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By Capt. Steve Larivee
The Riviera 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition is second from the largest of the company’s 3-boat lineup of improved and even more stunning express cruisers. They all have such a strong look to them that belies the grace and poise that they endear once they are boarded, and all embrace the concept of a single level main deck. True to that form, the 5400 encompasses all that we like about the lineup with a choice of two or three staterooms, including a full beam master, two heads and a seamless transition between the well-appointed cockpit deck and the spacious interior with the galley centrally located between the two.
As the product line continues, it also evolves through customer feedback until each one seems to embody exactly what a sport yacht should be. This 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition has such a timeless beauty and style that her lines are at once contemporary and classic. Inside, there’s an improved level of luxury that the brand has now become synonymous with. And with three staterooms, she is as at home on a weeklong cruise as she is at a dockside cocktail party.
Even before stepping aboard, her sleek profile and pronounced windshield brow speaks of a yacht that successfully combines strength with style, providing an aesthetic appeal that few other builders can capture.
More appealing though is her open and roomy layout that provides many sought-after amenities while impeding little on the available space throughout.
Of the boats we’ve tested for Riviera, we’ve been continually impressed with the strength and build quality. They penetrate waves with no pounding and no rattling, and they indicate a vessel of strength and solid construction.
From the waterline down, the hull is solid GRP with reinforcing in the keel, chines and bottom. To the sides, there is additional structural core material, and this is also in the main deck and hardtop. All small components, such as deck hatches, are RTM giving a finished look to both sides.
Throughout the yacht, the stainless-steel is 316 marine grade with all welds ground and polished to a smooth-mirror finish.
Balance of Power
Most notable is the driving characteristic of remaining on a fairly level keel when accelerating. This is an IPS-driven vessel. Typically, when that is the case, the engines are moved far aft to create more interior cabin space.
Riviera begs to differ. Instead, the engines are kept well forward to balance the yacht more evenly. Long jackshafts then run to the pods that are well aft. The result is an enhanced running characteristic that is more level. Thus, the bow is better able to do what it was designed to… split waves instead of opposing them. We get a ride that is more sedate, with no pounding or hull slap, and certainly with better visibility. It’s a testimony to the builder when it sacrifices more interior volume for a premium ride. Even still, the interior spaces are lacking for nothing. Riviera’s designers just don’t feel the need to cram a fourth stateroom in. Nor should they.
We board the 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition from the wide hydraulic swim platform with a lift capacity of 770 lbs. (350 kg). Teak decking is used throughout and there’s a concealed stainless-steel reboarding ladder to port. At the base of the transom, there’s a teak bench that adds a comfortable, and welcoming, seating area to the platform.
Just ahead is a tender garage that's designed to hold an optional 10’ 9.6” (3.3 m) tender with a 20-hp outboard still attached. The door to the tender garage opens electrically for ease of use, and an electric winch is provided for effortless launch and retrieval. We also like that there’s a hatch in the cockpit just ahead that provides direct access to the tender. In this manner, the launch can be loaded from above before ever coming out of the garage.
The cockpit is accessed from stainless-steel gates atop stairs to port and starboard, and it is here where the luxury of the 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition starts to become self evident. The 122-sq.-ft. (11.4-sq.-m.) area is at once, inviting and pleasing to the eye. The teak decking from the swim platform continues here and the entire deck is self-draining, making washdowns that much easier. As for amenities, this cockpit is among the more well outfitted that we’ve seen, certainly the best in class.
To the port side, there’s an immense stainless-steel outdoor galley. It includes a dual burner electric grill with a sink alongside, all under a large hinged cover. Just aft is an open counter with sea rails keeping items contained. Below are a refrigerator, icemaker, storage and the requisite trash receptacle.
To the rear of the cockpit is a large forward-facing bench seat. It includes beverage holders and convenient fender storage in the armrests. Ahead and to starboard, there’s an L-shaped lounge with storage beneath. This wraps around a beautifully-finished teak table mounted to a hi-lo pedestal for converting the sofa into a daybed. All materials are upgraded from previous models and weatherproof for long-lasting durability.
Overhead, there’s protection from the elements via a fiberglass hardtop with a stainless-steel framed canvas extension that runs well aft to cover the entire cockpit deck. It’s fitted with LED lighting and weatherproof speakers. Stainless-steel frames to the sides support isinglass windows for an extra dose of protection.
Keeping with the inspection of the exterior, wide side decks to both port and starboard are accessed from stairs in the cockpit. High bulwarks and handrails, along with additional rails mounted to the hardtop, provide an increased measure of safety when transitioning forward through the 11.8” (30 cm) wide decks.
Atop the trunk cabin is a doublewide sun pad with adjustable backrests that allow both sides to convert into individual chaise lounges. For extending the stay, a fold-up Bimini can be deployed in an instant. Speakers are mounted to the underside of the windshield brow. Stainless rails and beverage holders are to both sides of the sun lounges.
The operational area forward includes a vertically-mounted anchor windlass controlled with a plug-in remote at the bow. A chain counter is located at the helm. Ground tackle includes 230’ (70 m) of all chain rode leading to a polished stainless-steel Ultra anchor. The 77 lb. (35 kg) anchor is secured to a safety strap when not in use and dual hatches provide access to the rode to manage tangles. There are also fresh and saltwater outlets for cleaning off the rode during retrieval.
There are two of the eight total 11” (27.94 cm) cleats at the bow. The 5400 also includes a pair of pop-up fender cleats midships.
Moving to the interior of the 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition, we see an abundance of dark tones coupled with light upholstery and counters. Wide-planked oak decking adds to the allure. All cabinetry is satin finished oak. Natural light pours in from huge side windows, the forward windshield, and an overhead skylight.
The galley is located to starboard and continues just past the centerline, giving more space to the U-shaped stone counter that makes up the working area of the galley. Being located aft on the main deck, it’s well positioned between the two main gathering areas and allows the chef to always be in close proximity to any gathering.
The galley seems focused on serving rather than cooking as the cooktop remains out in the cockpit area. There is a combination convection microwave oven below the stone counter. Choose between a pot drawer and a drawer-style dishwasher. Refrigerated drawers can be fitted in any combination of refrigeration and freezers. The forward galley counter can be fitted with optional breakfast stools that are now made more comfortable with longer and more padded seats. Across is more additional refrigeration, including a wine chiller. All this is under another large counter for additional serving or food prep.
As is always the case with Riviera, there remains the ability to seamlessly blend the galley with the aft deck. There’s the bi-fold stainless-steel framed glass doors of course. But the aft glass bulkhead can be opened as well. Simply undo the two lower latches and push the window open. A large gas strut takes over and lifts the window to the horizontal. We’ve seen this type of arrangement before but most times it’s actuated with an electric switch, or the glass recesses down into the bulkhead… something cute and catchy. Riviera has no time for such nonsense. Not only is this solution elegant, it won’t fail further on down the road. That may very well be one of the most attractive features of the Riviera brand. The boats are made to be worked and worked hard. That means that there’s no room for fancy gadgetry where it’s not needed. Sure, there’s still the TV on an electric lift, but windows open manually. Long term is the plan and it works.
The salon is to port and features an L-shaped sofa wrapping around an oak pedestal table. Choose from a fixed or hi-lo pedestal if conversion to an extra berth is desired. The sofa is in close proximity to the galley and therefore convenient for serving. The forward section of the sofa has a shared seatback with a forward-facing L-shaped seat, just across from the helm. This allows guests to share the same views as the captain at the helm. Overhead is a large opening skylight that further blends the inside with the outside.
With all that Riviera does right, it’s no surprise that the expertly-fitted helm is no exception. A fully-adjustable Recaro leather and Alcantara suede seat is well padded and includes a pair of flip-down armrests. It can even be angled down a few degrees to make it easier to get in and out of.
This sits behind a gorgeous helm with dark tones that match the seat. There’s convenient storage for immediate access items such as binoculars, a phone and tablet along with covers for all instrumentation.
No stranger to embracing new technology, Riviera equipped the 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition helm with glass-cockpit technology that includes dual 17” (43.2 cm) flat screen displays to the upper panel. From these screens, the operator can control the display to show all navigation information, including GPS, sounder, radar and autopilot. As it’s fully integrated into the Volvo Penta EVC system, the engine readouts can also be brought up on these screens.
Vents that keep the climate control to combat the greenhouse effect of the surrounding glass, that provides the outstanding visibility, flank these dual screens. The forward windshield includes 3 pantograph wipers with integrated washers plumbed to the vessels freshwater system.
A sub panel to the right is home to the IPS joystick forward, the digital engine controls just behind, and the control panel for the main multi-function displays just behind that. With the integration of the glass cockpit, the joystick also functions for joystick steering when underway. For that reason, we’d like to see the stick mounted further aft.
C-Zone control stations are located at several locations throughout the 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition. They offer DC and AC switching and over-current protection. Full systems monitoring (with alarms) including AC voltage, current, frequency and kilowatts, DC voltage, current and remaining battery capacity, along with fluid tank levels and indication for systems in operation, is clearly displayed on touchscreens. There’s also the option of additional iPad connectivity, so one can control CZone from anywhere onboard the yacht.
Lower Deck Accommodations
Stairs fitted with courtesy lights are to starboard of the centrally mounted helm and lead to a foyer below. Two options are offered for this foyer area… the first being a sofa mounted to the port side. Alternatively, owners can choose to make this area into a guest stateroom with over/under berths.
The master is located just aft from the foyer and features an island berth mounted on the centerline to minimize motion. It includes an innerspring mattress and upholstered headboard with flanking oak panels. Along with ample room to both sides there are ample storage solutions under the generous hull side windows to port. A chaise is to starboard, just beneath the hull side window. Opening portlights to port and starboard are stainless steel framed and offer flow through ventilation of natural air, and they are alarmed to the helm when in the open position. His and hers cedar hanging lockers are to both sides. The bulkheads and overhead are lined with leatherette upholstery.
Ahead and to port is access to the master ensuite head. Stone counters continue here with a vessel sink mounted atop the counter with storage below. The overhead vanity mirror has LED lighting. Flooring is synthetic to prevent moisture damage after years of hot showers. The shower stall has a frameless glass partition and door.
The forward stateroom is the VIP and features the usual island berth with access to both sides. We’re happy that Riviera correctly takes full advantage of the available space above the hull side windows for use as storage. Additional storage is below the berth in the form of drawers to the aft side.
There’s private access to the ensuite head. With its separate entrance to the foyer, this head also serves as a day head for the upper deck.
It’s easy to see that customer feedback was met and exceeded with the 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition. In fact, it seems that each new launch from this company consistently outdoes the model before it. Apart from adding many new materials to this latest version, the new colors and improved ergonomics make it a vast improvement over the previous 5400 Sport Yacht.