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BOATS

BOAT TESTS

Riviera 47G2 Convertible

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. 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.

The saloon is equally clean and appealing, taking full advantage of the boat’s 16’1” beam and featuring grain-matched, satin-finish cherrywood (teak is an option) accented with high-gloss trim. The fully equipped galley-down, which also features enough stowage under the sole that I can fit my 5’7” frame in it comfortably, sports the same cherrywood and standard Corian countertops. It all complements the blue leather L-shape lounge and dinette seating; it’s a truly nautical feel that’s carried below to the three staterooms.

Space is abundant in the 131-square-foot cockpit that can be rigged for entertaining or fishing. (Kaufman even had an outlet installed behind a stowage area on the saloon bulkhead so he could plug in his barbecue.) But with the in-transom livewell, two in-deck fishboxes, and an in-cockpit bait freezer all standard, she’s almost ready for tournament time. I’d add some double-spreader outriggers, at least six in-gunwale rod holders, electric teaser reels and rocket launchers on the flying bridge, and a cockpit fighting chair or bolster. I might even lose the swim platform. Kaufman is a diver, so he had scuba-tank mounts placed in the roomy lazarette along with mounted boxes to hold spare props and prop parts.

One place where space is tight is in the engine room, which reminded me of the 40. Like the 40, the 47’s ER offers limited 4’5” headroom, and outboard access to the starboard engine is tough with the Glendinning Cablemaster forward of the engine and a battery bank aft. Inboard access to both powerplants is adequate, with 16 inches between them. This engine room, however, does have a diamond-like luster.

The Riviera 47G2 possesses a lot of the positive attributes I admired in the 40, but also displays the builder’s progressive nature. Riviera took a 47-foot convertible (Generation 1) that was a success on the water and in the marketplace, and felt it could make the boat better. I never had the chance to test the first-generation version, but I can say the 47G2 is a dual-purpose boat that should appeal to both the family cruiser and offshore angler. She’s sure-footed underway and has round-trip-canyon and Bahamas range with room to spare. She’s also a looker with a sleek, low profile similar to the builder’s 40-footer. If these are attributes you’re looking for in your next boat, the 47’s worth taking for a ride. And chances are, if you do, you won’t want to stop until you’ve tried running after a few horizons yourself.

Riviera Yachts
(561) 472-8800

This article originally appeared in the April 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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