40 Flybridge Convertible — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
— January 2002
Season in the Sun
|From halfway around the world, Riviera sends its Flybridge Convertible for a summer at sea.|
Fosters may be Australian for beer here in the States, and Great White and Greg Norman may instantly bring to mind sharks. But Riviera is Australian for boats. The Riviera 40 Flybridge Convertible is sleek and white, stealthily slides through the water like its pelagic compatriot, and makes an excellent predator.
A hybrid of sportfisherman and yacht and last year’s PMY project boat, our 40 raised more fish over three summertime shark tournaments than I had shark tags available. The total? Thirty-six brought to the boat and another five or so broken off. In addition, our long-term test boat took my crew and me across nearly 1,000 miles of ocean, and to a variety of cruising destinations with all the creature comforts of home. My Odyssey (minus Sirens, of course) started the first week of June at the two-day South Jersey Shark Tournament–the perfect kickoff to summer–and ended with a cold October test day and 30-plus-mph winds driving against Office Ours’ hull.
My crew for the inaugural voyage included PMY’s David McGee and fishing buddy Paul Jennings. We left New York Harbor and headed south to the Canyon Club in Cape May, New Jersey, on a flat ocean, a run of about 140 miles, which we covered in just 4 hours, 40 minutes. With her aft tank full (473 gallons) and her optional forward tank (160 gallons) empty, Office Hours made an impressive 27.5-knot cruise, her twin 535-hp Cummins QSM-11 diesels burning 38 gph at 2050 rpm, according to the Cummins Engine Data display. (On her October test day, she showed consistent performance: 26-plus knots and 36 gph at 2000 rpm on the Shrewsbury River in New Jersey in a steep three-foot chop.) The Cummins were clean-burning, powerful engines, but on this boat power came at the price of engine room space. At 5'7" and 160 pounds, I found getting around them tough, thanks especially to the protruding air cleaners and limited outboard access. Riviera also offers 450-hp Cummins as standard and 480-hp Cummins or Volvo Pentas, all of which are about six inches shorter than the 535s. The Volvo Pentas are also several inches narrower. You’ll get some more space with these options, but you’ll also give back a knot or two at cruise and the top end.
The first morning was bedlam at Cape May Inlet as 200 captains jockeyed their boats for position. The 40’s sleek profile and rounded contemporary lines accented with black and gold boot stripe and matching black and gold Rupp outriggers, however, had more owners slowing to give her the once-over rather than pass her by. Holding position until the last possible moment, the committee boat gave the okay, and boats flew out the inlet like New Yorkers exiting a subway car at rush hour.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.