Riviera 43 Open Flybridge IPS

By: David Lockwood, Photography by: Ellen Dewar

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The new 43 is the vanguard for a whole new line of purpose-designed, pod-driven Riviera flybridge cruisers

Riviera 43 Open Flybridge IPS
Riviera 43 Open Flybridge IPS
  • The IPS- or pod-drives lift Riviera’s 43 flybridge to new heights, especially in respect of manoeuvrability
  • The huge cockpit is a perfect stage, especially for fishers and WA boaters
  • Innovation abounds by way of mezzanine seating, awning or hopper window, convertible dinette with occasional chairs, full-beam aft cabin, and more
  • The fit and finish are five-star
  • The trim angle and power match produce a sweet-running 43 for smooth straight-line cruising

Unlike the conventional shaft-driven Rivs, the 43 is the first flybridge model designed from the keel up for a pair of Volvo Penta’s IPS pod drives. As such, the 43 is a much smarter design that maximises the space gains from IPS.

New hull

Despite carrying the same beam as the 41, the hull is said to be an altogether new one in keeping with IPS demands for a smooth bottom and a measured amount of deadrise, which averages 17 degrees from midships to transom, and 15 degrees at the tail.

IPS is short for Inboard Performance System comprising rear-mounted twin diesel engines coupled to independently articulating or steerable underwater drives with forward-facing propellers. With a joystick docking device and fly-by-wire technology, you can dock the boat by tweaking that joystick.

But improved efficiency is the greatest gain. Volvo Penta claims up to 30 percent better fuel consumption than conventional shaft drives.

The engines driving the 43, dubbed IPS 600s, use D6 donks producing just 435hp per side. The 4.57m beam of the 43, which is the same beam as the 41, is a tad narrower than the old 40. So the 43 is a lean machine.

Tried and tested engineering

Engine access is via a push-button-lift cockpit floor. There’s also a separate hatch into the adjoining utility space, with oodles of room around the generator. I noted a Delta T venting system with washable membrane, heavy-duty sea strainer for the generator – the engine pickups have internal grills in the pods – Racor fuel filters forward for the transverse tank on the centreline, and wing water tanks. The water gauge is part of the boat’s so-called C-Zone (CAN-bus) digital electrical 24/240V system.

The Victron charger has a 650W inverter for the AV system, but upgrade it to a 1800W inverter and you can run the microwave oven and powerpoints, without the generator. An engineroom camera, feeding back through the Raymarine electronics package, and gurney with bow fitting were among the options fitted.

With the rear-mounted engines under the cockpit rather than saloon floor, the 43 is also a quieter cruiser, even when cruising indoors. And, the common-rail fuel injection system on the D6 engines ensures there’s not whiff of diesel smoke, or back-spray.

Outdoor improvements

A big improvement is the reduction in the number of stainless steel supports and framework that hold up the newly styled hardtop. As such, the sight lines are unfettered from the flybridge helm over the bow or back down to the cockpit. The 43 would make an excellent gamefishing boat.

For family boating, a new wide-tread ladder makes accessing the bridge a breeze, while a new leather-topped dash includes storage space for personal effects and room to accept the latest wide-screen electronics. There’s a fridge, a sink with solid-surface counter, and the L-shaped lounge can be optioned as a double "cruising" bed.

Back down on deck, options include a submersible boarding platform that can carry a tender and there’s provision for a 300kg davit on the bow. The non-skid is the easy-fix dot pattern type, there is the requisite swim platform and hot-cold shower. The cockpit amenities centre has an optional hot-rock 240V Barbie (in place of livebait tank), sink surrounded by solid-surface counter, hatch to a garbage bin, and storage space. LED lights lessen the DC demands at night.

You still get a decent eutectic fridge/freezer molded in under the ladder, side pockets, two under-floor bins with gulper pumps, and big tackle drawers under the mezzanine-level outdoor lounge. But you’ll have to carry the craypots on deck, and think about where you put the deflated water toys.

That said, the oversized cockpit – deeper than a Riv’ 47 – is something that the New Zealand boater will embrace. The aft-facing outdoor lounge on a mezzanine level hard up against the saloon bulkhead is brilliant. Borrowing from the success of its Sport Yachts with their single-level indoor/outdoor entertaining decks, Riviera’s new 43 has a hopper or awning window that swings open to create one big, flowing living area from cockpit to saloon.

Inside living

The giant C-shaped lounge to starboard is a great daybed. The twin tub chairs opposite can slide or roll across to create a dining setting for six or more. And with a fully loaded galley befitting of a 50-footer, you can entertain with ease.

Amenities run from a dish-drawer dishwasher to a convection microwave oven, drawer-style fridge and freezer, to cooktop with potholders, and pot-storage space. Lift the floor hatch and extensive storage exists. The mounting space for the optional washer/dryer is here, too. And there’s a storage hatch in the ceiling for rods, cushions, and so on.

The Riviera 43 can sleep up to seven people. Although there isn’t full headroom, the aft cabin is full width with a transverse double bed that can be split into singles, and a single bed sitting longitudinally opposite before a panorama window. Opening portlights offer natural cross-flow ventilation.

The second cabin features a double island bed in the bow. It also has a large en suite. There are plenty of powerpoints, extractor fans, and natural ventilation. Fit and finish are five star. With a twin bathroom and big aft cabin, the 43 will appeal to families foremost.

The run down

The upside of the IPS becomes immediate when I advance the throttles – the acceleration is swift.

The thing I like is the fact the natural trim angle sees the boat’s forefoot sit right where it slices the swells without needing to call on the trim tabs. As such, there were no bad thumps and the boat is pleasantly dry. However, we predict greater performance gains in future. This was the first 43 out of the mould and, as Volvo Penta and Riviera told us, there are weight savings and then scope for running bigger propellers in future. The 43 seen here has T2 props but T3s are the go for greater performance gains.

The official sea-trial figures for 43 hull No. 1 seen here, fitted with an optional 300L long-range fuel tank above the standard 1800L tank, were impressive. Top speed was about 29.5kts, cruise of 23.5kts costs about 120lt/h, and your range at this fast clip is about 350nm.

Manoeuvrability was markedly sportier with the IPS drives. At low speed, with the ‘boost’ button depressed on the dash controller, the boat reacted swiftly to a push, tug, or twist on the joystick. Offshore in about a metre of sea and swell, it felt determined.

See a range of Riviera boats for sale.


Material GRP hull, cored decks and hardtop
Type Moderate to deep-vee monohull designed in cahoots with Volvo Penta
LOA 14.46m
Hull length 13.61m
Beam 4.57m
Draft 1.13m
Weight 14,200kg dry w/ std motors
Berths 6 to 7
Fuel 1800L plus 300L long-range tank
Water 460L
Holding tank 150L
Engine make/model 2 x Volvo Penta IPS600s
Type Six-cylinder four-stroke D6 common rail diesel
Rated hp 435
Displacement 5.5L
Drives IPS w/ T2 props

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