Riviera’s new 52 Enclosed Flybridge provides boaters with a bluewater capable cruising sedan that can extend the boating season for cruising, entertaining and day boating. It is a seaworthy design built to go offshore, blending the builder’s traditional indoor/outdoor livability with leading edge operational technology — including Volvo Penta’s IPS2-950 twin diesels and Glass Cockpit electronics, and a CZone digital monitoring and control system controlling lighting, pumps, batteries and more. Its large aft deck, available mezzanine seating, and open plan with aft galley will entertain a crowd. With two en suite staterooms and a third guest stateroom, the 52 EFB sleeps six in comfort.
The 52 Enclosed Flybridge is the seventh model in Riviera’s range of stylish flying bridge boats. At 56’8” (17.3 m), it is the smallest of four enclosed flying bridge designs in the builder’s lineup, which reaches up to the 77 Enclosed Flybridge. Like her larger siblings, the 52 Enclosed Flybridge emphasizes visibility and numerous windows on the main deck, as well as on the flying bridge, for expansive views.The build is typical of Riviera’s reputation for bluewater-capable yachts. The hand-laid hull has a solid keel and chines up to a point above the waterline, with special attention given to scantlings in the area of the engine room for penetration protection. There’s a watertight collision bulkhead forward, and the area is foam-filled to provide thermal and acoustic insulation. There are watertight, independent compartments throughout the hull. The flybridge, deck and flybridge superstructure are cored structures.
The 52 Enclosed Flybridge really was designed to fill a gap in the lineup. It started out life as a 50 Enclosed Bridge, superseding the 47 and 51 Enclosed models. This was really the first new boat from the new ownership of Riviera after recovery from the slow economic years that pummeled the industry as a whole. So in effect, this boat represents the shape of Riviera moving forward. In this latest version, Riviera made minor changes to the cockpit, made even more upgrades to the interior fit and finish, and christened it the 52.
Enclosed Flying Bridge
The flying bridge deck is a fiberglass structure protected by a hardtop, 6’4” (1.23 m) off the deck and enclosed on three sides, and it is closed off aft by floor to ceiling strata glass with three-sided zippered openings. The windscreen is clear tempered glass, kept clear by a pair of pantograph wipers with freshwater washers. It is accessed from a stainless steel interior ladder with teak treads located on the starboard side opposite the galley, and has a lockable hatch at the top of the stairs and rails around the perimeter for safety in a seaway. Handholds are excellent, particularly the thoughtful one at the head of the stairs, attached to a two-person lounge that has storage underneath.
The flybridge is as much a gathering and social area as the rest of the yacht. There’s an L-shaped lounge wrapping around a fixed table aft on the port side for two to three guests, offering raised views to the stern and both quarters. An overhead stainless steel handrail adds safety for those using this lounge in a rough seaway.
Just ahead of the lounge is an entertainment center with a sink and an icebox refrigerated drawer underneath. Cooking is still tasked with the galley or cockpit. A 26” (66 cm) TV can be added as an option ($2,661).
Ahead, and to the right of the helm, is a sofa that is mounted to the starboard bulkhead and facing the captain. Occupants of this couch can either sit side-by-side and face the operator, or lounge forward or aft facing with the feet up. Either way, those sitting in this location can still enjoy the great views, as the windows are all low enough to afford a sightline to the horizon from the seated position.
For ventilation, the side windows are opening, the aft strata-glass can be zippered open and rolled up, and the overhead electrically actuated sunroof can be opened a little for ventilation or all the way for letting the sun shine in. Too hot outside for fresh air? No problem… add a pair of 16,000 BTU flybridge air conditioning units ($12,507) or up the ante with the more robust tropical air ($23,070 net for the whole boat) that increases the output in the fly to 48,000 BTU. This option will also increase the generator size from 17 kW to 21.5 kW.
The flying bridge features the only helm on the 52 Enclosed Flybridge, there are no accommodations for a lower helm, and being protected from the elements, there’s no need for a lower helm. Here, it is set to port, and is large enough to accommodate up to three 15” (38 cm) multifunction displays. Two of Volvo Penta’s Glass Cockpit units are standard, with an available third screen. Garmin MFDs are optionally available. Remote camera options include views of the engine room, aft deck/cockpit, and anchor pulpit.Two Slimline Pompanette helm chairs with arm and footrests, part of the Riviera Platinum upgrade, are raised up for commanding views all around, with the wheel to the left of the console centerline. The dual lever Volvo Penta binnacle and IPS joystick are found on a flat to the left, within easy reach of the outboard helm seat. There’s another stainless steel overhead safety rail across the front of the hardtop, to make moving around the helm offshore safer in all kinds of weather conditions.
Visibility to the stern is limited from this forward helm but there are options. First is a cockpit control station. Riviera will add this at the customer’s request at no charge. Secondly, there’s an option for a flybridge station ($13,330) that will consist of a joystick and engine start/stop switch. Lastly, there’s the option of adding a full tournament station ($15,033) with a fiberglass helm, joystick, stainless wheel, throttles, engine start/stop and a 12” (30.5 cm) navigation display. Aside from the docking advantage, this aft helm also gives a clear sightline to the cockpit and the fishing action, making it easier and more efficient to chase down a fish on the line.
The 52 Enclosed Flybridge is what Riviera refers to as a “soft fish” boat. That is to say that you can fish off if it, but for the most part, it is a cruising and entertaining boat that also fishes. For that reason, the cockpit deck features some fishing features, and that’s about the extent of how the fishing aspect is represented. The cockpit measures 6’ x 13’ (1.83 m x 3.96 m) and features a standard GRP deck that is reinforced with an alloy plate to allow for a fighting chair to be installed. The flooring and steps can be optioned for teak ($13,793). A large fishbox is fitted in the deck. A raw water washdown will help revert back to a cruising boat. The boat will accommodate outriggers in stainless ($3,656) or black ($5,050). A padded bolster can be fitted to the cockpit coaming ($2,063) and rod holders can be added to the coaming ($843 for five) and the flybridge rail ($23,885 for six).
The aft starboard corner features a top loading storage bin that can certainly be used to hold ice and drinks. It can also be optioned out for use as a livewell ($3230) that includes a circulating pump, window and light. Take away both and Riviera can add an extended lounge with a cover ($2,698).
From Fishing to Entertaining
As for entertaining, the cockpit makes a great introduction to the capabilities of the 52 Enclosed Flybridge. For starters, it’s certainly large enough for a crowd at 78 sq. ft. (7.25 sq. m). The transom seat lies across from the mezzanine seat, allowing guests to face each other and have conversation. Behind the mezzanine seat is a standard top-loading freezer that can be converted into a refrigerated box.
To the starboard forward corner, next to the entry to the salon, is the standard outdoor galley. It includes a pair of electric grill plates, a sink, rubbish bin, icemaker and storage. A teak table on a hi/lo pedestal can be ordered ($3,656) for placement in front of the mezzanine seating. With that being the case, the table can be lowered and the seating upholstery can be folded out onto the table to convert to use as a day bed.
Now a couple of other options are available. The 52 Enclosed Flybridge comes standard with no rear awning fitted, but that’s about to change because virtually everyone orders it with at least a half rear awning. Currently it’s a $3,082 option and is available in eight colors. Alternatively, there’s a full cockpit awning ($7,517) that is secured to the overhead and aft it’s supported with stainless poles that fit into rod holders. This is intended to be used only when NOT underway, so for docktails, it’s an ideal scenario. For protection from elements there’s a fixed version that also includes a bow cover (9,753). This can be fitted with drop down side and rear covers with a roll up entry at the transom door ($5,658).
Now Riviera did a pretty interesting thing with the swim platform. With two transom doors that can be latched open, the entertainment venue of the cockpit thus extends out to the swim platform with the transom itself acting as sort of an island seating area that we can walk all the way around.
The optional hydraulic swim platform ($33,485) can also be rigged to carry an inflatable dinghy, making launching and retrieving more efficient when the platform is partially submerged. Two stainless steel safety rails are removable for improved access. Of course there’s also the option of going with the standard platform and using the foredeck for the launching and retrieval of a tender. A GRP platform is standard, teak is optional ($4,771).
Molded steps in the forward corners of the aft deck and the small handrails mounted to the trailing edge of the triangular acrylic clear panels supporting the awning make climbing to the side decks safer. There are long handrails above the side windows and thigh-high outboard rails mounted on the toe kicks that run all the way to the bow on either side of the boat. Fender holders are integrated into the bow rails to both sides.
The anchoring gear includes a vertical winch with 230’ (70 m) of galvanized chain, a bowsprit with roller, and a 77 lb. (34.93 kg) Ultra anchor. There are two compartments flanking the windlass. One contains the chain rode while the other contains small line storage and the windlass remote.
Some will want to use the bow as a boat deck, freeing up the entertainment space of the swim platform. For that reason, Riviera will add an optional bow crane ($22,881). It doesn’t include a boat cradle, which will have to be added specifically to the tender that the owner chooses. Still others will want the added sunning space that the open deck provides and as such, will want to add the optional sun pad ($3,046).
The Salon and Galley
One of the things that seem to define the Riviera brand is the way the interior and exterior are so well blended. Aside from the large stainless steel framed glass sliding door, there is a massive aft window that can be opened, garage-door style to allow for the galley attendants to remain a part of the cockpit gathering, and by design, the main salon as well. Long sight lines and features like the massive, highly polished stainless steel aft bulkhead awning-style window and sliding door further the builder’s inside/outside design concept. It provides the best of both worlds, allowing the boat to be buttoned up when its too hot or too cold, and fully open when the temperature is just right.
The modern galley
, located aft, has the same enjoyable views that family and guests enjoy further forward in the salon, whether in the forward seating area of the salon or relaxing in the sun on the aft deck. The galley components are to both sides of the boat, with the galley proper being to starboard. All of the usual appliances are present with plenty of storage above and below the solid surface countertops. The abundance of storage is in part due to the refrigerated drawers being located to the opposite side, just under the stairway to the flying bridge.
An optional drawer-style dishwasher is available ($1,892), but the owner will pay for it with a corresponding loss of storage space for pots and pans. In addition to the clean, open look, the U-shaped galley has an abundance of counter space for food prep, as well as providing a place for trays of hors d’oeuvres.
The salon is just ahead, placing the galley smack between two of the most popular social areas. A satin finish oak and teak interior, with commercial grade oak in the galley, is standard. An optional cherry interior in high-gloss, with commercial grade oak in the galley, heads, and companionway, is available. Whichever is selected, it crosses the aisle to grace the storage cabinetry and the steps leading to the flying bridge, and accents the forward lounge seating.
Riviera is giving the competition some serious play by offering the side windows in fixed or opening versions, with no upcharge. That means that there can be flow through ventilation throughout the salon, letting Mother Nature handle the climate control when appropriate. When it’s time to combat nature, close everything down and let the standard 12,000 BTU reverse cycle air conditioning keep the room at the desired temperature. For owners living in the tropical climates, a more powerful tropical option ($23,070 for the whole boat) brings the output to 48,000 BTU.
The L-shaped sofa
to port has a hi/lo table that dines four when up or serves as a cocktail table when down. Designer fabrics and multiple density support foam look good and add pleasure for those who choose to enjoy the cruise from the main salon. There is an optional three-seat settee to starboard that has a removable center seat that becomes a stand-alone ottoman. When it is removed, a small table flips out and into the space for additional dining or entertaining. We think this is a clever idea and we have never seen it done in this size of boat.
Just ahead of the port settee, a dedicated cabinet houses the entertainment system and the television screen on a lift.
An offset companionway ahead of the salon leads to the lower deck accommodations. The 52 Enclosed Flybridge is a three stateroom-two head layout.
The master suite
is set to port amidships in the standard layout, and it shares the 16’5” (5 m) beam with a twin-berth equipped guest stateroom. Both have long in-hull windows for good views and opening portlights for natural ventilation.
The VIP guest stateroom
is in the bow. Owners who want more privacy will exercise the option of moving the master stateroom to the bow, which is well separated from the amidships staterooms and will have a private en suite head. It has somewhat smaller in-hull windows plus opening overhead hatches for natural ventilation.
With controls at the helm and opposite the galley, this Mastervolt touchscreen system allows owners control of multiple systems for entertainment, lighting, and climate control — just to name a few. It has three pre-programmed modes to cover operation of systems according to their use, be it cruising, entertaining, or at the dock. When the owner wants to dim the lights, control the windscreen wipers, or shut down all power and systems when leaving the boat, it happens at the touch of a finger.
Access to the engine room
is through a hatch located under the steps up to the galley, and it is held up with a gas cylinder. A ladder leads between the engine room and two covered battery boxes house the engine start batteries at the foot of the ladder. Emergency fuel shutoffs can be accessed from outside the engine room. Engine mounts are anti-vibration. LED lighting and bright white flow coated paint gives a clean look to the engine room and help any leaks that may occur jump out like a sore thumb. Four alternators work to charge the house and engine start batteries separately. All batteries are isolated and a paralleling system is provided for emergency starts. Every wire, loom and plumbing line is color-coded wherever possible for quick identification. The air conditioning system is mounted high to help keep the system dry, supplemented by a commercial-grade ventilation and demister system.
The folks at Riviera have gone to extra pains to solve many of the problems we often see in sedans and convertibles of this size. Raising the air intake in to the cabin sides, fitting expensive demisters, and putting air condensers high, all contribute to keeping vital components dry, salt free and working as they should.The standard generator is a 17 kW Onan EQD mounted against the aft bulkhead, and there is room enough to add an optional Seakeeper gyro stabilizer that helps keep the boat stable underway as well as at anchor.
Our test boat had a pair of 725-hp Volvo Penta IPS2 950 diesels that reached a top speed of 33.5 kts at 2560 rpm while burning 74 gph.
is subjective thanks to the match between the efficiency of the Riviera hull and IPS drives. From a displacement speed of 10.3 kts on up to full throttle, the efficiency only changes 1/10th of a nautical mile per gallon so don’t worry about fuel burn and focus more on the most comfortable ride for the prevailing conditions.
So now we get to handling. Taking control from the forward helm, we eased out of our extremely tight docking scenario with light touches of the joystick and pivoted into the channel where we took control with the throttles. Already we were impressed with the responsiveness of the drive system and its match to the hull. As we headed out at no wake speed, we noticed no wandering of the heading and little need for corrections save for the occasional sail boat crossing our course line (as they do).
When we opened her up
, she immediately gave the impression of a serious battlewagon. We were following out our camera boat and moved to overtake past its sizable wake as a first test. We plowed through that stuff and threw a mountain of water that we plowed right through with hardly a change to the heading. Now let’s be clear about this. Yes we threw a ton of water, but the upshot is that we hardly felt anything. This boat pushed right through as if the wave wasn’t there and threw her energy aside effortlessly. It was unbelievable.
So with the windshield wiper switch location memorized, we continued to plow through the building snot at the infamous St. Lucie Inlet and into 3’ to 5’ (.9 m to 1.5 m) swells offshore.
The 52 Enclosed Flybridge provided a ridiculously smooth ride, but at the same time she was a force for the swells to reckon with. This thing is a tank and can handle some serious sea conditions. It may be wet, but that’s negated by not having to turn back. And besides, let the spray come, the flybridge is enclosed so it’s not like we’re going to care. That’s what the windshield wiper is for.
had us slicing them apart and plowing right through. Here the water fell to the sides. In the beam we stayed level as though stabilizers were deployed. In the following seas, it’s as much a show as it is a ride. This is where she’ll throw enough water to put out a fire on the beach. But she won’t stuff the bow and just plow right on through.
Rough Water Confidence.
We keep using the word… “plow.” It best describes the ride but shouldn’t be taken negatively. It’s indicative of the “take anything” attitude of the 52. She shoves whatever comes aside while following the helmsman’s commands with unwavering dedication. It really is an interesting experience and one that gives confidence in this boat to get her where she needs to go safely. No matter what, short of a named storm.
Pricing and Observations
The Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge comes with a base price of $1.562m. Well-equipped, our “as tested” model came in at $1.8m USD. From the solid fiberglass construction below the waterline to the seldom seen (except in passage-making yachts and trawlers) overhead safety rails, Riviera has hit the mark for seaworthiness, particularly in the machinery spaces. Given the reputation for solid builds capable of handling the offshore waters around Australia, we expected that the 52 Enclosed Flybridge would stay true to her heritage.The long expanses of frameless, tempered safety glass, some sliding, in the salon and galley, and the in-hull windows with opening portlights serving the accommodations deck bring abundant views and natural light to help fulfill the contemporary appeal of this new yacht.But it is the multi-season capability of the semi-enclosed flying bridge that adds versatility and enjoyment for owners who can’t get enough boating time during the normal season time limits. By eliminating the lower helm station, the 52 Enclosed Flybridge has picked up important living and entertaining space in the salon, which is larger than some far larger convertibles we can think of.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge (2016-) is 38.6 mph (62.1 kph), burning 74.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 280.09 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge (2016-) is 26.0 mph (41.8 kph), and the boat gets 0.6 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.26 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 503 miles (809.5 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 735-hp Volvo Penta IPS950.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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