58 — By Richard Thiel
— April 2003
Thunder from Down Under
|All the commotion is outside on Riviera’s 40-plus-knot 58-footer.|
The first Riviera 58 I rode was Hull No. 1, last May at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show in Australia. It caused quite a stir among the locals, there not being a lot of 58-foot enclosed-bridge convertibles that can do 40 knots in the Antipodes. Truth be told, the 58 impressed me as well, not so much because of her size or speed, but more because of the eerie quiet in her enclosed bridge.
Eight months later I was aboard Hull No. 2—courtesy of Florida Yachts International, the Riviera dealer out of Miami —and this time not just for a ride but also to conduct a full test. The boat threaded her way through the dilapidated houses of Stiltsville, just south of the Cape Florida light, and I found myself revisiting my earlier impression, only now I had a decibel meter to quantify it. As the twin 1,400-hp Caterpillar 3412s neared their peak rpm of 2350, my sound meter struggled to reach 76 dB-A, and had it not been for an annoying gurgle emanating from the sink in the nearby wet bar, I doubt it would have broken 72 (65 is normal conversation).
Combine such quiet with air conditioning, a big leather L-shape lounge, and a pair of optional, electrically adjustable Besenzoni leather pedestal seats that offer superb sightlines forward, and the feeling on the 58’s bridge can devolve into the soporific. It not only becomes a challenge to stay alert, it’s hard to convince yourself you’re doing more than 45 mph, even when you’re heading into a nasty two- to four-foot chop. With the Cats a distant purr, the sensation is more Town Car than tournament sportfisherman.
What this space does not provide is much visibility aft, but that’s no real problem. A five-foot-deep observation deck handily covers that task, and its port-side control station (complete with wheel, engine/gear controls, Cat Vision monitors, bow thruster joystick, and VHF) ensures that the wheelman can position the 58 quickly for a fight or a docking. If you can’t bear to leave the comfort of the enclosed bridge, you can always rely on the nifty standard Clarion AM/FM stereo/CD player/CCTV, which provides live views of the cockpit, as well as the saloon and engine room, on its 6 1/2-inch pop-up monitor.
But sooner or later, you will have to leave, and when you do, you’ll do so by an athwartships ladder that leads from the observation deck to the cockpit; a hatch up top is a good safety feature, although the clip that holds it open let loose when we hit some chop, allowing it to slam shut, which could create quite a headache for anyone unfortunate enough to be in the way. At the base of the ladder, under the step leading into the saloon, is a refrigerated drink box, and to starboard of it, a small console with insulated stowage on top and three tackle drawers on the bottom, not the most convenient placement. To port of the saloon door, a console hides the door to the engine room, a sink, and a deep bait freezer. Behind a wide hatch above this console, shelves provide room for miscellany like artificials.
There’s more stowage in this cockpit than any similarly sized convertible I’ve been on, mainly because the fuel tanks are forward of the engines. That leaves space for a big lazarette immediately abaft the console, fishboxes to port and starboard of the fighting chair, and yet another lazarette immediately abaft the chair. There’s also plenty of under-coaming stowage in a variety of compartments, and the two-piece transom door-gate sits just to starboard of centerline, next to a deep in-transom livewell.
This article originally appeared in the March 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.