By Captain Steve
The Riviera design team literally talked to boaters around the world to find out exactly how, when, and where they use their boats and help glean the perfect combination of features into this one boat. Examples of the results abound from the galley sink (Blanco stainless steel) to the air conditioning requirements (98,000 BTU with vents hidden in the cabinetry). In the cockpit, ease of use was highlighted with the open hawse runs and oversized cleats. This list goes on from there as we take a detailed walkthrough.
If you feel that you're not getting enough space, then you've come to the right place. Apparently another aspect that the focus group discovered is that boaters want a 61' boat in only 53' and Riviera seems to deliver. Originally designed around Volvo Penta's IPS drives that are placed well aft, this new yacht offers the roominess to allow for a full beam master's suite with a king berth, and two other private staterooms plus an option for crew quarters.
The master is a half turn from the central companionway, which gives it dedicated access. The island king is central to the stateroom, which not only provides room to the sides, but transfers less movement either at anchor or underway to the occupants. The stateroom is also large enough for a sofa off to one side and a walk-in closet. Full length hull-side windows offer light and an outstanding view. The head is roomy and offers Grohe fixtures and a separate shower stall. Opening portlights add ventilation in addition to the exhaust fan.
VIP Stateroom Plus One.
Fully forward is a VIP with an island queen featuring the usual cast of storage options. An en suite head has dual access allowing for use as a day head as well. A third stateroom offers over/under berths that are large. I measured over 6.5' (2 m) long and 23.6" (60 cm) wide for each berth, plenty for adults let alone the kids.
Work Space/Crew Space
All of the lower decks remain very quiet underway thanks to the insulation and the void space between the engine room and the master stateroom. It's this space that can be left to storage, utilized as a workshop, or crew quarters. In the latter configuration, it is outfitted with a single berth, separate high-spec head, an LCD-TV and DVD player, Amtico flooring and 4,000 BTUs of air conditioning.
On deck, there's a spacious (get used to that word) salon with opposing seating for 10 with 360-degrees of light from expansive windows with narrow mullions. Two C-shaped settees are large enough to sprawl out on and take a nap, but the portside dinette converts to an actual berth. Forward, the entertainment capability unfolds with an optional retractable 50" (127 cm) TV presenting itself from the dash.
Now You're Cookin'
An aft galley is always a great feature as it's centrally located between the salon entertainment area and the aft cockpit, and on the 53 Riviera went with a U-shaped galley layout. Top tier appliances include a Miele combination oven with an induction cooktop, a microwave oven, Vitrifrigo drawer fridge and freezer (meaning the contents don't drop to the deck when you open them) along with Fisher and Paykel drawer dishwasher… all standard.Across from the galley is a wet bar with another set of refrigerated drawers, and a floor to ceiling pantry. Also across from the galley is a stairway leading to the flybridge. Floating treads and stainless rails add to the interior luxury, and the angle of the staircase isn't so steep that only the most agile can ascend them. That's thoughtful, user-friendly design. And note that there is no vertical ladder to the flying bridge from the cockpit.
ZF4000 Zeus pods with twin NiBrAl props, and with ZF you can choose between Cummins or MTU power plants and, within that, a further option of twin 1,015 hp Caterpillar C18 engines.
The cockpit offers nearly 118 sq ft (11 sq m) of open real estate that can accommodate your outdoor furniture, optional mezzanine seating (with refrigeration underneath), fighting chairs, or the piece-de-resistance… the optional transom mounted grill with integrated sink and utensil storage. Large wells in the deck can be used for refrigerated fishboxes or more storage.
Flybridge/Pilothouse/ Sky Lounge
As if this boat needed another gathering area, as you ascend the staircase you'll think you're entering another salon, but the helm is the only giveaway that you're in an operational area. There is no option for a lower helm, so as far as helm stations go, this one keeps the crowd where they want to be… around the captain. There is an option for an aft station (which keeps the fishing crowd happy) or a forward station (which keeps the cruising set happy). Me… I'll take the aft station, not so much for the fishing factor, but for the fact that I like all the action in front of me. With the crowd ahead of me, I'm more a part of the conversation and atmosphere than if it's all going on behind me and I won't have to keep turning around to add my two-cents worth into the topics. (There are those on the BoatTEST.com staff who disagree, because visibility is reduced by partying guests standing up in front of the helm -- which is particularly problematical at night.)However you lay it out, this flybridge offers an enormous C-shaped lounge, wet bar with those refrigerated drawers we know and love, and a sink. You have a choice of enclosing the bridge with the aft exposed, or going with a hardtop and leaving the bridge open. Either way, you'll get your fresh air fix with the large sunroof and opening side windows.
This is truly a boat that you have to get onboard to really appreciate. The printed word just cannot do justice to the open layout and airy feel of the 53, nor the quietness and maneuverability while underway. However you decide to lay out your 53, you can be assured that you'll not only be turning heads wherever you go, but you'll be treating your guests to one of the most innovative, and customer-driven convertibles ever built. Regular readers know that most BoatTEST.com captain's think convertibles make excellent cruising boats because they are more comfortable and seaworthy offshore than many motoryacht designs. By making available all of the options, Riviera has created a compelling package for both the cruising yachtsman and the active angler, in my opinion.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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