Rivera 5000 SY

By: Jeff Strang

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Billed as "the entertainer" and targeting an audience that may be getting their first real taste of a boating lifestyle, the Rivera 5000 SY comes with quite a reputation…

Rivera 5000 SY
Rivera 5000 SY
  • Seamless transition between cockpit and saloon
  • Zeus pod drive installation offers space, efficiency and manoeuvrability
  • Easy to use tender garage
  • Large sunroof
  • Stylish cooking facilities

The Riviera 5000 SY has those sleek, low-profile lines that show contemporary thinking. All the hallmarks of a vessel targeting a luxury audience are present – perfectly gel-coated curves, finished in just the right amount of stainless and teak flowing through to a spacious cabin area, beautifully upholstered and subtly lit.

This was my first time on board a vessel featuring Cummins Mercruiser’s Zeus drive. In layman’s terms the Zeus drive is a vertically mounted multidirectional pod system that is computer-controlled and can be operated by a joystick. There are no rudders, just two horizontally aligned counter-rotating propellors. The key advantages of this system are ease of manoeuvrabilty, improved efficiency and the potential for greatly improved use of space within the vessel.

Child’s play

Cummins Mercruiser uses the phrase "Docking without fear" because the vessel can be manoeuvred at slow speeds with the use of a console-mounted joystick.

The joystick control is designed to be used under five knots. Cruising at speed is helmed via a steering wheel and twin levers just like any other boat. The Zeus Precision Pilot is the skipper’s interface between the pod drives and the onboard computer.

The Precision Pilot puts a range of cool features at your fingertips. As well as Auto Heading (an advanced version of auto-pilot) and Waypoint Sequencing, there is the Sky Hook function, which is all about holding the vessel on a precise GPS location, almost as if the vessel is at anchor.

Super efficient

Pod installations produce significant improvements in efficiency over conventional shaft installations. The use of counter-rotating dual propellers helps to eliminate any rotational losses and should also reduce cavitation. The horizontal alignment means no energy is lost lifting the hull. Probably the biggest advantage is due to the hydrodynamic design of the Zeus pod, which has considerably less drag than a shaft, strut and rudder configuration.

Under power

Over five knots the helmsman switches from joystick mode to a conventional system. Cummins Mercruiser’s Smartcraft controls are a pleasure to use. I really enjoyed the lightness and precision of the vessel on the helm. The twin 600hp Cummins QSC 8.3 delivered ample power achieving a cruise speed of 24 knots with plenty left in reserve.

In today’s terms, the 5000 SY is a little under-powered, but in reality how much horsepower do you really need? I believe upgrades to the kilowatt ratings on the Zeus drives are in the pipeline. The automatic trim tab system that comes as standard takes all the hard work away from the skipper, ensuring perfect trim and efficiency is maintained.

Artificial intelligence

The dash of the 5000 SY features the latest Raymarine C-140w package. You can option down or even select a package by another brand, but whatever you choose it will look great in the sleek leather dash and matching helm seats.

As for the audiovisual system, Riviera favours the Bose Lifestyle packages in its vessels and this boat features an electric lift for the flat-screen TV.

Riviera has recently moved to injection moulding processes in the production of many of the fibreglass components, meaning parts are manufactured to even higher tolerances with a better finish.

Space forever

From a non-driver’s point of view, the most noticeable advantage of the Zeus pod installation is the use of space internally. The vertical configuration of the drive unit allows the engines to be located well aft under the cockpit sole. This frees up space put to excellent use with a reconfiguration of the sleeping compartments.

Be entertained

The phrase "indoor-outdoor flow" perfectly sums up the atmosphere of the 5000 SY.

The saloon and cockpit become one living space by simply opening the rear-facing window. As Riviera says: "locating the galley aft by the rear door not only allows you to cater to the saloon and cockpit with ease, and the chef is always involved with the party".

The galley features a pull-out pantry and more than adequate cooking facilities.

Soak up the sun

A twin sun lounger is located on the bow, which is easily accessed thanks to high combings and wide side decks.

The electric sunroof is an exceptionally large and impressive feature only found in the Sport Yacht range. Opening up the saloon in this manner really does bring the outside in.

A garage on a boat?

Launching and retrieving the 3.1m tender couldn’t be easier. This "garage" is hidden in the transom and accessed by hydraulically submerging the swim-step and opening the door. With the door open the tender can just slide out. That’s all there is to it.

Praise where it is warranted

The Riviera 5000 SY is a vessel built to be used. It targets an audience wanting to get off the beaten track in comfort and style, and with as little fuss as possible. Even those that hail from a society more used to super yacht living will enjoy this luxurious yet oh so practical vessel.

The 5000 SY can be optioned up or down as you please and I know the guys at RMarine will be happy to work through that process with you.

The Riviera 5000 SY is a vessel as well suited to a first-time boat owner as it is to a seasoned sailor. It is hard to fault the effort that has gone into making this vessel so easy to enjoy. A quality boating experience has never been so readily accessible.

See Riviera boats for sale.


LOA 16.69m
Beam 4.76m
Draft 1.25m
Dry weight (approx) 18,500kg
Fuel capacity 2300L
Water capacity 750L
Sleeping capacity 6 pax

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