - including additional storm covers so you can fully enclose what we'll call the 'upper saloon' - you get to see more of the outside world as you travel. And when these clears are rolled away, the view is even better.

The other big plus is the social side of this boat. The table seating allows at least six anglers to converse freely while watching the lures, steaming to the grounds or hanging out at the marina. Yet, all this is never more than a jump and grab of the rod away.

Covered by a fibreglass hardtop, offering full headroom and surrounded by top-shelf Vybak clears, the 4000 Pro Tournament virtually has two saloons, including one alongside its lower station, which is a big attraction to me.

The skipper, who can sit on a two-person helm seat or lift the bolster and drive while standing, facesthree tiers of classy walnut veneer-finished moulded dash, each graced with a battery of gauges.

On the top tier is a neat display of gauges for the twin V-eight 435hp Caterpillar diesel motors.

If you had any doubts this was a well-equipped fishing boat, the middle tier will convince you. There are a number of light switches, including one for the instruments (with dimmer), cabin, courtesy, targa, engine-room, anchor and nav. Additionally, there's a switch for the livebait tank and another to drain the built-in cockpit sole fishboxes. There are stop-start buttons for each motor, and, finally, switches for the trim tabs, washer, wiper, anchor winch and horn.

Flush-mounted on the bottom tier are the electronics - an excellent spread including Raytheon 850 colour sounder, 620 LCD plotter and Pathfinder SL60 radar (24nm).

Right at hand are the single-lever electronic Morse controls and Rayline searchlight controls - there are two aft facing lights in the tower and one monster shining forward like the ey of Cyclops. And somewhere lies the modern day marvel, the remote for the Clarion CD.

Finally, there's an overhead radio box with GME 27Meg and VHF and Codan 9390 HF.

All this amounts to a might array of electronics, to which you can add a second set of engine gauges and alarms, ignition buttons, engine controls and 27 Meg and VHF radios in the tower.

Though seduced by the techno tour de force, I wasn't so keen on the lack of vision through the wraparound windscreen and the shallow panel of clear-curtain that the main helm station offered.

Indeed, there were times when I felt I was almost driving blind and often the trim tabs were needed to keep the bow flat. Which raises a question. Why didn't Riviera use the 4000 Offshore Hardtop to make this boat? It's got better vision at the helm and, with air-conditioning, would be just as comfortable for those days when it's too rough to head up top.

Seating for the crew is hard to pass up, even if much of it doesn't face backward. One the portside is an L-shaped lounge for four anglers around a dinette (what a bait-rigging station!), and opposite is another two-person lounge. All have storage beneath them.

The skipper's seat was a little too close to the wheel when backing up hard as you might when on a big fish in foul weather. This should not be a hard fix, but I guess young guns will don their spray jackets and stay up in the tower no matter the weather.

Go down two teak-covered steps from the helm deck and you're in the cockpit, which is well-equipped for gamefishing.

To the port is a transverse moulding with eutectic fridge and bar fridge. Above this is a small cabinet for a boat hook, tagpole, bait needles and ready-made traces. To the starboard is a sink unit with running water and storage.

Underfloor, there are twin-oval storage bins, each large enough to hold a 30kg yellowfin. There are also four-side storage bins around the cockpit.

Among other things these give access to the hot and cold deck shower and the button to raise the entire upper saloon flor on hydraulic rams - terrific engine access.

There is also a livebait tank in the transom, a factory-fitted base for a gamechair, a well-sized lazarette with access to the running gear, padded bolsters to soften the thigh-high gunwales, and a marlin door with an integrated stainless roller for heaving b-i-g fish aboard.

Deck gear is another impressive area. The boat has nine stainless rodholders, two pop-up cleats, stainless hawse pipes and top-mounted aluminium handrails along the wide bulwark to the bow. Here there are more cleats and deck fillers.

Scamper to the bow and you'll reach a small low-profile bowrail. It's stylish and in keeping with the US-driven tournament look but totally impractical. Looking back, there's a big non-skid white fibreglass deck, with lots of polished aluminium in the tower (equipped with matching Lees alloy outriggers) and four gold-anodised alloy holders in a rocket launcher.

The wight-step ladder to the tower wasn't too hard to negotiate for someone as agile as myself, but our editor might have to watch himself!

Up top, there's room for two or maybe three people and a view to die for. Here, you can see all corners of the boat. Naturally, fresh air comes by the boatload, though the small bimini top keeps the sun off your noggin.

It's when you head below that you discover the boat's alter ego. Remember, the 4000 is a sportscruiser, so once you've shaken the fishing crew, you can enjoy the sumptuous surrounds with your fish widow (mate, et al).

Immediately to port, the galley features L-shaped granite-look moulded benchtops, an electric, two-burner hotplate, sink, microwave and fridge. The fridge, cupboards and drawers are all finished with beechwood facings and there's also pleasant (and practical) honey-coloured vinyl flooring.

The best word to describe the head is big. Located next to the galley, it's an easy-clean, moulded room with a standing height shower, Vacuflush toilet, overhead cabinet and moulded wash basin with taps and lots of storage.

The lower saloon includes an L-shaped lounge and dinette, drinks cabinet and mirrored wall, entertainment unit and a well-positioned switch/braker panel near the companionway.

There are numerous overhead hatches but the portholes have been omitted.

The master cabin has an island berth, twin hanging lockers and is finished in a chocolate-coloured bedspread to match the brown leather on the lounge.

The carpet is dark ash, while the facias are, again, beechwood covered. A two-stage bi-folding door transforms the interior from open plan into a private cabin in the bow. Halogen lighting sets the mood.

The electronic Morse controls make this boat particularly sensitive to the throttle. They take a little getting used to, but sure beat the pants off those heavy mechanical throttles we've had to endure over the years.

Linked to twin Caterpillar 3208TA with a claimed 435hp each, the boat has plenty of power, a nice note at trolling speed and lots of response.

The 3208s are my favourite motors and certainly power the 4000 Pro Tournament to an impressive top whack. Indeed, this boat flies along at 2900rpm at around 30.5kt. At 2500rpm, you're sitting on 26.7kt. Delivery speed is 2200rpm and 22.7kt, unless you have a deadline to meet. With the padded wheel in your hand, the boat's easy to drive. We had a nasty sea on the nose when we tested the 4000 but the boat remained composed.

With a big rain squall on our heels, we scuttled back inside, swung the wheel to port and surfed home in a hurry.

But I bet we looked a million dollars out there, strutting down Pittwater with the rain beading off the virgin decks. A million dollars? Not exactly. This beautiful boat costs just over half that. And the queue's already forming…



(Facts & Figures)



$540,824 (includes 435hp 3208TA Caterpillar engines and selected options)



$418,615 (435hp 3208TA Caterpillar engines)



Material: GRP
Type: Moderate-vee mono
Deadrise at transom: 17º
Length overall: 12.19m
Beam: 4.38m
Displacement (dry): 13,000kg-plus
Fuel capacity: 1,550lt
Water capacity: 460lt



Make/model: Twin Caterpillar 3208TAs
Rated hp (ea): 2 x 435hp
Type: V-eight four-stroke turbo-diesel
Displacement (ea): 10,400cc
Weight (ea): 943kg



Riviera Sales Sydney, d'Albora Marinas, Rushcutters Bay (NSW), (02) 9363 0000.

Source: Trade-a-Boat, Jan 1999

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