Captain's ReportElegant Performance in a Modern ClassicThe 2005 Sunriva The sun was low on the horizon when I first caught sight of what is arguably the most beautiful boat in the world. Floating gracefully at a Fort Lauderdale dock and glistening in the warm glow of a setting Florida sun, was the 33-foot Sunriva, a premium center console like no other on the planet.Riva is famous for its boats, which are designed and built in Italy. The company builds fabulously elegant boats for the rich and famous. They all have a unique look that sets Riva apart from lesser boats. Here you find the best materials and workmanship with leather, teak and mahogany combined to form what is more like a work of art, than something that floats on the water. Such is the case with the Sunriva, which is the company’s latest boat.HIGH STYLERiva knows a thing or two about boat building. The company was founded back in 1949 by Carlo Riva who wanted to build the finest boats in the world. Since then, Riva boats have established an enviable reputation for their sleek design and sex appeal, which are the equivalent in the boating world to that of Ferrari and Maserati in the world of automobiles. Riva boats are high fashion in the truest Italian sense, where form dominates as art.That’s not to say there isn’t a real sense of mechanical art here as well. The best engines, and electronics are used too. Our Sunriva, as all of these rare boats, was equipped with two YANMAR diesels each with 370 horsepower. Along with a two-speed automatically shifting transmission, the Sunriva is a swift pleasure boat, ideal for rapid transit across the water, say perhaps from a large yacht to the shore.The Sunriva offers a rich set of features that mark a premium boat. But there is innovation here as well.As a center console, the Sunriva has an open, spacious floor plan fitted with perfectly placed teak decking. At the bow is a large wraparound seating area for passengers and at the center is a beautifully finish mahogany table supported by a stout center column. The table is remarkable in that with the flick of a switch, it will lower electrically to match the height of the seats, and when covered with a custom-fitted cushion, becomes a huge sun pad flanked by the boat’s wraparound seats. But that is not all.An innovative bimini top is built into the gunnels at the bow. With the touch of another button, the mahogany gunnels open and the top rises into position to protect the bow area passengers from the sun and wind, there is a forward plastic windscreen attached. The bimini’s mechanical bits work with fluid simplicity and the sight of it opening is truly unexpected in any boat.To the starboard and port and forward of the center console are two roomy entertainment stations. The port station provides a cutting board and an insulated cooler, as well as a storage compartment for staples. The starboard station includes a freshwater sink and a built-in refrigeration unit for keeping thing ice cold. Beneath the sink is a compartment that has a built-in rack for storing the custom glasses that come with the Sunriva.The center console is large and has a forward-opening hatch that lifts up to provide access to the lavatory. It is finished with mahogany shelves and a freshwater sink. Bright LED lighting keeps the space friendly instead of the dark cave-like heads of lesser boats. Also inside the area toward the rear wall is the boat’s electrical switching and fuse panel, clearly well-protected from water intrusion.The helm is elegantly and efficiently laid out with clear black on white gauges along with a long row of sturdy rocker switches that control the numerous systems on this boat. Everything is well marked with pictograms that were easy to interpret, including the switches that raised the bimini top and bow table. There is also a rocker that raises the electrically operated starboard engine cover for access to the boat’s engines.The Sunriva’s brushed metal finished steering wheel and electrically assisted throttle and shift controls, make this boat an easy and fun boat to navigate. A comfortable seat and a stainless steel foot rest complete the helm. The seat’s cushion can be raised to allow standing and provides a back rest.The stern of the Sunriva is dedicated to sun worshippers. A huge sun pad with plenty of room for four people to lie upon covers the engine compartment. Mounted on the port and starboard gunnels are exquisitely finished mahogany handrails attached to bright stainless steel supports. As you would expect, stainless steel fittings are used throughout the boat. Also at the stern are two mahogany covered compartments. One provides access to the shore power point. The other compartment conceals a fresh water hose for cleaning up.PERFORMANCEThe hull is constructed of heavy fiberglass and painted a deep metallic silver with inlays of brightly finished mahogany. The boat has a distinctly Riva hull design with a broad bow that tapers toward a fairly narrow stern. A band of mahogany is integrated into the hull near the aft waterline, which adds a fantastically graceful and expensive appearance to this premium boat.Performance is excellent with the two Yanmar 370 horsepower engines. We saw a top speed of 46.7 mph at 3,400 rpm. But keep in mind this large boat is not about skiing or fishing, but just enjoying being on the water in one of the finest boats available. Steering effort is light and the boat holds its course with little effort but this is not a handling sport boat. Turns need room, and acceleration, while adequate, is not like what you would have with high-power outboards. At nearly 12,000 pounds, the Sunriva’s weight, and the slow revving nature of the diesels conspire to keep the initial rush to speed down. The way the Sunriva accelerates is also different as it is equipped with a two-speed transmission that shifts automatically around 2,500 rpm. The shift is accompanied by a sudden increase in engine RPM and quick lunge forward. There is also a mechanical thump as the shift occurs. The thump is not alarming, but it is a bit different than you might expect. At speed, and at idle, the diesel noises are well muffled from the cabin and you might not even realize that the Sunriva is powered by such engines.Is the Sunriva for everyone? Certainly not. For a large boat, the Coast Guard rates it for only six passengers. Still, this is a premium extremely high-end boat whose primary customers are the very wealthy. Sunrivas are also quite rare and will draw a crowd at the dock as we found while getting fuel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The fit and finish reflect a company that has a long tradition of building superbly crafted boats. The Sunriva continues that fine tradition and looks good doing it.By Captain Keith Burton Test Captain
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Riva Sunriva 33 is 46.7 mph (75.2 kph), burning 38.6 gallons per hour (gph) or 146.1 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Riva Sunriva 33 is 42.4 mph (68.2 kph), and the boat gets 1.60 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.68 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 183 miles (294.51 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 370-hp Yanmar 6LYA - Diesel.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|