2003 04 Prova: Riviera 47 Flybridge Convertible: Sea Trial

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April 16th 2003. By Eston Ellis

Riviera 47 Flybridge Convertible: Sea Trial

Riviera 47 Flybridge Convertible: A marriage of sportfisher performance and motoryacht style.

The new 47's hull offers a more aggressive entry to slice through seas and a larger reverse chine to knock aside spray and maintain stability in a wide range of conditions

The Australia-built Riviera 47 Flybridge Convertible showcases a new look for Riviera sportfishers that was begun with the introduction of Riviera’s 40 and 37 models. The lines are sleeker, the dark-tinted windows are bigger, the curves are more pronounced — and the hull is slipperier. The new 47′s hull offers a more aggressive entry to slice through seas and a larger reverse chine to knock aside spray and maintain stability in a wide range of conditions.

With three staterooms and two heads, this is more than a fishing boat. ?The 47 is a convertible sportfisher that’s ideal for the dedicated sportfishing guy, as well as for the guy who wants to hang at Catalina with his family,” explained Tom Ellsworth of Ellsworth Marine in San Diego, the Riviera dealer who provided our test boat.

And like a motoryacht, the 47 carries enough fuel to take you on a long cruise. The standard 47 offers 607 gallons of fuel tankage, and the Team Riviera edition we tested carries an impressive 870 gallons of fuel, making longer-range cruising — and longer-range sportfishing trips — possible. Unlike most sportfishers, the Riviera 47 offers three staterooms and two heads. The accommodations are far from Spartan: They are plushly appointed with leather and teak, and space is cleverly maximized throughout. Ready to Run We tested the 47 on a sunny winter day off San Diego, with glassy seas and light wind. We had five people aboard during our test. Our test boat was equipped with a pair of 660 hp Cummins QSM 11 electronically controlled engines, which offer low emissions and impressive fuel economy. During our sea trial, we cruised at around 26 knots, at 1,970 rpm and got an economical .72 mpg. The boat’s top speed is 32 knots. Boaters with a long way to go may opt for a slow passage-making speed of 9 knots, at which pace the boat has a range of around 800 miles, Ellsworth said. We put the 47 through a variety of maneuvers, including hard turns at speed. It gave us a rock-solid ride no matter what we did, and we barely noticed the difference when we ran through our own wake.

The Hynautic steering handled with assuredness, with no slippage throughout our maneuvers. The boat tracked straight and smooth, as if it were running on rails. We especially liked our test boat’s stainless steel steering wheel, which offered a built-in ?Brodie” knob for spinning the wheel. Maneuverability was first-rate, no matter what the throttle setting on the boat’s Twin Disc electronic controls. By using the controls’ built-in trolling valves, we could slow the boat to either 2 or 3 knots, at the turn of a multi-position knob (these speed settings can be pre-set by each boat owner). When we idled, leaving the boat sitting still in the water, the 47 remained surprisingly stable.

This is a quiet boat, and vibration was practically non-existent during our test. It is a dry-riding vessel, too, thanks to a 5-inch-wide reverse chine that knocks aside spray before it has a chance to reach the decks.

This Bridge Is a Landmark

We ran the 47 from its expansive flybridge, which offers an excellent 360-degree view of the water and a good perspective of the cockpit and the foredeck. It is also an ideal spot for entertaining — equipped with a wet bar with a sink and refrigerator, a forward L-shaped settee and a table to starboard, and an additional bench seat to port.

Our test boat was outfitted with an enviable selection of electronics, including a Northstar 957 color display that shows full-color daylight-viewable chart plotter images, GPS data and video — either from the boat’s engine room camera or the saloon’s DVD player (the latter is used when the boat isn’t under way). The display can show split- and quarter-screen views, allowing the skipper to see simultaneous multiple screens. Cummins electronic engine data displays at the helm constantly update performance data, giving the skipper digital readouts of boat speed, engine rpm and fuel consumption. Sensors feed key bits of information to the onboard engine computer — including barometric pressure, air temperature and fuel temperature — every 20 milliseconds, ensuring that the engine continually meters the precise amount of fuel required for injectors to produce the most efficient fuel burn for its running conditions.

In addition to the Cummins digital displays, there’s a full set of VDO analog repeater gauges at the helm, which present speed and rpm data in a more traditional form.

Additional equipment on our test boat included Furuno 64-mile radar, a Simrad AP22 autopilot, a Furuno SeaTemp display, a Ritchie compass, an Icom DSC VHF radio, a Clarion stereo with a CD changer and a Furuno LCD color sounder.

In order to maintain maximum hull speed, the boat’s sonar transducers do not protrude through the hull. Instead, they are mounted inside the hull, in a ?wet box” filled with mineral oil. This box is accessible from the engine room.

The helm console is nicely arranged, with gauges and electronics all easily readable and rocker switches positioned within reach just below the wheel. Two beverage holders are built into the helm console on either side of the wheel, and a footrest well is thoughtfully built into the bottom of the console. Our boat’s optional Pompanette Platinum helm seats, however, had their own built-in fold-down footrests. These comfortably upholstered armchairs gave us an excellent even-better-than-standing view.

A hardtop hatch over the skipper’s position provides just the right amount of ventilation — and the boat’s canvas and vinyl enclosure opens and closes in just the right places to keep out the breezes without blocking the view. There’s a door that closes off the flybridge from the cockpit steps, to make this area even quieter.

Below, the 47′s cockpit is roomy enough for a quartet of anglers to maneuver their catches. Ten rocket launchers were mounted abaft the flybridge helm on our test boat; six are standard. There’s a bait tank integrated into the transom, along with an opening transom gate and an adjacent wide swim step.

A tackle center, forward, offers abundant stowage for essential gear — and a wired hand-held remote control unit gives the skipper maximum control of the vessel where he or she needs it when the fishing action is hot.

Three large deck hatches open to reveal a huge open space that can be custom configured for each owner. Our test boat’s owner planned to have a large fishbox under one hatch and an optional 150-quart freezer under another hatch — still leaving ample cockpit stowage. Forward, sidedecks lead to a long foredeck, protected by thigh-high stainless steel rails. The engine room is accessible through a door concealed behind the cockpit’s sink console. We found excellent access to the engines and all key gear — with at least 2 feet of space above the powerplants and ample room all around. There was ample space for the boat’s 13 kw Onan EQD electronically controlled auxiliary generator with air/water separator, an inverter, a battery charger, battery banks and three-zone air-conditioning/reverse-cycle heat system components. The latter system puts individual zone controls in the saloon, the master stateroom and the larger guest stateroom.

A Look Inside You enter the 47′s saloon through the cockpit. A leather-upholstered L-shaped settee is to port — and our test boat’s settee had been customized to be convertible to a pull-out double berth. Joinery and trim are highly finished teak, and the craftsmanship is excellent. A U-Line ice-maker is located to starboard, built into a storage cabinet that is adjacent to a well-labeled electrical panel. Forward, there’s a leather-covered L-shaped settee with a table, for dining. It is adjacent to the boat’s Sharp 30-inch LCD flat-screen television, mounted on the bulkhead. A Bose Lifestyle 50 stereo system with a futuristic touch-panel remote control provides impressive surround-sound. The galley is across a counter from the saloon, a step down. If offers a full-size Tundra refrigerator/freezer, plus a smaller under-counter Tundra refrigerator and a sink with a Grohe faucet. There’s also a covered in-counter waste receptacle, a two-burner range, a spacious Granicoat countertop, abundant over- and under-counter storage, an under-counter drawer-style dishwasher and a microwave oven, installed in a bulkhead adjacent to the starboard-side amidships stateroom. The starboard stateroom offers both an athwartship double berth and a single bunk, along with ample hanging locker space and stowage cabinets, and its own door to an adjacent head with a stall shower. A guest cabin is to port, with upper and lower berths and additional hanging locker space. Forward, there’s a master stateroom with a queen-size berth, a pair of hanging lockers, storage cabinets and an en suite head with a stall shower. With all the speed, maneuverability and fishability of a dedicated sportfisher (which this boat definitely is), plus the plush accommodations and stable ride of a midsize motoryacht, the Riviera 47 should have no trouble pleasing just about every member of your family — and all their friends. Your only challenge will be in getting them to stay off the boat long enough for you to go fishing with the guys.

  • Riviera 47 Specifications
  • Length 53’8″
  • Beam 15’11″
  • Draft 4’5″
  • Dry weight 38,580 pounds
  • Fuel capacity 870 gallons with Team Riviera edition and 607 gallons standard
  • Water capacity 164 gallons
  • Price as tested for Team Rivera edition with twin 660-hp Cummins QSM 11 diesel engines $774,395
  • Performance
  • Top speed 32 knots
  • Miles per gallon at 26-knot cruising speed .72

Estimated fuel cost for 100 miles $208.33 Range at 26-knot crusing speed 626.4 miles to empty w/Team Riviera edition; 437.7 standard (Estimated fuel cost based on fuel price of $1.50 per gallon.)

Standard Equipment

13 kw Onan EQD electronically controlled auxiliary generator; three-zone air conditioning/reverse-cycle heat; trim tabs; VacuFlush heads; hot and cold hand-held cockpit shower; washdown system; tackle locker; cockpit cool box; flybridge wet bar; refrigerator; microwave/convection oven; Granicoat countertops; two-burner electric cooktop; drawer-style dishwasher.

Options on Test Boat

Team Riviera Edition: teak deck; Rupp outriggers; Pompanette Platinum helm seats; Bose Lifestyle 50 sound system; Sharp 30-inch LCD flat-screen television; custom raw-water power takeoff; extra fuel tankage (870 gallons total).


Hand-laid molded fiberglass hull, with cored decks and cabin top. Isophthalic gelcoat exterior; independent compartments throughout the hull. Vinylester resin in first layer. Watertight collision bulkhead forward. Hull has two coats of epoxy undercoat; two coats of antifouling paint. For More Information The Riviera Group www.riviera.com.au