From Southern Boating August 2018
Riviera Yachts impresses an international audience with its debut of the luxurious 72 Sports Motor Yacht and the adventurous 395 SUV.
There are several similarities between the United States and Australia. English is the primary language, both cultures like a good party and long coastlines establish strong ties to boating, which naturally brings the countries together in the marine industry. Australia’s Riviera Yachts, for example, started in 1980 and a mere three years later, exported boats to the U.S.
Then in 2000, Riviera opened a state-of-the-art factory in Coomera, Australia, just down the river from Sanctuary Cove, home to one of the top boat shows in the world and where I first laid my eyes on their two newest yachts.
72 Sports Motor Yacht
The 72 Sports Motor Yacht, the largest of all of Riviera’s product offerings, was artfully angled off the dock. This drew attention to her rounded parallelogram windows, which accented the hull beneath high bulwarks forward. Matching black-masked windshields on the main deck and enclosed flybridge said this yacht was styled as a gentleman’s sport fisherman, with a 175-square-foot cockpit, outriggers, teak decks surrounded by no less than a dozen rod holders, a lighted circulating baitwell with window, extra tackle storage, and twin fish lockers. There was no fighting chair, but the cockpit sole is reinforced to accommodate two. Forward twin stairwells lead up to the mezzanine, and the console between them contains a beverage cooler, twin electric grills and a fold-up sink with engine room access beneath.
The mezzanine is set up for dining and entertaining. A forward-facing settee has twin teak tables for convenient entry but when combined, they form one long table that seats 10 with additional chairs. A pop-up window provides an easy pass-through to the galley with pivoting bar stools below. A portside door leads down to a cabin with head, storage, a stacked washer and dryer, and crew bunks; its proximity to the mezzanine and cockpit makes it the perfect day head without tracking through the salon. Engine room access is also through this cabin as is well-thought-out access to a garbage bin in the back of the galley that allows for discreet trash removal.
There’s a crane davit and room to cradle a large RIB on the foredeck. However, this transforms into a comfortable seating area when the tender is removed. Wide side decks with raised gunwales and rails provide safe passage around the perimeter, and a portside door amidships leads to the galley, salon and the internal pilothouse staircase.
The main deck interior layout positions the fully equipped galley aft for convenient access to the mezzanine. Twin, L-shaped lounges in the salon, recessed lighting, high-end furnishings, and glossy walnut cabinetry create a modern, elegant look throughout the cabin. Below decks accommodations include a king master amidships, queen VIP forward and a twin cabin that converts to a double. A starboard twin bunk cabin is standard or can become the master head in the Presidential layout.
An aft-facing stairway from the salon leads up to the bridge lounge, where the skipper and guests enjoy a 360-degree view and plenty of seats to relax. Twin helm chairs give the captain a centerline view of the Garmin glass bridge and through the large windshield. A console to the right places throttles, trim tab controls and other critical functions within easy reach. Starboard seating can be used as a forward-facing lounge with an angled backrest.
A sliding door leads to yet another conversation area on the aft deck, with seating, a table, wet bar, and an aft steering station that provides full visibility of the cockpit for fishing and docking. The Twin Disk EJS Joystick here controls variable speed transmissions as well as hydraulic thrusters for maneuvering the boat smoothly without jerking or lunging.
Optional MAN V12-1900s power this Riviera Yachts 72, and a Seatorque “BOSS” system with V-drives reduces vibration and noise. Shafts are sealed in a tube and bathed in oil from the couplings to the props, while rubber mounts dampen vibration and allow thrust to push on the vessel rather than pressing back against the engines.
On the opposite end of Riviera’s size spectrum, the new 395 SUV proved a popular model with show attendees for its single level, large cockpit and abundant amenities, all signatures of the SUV line. The ample swim platform carries a tender on snap davits plus a railing with a cutting table and rod holders above it. The transom side holds a pull-out compartment designed specifically to store an outboard and is topped by a concealed counter with a sink and electric grill. The cockpit has flip-out seating on the sides and aft-facing fixed seating with a table that adjusts for different configurations.
Interior seating to port is across from the galley and includes a hydraulic pop-up window for continuity to the cockpit. A double helm seat is forward; controls include a joystick for the standard Volvo Penta IPS-500 engines. A love seat on starboard, like the other seating, is raised to provide great visibility whether at the dock, at anchor or when cruising.
Twin, electric-opening sunroofs overhead bring in additional light and, when combined with open side windows, ventilate the salon and helm. On the foredeck, a large sunpad with drink holders provides a place to lounge. Accommodations below include a queen master forward, single head with separate shower. A midship cabin beneath the main salon with three single berths, two of which combine into a double.
The Riviera 395 is small and mighty. There are a lot of useful features into an easy-to-manage package. Australians and Americans use their boats in similar ways, and Riviera builds them to fit this boating lifestyle. They provide a nice balance of sitting and gathering areas both in and out of the elements. Additionally, the cockpits equally suited for entertaining or fishing, and fast and efficient performance.
The more I thought about these two new models on the opposite ends of the Riviera spectrum, the more I liked them both. The 72 Sports Motor Yacht is obviously a lot more boat, but the 395 SUV has strong appeal.
When comparing spec sheets and pricing, if you are looking to spend four to five million dollars on your next boat, the Riviera 72 Sports Motor Yacht is equally adept at fishing and cruising. Plus it has a host of large entertaining spaces ideal for all types of gatherings. But if your parties aren’t quite as large and you want to cruise with a few guests or have a small family, the Riviera 395 SUV is ideal.
Whatever size or style of powerboat you’re looking for, Riviera Yachts has two great new options. Both the 72 Sports Motor Yacht and 395 SUV will be at the 2018 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. A flybridge version of the 395 SUV should arrive in time for the 2019 Miami Boat Show.