To understand the new Riviera 68 Sports Motor Yacht one must understand Australia. Australia is both a continent and a country surrounded by the infamously unpredictable Indian Ocean, Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean. Its major cities, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide are all coastal. It is the home of the Great Barrier Reef and heritage of amazing offshore fishing. To the north and east of it is probably the world’s most exotic and beautiful cruising ground.
The Riviera 68 Sports Motor Yacht is a true long-range, luxury motoryacht. She is built for owners who want to take their boating far afield while still being able to fish effectively and enjoy myriad watersport pursuits, including scuba diving, snorkeling and kayaking.
Born and bred in Australia, the Riviera 68 Sports Motor Yacht possesses a refreshingly distinct style developed in-house by Riviera’s talented design team who obviously know their customers and what lights up their eyes.
We think the 68 Sports Motor Yacht will more than satisfy the most adventurous boaters.
- Anchor chain chafe plate fitted to bow spirit
- Foredeck storage lockers port and starboard side including fender locker
- Teak-laid anchor hatches and footwell at the bow
- Foredeck Fusion black box stereo 12V AM/FM/USB/AUX/iPod/iPhone/MTP/Bluetooth
- Premium dishwasher
- Reverse cycle air-conditioning 48,000 BTU, (2x) 18,000 BTU and (2x) 6,000 BTU
- Dinette table, folding both ends, (2x) fixed pedestals, sliding manually forward and aft
- Master stateroom 40" (101.6 cm) LED TV, Blu-ray player and home theatre system
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Load||8 persons, 1/2 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||73.8 deg., wind: 12 kts,|
2 x 1,550-hp MAN V12
2 x 1,550-hp MAN V12
2 x 1,800-hp MAN V12
2 x 1,900-hp MAN V12
The Riviera 68 Sports Motor Yacht is designed, engineered and built to perform as a luxurious, long-range, offshore cruiser and a capable offshore fishing and adventure platform. Born in the waters off of Australia, the Riviera 68 offers comfort and safety in some of the world’s most harsh and unpredictable conditions.
The swim platform of the test boat is nearly full beam and measures 4’8” fore to aft.
To enter the cockpit there are two 24” wide transom doors port and starboard. Not just one that is typical of most convertibles.
The Riviera 68 Sports Motor Yacht comes standard with two in-deck fish boxes including pump out capability.
There are additional storage lockers in the transom, under the grills and in the port and starboard coaming lockers.
Port and starboard teak-laid stairs lead up to the mezzanine level, with standard teak-laid floor.
The standard twin in-laid, teak tables can accommodate 10 or more diners with the five standard folding captain’s chairs facing aft.
Built into the overhead, there is a port side fold-down television with speakers that come standard.
The tall handrails along the side decks start at 28” (.71 m) and rise to 32-1/2” (.82 m) forward on the foredeck, providing security when going forward. These are higher than either ABYC or CE standards, which are not good enough for Riviera and a number of other builders of serious cruising boats.
The bench cushions stow neatly in dedicated lockers on the foredeck. The deck is flat between the couches and there is enough room to place fold-up cocktail tables here when entertaining.
Removable stainless steel fixtures can be embedded into the deck to hold a removable cradle for the tender.
The bow pulpit features a stainless-steel chain plate and bow roller.
The bow hatches, port and starboard, located on the foredeck provide access to the chain and there is a raw water wash-down system on the port side.
The two 13” (.33 m) heavy-duty cleats and two fairleads aid in docking and anchoring procedures. There are also two pop-up fender cleats.
Enclosed Flying Bridge
The enclosed flying bridge on the Riviera 68 Sports Motor Yacht is indicative of this vessel’s true long-range open-ocean intent. Built to protect the operator from the elements, the large enclosed space and seating allows many passengers the opportunity to interact with the helmsman and be a part of managing the journey.
Skylounge. When at anchor or at the dock, it becomes a preferred location for the guests because of the views.
There is a dedicated 18,000 BTU reverse-cycle air conditioning unit with outlets at the helm, windscreen defogger, and aft sky lounge vent outlets.
The flybridge seating comes complete with a rubber-footed ottoman with a coffee table stowed inside.
Windows, port and starboard slide open and the aft window opens outward bringing the outdoors in.
The decking is a premium vinyl, wood grain planking that is as rugged as it is good looking.
Because the upper helm is enclosed there is no need for a lower helm which saves precious room. The visibility from here is superb. The two high-backed black helm chairs are possibly the most deluxe seen on any boat in class. They are made by NorSap, a Norwegian company. They are also commercial grade, the captain’s seat moves vertically as well as fore and aft, and both are designed to cushion the ride when the going gets rough.
The helm is on the centerline, facing three screens and there is room for more in front of the companion position. Standard helm systems include:
- Autopilot — matched to the brand of the navigation package selected
- Cameras — salon, cockpit and engine room with feeds are provided to the helm for integration with the electronics package selected
- Chain counter
- Compass 4.74” (12 cm)
- Electronic engine control unit with two lever shifter and throttle
- Twin Disc QuickShift® controls with EJS joystick
- CZone monitor display
- VHF radio and hailer
To the left of the wheel is the ship’s C-Zone monitoring system which eliminates the need for lots of gauges on the bridge. It controls the boat’s electrical system and many other functions on the boat. There is also a smaller version on the main deck just inside the door.
The wheel is leather-wrapped and below are accessory controls with a soft blue backlight. To the captain’s right is a console with a high-gloss walnut surface that holds the Garmin navigational screen controls, engine control binnacle, joystick, and autopilot.
The Twin Disc control binnacle has a knob so the captain can select the best marine gear settings for cruising, running fast or trolling. To the left is the Humphree interceptor control pad, which is more efficient, reliable, and requires less maintenance than conventional trim tabs.
Riviera offers a range of factory-fitted electronic packages with everything from radar to underwater lights.
Flybridge Aft Deck
Out the sliding doors to the aft deck we find a remote control station to port abaft the wet bar. Here is where most owner/operators will stand when backing into a port-side slip. Note the location of the joystick outboard.
Portside Joystick. Across the aft deck to starboard is another joystick if docking on that side of the boat. But, the main aft control station is where the captain will be looking down and working the throttles and gears behind his back if the owner is fighting a trophy fish.
The galley is conveniently located between the two main dining areas, the salon and the mezzanine deck. All joinery work was high-gloss walnut on our test boat, but a mat walnut finish is standard. This walnut theme is carried throughout the boat.
The decking is a synthetic wood grain that is easy to maintain and repair if need be. Many fine yacht builders now use interior synthetic decking.
The yacht comes complete with a 40-piece set of flatwater, a 40-piece set of china, as well as an ample assortment of tumblers and fine stemware. Best of all, there is dedicated storage for every item in the cabinets.
The joinery work is high-gloss walnut and is commendably executed.
The standard upholstery for the lounge seating is leather. The test boat offered an upgraded soft, finely made material.
The reverse-cycle heating and air conditioning ducts are hidden from view in the overhead soffits.
The enclosed flying bridge is reached by means of stairs that are behind the galley. They are open above waste level, letting light pass through. Under them, are the stairs to the day head below and the utility room. This is a clever space-saving design that is a win-win — all-weather access to the bridge with the safety of being inside and more space available on the mezzanine deck.
18,000 BTUs of air conditioning is dedicated to this space. This is carpeted with underlay padding. High-gloss walnut veneer was used throughout. With massive storage on the port side and under the bed, there is adequate room for clothing. Because of its position, this is the most comfortable place on the boat.
The Head. Using a glass treatment that can be made opaque for privacy or transparent for light makes the master seem larger than it really is. The head has a single sink, large counter and a full-size walk-in shower. It is as large as most boats in class and is pretty much the same size as the one in the Presidential layout.
Classic or Presidential Layout? We think to a great degree, it will depend on what owners are used to when deciding whether to go with the Classic or Presidential layout. The master in the Presidential is much grander and it is certainly attractive, having the added functionality of the cozy booth, which also serves as a vanity and workstation.
Master Head in the “Classic” Layout
The port and starboard windows are large, tinted and tempered. They include matching roller blinds for privacy.
The hatch above also provides light to the VIP stateroom and features OceanAir fly-screen and a block-out blind.
There is a dedicated 16,000 BTU reverse-cycle heat and air conditioner for this space. The VIP stateroom has a 32” (.81 m) LED TV and stereo system with an iPod interface and two speakers. Riviera has thoughtfully placed storage cabinets port and starboard above the windows that use the bow flare for much-needed extra storage.
Port Side Guest Stateroom
The port side guest stateroom has a private door to the guest head that is shared with the starboard side guest stateroom and doubles as a day head.
The twin beds in the port side guest stateroom convert to a double bed by sliding the inboard bed over to the outboard bed. The small nightstand that is between the beds then appears on the inboard side of the double berth.
Starboard Side Guest Stateroom
Day Head and Crew Quarters…or Whatever
The day wet head is located in the utility space forward of the engine room. It is reached through its own glass door on the mezzanine level and down a flight of stairs. We think that it is a good idea as it can be used to rinse of by swimmers, or as a day head by guests in the cockpit or on the mezzanine.
Every owner will have a different use for this valuable space just forward of the engine room. For example, scuba divers might use it to store tanks and perhaps even set up an air compressor here (with proper exhaust ventilation). Avid anglers might have rod and tackle storage here. For others, it might be a workshop or place for extra storage.
Riviera offers an option for converting the utility space into a crew cabin with a single berth. Then it could serve as an ideal place for a nanny or young mate to help with washdown chores. It could even be used for a captain.
Our test of the Riviera 68 Sports Motor Yacht was conducted on a 72-degree day with 10 knot breeze and a light chop in somewhat protected waters. The yacht was powered by twin 1,550-hp MAN V12 engines driving through V-drives shafts to Veem 39" x 43" (99 cm x 109.22 cm) 5-bladed propellers. The boat was fully equipped and had 896 gallons (3,392 L) of fuel aboard. We estimate that the boat weighed about 110,000 lbs. (50,000 kg) when we tested her.
The top speed we recorded was 31.3 knots. Best cruise will come wherever the operator feels most comfortable as fuel consumption is pretty much linear. At 2000 rpm and 26.9 knots, the engines were operating at 80% load. At 20.3 knots or 1750 rpm, the boat burns 85.1 gph and has a range of 397 nautical miles, with a 10% reserve. At that speed, she has an endurance of 19.6 hours. It is a reasonable speed and it keeps the navigating math simple.
On long deliveries, or when there are no time constraints, moving along at 10.7 knots at 1000 rpm burning just 17.7 gph makes a lot of sense. At that speed, the boat has an endurance of over 94 hours and a range just over 1,000 nautical miles, with a 10% fuel reserve.
Because the boat has a V-drive and not pods, we can report that the turning is far tighter at higher speeds than possible with pods. The Twin Disc Quick Shift transmission shifted smoothly and the joystick system operated instantly. There was no lag that we would sometimes experience, allowing the boat to be docked and maneuvered with precision. With a bow and stern thruster, there is no need for pods for maneuvering. We particularly liked the hydraulic bow thruster that — compared to an electric one — is remarkably quiet.
Leaving the dock is just as easy. It is just a matter of pointing the joystick in the direction desired and twisting and pushing the knob with a light touch.
Riviera 72 Sports Motor Yacht
Riviera also builds a 72 Sports Motor Yacht that is essentially the same boat as the 68 with a cockpit that is 3’4” (1.02 m) longer, creating 43’ sq. ft. (3.99 sq. m) more cockpit area. The folks at Riviera have tested the boat with the same base MAN engine dialed up to produce 1,900-hp. Its top speed was reported to be 34.8 knots. This engine is an option on the 68, as is a 1,800-hp version.
The bottom line is that if an owner is willing to spend a bit more on fuel and wants a larger cockpit for any reason — including going for the 2,000-pound (907 kg) black marlin — this boat is up to the job and can do it in comfort.
And the extra displacement allows the 72 Sports Motor Yacht to carry 28% more fuel and draw just 5” (.13 m) more than the 68.
The full stand-up engine room can also be accessed through the utility space forward.
The 68 Sports Motor Yacht has two 924-gallon (3,500 L) fiberglass fuel tanks outboard, commonly called saddle tanks. We like fiberglass tanks compared to aluminum tanks because they won’t rust and there is no worry about welds leaking. By putting the tanks outboard, the 68 Sports Motor Yacht is able to have the utility room that would otherwise be used as space for tankage. There is a hose between the two tanks that keeps their contents in balance.
Like most yachts, the warranty is for structural defects and workmanship. Systems warranties are from the individual manufacturers of those systems.
Riviera offers a Five Year Limited Structural Warranty that covers the structural failure of the fiberglass hull, deck, flybridge and hardtop. This includes structural failure of any parts glassed onto these aforementioned components or the structural failure of the joints between any of the aforementioned components.
The Riviera Five Year Limited Structural Warranty is transferrable for the hull only. It is at the sole and absolute discretion of Riviera through an authorized Riviera dealer and subject to a $1,000 Australian dollar transfer fee.
For details on the Riviera Five Year Limited Structural Warranty, contact Riviera or an authorized Riviera dealer.
Options to Consider
- Central cockpit fishing package including eight stainless steel rod holders, four clearance rod holders (two on the port side and two on the starboard side) and an upgraded tackle locker.
- Outriggers: Relax Maxi 2000
- Hydraulic lift swim platform with teak laid option, including reinforcement of the transom.
- Teak laid cockpit deck.
- Padded bolsters on cockpit coamings.
- Ice chipper plumbed into starboard side cockpit fishbox.
- Presidential accommodation layout that eliminates the starboard guest cabin and expands the master stateroom by moving the en suite master head forward.
- Crew quarters make another berth for crew or guest.
- Watermaker. Depending on where the boat is going to be used and how many people will be aboard, a watermaker might be a wise investment, given the 264-gallon (1,000 L) freshwater tankage.
$4.3 million U.S. with 1,800-hp MAN engines.
For those who have not been through a Riviera boat lately, we advise that a new one be seen in person. While the company has been in business for 40 years and has always built good boats, they are now not just good... they are among the very best built.
The company has been under new management for several years and the results of that change are everywhere. Nothing but the best materials and equipment are used. State-of-the-art systems are employed. We saw no shortcuts or less than premium materials used. Engineering, creativity and functionality are all better than ever before, in our opinion.
Secondly, this boat is big. When we compared the interior living space of the Riviera 68 Sports Motor Yacht with three popular flush deck motoryachts about the same length, we found her to actually have more inside living space than two of the three boats we checked, not counting crew quarters. This speaks for itself and justifies Riviera calling it a “Motor Yacht.”
Thirdly, convertibles are inherently better sea boats than most flush deck motoryachts are because their center of gravity is lower and they have less windage. We have been fishing off the Great Barrier Reef in rolling 16’ (4.87 m) seas in a convertible design and can attest to the merits of the type.
Fourthly, we saw virtually no sharp corners, trip hazards or accidents looking to happen. While stairs are always problematical, the builder has employed handholds everywhere needed.
Is she Perfect? Of course not, but we are hard-pressed to find any serious criticism. The biggest negatives that we could find in the boat was the lack of clearance outboard of the main engines and the difficulty of getting to some equipment there. But when some of that equipment goes wrong, it is usually not able to be fixed by an owner/operator, anyway.
We’d like to see a cover over the drive shafts that could be easily opened to get at sea strainers and thru-hull shut-offs. She only carries 264 gallons (1,000 L) of freshwater, which is not much for a vessel like this that has such grand cruising possibilities in remote areas.
The berths in the fourth cabin are narrow, and particularly so in the lower bunk at the foot. We would like to see larger hanging lockers in the master, but this is taken care of in the Presidential layout.
About the only thing we would like to see added, other than a water maker, is a control station in the cockpit so that the boat could be docked single-handed. Overall, we think she is a boat that both Riviera and an owner can be very proud of.
Finally, in our opinion, the styling team at Riviera has one of the best eyes in the business.