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For those who still dont get it.
























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Read the original here at http://www.boatpoint.com.au/reviews/2013/maritimo-m50-cruising-motoryacht-36720


First Australian test of revolutionary, best-ever Maritimo

– Shaft-driven reliability and extra-long cruising legs
– Massive full-beam master stateroom with headroom
– Spacious enclosed flybridge with internal staircase
– Aft galley and bi-fold doors merge indoors with outdoors
– Improved fit and finish with more interior wow via designer Dave Stewart
– Local warranties and solid local dealer support/events
– Switch panels in forward saloon lockers aren’t that convenient
– Skin fittings high on hull sides might leave streaks
– Tighter engine room especially outboard side of engines
– Groundbreaking motoryacht sets new standards
History shows that adversity breeds ingenuity. Not that boat-building doyen Bill Barry-Cotter is scratching to pay the rent. But, he will tell you, the new-boat market is as tough as he’s seen it in 50 years of boat building. It’s no different for plastic surgeons, jewellers and other purveyors or luxury discretionary items. But it’s also true time and tide wait for no man. Or Maritimo.
Enter the new M50 Cruising Motoryacht, a long-range, shaft-driven, ocean-going conveyance that inspires. You get pod-like docking agility from big-bladed bow and stern thrusters, a full-beam/full-headroom master stateroom including dresser/office/en suite, and living spaces or stations from bow to stern that are befitting of a 60 footer.
Supplanting the M48 that racked up 109 builds, the M50 has big shoes to fill. But somehow it totally overshadows its predecessor within a footprint that’s not that much bigger. Indeed, Barry-Cotter has pulled off a magic trick and, in so doing, redefined the 50-footer cruising class with renewed vigour, design smarts and real class.
Compared with the M48, the new M50 has a cockpit that’s four per cent larger, a saloon that’s 9.5 per cent longer, a flybridge balcony that gains 15 per cent in floor space, and a full-beam master cabin that is — get this —  230 per cent bigger!
With an enlarged fuel capacity of 4000 litres, 500 litres more than the M48, the M50 also has a bolstered cruising range of more than 500 nautical miles at 22 knots. Pack your bags. Saddle up. Read on…
– Price premium for a premium product
Thankfully, the M48 has retained much of its value on the second-hand market. At the time of writing, there were a good half-dozen M48s for sale at BoatPoint.com.au and boatales.com.au with asking prices for 2007-2008 models  from $745,000-$829,000.
As tested in 2006, the M48 had a $1.1 million asking price and later models are fetching upwards of $950,000. This intrinsic value bodes well for those who might consider upgrading to the M50. Although you might think the jump up wouldn’t warrant tipping in a half-million or so, we saw an M50 (#6 with bigger D13 800hp engines) all set-up with a boatload of options for serious cruising that was bought by an M48 owner. He was looking at the bigger M56 till the M50 came along and answered all his needs in an easily handled, frugal package.
The boat we drove, M50 #4, was heading for the 2013 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show before being shipped to the US West Coast. As part of the relaunch process that’s occurred at Maritimo, and designer Dave Stewart’s input, as well as a new in-build survey process, the fit and finish has been lifted.
Rather than build down to a price, Barry-Cotter is building up to a standard to woo today’s discerning buyers. The M50 has a base price of $1.39 million, a premium over the previous M48 acknowledges Barry-Cotter, but the new boat has a lot more kit, a trim level befitting of the price, and a new level of design intellect and nous.
With some options including teak laid decking to swim platform, extra power points, Breezeway cover to inside of flybridge, Volvo controls to cockpit, teak laid decking to flybridge balcony, saloon stainless steel fridge, David Stewart soft furnishing package, twin Recaro helm chairs, 32” Samsung TV to saloon and master cabin, the M50 had a boat-show price of $1.445 million. Watermaker, tender and electronics were still needed.
Meantime, M50 #8 was heading to Steve Batton Marine in Sydney, with optional Euro transom, and Dancing Lady Blue hull to create something different again and turn heads. The new best-seller is most certainly a better boat than its forerunner and the previous Maritimo crop.
– Connectivity and living space are the keys
Aussie-sized cockpit? Tick. Transom amenities centre? Tick. Walkaround decks? Tick. Aft galley? Tick. Enclosed flybridge? Tick. How about full-beam master stateroom? Well, yes, tick! Suffice to say there’s not a lot left wanting on the new M50.
“We design and build the boats for spending time aboard, for long-range cruising, to be practical,” explains Bill Barry-Cotter. He also makes the point that even the American market has changed focus and is chasing fuel efficiency, another strength of his boats, rather than all-out speed these days.
With three cabins and two bathrooms providing sleeping for up to six, plus two on the bridge and/or saloon lounges, the M50 will make a great floating holiday house. Add a watermaker and your autonomous. And with an easily accessible foredeck, an enclosed flying bridge, a big cockpit, and raised saloon, the boat has a bunch of terrific living areas for extended boating.
– Aussie cockpit, with optional layout, and walkaround decks
The M50 and its cockpit sole, saloon floor, ceiling and freeboard have been raised a few inches (5cm or so) over the M48. That means there’s a small step down to the boarding platform, which might result in a drier cockpit when the stern wake catches up as you come off the plane.
An optional hydraulic swim platform with 400kg lift capacity is available, although the standard swim platform is still a decent size. As touched on, you can get an optional Euro transom with aft-facing lounge. That’s breaking even more new ground in the flying bridge market, as this transom was previously the preserve of Sport Yachts aka Cabriolets.
Game fishing isn’t the M50s intent, but with the extended hydraulic platform, some drop-in rails, rod holders and cutting board, you can fish this boat. Otherwise, the central amenities centre will be the hook, with its moulded sink, 24V top-loading fridge/freezer, optional barbecue, hot/cold transom shower, and 240V GPO handy for firing-up the wok for chilli crab on deck.
Storage exists in the transom module, in side pockets — you can turn one of these into an outdoor waste bin, the other can take an optional water-blaster hose — and under the central lazarette lid, which has a compartment for fenders. There’s room between the rear-mounted polypropylene water and black-water tanks, to carry a small folding table and chairs, your crab traps and more.
Deck hardware is nice and chunky for taking wraps of large-diameter ropes. Extra breast cleats have been added to the M50, the Muir windlass in recessed with a saltwater wash at hand, while the recessed walkaround decks that have made Maritimo’s Motoryachts so popular are slightly shallower than the M48 but still perfectly safe for kids, grandmothers and dogs to negotiate.
Back in the cockpit, you might notice the solid flybridge balcony has been extended well aft. This means the cockpit gains greater shade and weather protection. It also makes it easier to run insect and/or shade cloth covers as needed heading north to the tropics.
Just standing at the dock, we couldn’t help but notice the flowing indoor/outdoor living arrangement on the M50 that’s just ideal for boating in this country. With side decks swooping forward, commercial-grade bifold saloon doors, and an internal staircase, the M50 is a wonderfully accessible boat.
– Aft opening galley and raised saloon
Barry-Cotter had a C50 Sport Yacht version of the M50 in the final stages of fitout during our post-test factory visit. The boat was intended for his own use, he said, so it sported an upgraded décor and Miele appliance package including range hood and widened island servery to accommodate a full-sized dishwasher. “Just fill it up, hit start and leave the boat on shore power,” Barry-Cotter said, in anticipation of onboard entertaining.
The aft galley, a design highlight of the M48, has more bench space, a decent splashback and servery. Appliances run from four-burner electric cooktop to convection microwave and domestic-style fridge and freezer, alongside a neat full-height pull-out pantry. A second optional fridge and standard issue icemaker were in a cabinet, opposite, under the staircase to the bridge.
Creating a wet bar, the cabinet top can be used as a mounting spot for a television. But that’s better forward on the flat surface behind the windscreen. With the addition of some soft-rubber matting, the wetbar will double as a neat charging centre, as there’s a 240V outlet nearby. Or plug in the blender at cocktail hour.
To create headroom in the master stateroom below decks, the forward saloon area has been raised two half steps from the galley, while the ceiling liner has been lifted and bridge storage reduced in volume. Along with vastly improved saloon lounges — finally they are long enough to double as daybeds – and a decent dinette, the saloon is now a great relaxation area.
You gain great views from the raised lounges, while side opening windows grant natural ventilation — there’s the option of an additional opening window and range hood near the galley — and the lounge bases lift to reveal valuable storage space. But the big, big improvement to my mind is that improved lounging that now doubles as day or sea berths. Mount a big flat-screen television to starboard, under the windscreen, and you’re set at movie time.
Another big change was the split AC and DC (mainly 24V) switch panels in the overhead cabinets in the raised saloon. The portside cabinet at the saloon entrance is now additional albeit narrow storage. While any addition to storage is welcome, the downside is that the new switch panel location is not as convenient as it was on the M48.
Meantime, the lifted finish includes joinery available in teak satin or high gloss, with square or round edges. We had square edge but high-gloss round edge is the timeless combination. Along with the improved soft furnishings, leather inserts on grab rails, the bigger dinette with bottle holder, ducted air-con, and positive-lock drawer and cupboard catches, plus a whole new expanded LED lighting plan, the M50 has been duly modernised.
– The best master stateroom in its class
The M50 is a three-cabin boat, but nothing like the old M48. In fact, it’s a class-leading accommodation layout. Even the island double bed in the VIP cabin in the bow has been lifted and widened, with various ledges and fiddles to help contain personal effects and even a  glass or two.
Split-doors improve access to the vinyl-lined (no cheap front-runner) his and her hanging lockers, while two drawers pull out from under the bed. The new bedhead, lighting, and soft furnishings create a sense of suave. The escape hatch with insect and shade screen takes care of air and light. There’s scope for a separate AV system and a 240V GPO, too.
The third cabin to starboard is a twin-bunk arrangement and handy storage spot for your soft bags. That said, the twin bunks are said to be slightly wider than those on the 48, there’s air-con and a big hatch, plus a half-height storage locker.  Kids will love it.
But the crowning jewel is the full-beam master stateroom. You arrive via a landing area come dresser/office with desk, pouf, and cedar-lined hanging locker. Forward on the same level is the owner’s en suite, one of two home-like bathrooms each with American-sized showers, solid counters, boosted storage, switchable freshwater to saltwater heads, air-con and hatches. All the plumbing is accessible throughout the boat.ge5347852176509518061
Step down from the landing and the stateroom opens up like an exclusive waterfront hotel suite. There’s a chaise lounge that doubles as full-blown adult-length single bed by the two opening portlights to starboard. Read a book in private or crack the ports and kick back at night.
Offset, the island double berth doesn’t hinder floor space, with a single portlight nearby to create cross-flow ventilation. Lift the mattress base and there’s abundant storage in addition to the low-boy with drawers and dedicated cupboard for your combi washer/dryer.
With dedicated mounting space for a decent flat-screen television facing the bed, the owner’s abode is complete. To recap, you get a single bed, the queen, a dresser and desk, plus en suite, all in your own private midships locale, away from chine slap, generator noise and, presumably, the buzz of the inverter. Such is the calmative effect you should enter with spouse at your own financial risk.
– Climate-controlled penthouse
Meantime, the flybridge is accessed by an internal ladder (over which a gate can be added to contain the kids) and there’s been some remodelling due to the new raised saloon ceiling below. All you really miss out on, compared with the M48, is the dicky seat alongside the helm, which I never much liked at sea anyway, and some sub-dash storage space.
One big expanse of low-glare grey vinyl now runs across before the windscreen, concealing a sink, with a storage drawer below. The new raised dash brow has been designed to accommodate three 15in navigation screens, as is de rigueur on serious cruising boats these days.
Our test boat had upgraded twin Recaro seats — pure luxury for passage-making — as well as a Garmin GRID remote on the armrest that puts you in complete and remote control of the GPSMAP 8000 glass screens (t/c) without needing to lean forward from the helm seat.
Also welcome are the standard bow and stern thrusters, chain counter and wipers with intermediate setting. The Volvo EVC electronic engine controls with single level and optional low-speed and cruise control add to the driving pleasure, while the Webasto sunroof above and side-opening windows provide natural ventilation. There’s access to the air-con units behind the dash and space under the guest lounge base for lifejackets.
The standard guest seating comprises a longitudinal lounge for up to three before a decent teak table. But we saw another M50 with a forward-facing aft return on this lounge that added to the seating — it should be standard on the M50 in our opinion.
We’d also add the optional convertible double bed in the bridge for sleeping the kids on the go, for the skipper during bad nights on the anchor, or for those who snore. The bridge comes with a fridge and you can add a small television, too. As the staircase leads down to the galley, you can waltz up and down with breakie or lunch in hand while cruising.
But the best flybridge feature is surely the extended balcony that’s 15 per cent bigger than the M48’s. In fact, it’s so spacious you could mount twin sun lounges, plonk a bottle of fizz in an ice bucket on a stand, and kick back at anchor while taking in the superlative views. A coveted calm-weather station for sundowners.
– Extended hull and new engine-room layout
The M50 uses an extended M48 hull that is said to give 5-10 per cent  better fuel-consumption, says Greg Haines, Sales and Marketing Manager at Maritimo, owner of an M48, after a delivery from the Gold Coast to Sydney. The extended hull and running surface also leads to greater aft buoyancy to compensate for the fuel shifting to wing tanks in the engine room.
Removing the previous transverse fuel tank and using wing tanks further aft, with an enlarged 4000-litre capacity, has freed up a lot of space in the master stateroom. The downside is the reduced servicing room outboard of the twin 670hp D11 Volvo (test boat), Cummins 715hp QSM11 or upgraded 800hp D13 engines (M50 #6).
Herein a compromise for the full-beam master stateroom. But what would you prefer? Besides, in this day and age of electronic engines, one tends to call the experts for servicing and repairs. As the owner, you deserve to enjoy the living gains instead of giving it over to engines and mechanics.
The M50 has new bigger Lenco trim tabs with oversized flaps that are said to provide a big effect without a lot of drag. We didn’t need the tabs much during our drive, where the boat’s raised freeboard didn’t have a noticeable effect on stability, either.
Although the engine room is busier than Maritimos of old, the engineering has stepped up a notch. Those wing fuel tanks are integral GRP numbers with sight gauges, big inspections/servicing ports and external shutoffs. Each engine had a twin/redundant Racor fuel filter set and the hydraulic oil for the power steering was mounted nearby on the forward bulkhead.
The batteries are kept neat and tidy in rear-mounted boxes, while the air intakes have washable membranes. All the sea strainers come with clear inspection lids, the fluorescent engine-room lighting works off the inverter, while the 17.5kVA Onan will run the entire ship including tropical-strength air-con.
The sizeable 4kW inverter powers the AV systems, 24V fridges, GPO 240V outlets in the galley and a GPO in each cabin for, say, overnight charging. This way, you can hunker down without needing the gennie and drawing ire from surrounding yachties (who will then start up their old smoky diesel engines for power anyway).
There’s increased clearance over the engines and their turbos to prevent the galley floor getting hot — something that happened on early M48s — and renewed focus on reducing engine noise in general.
Elsewhere, like behind the saloon lounges, is terrific and much-improved access to the water pumps, charcoal drinking water filters and air-con units, which drain directly overboard via skin fittings rather than weep into sump boxes.
Note also that the M50 has six bilge pumps, in other words a back-up pump, in the three watertight areas. After extensive testing, Maritimo went with Whale pumps.
Underfloor, in the accommodation area, there are floor hatches to massive storage areas, the hot-water service and valves to switch the toilets from fresh to salt water. These bilge areas are ideal for storing plonk and, with some customisation, game-fishing rods, provisions and more.
The improvements to the boat’s engineering and build in general stem from a new independent six-stage survey process that checks laminates, electrical, engineering, build list, fit and finish and more. Leaks are found and ultimately eliminated via a vacuum process where water is ‘forced’ into the saloon, hatches and engine room.
Meantime, the business end or running gear includes 2 1/4in shafts with a low eight-degree angle (we’re told) spinning 30 x 37.5in five-blade Teignbridge props through 2.037:1 ZF gearboxes. And the variable-deadrise, handlaid hull comes with five-year structural guarantee.
– Sweet performance, big range, across the rev range
We had one of those magical Gold Coast days, sparkling true to the place’s name, where the sea is barely heaving, there’s not even a zephyr, and once clear of the entrance you can’t help but look north, along South Stradbroke Island, and dream about what might be.
As with all Maritimos, the M50 hull delivers across the rev range. We had a bit of tide, give or take a knot or so, while noting an easy transition to plane without needing trim tabs. There was full water but just one-third fuel and not a lot of ancillary items, food, tender or suchlike.
At 1550rpm, heavy-weather cruise of 16 knots saw a respectable burn of 95 litres per hour, 1750rpm returned 20 knots for 123 litres per hour, while 2040rpm gave 25 knots cruise for 165 litres per hour. Top speed offshore was 30.5-31 knots, meaning the M50 should remain a genuine 30-knot boat with the standard 670hp D11 engines. Sea trials with half fuel point to a top speed of 29.5 knots.
According to the official supplied data, 1700-1900rpm is the sweet spot in respect of litres per nautical mile. The former gives 18.55 knots for 126 litres per hour and 6.79 litres per nautical mile, resulting in a safe range of 529 nautical miles. At 1900rpm, cruise increases to a lovely 22.15 knots for 154 litres per hour, 6.95 litres per nautical mile, and a safe range of 517 nautical miles. Trust me, that’s all you’ll ever need, unless you want to sit at 8.65 knots for a range of 1382 nautical miles!
– Innovative leader in the 50ft class
Suffice to say, it was all very comfortable in the climate-controlled flying bridge, lounging in the new saloon, with the aft galley ready to serve, a big adjoining cockpit for outdoor pursuits, and the wonderful accommodation headed by the full-beam master stateroom below decks. It’s the clincher that makes the M50 a one-of-a-kind in the 50-footer shaftdrive league.
In short, this is a much better boat than the M48, which has proven itself with voyages from Queensland across the top to WA, to South Aussie via Bass Strait, through the Newfoundland fjords, hey, we’re even informed of a M48 that was stolen off a ship in the Malacca Straits and used a pirate boat.
Given what it achieves within the footprint, the deeper level of design, the improved quality, we’ll go so far as to say this new M50 could just be the best Maritimo of all time. Your search ends here, but the journey has only just begun.
Price as tested: $1,445,000 with standard 670hp Volvo D11s and optional teak laid decking to swim platform, extra powerpoints, Breezeway cover to inside of flybridge, Volvo controls to cockpit, teak laid decking to flybridge balcony, saloon stainless steel fridge, David Stewart soft furnishing package, Recaro helm chairs x 2, 32” Samsung TV to saloon and master, and more. Watermaker, tender and electronics needed.
Priced from: $1.39 million with standard 670hp Volvo D11 engines and a boatload of standard inclusions include bow and stern thrusters, 17.5kVa Onan, 4kW inverter and more.
LOA: 16.15m
Hull length ISO: 16.15m
Beam: 5.20m
Draft: 1.30m (max)
Weight: Around 22,000kg dry with twin Volvo D11 engines
Sleeping: 6+2
Fuel capacity: 4000 litres
Water capacity: 800 litres (plus 200 litre/hour watermaker)
Holding tank: 300 litres
Engines: Twin 670hp Volvo D11 common-rail diesel inboard engines with shaft drives, 2.037:1 ZF gearboxes, with 30 x 37.5in five-blade Teignbridge props
Generator: Onan 17.5 kVa
Supplied by:
Maritimo Offshore,
15 Waterway Drive,
Coomera, Qld, 4209
Phone: (07) 5588 6000

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David Lockwood of Boatpoint has come along with his Best 13 boat picks for 2013.

His pick for Best Australia Flybridge is as expected the Maritimo 50. No doubt he picked the Maritimo over the Riviera 50 for all the same reasons that I have laid out in my own previous posts.


This is what he had to say.

Maritimo M50 Cruising Motoryacht
Replacing the M48 of which 108 were built, the new Maritimo M50 Cruising Motoryacht is a way better boat that achieves the amazing by fitting a full-beam master stateroom below decks while retaining shaft drives. It’s the clincher that makes the M50 a one-of-a-kind in the 50-footer flybridge league.
Given what it achieves within its footprint, the deeper level of design and the improved quality, we’ll go so far as to say this new M50 could be the best Maritimo of all time. Your search ends here, but the journey has only just begun.
At the time of testing, the M50 was priced from  $1.39 million with 670hp Volvo D11 engines and a boatload of standard inclusions include bow and stern thrusters, 17.5kVa Onan, 4kW inverter and more.
Read the details on his full list of 2013 picks here.
To read my take on these two competing boats and details from past Boatpoint tests take a look at the following previous posts.

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As expected Boatpoint is the first to publish a Full and detailed Test & Review of the much hyped Riviera 50.


You can read the original here http://www.boatpoint.com.au/reviews/2013/flybridge/riviera/50-enclosed-flybridge/riviera-50-enclosed-flybridge-first-test-39332

Here is a copy of that Test and the photos included. Interestingly I believe that this test confirms a lot of the questions that I raised in previous posts prior to the launch of the First 50 Here and Here.

Also it seems that David Lockwood’s comments may also give some weight to the belief that Riviera, again despite their own hype, still need to build a few boats till they get it right, as you can read Here.

Here goes……


A big new 50 is born after hitherto new levels of design input and extensive customer feedback

LIKES – Deep level of thinking and considered design – Great fit and finish, attention to detail – Worldly interior with more export appeal – Three very comfortable cabins – Large indoor/outdoor living spaces – Loads of utility and great styling

NOT SO MUCH – Small engines save capital but 650-700hp a better fit – Some would-be buyers demand a full-beam stateroom – Dash brow needs to be lower to improve vision – Needs an extra handrail at the start of sidedecks around cabin

OVERVIEW – A very significant boat We have followed the in-depth design process of Riviera’s new 50 Enclosed Flybridge since the boat was designated a 49 on the drawing board early last year. The new-generation Riviera is a significant for several reasons, not least because it’s the first new model to be launched after Rodney Longhurst bought the iconic Australian boat builder in March 2012 and it promptly exited receivership.

One of the first things Longhurst did was return his friend, previous Riviera CEO and learned boat builder Wes Moxey to his former role. Moxey had worked for Riviera for 26 years and had just created a new brand called Belize using a virtual boatbuilding model and a yard based in Taiwan.

We mention this because Riviera now owns that Belize. That brand’s interior designer, Italian-born Giorgia Drudi, has helped craft the Riviera 50’s interior. It’s more European, exportable and worldly than you’ll find on Rivieras of yore.ge5272940067841649979


Meantime, some effort has also gone into reducing the visible bulk of the flying bridge and the 50 is a striking, well-proportioned, pretty boat. Yet it’s also a b-i-g 50, with Australian-sized cockpit, sprawling living spaces, and three seriously comfortable cabins with the seaworthy lines bolstered by high freeboard forward.

After a long gestation period stretching more than a year, the new 50 must surely be Riviera’s most considered new boat ever. Rather than whip-out a new model and attend to the details in the market place, as has been standard practice, Longhurst told us he wanted to get his boat right from the start. And at 6ft 3in (1.875m) tall, he makes a good walk-through model, we reckon. Hence the high head and shoulder room throughout the 50.

PRICE AND EQUIPMENT – Brimming options list lets you create your own special boat Our Riviera 50 Enclosed Flybridge was a demonstrator packed plenty of options to showcase the possibilities. From a base price of $1.435 million, the as-tested sticker was $1.619 million. This is with the base engines, a pair of 600hp Cummins QSC8.3s with Zeus pod drives, three joysticks and a Skyhook (station-holding) system.

They are modest engines for a boat of this size, giving 27 knots top speed, and fitted “for price point reasons,” we were initially told.

“Our 51s, which we don’t build anymore [but for the odd special order], were getting up to $1.8 million boats. We have this 50 coming in at $1.6 million as a replacement and it’s a very, very big 50,” Moxey told BoatPoint and boatsales.

As it was, the demonstrator had some key options to enhance your time aboard, the boat’s liveability and entertaining prowess. These included air conditioning, a sunroof, upgraded Pompanette Platinum helm chairs, and aft docking station (helm is forward) in the flying bridge.

The cockpit had second aft docking station (essentially a joystick), an icemaker, rod holders, rocket launcher and teak decks. But the standout item was the upgraded transom amenities centre with double barbecue featuring grill (dinner) and separate hotplate (breakfast). There was a 350kg Davco davit (awaiting tender) on the bow.

A clever option is the saloon lounge upgrade, where the starboard settee has a slide-out ottoman and fold-out table to create a breakfast setting, somewhere for cards or kids, an office work area and occasional table. Appliance upgrades included dishwasher, washer/dryer, plus underwater lights and provision for must-have watermaker.

The interior boasted soft-furnishing upgrades, leather, solid-surface galley and bathroom counters, bathware and more. The hull was painted in Mercedes Tenoritgrau (silver grey). The boat had three cameras covering cockpit, saloon and engine room, and there was an extensive Raymarine electronics suite including two 15in screens.

Clearly, Riviera offers a lot of kit so buyers can build their ‘own’ virtually bespoke boat, as flexibility is a must in today’s new-boat market. Not everyone does things the same, but you will find that Riviera is accommodating. That said, the 50 has some standard design features that create a great foundation of what is a very user-friendly boat.

OUTDOOR AREAS – Enhanced outdoor living space, extended deck, bigger amenities centre, inbuilt seating and vastly increased storage The outdoor spaces on the 50 cater for our way of boating, with a big beamy cockpit that’s desirably low to the water and, thus, well connected. Despite pod drives — the engines are forward and connected to jack shafts — there’s a decent amount of subfloor ‘lazarette’ storage in a larger central bin that can take a loose teak table and chairs. That’s important, as we’ll explain soon.

Storage also includes a side ‘fish’ bin with Gulpa pumps and side cockpit lockers with toe kicks, so you can lean outboard when fishing. There are new integrated Shorepower connections for one 32A or one 15A lead.

Although there are live-bait tank options instead of the central Kenyon barbecue centre, and while you can delete the swim platform and add outriggers, even a fighting chair, Riviera buyers are pleasure boaters foremost, often seasoned and brand loyal, and they prefer to cruise and kickback.

To this end, Riviera has done a sterling job of creating a cockpit living centre where you can pursue a vast array outdoor activities, entertain during raft-ups and relax in comfort. The new twin swing-out transom doors combine with (screw-out) rails along the swim platform to extend the cockpit space around the ‘island’ transom. Families with kids and dogs will love it.

Between anchorages, you can just haul in the watertoys, SUP and kayak and chuck it on the swim platform knowing the rails will prevent it all tumbling back overboard. We’d consider fitting a removable bait-cutting board with rod holders to one of the rails to create a veritable fishing pier, too.

The island amenities centre had the double barbecues plus a moulded 24V insulated top-loading fridge/freezer right where you want it. There is an additional second top-loading fridge/freezer in the conventional location back against the cabin bulkhead, and an optional icemaker opposite.

The moulded lids of all the fridges make comfortable impromptu seats, as they have always done, and the extra elevation of those against the saloon bulkhead lets them double as fish-spotting perches. However, instead of creating mezzanine seating, as with other sister ships, Riviera went for a portside inbuilt lounge under the awning that puts your feet on deck.

With those aforesaid loose table and chairs you can create a highly desirable lunch setting while having minimal impact on floor space, traffic thoroughfare and the expansive deck for those watersports and leisure activities. The addition of an extended Euro-style awning would be welcome on those blistering-hot summer days.

Details like an outdoor GPO, drink holders, LED lights and new more accessible location for the main battery breakers, in an overhead hatch, didn’t go unnoticed. No need to open the engine-room door to fit your keys and start the engines, though Riv’ actively encourages pre-start engine checks. Small clear side curtains add to the weather protection under the awning, too.

Recessed walk-around decks soon step up to conventional side decks, but there’s a transition before the bow rail that lacks any handrail support. It’s not a big issue, but one that needs addressing as it stood out during this writer’s neighbour’s tour of the boat. Riviera said it is onto it.

Engine vents are inboard and Marine Air Flow devised the ventilation system, with positive (24V fan) forced-air supply, passive extraction and two-stage mist eliminators. Such things are a point of difference to, say, the old Riviera 47s. Think long engine and engineering life.

The foredeck has an offset tender cradle so the escape hatch remains unhindered, there was a Davco 350kg davit, Muir windlass with concealed hand remote in place of visible foot controls, self-stow stainless-steel UltraAnchor and 70 metres of chain, plus fresh- and saltwater taps.

Looking back, the 50 has a pleasingly rakish lines enhanced by the curved-glass front window panes. It’s a sharper, cleaner look, with the flying bridge super structure visibly reduced thanks to black mullions.

INDOOR LIVING – Ticks more boxes with aft galley, enclosed bridge and abundant seating The rear-opening awning window and aft galley tick more boxes, not to mention those of the galleying gourmand catering forward or back aft of the U-shaped space traced with Corian counters. It’s packed with drawers for plates, pots, appliances, plus there are overhead cupboards and more storage opposite in the beautifully crafted wet-bar cabinet.

Between the galley and wet bar were four Vitrifrigo fridge drawers and one freezer drawer that, along with the two top-loading fridge/freezer units and icemaker in the cockpit — and yet another drawer fridge in the bridge — provide true liveaboard cruising refrigeration. Cheers.

The two-burner electric cooktop is perhaps a bit underdone, but there’s a combi microwave oven, upgraded drawer dishwasher and the wet bar with bottle and glass locker opposite. Nearby was the C-Zone digital switching and air-con controls, oh, and plenty of GPOs to run multiple appliances.

Riviera has gone the extra distance and lined the stair post with timber to really create an upmarket feel in the saloon. The open-grain satin oak joinery (cherry is an option, as is gloss finish) and rounded edges add to the sense of class and smart modern finish.

Of course, the internal stairs make for a safe transition to the flybridge, where there are abundant guest lounges and his and her helm seats that are height adjustable. With three-sided clears, plenty of natural ventilation and air-con, it’s comfortable travelling up top.

The portside helm dash was a tad too high, but the auto-like stitched vinyl brow will be lowered in future, we’re told. Controls included a Precision (auto)Pilot, Cummins engine-monitoring Vesselview, twin Raymarine 15in hybrid touch screens, C-Zone tank monitors, Muir windlass with chain counter, Zeus joystick and electronic shifts. You also get a separate stereo and wipers with freshwater washes and intermittent setting.

The aft-facing seats alongside the helm are a nice place to sit and chat to the skipper, while the big L-shaped aft lounge features a second dinette and, we’d insist, a convertible double-bed option. The amenities centre has been reduced in size, but you get that drawer fridge, a small sink with hot/cold water and garbo.

The moulded GRP table might look more befitting if it were teak and the open section under the lounges puts stored items on show. Perhaps the old-fashioned moulded lounge bases are a neater approach to storage. But it’s a lovely big bridge all the same, with oodles of communal cruising room in what, to the eye, presents as a sleek top storey offer unfettered views of the road ahead and wake astern.

Back in the saloon, you step up from the galley and staircase landing to the forward living area.  The saloon proper has a nice big dinette to port for six or even eight, which converts to a coffee table. More great views extend out the surrounding glass. The three-person settee opposite featured the clever optional impromptu pop-up table, which creates a breakfast/office/kid’s desk. It’s a design highlight.

There’s a large 40in flat-screen television and Bose AV system for when the sun sets. The master stateroom has a 26in LED TV integrated into the home theatre system, while a supplied 2.5kW inverter operates the entertainment system, one galley GPO and the icemaker when not on Shorepower. Or running the silent 13.5kW Onan generator.

ACCOMMODATION – Three great cabins, two big bathrooms and no compromises While a lot is made of full-beam staterooms in pod-driven boats, Riviera has made a conscious decision to offer three very comfortable cabins instead of one opulent master aft at the expense of the others.

The lack of a full-beam stateroom might come at a cost — the yard might offer it later — as the competing Maritimo M50 is built around that very thing. But that’s not to say this isn’t a comfortable owners’ boat and it will cater beautifully to an extended family.

Although the layout option is to have the master forward in the bow, the 50 Enclosed Flybridge demonstrator had what’s destined to be the more popular layout. The portside stateroom has an island double bed and en suite, the starboard cabin (alongside and also aft) has twin adult-length single beds (and TV with Xbox), while the VIP in the bow sports an island Queen and door to the second communal/ensuite bathroom.

All three cabins enjoy substantial hull windows and opening portlights and/or hatches for natural ventilation, while the beds, storage and floor space are mindfully liveable. In fact, the cabins remind us of those we come across on 60 footers from highbrow European yards. Wide companionways are kept that way by things like recessed opening doors.

The 50 also had a washer/dryer in the third cabin and a dedicated linen press, cedar-lined hanging lockers, mirrors, magnetic door catches, and big ensuites with Longhurst-sized showers, quiet extractor fans, natural ventilation, good room around the heads and, you should note, excellent floor drain and plumbing systems.

Such is the attention to detail and the overall effect is that of a truly luxurious 50-footer that will cut it at any boat show anywhere in the world. Meantime, with a convertible dinette, the boat can sleep eight very comfortably. Add the watermaker and you’re autonomous. Plus a tender and you’re away.

HULL AND ENGINEERING – A bit borrowed from Belize Built in Australia for local waterways, Riviera teams utility with cachet in a modest way. You don’t hear of any breaking and, if there is a service issue as happens with boats, the dealer network will take your call and help you on your way. Even on a public holiday.

The latest Riviera 50 Enclosed Flybridge builds on this tradition, while breaking altogether new ground for the Coomera-based business. The moulds were created at the Kha Shing boat yard in Taiwan, while a full-sized mock-up of the boat’s interior was built at the local factory. This way, Riviera could walk would-be customers through the boat and garner their feedback before finally shaping it.

To help keep the mould’s integrity, this Riviera 50 hull number one was actually laid-up in the Kha Shing and left it situ in the mould when it was shipped over. By the time the boat was fully fitted out it was some 600kg overweight. All future hulls will be made here to tight laminate schedules, with solid GRP out to and including the chines, cored decks and topsides.

A slightly shorter and taller version of the Belize 52, and with greater displacement, the Riviera 50 has a very similar running surface, we’re told. There’s a small solid GRP keel to assist directional stability and assist docking, that also reduces the boat’s drift rate and, a point not often mentioned with pod boats, prevents untimely skating on the anchor, a potential problems in tight places.

The hull carries its beam well aft at the chines and therefore has an innate ability to carry a good load back aft. The generator might be moved on future boats, as it was it sat up quite high on the forward U-shaped fuel tank. With a gas/water splitter and through-pod engine exhausts, this is a quiet boat even with all three engines running.

Engine room access is via a conventional cockpit hatch and the layout was all rather logical. The Cruisair air-con units are outboard with condensation drains, the strainer for the cooling pump has a clear inspection bowl, while those for the engines, with dipsticks on the centreline, have solid survey-standard strainers that don’t offer at-a-glance weed checks.

Single Racor fuel filters and coolant overflow bottles were forward, where there was virtual standing room, and the C-Zone brains were mounted high and dry. The fuel tank has sight gauges and remote shut-offs, twin fillers and stainless-steel fuel lines. There are two bilge pumps and a high-water alarm, plus fire-suppression system.

The twin battery chargers ensure quick-response charging. As with the Belize built by Moxey, the Riviera 50 Enclosed Flybridge is a step up in the engineering department.

ON THE WATER – Agile 50 turns off the wheel As is wont to happen, boat number one weighed a bit more than original targets. It felt heavy, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, being steadfast through the water. But it was no rocket ship and, well, we don’t feel the figures from this demonstrator are truly indicative of how this dashing new 50 will end up performing.

That said, the 50 turned off the wheel with alacrity and agility, without skating like some IPS pod boats, and in a tight arc without falling over, either. Offshore, in about 1.5 metres of sea and a similar swell, the ride was smooth and agreeable. The entry is quite fine, which was welcome when we hammered through some decent swells during a run-out tide on the Gold Coast Seaway.

One the way back home, powering down the tightly packed sea at the bar, the Riviera 50 responded swiftly to the wheel, allowing the driver to compensate for slewing and keep the big boat on an even keel. There was a lot of spray, mind you, but we were running hard at near-20 knots down one wave and through the back of the next.

Top speed offshore on the day was 26 knots at 2970rpm, while the official sea-trial figures with half load say 27.2 knots at 2990rpm. We don’t doubt we could have rung a tad more out of the boat. Cruise at 2580rpm, roughly 400rpm off WOT, produced 19.6 knots up-sea. Not fast, no, but definitely comfortable.

According to Cummins’ technical data, these cruise revs should see 157.8 litres per hour of fuel consumption Our maths says that will give a range of 335 nautical miles from 90 per cent of the 3000 litre fuel supply. According to the SmartCraft display on the dash we were consuming 170 litres per hour, which doesn’t seem quite right.

According to Riviera’s projections, the upgraded 600hp IPS800s will give a top speed of 30.1 knots and cruise at 2000rpm of 23.2 knots, which is where this boat should be. We’re told the gains with the IPS are due to a better torque curve and different gear ratio. There’s a $44,000 premium for these engines.

With the upgraded 700hp IPS900s, top speed of 32.3 knots is anticipated, with 2000rpm cruise giving 24.9 knots. These engines cost a $110,000 premium, but boats #2 and #3 have these 10.9 litre lower-revving options, with bigger pods and props for more purchase and, we predict, greater cruise economy. In fitting these, the 50 will be the first Riviera ever with a keel and IPS pod drives.

Having said that, Caterpillar is working on its own rear-facing pod drive system and a new 650hp@2300rpm 8.7L six-cylinder engine will be available here next year. It may well prove the top standard offering for the 50 Enclosed Bridge. We’re keeping a close eye on these new Cat platforms and pod drive and will report back when they arrive.

Meantime, back inshore, we called on the optional Zeus Skyhook function on the Cummins Zeus drives and, despite wind and tide, the Riviera 50 held its position automatically, using satellites, computer brains and engines, to stay in the exact same position. Handy while prepping the fenders and lines.

VERDICT – Class-leading fit and finish in a big 50 Australians have a thing for Riviera boats. Over 33 years they have proven unsinkable, are found from various epochs tied to marinas from Port Phillip Bay to Port Douglas and around the world, with the yard notching up its 5000th build late last year.

The original recipe for success is still relied upon today, but the intrinsically practical cruisers are now usurped by the 50, with a new level of fit and finish, deeper-thinking in design, and ultimately higher quality. Longhurst should feel proud.

Compared with its competitor, the Maritimo M50, the Riviera 50 Enclosed is slightly longer by 4cm, not as wide by 19cm, and heavier by one tonne on paper. This should make it a very good seaboat.

Time will tell on the performance front, as the twin 600hp Cummins QSC8.3s are modest base engines for a boat of this size, especially as #1 was laid-up in Taiwan and overweight, but we’ve got no doubt the new 50 has a long life ahead of it.

In each of the three cabins, the accommodation is terrific. But we’re betting a full-beam iteration will be available in the future for those who want that. The sole layout option as it stands now is to relocate the stateroom in the bow, where it gains an ensuite and slightly enlarged floor space.

Meantime, for the multigenerational boater and serious cruiser, it’s all here: sleeping for six to eight, good range, plenty of domestic power, abundant refrigeration, loads of lounging, a big cockpit, enclosed bridge with internal stairs, autonomy with a watermaker, and a great ride from what feels like a very nice hull.

With so many owners of Riviera 47s in the marketplace, the 50 should be a natural progression. Considered the ideal-sized cruiser these days, it’s not too big for a couple to command, not so thirsty that you’ll be chained to the fuel bowsers, yet its big enough to accommodate the extended family at holiday time.

Just a nice fit, Australian-made and world class.

Specifications: Price as tested: About $1,619,000 with twin 600hp Cummins QSC8.3 with Zeus pod drives and Skyhook, cockpit and bridge docking stations, flybridge air-con, Davco davit, teak-laid cockpit, transom barbecue, underwater lights cabin AVs, dishwasher, washer/dryer, opening stateroom portlights, painted hull, awning upgrade, upholstery upgrade, carpet upgrade, galleyware kit, Raymarine electronics, and loads more. Priced from: $1,435,000 LOA: 17.26m Hull Length ISO8666: 16.19m Beam: 5.01m Draft: 1.33m (max) Weight: Around 23,000kg (dry w/standard Cummins twin engines) Sleeping: 6+2 Fuel Capacity: 3000 litres Water Capacity: 700 litres Holding tanks: 150 litres Engines: Twin 600hp Cummins QSC8.3 turbo-charged, fully electronic, six-cylinder common rail diesel engines with Zeus pod drives   Supplied by: The Riviera Group, 50 Waterway Drive Coomera, Qld, 4209 Phone (07) 5502 5555 See www.riviera.com.au.

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words & photos – David Lockwood

Published : Friday, 11 October 2013

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The following is an article published on Boatpoint containing an Interview with the Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst in which he shares some insight as to how Riviera design and build boats nowadays and compared to years before. The headline refers to the old days and nowadays they aim to get it right “first time”

It’s an “interesting” read especially for any owners of Riviera’s with a low Hull Number (i.e. less than Nine !!)

2013 Riviera Update — Exclusive Boatpoint    http://www.boatpoint.com.au/news/2013/2013-riviera-update—-exclusive-37700

Some 18 months down the track, Longhurst stamps his mark on Riv

Last year’s exclusive Riviera catch-up was sub-headed “Lunch with new owner Rodney Longhurst” (left in above pic). Since that nosh-up, a lot of water has past under the bridge and down the mighty, miry Coomera River, where the boat-building yard is located.

For starters, the Longhurst family has acquired the 14-hectare luxury boat-building facility, the largest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, from the banks. You couldn’t ask for a more resounding vote of confidence in Riviera and Australia’s boat-building industry in general.

When we arrive, almost 18-months from his initial purchase in late-June, the difference is obvious. The gardens are neat and tidy, the hedges trimmed, there’s a spring in the step of those working on site… and boats are being built again.

We’re early, so I entertain the thought of calling this “brunch with Rodney Longhurst”. Only he doesn’t drink coffee. In fact, I’m unsure of his vices other than, perhaps, workaholism and an obsessive/compulsive eye for detail. This is what you want from a boat builder.

Over the past 18 months, Longhurst has been focused on Riviera’s future, restructured the business, reviewed internal processes and procedures, invested in new-model development, recruited new and better people for the job, and grown Riviera’s presence from that of a business in receivership to one that’s driven by his personal quest for perfection.

This differs from how boats, including Rivieras, were built in the distant past. When it was purely a numbers game, hulls were cut and shut, ‘new’ models were rushed down the production line to market, and then the bugs were ironed out.

The new Riviera 50 Enclosed, which is set to debut at the 2013 Sydney International Boat Show opening August 1, heralds a seismic shift in the way Rivieras are built.

The first all-new boat from Longhurst and returning CEO and good mate Wes Moxey has been more than a year in the making. To garner would-be owner input and get things right before pressing the ‘go’ button they created a full-sized walk-through mock-up of the interior.

Longhurst has been instrumental in the fine tune of the design and you can see his mark in respect of attention to detail. “It’s no longer acceptable to build a boat and wait till the 10th model to get it right. We have to get it right from the beginning,” he explains, echoing that Field of Dreams’ slogan that if you build it (right) they will come.

Indeed, it’s no longer a numbers game — it can’t be in this market — which ultimately means greater attention to detail. The upshot is less boats of greater quality. And that’s got to be good news for Riviera buyers.

NO LONGER A NUMBERS GAME In the 2012/13 financial year, Riviera delivered 50 boats, we’re told, including five Belize motor yachts. At the time of our visit, just over 20 boats were in build at the factory. They start at the ‘entry-level’ $900K-plus 445 SUV. We jump aboard the 43 Flybridge sistership (just over $1 million) to conduct our interview at the Riviera’s marina, as the rain pounds the tin roof above.

At the same time, boats are in build right up to a Riviera 63 Enclosed. Longhurst says Riviera is in discussion with some prospective buyers of their 75 flagship. Eventually, there is suggestion Riviera could go bigger.

While bigger boats are propping up the market, the new 445 SUV (launched 2012 Sydney boat show) has been a success. There have been 11 built in less than a year. South Australia has been a good market. But while Riviera still builds stock boats these days, mostly they are made to order.

The R Marine dealership model has changed. Riviera was finalising the sale of the last (Perth) dealership at the time of interview. This will see the boat builder withdraw entirely from the retail business. Riviera was working with GE Finance at the time of writing to create a product that will assist the new independent R Marine dealers to hold floor stock.

“But it’s not a numbers game any more. It’s not about building a whole bunch of boats and sticking them into the dealers hoping they’re going to sell,” says Stephen Milne (right in pic), Director of Brand and Communications. “Everyone enjoys the whole approach of customising their boats and doing different things to them. So we’re a little bit more of a bespoke boat builder these days.”

MORALE IS UP Meantime, 18 months down the track, Longhurst says his team has performed remarkably well. “The guys know there is an owner, the property has been purchased, there’s some real security and good morale. And that’s continuing day-by-day after these guys have been working under that fear of what’s going to happen through almost three years of receivership,” he says.

When asked if expectations and goals have been met after purchasing Riviera more than a year ago, Longhurst is philosophical. “If you were to ask me what the economy is going to be like in a year, I don’t really know. So I have to do the best I can with the team, week in and week out, and that’s the way we try and work. We focus on what we can control and do it the best we can,” he adds.

“I’ve come in here because I’m aware that Riviera is seen as a bit of an icon and seen as a premium brand. And the fact that it weathered those almost-three years [in receivership] is certainly a strong reason why I was willing to come in here. I also had total belief in the team. I knew Wesley [Moxey, returning CEO] well and believe that with the team — I’ve worked in construction, hospitality and tourism — we can do something special here. That hasn’t changed,” Longhurst says.

FINESSE AND EXPERIENCE “Rodney’s attention to detail is taking Riviera to another level. The ultimate expression of that will be the launch of the 50 at the Sydney International Boat Show. That’s an entirely new boat inside and out and in every respect,” Milne says in support of his boss.

Longhurst makes the point that Riviera is paying a lot of attention to experienced people these days — from dealers to owners and prospective buyers — to come up with practical solutions and continually finesse the boats. It’s on this basis that Longhurst forecasts business will improve this financial year because “we are going to give them [would-be buyers] reason… if we’re good enough the Riviera family and new customers will see that.”

“My view on all that is we are here to build Rivieras as the absolute premium brand and give fantastic support and we believe that will show in new-boat sales,” Longhurst says.

SECOND-HAND MARKET Longhurst doesn’t consider the thousands of Rivieras in the second-hand market as competition so much as a marketing opportunity. “We’re continuing to adopt new technology and to build better. We’re working on improving that great Riviera legacy. Every single new boat is a learning from the past,” he says.

As for resale values, Longhurst says that’s a supply/demand question and more boaters in the marketplace will drive up used-boat values and, ultimately, help make the trade up to a new Riviera more accessible. In respect of new boats and their intrinsic value, the best thing he can do is build the boats the very best he can.

“We’re the only manufacturer in this country that puts its hand up to fund educational programs like the Riviera Festival, with the Women on Water, Riv Kids and other things to teach people how great boating can be,” Longhurst says, adding that “Riviera is not an elitist brand, it’s a premium brand”.

MANUFACTURING PLANS As for manufacturing, the new Riviera 50 Enclosed had its moulds made in Taiwan. This is a first for Riviera and Longhurst says that remains an option going forward on a case-by-case basis. The reason for building the new 50 moulds in Taiwan was partly because of the scaled-back Riviera business and the difficulty in suddenly finding contractors here.

CEO Moxey, who has had prior dealings with the Taiwanese yard, fast-tracked the mould making. But Longhurst stresses that all the Rivieras are built in Coomera by a team of master craftsmen with decades of experience. That is what they have concentrated their effort at doing on the new 50.

As Riviera moves forward with renewed vigour, backing and resources, former employees who took flight are returning to the company. There’s a mix of young guys and grey hairs on the floor, with Riviera saying it’s getting more involved in [government-assisted] apprentice programs.

Less but more considered boats is the way forward. “You can’t have a situation where you build the first boat and get it right by the 10th. I’m not interested in that. If we can get it right on paper and through mock ups and that NPD (new-product development) process then the final finessing is much easier,” explains Longhurst, as his new 50 Enclosed approached launch day after more than a year in the design and planning.

FUTURE RIVIERAS Longhurst is playing his cards close to his chest, but says: “We are definitely working on new concepts.” At a Riviera press conference in May, CEO Moxey said Riviera was having internal discussions about smaller boats and where to set the point of ‘entry level’.

But there have also been strong suggestions about a new class of motor yacht or passage-maker branded Riviera. The drawings were published on the company’s website prior to it going into receivership. We understand some kind of announcement will be made at the 2013 Sydney International Boat Show.

Longhurst admits, conceptually, they are looking at other styles to potentially answer [ageing] customer demands. But in keeping with the new modus operandi, Riviera doesn’t want to rush anything. Longhurst says the design process is more protracted, considered and richer than before. This, he says, will lead Riviera to consolidating its position as the premium boat builder in Australia and establishing a sustainable manufacturing model.

But you also get the feeling it’s something of a personal quest or journey for Longhurst. “If I can build something that people take away and say: ‘I’m so happy with this’ then that’s the ultimate. I get to work with a team of people and show what Australians can do. That’s exciting. Because some people say: ‘you can’t do this and you can’t do that’… it’s all hogwash.

“We can build as well or better than anywhere else in the world. If we’re good enough in the way we manage our processes we can build cost effectively,” he says, just days after Ford announced it would be closing its auto factory in Melbourne in 2016.

As time proves, Longhurst is correct in forecasting the Australian dollar would retreat to more historic currency-exchange levels. Since our interview, conditions have improved for exporters. Riviera exported over half its boats in the 2012/13 financial year despite everything going against the yard.

Meantime, Riviera may expand the aftermarket side of the business, inhabit more space for apprentice programs or build bigger boats. But the intention and vision is to keep the 14-hectare site for marine use as, indeed, it is zoned. It might also sub-lease space to other marine-related industries if there’s demand.

Virtually next door at Coomera, the marine-service centre called The Boatworks belongs to Longhurst. It caters for marine servicing, fitout and aftermarket businesses. New additions and upgrades are expected there in coming years.

POD POWER Meantime, Riviera says since it first introduced the Volvo IPS pod drive system on the 43 Offshore Express and then the 4400 Sport Yacht in 2007, upon which your writer voyaged from the Gold Coast to Hervey Bay over the course of three days, the yard has experienced extremely good feedback.

Riviera still offers a mix of pod and shaft drives, the latter on its bigger boats, but it makes the point that IPS and Zeus pods have been instrumental in enticing new blood to boating. After building hundreds of boats with pod drives, it’s safe to say Riviera has been at the forefront of this revolution.

Longhurst adds that he’s been to Sweden, to the Volvo plant, and that they are pushing the technology hard and evolving it because they believe it’s the future. Additionally, Milne says: “You just don’t go to a boat show these days and find people asking: ‘do you have a shaft drive?'”

“The benefits that you get in terms of fuel economy, performance, quietness, internal space, handling and docking are significant. It’s powerful stuff when it comes to selling a boat,” adds Milne.

FAMILY BOATERS “We’re a united group here. It’s all about what we can achieve. The monetary side is important, but that’s the tool that sits behind everything we do. It’s exciting because every day we’re trying to improve. It’s not a matter of putting policy in place and sitting back. We’re actively striving and refining, finessing and improving every day,” Longhurst says enthusiastically.

The Longhurst family has long been keen boaters. From the Riviera stable, they have owned a 40 Aft Cabin, 51 Open Flybridge and Mariner/Riviera M430 sportscruiser. But decades before that, they had Bertrams. And father John, who built Dreamworld at Coomera after working 12-hour days with a digger for two years, made Pride boats in Sydney.

Longhurst recalls the test runs on those early Prides, hanging on around infamous Jibbon bombora just outside Port Hacking, where he grew-up at the family’s waterfront home. He remembers building boats in the basement with a handplane and towing them around the foreshore at Yowie Bay.

His brother Tony, a subsequent Australian water-ski champion and successful V8 touring-car driver, used to tow Rodney on the waterway. His uncle on his mother’s side used to race boats, too, and now has a Riviera 51 moored at a Sydney motorboat club.

His father John also started his own mower company assisted by then fledgling retailer Gerry Harvey. There’s a story in the family about making the first lawnmower from which Victa sprouted. Such are the entrepreneurial roots.

YOU JUST FIND A WAY But in terms of influence, his father John has had the greatest impression. “He always said: ‘Never give up. Always try, be better, and a bit different. You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.’ And if you roll-up your sleeves and have a bloody good go, you can do it,'” he says.

“That has been relentless. I’d come home from swimming races and be asked: ‘How’d you go today?’ I’d say: second. ‘Well, why didn’t you win?'” recounts Longhurst of the exchanges with his dad. “‘Because the other guy was fast,’ I’d answer. And dad would say: ‘So?'”

“But it wasn’t a matter of being a hard task master, he always had a belief that you find a way. You just find a way. Persevere and find a way,” he says, taking inspiration from his dad, now 80 years of age, who told him that turning Riviera around will be difficult but that it can be done.

“I remember people used to say my dad is crazy and he’ll never succeed,” recalls Longhurst, adding that he’s hearing the same kind of whispers about his venture now. Then you notice the glint in his eye, the steely determination, that he’s out to prove them wrong. He’s passionate about boating and, with three young boys, there’s a big future ahead. Adversity, it seems, is just fuel to the fire.

Some 18 months after buying the iconic boat builder, Riviera has changed. For the better. Evidently, there’s plenty more to come. Check out the new 50 Enclosed Flybridge to see where Riviera is heading following its acquisition by Rodney Longhurst and the high-achieving family.

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The following Press Release is from the Maritimo site on the following link. http://www.maritimo.com.au/news-events/news/2013/joystick-option-brings-boating-ease-to-a-whole-new-level.aspx


With some of the weather conditions that are experienced around Port Lincoln boaties often need all the help they can get in maneuvering their vessels in that part of the world and Maritimo 56 Motor Yacht owner Roy Wells is one step ahead of all his counterparts.

In fact Roy and his family are the first people in the world to be experiencing the benefits of a new addition to the joystick control system phenomena that has swept the marine industry in recent years and he says it takes vessel control to a whole new level.

An addition to the traditional joystick system called Express Positioning System (EPS) now enables skippers to manoeuvre their vessels to a desired position and heading and at the press of a button the system then controls automatically the propellers and proportional thrusters to maintain the desired position regardless of wind and tide conditions.

Roy’s Maritimo is the first vessel in the world to have the system fitted.

Maritimo 56

About to be released globally by Twin Disc the  EPS system is an option exclusively for shaft drive boat owners who have the company’s Express Joystick System (EJS) in place and it can be supplied with a new build or can be retro fitted.

The EPS operates off a roof mounted GPS receiver and has a colour display at the main helm. It enables boat owners to ‘virtually park’ their vessels in what ever position they like and the system will maintain station.

For Roy the benefits have been amazing. “We can all get into a bit of trouble docking in big weather and we get a lot of that around Port Lincoln,” he said.

“Even in a strong wind I can hold this big boat close to the dock for as long as I wish, it’s invaluable even when alone without a crew, press the hold station and you have time to set your fenders, sort the ropes all knowing you will stay were you have selected. The hold system buys you time even in a strong wind “I also use the system when I am out tuna fishing. “I have joystick controls in the cockpit and I can finesse the boat to keep the fish exactly where I want it with just my thumb and forefinger then hold the boat when and where I choose by a simple press of a button.

“The EPS option also enables me to position the boat right above a deep fishing hole and hold it there regardless of wind and tide without any need to anchor or keep drifting over a reef or select hot spot and returning to do another drift. “I can now position the boat much closer to those rocks to lay a cray pot down knowing I that I am safe and will stay in position selected.  “I would never consider without the hold station. “Imagine all those times you would just like to freeze the boat where it is, now it’s available, it makes boating more enjoyable and safer. It is remarkable.”

Twin Disc’s Pacific Managing Director, Glenn Frettingham said the company’s Express Joystick System released in 2011 was widely regarded as the smoothest and most precise joystick system on the market.

“The extension of this system is now the Express Positioning System and with our patented Quickshift transmissions we can proportionally control propeller and hydraulic thruster speeds and activate fast and smooth direction changes,” he said.

“The response is instant so the EPS can react quickly to change in wind and current. ” It enables skippers to maintain station in a wide range of conditions.”

Maritimo sales and marketing manager Greg Haines said the systems by Twin Disc made boat handling a breeze for all owners no matter what their experience.

“Many of our buyers are multiple boat owners and they are quite comfortable handling their vessels using engine controls only, but these new systems provide a level of precision and easy of operation that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago,” he said.

“The give shaft drive vessels a level of maneuverability that is superior to anything else on the market.”

Mr Haines said the response to the new systems by Roy Wells was testimony to the benefits they provided.

“It means that coming in and out of the dock, picking up a mooring buoy, maintaining position over a fishing hot spot, holding station to position fenders before docking and boating in bad weather are all now a breeze thanks to the combination of the joystick and the EPS option,” he said.

“I think you will see a lot more Maritimo owners looking at this addition to their vessels.”

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