In the summer of 2001, I logged 1,000 quite-happy miles onboard PMY's company boat, Office Ours. She was a sleek-looking 40-foot convertible from Queensland, Australia-based builder Riviera ("Season in the Sun," January 2002). I fished her in several tournaments, ran her down the East Coast, and had awesome fun just horizon chasing. The boat offered a great ride as well as a home away from home on road trips. At the time Riviera was still a relatively new player in the U.S. market, and that year it sold about 40 convertibles here.
Now it's 2006, and I'm in Riviera Beach, Florida, once again at the helm of a Riviera, this one the recently revamped 47 Convertible called the 47G2 (Generation 2). And just as this builder's boats have grown in size over the last several years-its models now range from 33 to 60 feet-so has its market share. In 2005 Riviera sent about 113 convertibles our way, and the 47 has been a big part of that growth.
"It's been our best seller," says Scott MacFarland, director of marketing for Riviera Yachts of the Americas, as I sit at one of the 47's two electrically adjustable Stidd helm seats (an $11,948.50 option) and anxiously await putting the hammer down on the Twin Disc QuickShift throttles. The 47's flying bridge feels much like the 40's, albeit with expanded guest seating. There's a similarly situated starboard-side helm with room in the contoured console for the two MTU LCD engine readouts and an array of electronics, such as the optional Northstar 6000i plotter and radar and Simrad AP26 autopilot and IS12 depthsounder with three repeaters in various locations.
Why the three repeaters? Jim Kaufman, the boat's owner and also chairman of Riviera of the Americas, is an avid cruiser who often visits the Bahamas, where reefs can mean disaster to the sturdiest boats; even one with a solid-fiberglass hull bottom stiffened with balsa and Divinycell cores above the waterline and a forward collision bulkhead, like the 47. With the repeaters at eye level, above his head, and at the front of the flying bridge, Kaufman can always read depth without taking his eyes off the water. And hopefully he won't need that collision bulkhead.
After double-checking the depth (how could I not?), I push the single levers forward, and the twin 825-hp MTU Series 60 diesels (a $106,978 upgrade) spool up in a smooth, cadent manner. The 47's modified-V hull-which was changed from the first-generation 47 to include tunnels for reduced shaft angle and underwater exhausts to keep the boat quiet and reduce smoke in the cockpit-comes up on plane in about eight seconds. Within 27 seconds, the 47, running without tabs deflected, is shooting across the light chop on Lake Worth at 40.9 mph. The diesels, which are matched to a pair of four-blade, 27x37 S&S propellers, turn an acceptable 2320 rpm. When I dial them back to a 2000-rpm cruise, my test boat motors along at 34.4 mph. Her Edson Destroyer wheel feels as solid as the standard hydraulic steering it is attached to.
Sightlines are clean in all directions, and visibility ahead is enhanced with the optional front EZ2CY hard-clear enclosure. There is no warping or distortion when looking off to the sides or where the enclosure wraps around the hardtop. The side and aft enclosures are constructed of softer Strataglass.
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