BOAT TEST: RIVIERA 34 PLATINUM 2000
Joining its ever growing stable of flybridge cruisers last year, Riviera's 34 Platinum 2000 has found a dedicated following thanks to its big boat features, wrapped in an economic compact package.
AUGUST, 1999 - Like most boats, the Riviera 34, is a compromise. It is frequently called upon to perform many duties, be it an offshore fishing trip with the boys, an inshore cruise with the family or perhaps a romantic weekend away with a loved one.
Riviera understands that a boat is a very serious investment and strives to provide its clients with a craft that will meet the requirements of the whole family -- a platform to perform one or all of these tasks.
First released at the 1996 Sydney International Boat Show, the Riviera 34 has received a few cosmetic changes but still maintains the stylish and classic Riv look.
In March this year, the 34 came into line with the rest of the fleet, released with Platinum 2000 specifications. The Platinum 2000 provides an extensive list of high quality features as standard equipment.
The Queensland builder has an uncanny knack of being able to make optimum use out of every inch of its craft. The new 34 is no different, and as a result, when you step onboard, you're given the impression you're boarding a much larger vessel.
Our testboat was on display at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. In fact, it was purchased by a Gold Coast local during the show, so don't be surprised if you see it cruising the Broadwater or heading offshore through the Southport Seaway.
Unfortunately, the day we tested the 34 there was a five metre swell hitting the coast and the seaway had breaking waves all the way across. Needless to say, our testing was confined to the Broadwater. That didn't stop us putting it through its paces however, and with a bit of help from the new Riviera 43, we were able to simulate a fair size chop.
The testboat was fitted with twin 250hp Cummins diesel shaftdrives. The six-cylinder Cummins matched the 34 nicely. The boat felt very comfortable cruising at 20kt doing around 2100 revs. Giving the still tight powerplants a quick squirt we peaked at 2800rpm at an indicated 27kt on the GPS. Cutting through the wake of the 43 at top speed was effortless and the landing smooth, however we did receive a little bit of spray up on the flybridge.
Backing down saw a considerable amount of water enter the cockpit via the transom door, although the self-draining deck ensured the water exited as quickly as it entered. If the boat was to be used for gamefishing, the application of a transom door scupper would eliminate this ingress of seawater while in reverse.
As we have come to expect from Riviera, the application of top quality fittings is evident everywhere you look on the 34. The cockpit is spacious enough to provide a great entertaining area, or platform for several keen anglers. On both sides of the cockpit are moulded steps and grabrails which assist access to the side decks. Storage lockers are incorporated in the port, starboard and transom bulkheads. Cockpit coamings feature non-skid covering boards and stainless steel hawse pipes leading to recessed heavy-duty cleats.
The cockpit is fitted with a moulded sink and hot and cold handheld freshwater shower. Adjacent to the sink on the port side is a built-in icebox which could easily be converted to a freezer if required. The cockpit also features a seawater deckwash, shore power inlet with circuit breaker protection and ample lighting. The engine room is accessed from this area. A walk-through transom door opens inwards enabling access to a large swim platform. The testboat had an optional ladder incorporated in the swim platform.
Stepping through the starboard door to the saloon it is hard to believe you are on a 34-footer.
Directly to port as you enter the saloon is a large U-shaped dinette which converts to a double berth in seconds. The rest of the saloon is open and spacious. A lower helm station is located on the starboard side in the forward part of the saloon which enables the helmsman to join the social activities or find relief from inclement weather conditions on the flybridge. The lower helm station is fitted with full instrumentation, duel gear and throttle controls, compass and hydraulic steering. The test vessel was equipped with a bi-data sounder on the lower helm station.
As an alternative to a lower helm station, the 34 can be fitted with a timber entertainment console incorporating TV, VCR and stereo unit.
The saloon also features built-in teak cupboards along the starboard side, AM/FM stereo cassette, first-class upholstery and of course, full carpet and underlay.
Located at mezzanine level on the port side forward of the dinette is a compact and functional galley. The galley well equipped with a four burner stove and oven, graincoat benchtop and sink with single-lever hot and cold faucet, duel voltage single door refrigerator, storage cabinets, drawers, exhaust fan and overhead lighting.
Stepping down from the galley is a spacious head located on the starboard side. The head can be accessed via the saloon or master stateroom. The colour coordinated en suite is complete with glass-paneled shower stall, Vacuflush toilet and vanity basin. Towel rail, toilet roll holder and storage space complete the inventory.
The forward master stateroom has been magnificently appointed. A double island bed with innerspring mattress is the centrepiece of the room. A clever use of space in the stateroom provides ample stowage, shelving and a hanging wardrobe.
ON TOP OF THE WORLD
Access to the flybridge is from the cockpit via a stainless steel ladder with handrails and fibreglass foot treads. The flybridge is large and once again, an intelligent use of space means that the helmsman and friends can be seated in comfort. The flybridge sports a moulded console which incorporates the upper helm station and forward bench seating.
The upper helm station features full instrumentation, compass, 12-volt lighting and hydraulic steering. A large area within the dash is left free for the installation of electronics such as sounder, GPS, radar, autopilot etc. Also incorporated in the helm console is a storage locker with shelving.
Helm and companion swivel seats are located directly behind the helm console. These seats are fully adjustable and very comfortable. The helm and companion seats are at a good height and provide excellent vision from bow to stern. Enough space has been left between the helm seat and the rear safety rails which means the helmsman does not have to leave his seat in order for a mate to access the companion seat. Optional canvas rail covers were fitted to the test vessel.
The testboat was also fitted with a bimini top which suits the new owner who has to lower the bimini in order to pass under some Gold Coast bridges. Personally, I would prefer a hardtop with clears to provide more protection on the flybridge from the weather. Of course, a hardtop and clears are optional extras that Riviera is happy to supply.
Access to the foredeck is a breeze with wide sidedecks and handrails along the length of the flybridge. A high bowrail ensures you feel safe whilst cleating off ropes on the foredeck. The foredeck sports a large windlass with self-loading stainless steel bow roller. The anchor locker can be accessed by twin hatches. A 35lb anchor, 50m of 8mm galvanised chain, three mooring lines and two fenders all come as standard with the 34.
All in all, the Riviera 34 is a classy package and will appeal to those wanting big boat features without the big boat pricetag. The 34 would be an ideal boat for socialising with friends or weekends away with the family.
With a few minor modifications the 34 could even be a serious sportsfisher. With 500hp downstairs it's not the quickest boat on the water but at least you won't have to mortgage the house to afford the fuel.
(Facts & Figures)
RIVIERA 34 PLATINUM 2000
PRICE AS TESTED
(w/ twin Cummins B270s, bimini top, saloon, flybridge and cockpit carpet, sounder, V2 Designs decor package.)
Type: Monohull, flybridge cruiser
Displacement: not given
Fuel Capacity: 1200lt
Water capacity: 380lt
Max hp: not stated
ENGINE (as tested)
Make/model: Cummins B270
Type: Inline six-cylinder
Rated hp: 250hp
Weight (each): not given
Riviera Marine, Hope Island (Qld), (07) 5530 1477.
Source: Trade-a-Boat, Aug 1999
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