The Riviera 50 Sports Motor Yacht shares the same hull with the manufacturer’s 505 SUV. The 50 Sports Motor Yacht adds a flying bridge and the aft area can be filled with isinglass for three-season cruising.
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Load||5 persons; 680 gal. fuel; 164 gal. water; 50 lbs. gear|
|Climate||76 deg.; 45 humid.; winds: 5-10; seas: <1|
2 x 725-hp Volvo Penta D11 IPS 950
Riviera 50 Sports Motor Yacht
Brief Summary. Riviera took the popular 505 SUV and added a flying bridge to create the Riviera 50 Sport Motor Yacht. She’s a Bluewater capable yacht with an elevated and protected operating station. Below it has a spacious salon and galley on a single level. Accommodations include three cabins and two heads, including a full beam master.
Riviera designed the 50 SMY to pamper her owners in luxury while providing a premium-level entertainment and cruising platform. She embodies all the most sought-after features of her larger siblings, in a smaller package. Her full-beam master stateroom includes a private ensuite and walk-in closet. Guests will receive VIP treatment in one of two private guest staterooms with a shared head. As with all Riviera yachts, the 50 SMY is a capable offshore cruising yacht.
- All weather al fresco mezzanine entertaining. This raised area allows for entertaining in a protected area while still enjoying the fresh outdoor air. Clever starboard-side seating converts to a daybed with no tools required. A pedestal-mounted folding table enhances the utility of the space, and it can be enclosed in glass, strata-glass or both. Two electric sunroofs overhead allow plenty of ventilation into the yacht.
- Internal stairs to the flying bridge. Most builders will eschew this design treatment in favor of maintaining more entertaining space in the salon. However, this internal stairway allows for traversing from one weather-protected area to another without having to go outside.
- Twin transom flush-opening doors. This provides full walkaround capability to the transom.
- Recessed ground tackle. The windlass and roller are recessed into the bow for a clean look. The polished Ultra anchor self-loads through the stem holder.
- IPS 950 pod drive propulsion or shaft drive.
- A wide-open cockpit promotes entertaining, diving or fishing.
- Cockpit wetbar with grill, barbecue, LED lighting, top loading refrigerator/freezer, integrated rails.
- Spacious foredeck. Choose a cradle and davit to store and launch a tender or a huge sunlounge with chaise-style backrests. Massive storage lockers are to both sides.
- Fully integrated C-zone digital switching.
- Hydraulic swim platform.
Riviera builds luxury yachts across nine different categories…Motor Yacht Enclosed, Motor Yacht Open, Flybridge Enclosed, Flybridge Open, Sports Motor Yacht, Sport Yacht, SUV, Belize Daybridge and Belize Sedan. This 50 SMY represents the fourth, and now smallest of the popular Sports Motor Yacht series that also includes the 72, 68 and 64.
The Riviera 50 SMY has a length overall of 55’10” (17.01m), a beam of 16’3” (4.96m) and a draft of 4’9” (1.45m). With an empty weight of 56,218 lbs. (5500 kg), 78% fuel, full water and five people on board we had an estimated test weight of 62,586 lbs. (28,389 kg).
With twin 725-hp Volvo Penta IPS 950 pod drive engines run up to 2560 RPM our speed topped out at 33.8 knots. Best cruise came in at 2000 RPM in 22.6 knots. It was at that speed that the 44 GPH (166.6 LPH) fuel burn translated into .5 NMPG and a range of 403.3 NM.
With that said, I did find that my head gravitated more towards 2100 RPM and 24.5 knots consistently in our light conditions of less than one foot of windblown chop. At that speed our fuel burn was 49 GPH (185.5 LPH) and the range was 392.7 NM… just a 10.6 nautical mile reduction in range for a two-knot increase. If we bring the throttles back, she’ll hold plane right on down to 13.2 knots which bodes well should the seas really start to build.
The 50 is a remarkably comfortable yacht to drive. We were in the inland waterway, so I don't have a lot of choppy wave conditions to talk about. In calm conditions, with a little bit of windblown chop, there’s just not much to talk about. With the mild sea conditions with the chop from passing yachts, we did find that as we cut through those waves there was no hull slap nor any pounding… she just slices right through.
This is a yacht that’s comfortable to drive, especially around the dock. She's very maneuverable so don't lean on those throttles… just put it in and out of gear. She’ll respond very quickly and very easily. The bow thruster isn’t overly powerful, just enough to get you maneuvering back and forth without shoving you up against the dock. My favorite feature remains the opening side window. Just leaning out gives a full view of the whole side while an operator can keep a hand on the stick the whole time.
Since the major difference between this yacht and its predecessor, the 505 SUV, is the addition of a flying bridge we’ll start our features inspection there. It’s accessed from a set of internal stairs to the starboard, just across from the galley.
This elevated gathering area not only brings the only control station to a higher vantage point, but it also adds another entertainment venue. It starts with U-shaped seating surrounding an expandable pedestal table. The aft section of the seating has a ratcheting backrest that allows for it to be elevated for dining at the table or lying flat to create a lounger that takes advantage of the wraparound bolster that continues across the flying bridge. As for the table, in either the open or closed positions, it allows for taking advantage of the integrated beverage holders. With this table being on a hi-lo pedestal, the area can be converted into a daybed. Additional seating is located across from the helm in the form of a two-across bench seat with an L-shaped backrest.
To the aft starboard section there’s a refreshment center with a Corian countertop supporting a stainless-steel grab rail and a recessed single basin sink. Below there’s storage for a trash receptacle alongside a refrigerated drawer. To the aft side there’s an optional control station that consists of an IPS joystick along with the engine start/stops. This allows for backing into a slip with a much better view of the stern than the forward mounted helm could provide.
The entire flying bridge is protected by a hardtop 6’2” (1.87 m) off the deck. A grab rail runs down the center of the hardtop and to the sides up front there are two skylights with opening hatches and sliding shades. There are forward and side windows of tempered glass, while the aft and stern sides are set up for standard Isinglass enclosures.
If there’s a desire to keep the aft half open, then there’s an option for doing so by deleting the Isinglass and adding lifelines between the open spaces below the aft wraparound bolster. That said, all the materials in the flying bridge are exterior grade and weatherproof. Even the hatch over the stairs is watertight.
The helm is forward and to port in the flying bridge and this is the only helm station on the 50 SMY. At the top of the panel, there’s a compass, center-mounted rather than in line with the operator. Our test boat was fitted with 3 16” (40.64 cm) displays from Garmin mounted to a fabric covered panel so glare is a non-issue. There are two climate control vents flanking the whole console, and that knocked down the greenhouse effect on our hot South Florida day. The stereo and SeaKeeper panels are below the main Garmin displays.
A flat panel houses a C-Zone screen, the Volvo Penta display, a windlass remote and a remote for the Garmin displays. Another is mounted back to a more accessible location from the seated position.
As for the engine controls and the IPS joystick, they’re located over to the port side, right below a sliding window. So now we can have our head outside, giving a full view of the port side, while keeping a hand on either control. This significantly eases the docking capabilities of any operator.
Seats are from Pompanette and are fully featured with fore and aft, height and recline adjustments. Both have flip armrests. There’s an option for flip footrests that I think should be selected on every build because when sitting back the feet are dangling and that gets old fast. A footrest below the console helps but one needs to be sitting well forward in the seat to utilize that.
The stairs leading to the main deck are a wonderful example of the skill level of Riviera’s woodworking artisans. At the base there’s a curved bulkhead with excellent joinery and finish work. Our test boat was treated with gloss Walnut. Optional treatments include a satin finish as well as Cherry or Light Oak wood. Inside this curved bulkhead there’s bottle storage. Additional storage is underneath the stairs including a refrigerated drawer to supplement the galley appliances just across. Remaining storage is in drawers, and some even have sorters for glasses and stemware.
On the 50 SMY, the galley is aft and to port. It’s U-shaped and the white Corian counters make an attractive contrast to the gloss Walnut cabinetry both high and low. A covered trash receptacle is in the forward corner of the counter, right next to the single basin stainless-steel sink with both fresh and filtered water. To the port section is a double burner electric cooktop. Below are a convection microwave and two refrigerated drawers, one of which will be a freezer. There’s storage both high and low, as well as on the end cap by the doorway to the aft deck.
Speaking of the aft deck, we can seamlessly join that aft gathering area with the galley by opening a glass window. It lifts and latches against the outside overhead allowing the host to remain in the center of the two main gathering areas of the main deck… the aft deck and the salon. All interior decking is synthetic.
Just inside the door is a C-zone panel that gives us electrical control of all vessel systems in addition to tank monitoring. This is in addition to the Siren monitoring system that is installed as standard equipment on every Riviera.
The salon is just ahead and is full beam. The decking is on a single level and the only transition between the galley and the salon is the ceiling height increasing from 6’8” (2.03 m) to 6’10” (2.08 m).
With the only operating station being in the flying bridge, much more room became available to the salon. It’s well-lit thanks to the large windows surrounding the area, including optional opening side windows and electric blinds. Aside from the lack of a lower helm, the major difference between this yacht and its sister ship, the 505 SUV, is that there are no skylights in this salon.
Seating consists of L-seating to port and U-shaped to starboard, divided by the companionway to the lower deck and ending in gloss wood armrests with upholstered padding that matches the sofas. Both include storage underneath, and they are on elevated platforms 10” (25.40 cm) higher than the deck level. The port bench has an expandable table for dining and it’s on an optional hi/lo pedestal. Additional storage is in drop-down panels in the overhead, suitable for fishing rods. Forward and to port is a flip-up 32” (81.28 cm) TV.
Just past the galley is the raised mezzanine that will serve as the main exterior gathering area on the 50. It’s accessed from a stainless-steel framed tinted glass door that opens 25” (63.50 cm). There’s opposing seating with the bench to port having an expandable pedestal table with integrated beverage holders, and there’s also a freestanding ottoman. The bench-to-starboard easily converts to a day bed. An optional 32” (81.28 cm) TV is available.
All of this is under the protection of the extended overhead 6’8” (2.03 m) off the deck. Protection from the sides is via glass partitions inside the side deck. Behind, choose from Isinglass or mesh, or even a combination of the two. Behind the seating is the main breaker panel and battery switches.
While in this mezzanine level, we should also discuss the engine room as it’s accessed from a deck hatch between the opposing seats. Inside there’s headroom just short of standing height at 5’2” (14.57 m). There’s 40” (101.6 cm) between the two 725-hp IPS-950 pod drive engines.
The pods are moved a bit aft of the engines, so they are driven by jackshafts. Moving around the engine room we’ll start aft and to port with the 21.5 kW Onan generator. Above is the chilled water air conditioner and water maker. Vent fans are to both sides and provided by Delta T. The fuel tank is forward and sight tubes are provided for level checks at a glance. Single Racor filters for each engine are standard, dual sets are optional. Aft and to starboard is the hot water heater and tank and the refrigeration for the cockpit freezer. Our boat was also fitted with the Seakeeper 9 gyro stabilizer that’s offered as an option.
From an owner/operator standpoint, everything is easy to access and remarkably well labeled. All maintenance access points are easily accessible so no need to be a contortionist. Even the engine mounts are torqued down and marked with a paint stipe to easily see if backing off occurs. All hoses are properly double clamped, wire runs are supported appropriately to certification specs… overall it’s just a well thought out engine room.
Two steps down bring us to the 13’ x 4’3“ (3.96 m x 1.29 m) cockpit deck surrounded by 30” (76.2 cm) high bulwarks. This area lends itself to all sorts of activities, whether it be diving, swimming, fishing or even cookouts. Two modules are forward and on our test boat, the port one includes a grill, griddle, sink and beverage holders all under a hinged cover surrounded by a stainless grab rail. Underneath is storage. To starboard, this module has an electric freezer box with an icemaker underneath. As for the deck, it’s available in non-skid fiberglass or natural teak.
There’s a transom with a livewell in the center. To both sides there are doors leading out to the swim platform, and this creates a full walk-around transom… great for large gatherings. The platform is hydraulic and has a lift capacity of 350 kilos (771.62 lbs.) so go ahead and add a rib, a PWC or your large uncle Bob.
The bow is accessed by two 10” (25.4 cm) steps leading to the side decks with an average width of 17” (43.18 cm). Toe rails come up 12” (30.48 cm) and rails top out at 33” (83.82 cm). Rather than have a side deck to one side to garner more interior space, Riviera went with a symmetrical layout with the side decks to both port and starboard. An option we highly recommend is the addition of a rail to the cabin side, just aft of a standard rail forward. At midships there’s another 10” (25.4 cm) step before we reach the bow with a 10” (25.40cm) midship cleat right alongside.
Another gathering area is at the bow and this includes an optional 82” (208.28 cm) lounge with adjustable head sections allowing for chaise lounge style relaxation. Rails are to both sides and both have integrated beverage holders. Storage is underneath and to both sides.
The ground tackle consists of a Muir windlass leading out to a thru-the-stem roller. There’s a chain stopper and cleat right alongside. The supplied anchor is a 35-kg (77.16 lb) Ultra anchor with a stainless swivel. Access hatches are to both sides. To port there’s a compartment with fresh and raw water washdowns and a wired remote. The starboard leads to a large compartment that lends itself to fender storage as well as rode locker access. There’s a sizable drop that should remove any misgivings about rode tangles.
The 50 SMY is a three-stateroom, two-head yacht. The master is full beam and located just aft and is accessed to port of the companionway.
The master stateroom includes a center-mounted, nearly queen berth at 75” (190.50 cm) x 60” (152.4 cm), a lounge to starboard under the hull side window, and a storage credenza to port under that hull side window and both windows include opening portlights that are alarmed to the helm when opened. Headroom at the entrance is 6’1” (1.85m). In front of the berth, it’s reduced to 6’ (1.82m) which still leaves 37” (93.98 cm) over the berth. At the forward bulkhead there’s a 43” (109.22 cm) TV. The foot of the berth lifts to reveal even more storage. Over the hull side windows is additional storage that extends under the side decks.
Just at the entrance to this stateroom is the master head. It is accessed from a sliding door so there’s no intrusion into the walk space leading in and out of the stateroom. Inside, there’s a hull side window with portlight for natural ventilation. Of course, there’s an electric vent fan as well. The Corian counter has a vessel sink. Storage is above and below. Aft is a walk-in shower.
Ahead of the master head is another door and this leads to a utility room. This space lends itself to a myriad of uses, most notably is additional storage… a pivotal role of an ocean-capable cruising yacht.
Across to starboard, and just at the bottom of the companionway, is the guest stateroom. This features twin berths in an over/under configuration, each measuring in at 76” (193.04 cm) x 31” (78.74 cm). the lower bunk gets the hullside window and opening portlight. A hanging locker is right alongside.
A shared head is just forward, and this will also serve as a day head. It includes storage above and below a vessel sink atop a Corian counter. Another hullside window with an integrated portlight is over the sink. A walk-in shower is just alongside. Across from the head is a stacked washer and drier, and with the doors opened they can slide in alongside the appliances.
The VIP is located fully forward, and it’s configured in the typical fashion of a 76” (193.04 cm) x 57” (144.78 cm) island berth accessed from both sides. Hull side windows are to port and starboard and we’re happy to see the Riviera takes advantage of the dead space above these windows to add storage cabinets… a thoughtful touch that so many builders seem to neglect. Additional storage is in hanging lockers to port and starboard in addition to four drawers under the berth. We can also lift the foot of the berth to access still more storage. There’s 6’1” (1.85m) of overhead height which leaves 37” (93.98 cm) over the berth. A 24" (60.96 cm) TV is to the aft bulkhead. There’s a private entrance to the shared head to starboard.
Riviera yachts are designed in collaboration with 4D Designs and Riviera’s in-house design team. All are constructed to exacting standards giving an exceptionally smooth ride while maintaining low noise levels at cruise speeds. Throughout the 50 SMY we found exacting detail, precision joinery and superior finish work. Her hull is hand-laid with quad fiberglass matting over a Vinylester resin sealed foam core creating a strong base for the entire yacht. All hull and deck finished have elevated impact resistance with nearly 20mm thickness below the waterline. All major structural components are GRP for added strength and durability. All deck to hull joints are mated with a three-step process… bonding, bolting and internal fiberglass strapping. A simple glance at the engine room shows color-coded wiring looms and water lines and all are tagged for identification.
The 50 SMY certainly puts a lot into a small package, but Riviera seems to have pulled off the task without making the yacht seem overcrowded or cramped by adding so many features. She may not be as big as her siblings but there’s no lacking of comfort, style and certainly luxury. As for her cruising abilities, just saying that this is a Riviera should be enough, but when that won’t suffice, just schedule a test drive and prospective buyers will be just as convinced as we have come to be with the brand.