Riviera's new flagship -- 70 Enclosed Flybridge

By: Norman Holtzhausen

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The six days of boatie heaven that is the Sydney International Boat Show attracted more than 80,000 visitors to Sydney’s Darling harbour last month. Every major name in Australian boatbuilding presented new models – and a major drawcard was the Riviera 70

Riviera's new flagship -- 70 Enclosed Flybridge
Riviera's new flagship -- 70 Enclosed Flybridge

Accommodation Flybridge

Gold Coast-based Riviera, Australia’s largest luxury boat builder, made use of the occasion to launch several new models. Undoubtedly, the highlight of these was the stunning new Riviera 70 Enclosed Flybridge.

Billed as the largest production cruiser ever built in Australia, it formed the focal point of the largest display at the show. Long queues formed all day as eager punters waited for their turn to go aboard and see what Riviera had pulled out of the bag this time.

And make no mistake, this is an amazing boat. With hull length a shade over 22 meters (75ft 5in) and LOA of 23.34m (76ft 7in), and no less than five cabins, this is a boat built to impress friends and colleagues. Engine options range from a pair of "modest" Caterpillar C32 turbo diesels of 1156kW/1572hp each up to twin MTU 12V Series 2000 M93 turbo diesel engines rated at 1340kW/1823hp each.

All that power is needed, because this pocket battleship is no lightweight. Dry weight is in the order of 41 tonnes, although when the 8000-litre fuel tanks and 1000-litre fresh water tanks are full it nudges 50 tonnes. Top speed isn’t stated, but based on other Riviera models, in excess of 30 knots is likely.

Stepping through the transom door leads you into the cockpit proper, and it could easily accommodate a game chair or two. Steps either side of the cockpit lead up along the sides of the cabin to the forward deck from where the tender is launched with a deck-mounted derrick. A watertight door at the front of the cockpit leads down into the immaculate engine room with its two gleaming Caterpillars.

Elevated about the cockpit is an area best described as a veranda, with upholstered couches and an inlaid table. This area is on the same level as the interior saloon and is protected from the elements by a rigid sun canopy. A vast hinged window hinges up to create a flow-through effect. On the right of this covered area is a duplicate set of steering, throttle and bow-thruster controls, enabling the skipper to reverse into tight marinas without any blind spots.

Through the stainless steel and glass door – and you’re into a saloon as spacious as the living room in most homes. With a beam of just over 6.3m (20ft), the boat has given interior designers plenty of creative leeway.

There are berths for up to 14 people, so all the entertaining areas are appropriate for groups of this size. The entire interior of the boat is to Riviera’s usual immaculate standards, which means polished woodwork and impeccable upholstery everywhere.

The dining area and galley is set a few steps higher than the saloon, and a large dining table seats six. The galley features full-sized electric stainless steel kitchen units, powered by two Onan EQD gensets with a combined capacity of 22.5kW. The glass-top cooker and full combo microwave and griller oven make cooking a breeze, while the dishwasher takes care of everything afterwards.

In a departure from its smaller models, the Riviera 70 has no forward window in the main saloon. A stairway down to the accommodation deck is located amidships, while on the starboard side is the laundry, with washing machine and tumble dryer. The 284l/h fresh watermaker supplements the 1000-litre freshwater tank, ensuring this boat can sustain extended trips away from the marina.

Accommodation Three different accommodation layouts are available, sleeping up to 14 people. The boat on show featured Option 3, with 11 berths laid out in five cabins.

The master stateroom, common to all three layouts, fits its description and takes up the entire width of the boat. It features a king-sized bed, ensuite bathroom and massive amounts of cupboard space. Located exactly amidships, this will be the quietest and most stable position on the boat.

The guest stateroom, located slightly further forward and not quite as palatial, is nevertheless very roomy. It features an ensuite and generous double bed. The second guest cabin features three over-size single bunks and also has its own ensuite. The final two cabins in the bow are each fitted with two single bunks, providing the balance of the accommodation. They share the last bathroom, making a total of four completely separate bathrooms each comprising a toilet, hot shower and hand basin.

Flybridge Access to the "penthouse" – the enclosed flybridge area – is from the starboard side of the main saloon via a stylish chrome and timber stairway. This is an improvement on the ladder or spiral staircase found on Riviera’s smaller models, having a relatively gentle gradient and wide steps.

Given that the main helm station is located on the upper deck, this is likely to be the focal point of the boat while under way. The helm station itself is more reminiscent of a jet liner than a motor launch. Three Pompanette fully upholstered gas-strut-mounted seats with integrated footrests provide for supreme comfort.

The view through the massive tinted front window is superb, while the electronics and control layout is simply stunning. No less than four Raymarine 12-inch colour displays provide instant information of everything the skipper may need.

An electrically-operated sunroof is set into the cabin top, and when open the radar, dual marine satellite receivers and multiple aerials can be seen. The sunroof and side windows make the upstairs saloon bright and airy, with couches providing luxury seating for seven. A stainless steel and glass doorway and window open onto the upper veranda, which overlooks the cockpit.

Apart from the features that are immediately visible, there are numerous subtle features of the boat that will only be apparent when it is used. A superb entertainment system is linked to hidden speakers as well as several large flat-screen TVs. All cabins are of course air-conditioned.

Riviera describes this boat as its "ultimate Riviera", and it is hard to fault. The price tag depends on the options chosen but do not expect much change from AU$5 million. Despite the supposed recession and the high price of fuel, Riviera says it secured orders for five of these boats before the show started, so if you want one you better order it soon!

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