"I love the space.”
“Look how open this is.”
“This is a big boat.”
The comments flow like a river through the day. The more time I spend aboard the Riviera 53 during the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show in Australia, the more spontaneous remarks I overhear as the public passes through the boat. Simply hanging back and watching the large crowd is a great way to collect consumer feedback on the latest model from the Australian builder.
Generally, the conversation from the boat show attendees focuses on the tremendous use of space, the big cockpit and the seamless transition between the salon and galley. I make my way to the lower deck, where a crowd bottlenecks at the entrance of the huge master stateroom, absorbing the functionality and details of the full-beam suite.
“This is not a 53-footer. This is a much bigger boat” is the recurring theme.
Introduced in May, the Riviera 53 represents the latest in an aggressive new-model campaign by Riviera. It reveals management’s effort to extrapolate the builder’s ethos and to hyperfocus on how people truly use their boats. Past sins of trying to be a sport-fisher-centric builder, especially in North America, are washed away — a wise approach to boatbuilding.
“The bulk of Riviera owners really cruise,” says Stephen Milne, director of brand and communications for Riviera. And so does Milne, which is why he recognizes the importance of such details as an elevated cockpit settee on the mezzanine, or the full-service wet bar with a Kenyon barbecue across the transom. Checking the progress of dinner on the grill is a simple matter of turning on the LED lights on the bar’s lid to illuminate the cooking surface — one of many thoughtful details aboard.
The opening after window between the galley and cockpit is now a popular feature with a variety of builders.
However, on the 53 the galley is three steps above the cockpit. This provides a commanding view of all the activity, creating a truly unique space. When the canvas extension is stretched across the cockpit, the marrying of the two areas rivals that of many shore-based great rooms. I like the fact that the after window opens manually rather than with an electrical mechanism that presents one more item to service, but I would suggest installing a safety line on the bottom edge to control the opening of this heavy piece of hardware. The gas-assist struts are so powerful that there is a lot of spring waiting to be released when you open the handles.