Riviera 33 Convertible — By Capt. Ken Kreisler —
Filling the Bill
Riviera’s latest convertible bridges the gap for a variety of boaters.
What do you do if you’re no longer an entry-level boater and are now looking for a small convertible? Or if you’re an express-cruiser owner ready for something different? Or maybe you’re an offshore fisherman with a center console who wants a better ride and more creature comforts? If you happen to fit into any of these categories, what you might do is have a look at the Riviera 33.
Although she’s the smallest Riviera, the 33 has many of the qualities that have made her larger predecessors—the 37, 40, 42, 47, 51, and 58— so successful. These include a Frank Mulder-designed hull, solid-fiberglass bottom, and forward collision bulkhead. Moreover, she’s the first Riviera built with what the company calls Operational Task Sequencing, a production system in which workers with specialized expertise follow the boat through production to ensure the work they perform is properly integrated into the rest of the building process.
Another first is an underwater exhaust system that PMY covered back in January (“A Better Exhaust System?”), which, among other things, reduces exhaust-related sound levels. At WOT I recorded just 85 dB-A on the 33’s open bridge (65 is the level of normal conversation) and also noticed considerably less exhaust smell, due to the fact that gases don’t bubble to the surface until well aft of the boat. Also new to the 33 are propeller pockets that reduce her shaft angle and thereby lower draft to 3'3". Riviera also claims they improve performance: Lowering the shaft angle lets this boat get good performance out of the only engine package offered, a pair of 310-hp Volvo Penta diesels. After piloting her through the calm waters of the Gulf on test day with a full tank of fuel (264 gallons), I had to agree. We hit an average top speed of 33.3 mph (three seems to be this boat’s magic number), and the boat turned on a dime with little rpm drop, for which Mulder’s running surface gets some credit. When I settled her into her 32.4-mph (28.1-knot) fast-cruise speed, I calculated a range of 240 miles. She tracked straight and true, and with that 3'3"draft, you’ll have plenty of room to poke around skinny water before raising your pucker factor.
You’ll also have plenty of room on the bridge with a control station package that will make both the fisherman and the cruiser happy. Our 33 was equipped with the standard bimini top; a hardtop is optional. Sightlines were excellent on all points, including aft, making backing down on a big fish or backing her into a slip a snap. Driving comfort is tops, with the starboard helm offering plenty of console room for mounting electronics—my 33 had the optional Raymarine C120 multifunction 12-inch display installed (See “Three in One,” this story) and ample seating areas forward for guests.
This article originally appeared in the February 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.