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Southern Spars - North Technology

Power and Glory- Riviera's new 61 Series II

by Mark Rothfield on 9 Jun 2011
Riviera 61 has elegant lines from any angle Mark Rothfield
Because your next boat is always your best boat, the owners of the first Riviera 61 Series II Enclosed Flybridge to roll off the production line have had serious input. Barely a box went unticked on the order form for their 11th consecutive Riv in 20 years.

With the new 61 Series II, Riviera has created a superyacht distilled into a package that two people can handle. Because your next boat is always your best boat, the owners of the first Riviera 61 Series II Enclosed Flybridge to roll off the production line have had serious input. Barely a box went unticked on the order form for their 11th consecutive Riv in 20 years.


They started with a 33 Flybridge, then a 36 Flybridge and 4000 Offshore, before going back to an M290 as they moved waterways and needed a sterndrive.

That lasted six months until they upgraded to an M430, followed by an M360 and a few months later an M400. The M400 was two days old before they went to Sanctuary Cove boat show and ordered a 45 Flybridge on the spot.

A 51 Enclosed was next and they concurrently owned a 43 Offshore that was kept at Hamilton Island. All sold within a month at good prices as they were kept in pristine order. At the top end of town, buyers don’t like to compromise. They want to tweak things, so Riviera is becoming a semi-custom operation in the bigger boats.


With the 61, Riviera has attempted to create a pocket 70, a superyacht distilled into a package that two people can handle and one can afford to buy. With 3100 horsepower at its disposal - 1070 more than standard - the big Riv accelerates like a Jamaican sprinter all the way to 36 knots.

At this speed it drinks fossil fuel at the alarming rate of 600 litres an hour, though at 30 knots you're pulling a sedate 2000 revs and the consumption has dropped to a more eco-responsible 440 litres. Not even Bob Brown would complain about the fact that at eight knots you'll be using just 75 litres an hour.

It’s incredibly quiet upstairs and down as they’ve done a superb job with the engine room installation and acoustic dampening. Even when the turbos kick in there’s little engine whine and no wind or water noise on the hull.


Because the owners only cruise as two couples they selected the three-cabin option, which affords a larger forward stateroom with lounge seating. It gives equal space and treatment to the cabins, while adding light and airiness that might otherwise be closed off.

My candid camera is the best judge of internal light, and rarely did the auto flash raise its ugly head. Yet the Riv still has that aura of calm, understated luxury, via fabric panelled walls, plush carpet and soft bedding.


In its previous incarnation the 61 used to have a single door to the master cabin and the bed ran laterally (crossways). Now the door is double-width and the bed runs longitudinally, flanked by a topside window. Boat number two will feature the alternative fourth cabin with Pullman bunks, as the owner has three children.

Where the saloon lounge was previously aft to port and the dinette was forward to starboard, they've been brought together in the Series II.

Galleys move forward and aft like the tide but the current trend is to place them near the cockpit. The kitchen is the hub of any modern home, of course, and chefs like to be in the thick of the action. Here, they can stand in the galley and have 360-degree views.


The mezzanine dinette in the cockpit can be hand-fed directly through the rear Hopper window, so it won’t be just lunch, but breakfast and dinner too, that will get eaten in this alfresco setting, perfectly protected from the elements. If there’s one thing the owners knew after 11 boats it’s that they wanted no less than eight fridges and three freezers scattered throughout the boat.

It’s obvious from the outset that this is a floating holiday house for the owners, one that will be used for months at a time in the Whitsundays then taken back to Sydney for the summer. They are social types who enjoy entertaining.

Where owners used to tear up the coast on a Saturday morning, drop anchor, then return on Sunday afternoon, contemporary Riv owners are weekday warriors who disappear for long stretches, taking life at a leisurely pace. The hull remains faithful to the original Frank Mulder design, other than for a widening of the forward planing strakes to reduce spray.

It has undergone a paring and redistribution of non-structural weight to enhance performance and fuel economy. To sum up, the new Riv has lots of accommodation, lots of power, huge flybridge, aft galley, mezzanine seating, opposing lounge and dinette, and a price tag starting with a '2', not a Riviera Marine website

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