Boat Review: Riviera 60 Flybridge

Since Riviera builds its boats in Australia, many Americans tend to think of it as a relatively new company.

Riviera 60 2006

Riviera 60 2006

SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 64'5" BEAM 17'9" DRAFT 5'2" WEIGHT 67,200 pounds FUEL 1,506 gallons WATER 264 gallons MAX POWER T 1,015-hp Cat C-18s BASE PRICE Price on requestThe Riviera Group Riviera Beach, Florida 561-472-8898 www.riviera.com.au

Since Riviera builds its boats in Australia, many Americans tend to think of it as a relatively new company. In fact, Riviera has been in the business for almost 25 years. And the company dwarfs many U.S.-based boatbuilders in the number of boats produced annually - Riviera built over 450 last year, with models ranging from 33 to 60 feet. Calling Riviera a major player in the sportfisherman market constitutes an enormous understatement.

The 60 Flybridge represents the new queen of the Riviera fleet, and we recently put her through her paces off Miami. The 60 features an enclosed flybridge, and although some enclosed flybridge boats from other companies don't quite look right (to me, at least), Riviera nailed it the first time out of the gate. This is one striking boat, and the enclosed bridge adds beauty as well as
function.

**Flybridge
**

I got a chance to check out the flybridge as the captain idled the boat out of a private canal and into Biscayne Bay. The bridge area features plush lounge seating to starboard and an upscale helm chair on the centerline, with a passenger chair to port. Riveria flush-mounted the boat's electronics in a burled-wood panel; switches and instruments are spread out in front of the helm in a sweeping arc to port.

You lose the sensation of being aboard a boat in such plush conditions. Indeed, this space looks more like the interior of a luxury car. I guess I'm not accustomed to being in air-conditioned comfort while on the bridge, but it's something I could get used to very quickly. From an ergonomic standpoint, the intelligent helm layout puts everything right at the captain's fingertips.

**Performance
**

Twin Caterpillar C-18 diesels producing 1,015 hp each powered our test boat, and when we reached the appropriate depth of water in the bay, the captain eased the throttles forward and the 60 climbed out of the hole. Combined with the efficient hull design, the Cats quickly brought the boat up on plane even before we hit 1,200 rpm. A little more throttle brought us up to an efficient cruising speed of 29.4 knots at 1,900 rpm.

Once again, the enclosed bridge isolates you from the noises and sensations you experience on an open flybridge. You can barely hear the engines running while underway, and with no wind in your face it's easy to forget that you're whipping along at close to 30 knots. It makes conversation effortless, and you arrive at your destination feeling as fresh as when you set foot on the boat. Underwater exhausts also help keep noise to a minimum, whether you're in the enclosed bridge, the cockpit or the salon.

But such isolation could detract from the boat's ability to fish, effectively separating the bridge from the cockpit. So Riviera designed a second helm station outside the enclosed bridge area, on the aft end of the flybridge, that allows the helmsman to steer from outside while fighting a fish and get a perfect view of what's going on in the cockpit. This aft section also features a passenger seat to starboard, which provides a perfect perch to watch the baits, and the sideways-mounted bridge ladder lets you get down to the pit in seconds.

We ran the boat up and down the bay on a breezy day with the wind whipping up a nasty, short chop, but as you would expect of a boat this size, the 60 cut right through it. The boat ran impeccably at all angles to the chop. This hull comes with propeller pockets that reduce draft and provide an improved shaft angle and therefore better performance.

**Cockpit
**

The 60 boasts a huge cockpit with many intelligent features, like a large transverse fish box in the deck just forward of the transom. Hatches on either side of the box open to provide easy access to the bilge area. A large transom door to starboard opens beneath a hinged section of the covering board, and another section of the covering board opens to reveal the boat's livewell, also located in the transom.

Forward in the cockpit, storage boxes contain, from port to starboard, a large freezer, a sink, the engine-room access door, a cooler beneath the step to the salon door, and a trash receptacle. Tackle trays and drawers mounted in the vertical space above these boxes provide plentiful and convenient storage for all the gear you need during a day's fishing. The big Riviera sports a very large bridge overhang for excellent shade on those hot summer days, and our test boat came with a beautiful teak sole, giving it the look of a custom rig.

**Interior
**

A sliding door opens to reveal a nicely appointed interior. Riviera designed a salon that holds its own against any competitor's, with burnished wood and plush fabrics everywhere you look. The boat's salon - both tasteful and comfortable - is all you could ask for in such a space. As you enter, a large L-shaped sofa lies to port facing a wet bar with a wine cooler and the boat's electrical panels to starboard.

Just forward of the wine cooler sits a cozy dinette. The galley, across to port, features side-by-side refrigerator and freezer space, with numerous cabinets providing a wealth of storage. As usual, you'll find the boat's television and entertainment systems forward of the dinette, to starboard.

The 60 comes with four staterooms (to sleep eight people) and three heads. The master stateroom lies immediately to port, with an impressive walk-in hanging locker and a spacious head forward. A guest stateroom opposite offers a double berth with a washer and dryer, while a second guest stateroom forward has over/under bunks. The fourth stateroom, in the bow, sports a full queen-sized berth. You and several of your friends could cruise and fish comfortably on this boat for extended periods with no problem.

Riviera builds its boats out of hand-laid solid fiberglass with a rugged system of transverse and longitudinal stringers for years of trouble-free service. The boat's liner gets glued, screwed and glassed into place while the hull is still in the mold, and then the company bolts and bonds the deck to the hull, creating a very strong final product.

As if that weren't enough, Riviera does all this at a very competitive price. This combination of high quality and excellent value explains why Riviera became such a force in the sportfishing boat market.