Surprise package

Mark Meyers | VOLUME 24, ISSUE 4

Riviera’s 3600 Sport Yacht packs primo luxury into a compact format.

You don’t have to get into boats in the big end of the market to surround yourself with some class and luxury. Riviera’s 3600 Sport Yacht will fill that order just as nicely.

The original 3600 model was conventionally shaft-driven, so the bulk of the under-deck space around midships was taken up with engines and associated components. But the recently upgraded model incorporates Volvo Penta’s IPS system, which has allowed the engineroom to be shifted aft to near the transom, in turn allowing the inclusion of a second double berth and also a single bunk in its place.

The layout is such that entry to this cabin is from the companionway opposite the head and shower compartment, leading into a full head height cubicle featuring cherrywood cupboards with hanging space and a large mirror on the aft bulkhead, under which one stoops to access the berths. The single berth lies along the port side, while the double runs across the beam. Natural light is available through a wide window at the head of the bed and another in the opposite liner. The aft wall is upholstered, while the forward side is finished in cherrywood, with a cupboard and two open shelves. Previously, this style of second berth was available only in the 4400 Sport Yacht, or more recently the 43 Offshore Express.

The evolution to compact IPS drives has also allowed the main cabin to be extended 200mm to a full two metres, and instead of a single entry door, a pair of swinging doors provide privacy. The berth is semi walk-around and there are cherrywood clothes cupboards and storage compartments aplenty.


On entering the washroom, the head is directly in front, with the hand basin to the left. The benchtops on the 3600 feature Staron surfaces and this hard-wearing material is used in the vanity unit, too. The shower is screened off with a frameless hardened glass door and features a single rose and tap. A rebate in the starboard liner caters for stowage of shower soaps and the like, while a smooth seat allows for ablutions when underway without losing one’s balance.

Up a short stairway to the saloon, there is a spacious L-shaped lounge running down the port side and across the rear of the saloon. Forward of the lounge, a liquor cabinet is built into the bulkhead and above that a cherrywood shelf opens at the touch of a button, allowing a 22in flatscreen LCD television to rise majestically into position. Riviera has done away with the need to run the 4kW Onan generator when watching the television, which, along with its lifting mechanism, is powered through a DC/AC inverter for comfort when on anchor or in the marina.

Behind the TV system and running to the bottom of the hardened glass windscreen is a flat map bench, which will invariably be used for stowage of all other things nautical.

The galley features an expansive Staron top with a single sink, while a single-element electric cooker – located beneath a heavy, flush-mounted lid – is located alongside. With the lid removed, the cook surface is located about 75mm lower, so the rebate stops pots slipping off the cooker when underway.

The cupboard and drawer space are ample and the pots and pans drawer below the fascia-mounted microwave oven may be optioned up to a flush-mounted dishwasher. In the forward end of the galley is a stainless steel refrigerator with a capacity of about 70lt.

An angular fascia at the aft end of the galley bench – which, incidentally, is a few millimetres shorter than on the earlier model 3600 to allow for a more heavily-padded helm seat – houses the DC control panel. All batteries may be isolated from this one location and below the main panel is a stereo system. In the opposite corner of the saloon, the air-conditioning ducting has been fitted into cherrywood panelling, with controls mounted above.


Now to the neatly laid out helm. As previously mentioned, the seat has had a makeover for more comfort and when standing, the switch gear, including trim tab actuators and IPS joystick, are all within easy reach. The views here are panoramic, with very little in the way from a safety point of view. As tested, this Riv came fitted with Raymarine’s C120 combination chart plotter/depth sounder, flush-mounted into the dash.

Heading out into the cockpit, you pass through a very wide saloon door made of hardened glass, but there’s also an interesting rear hopper window that opens fully and clips to the underside of the outside awning. It would be one heavy duty lifting job to open this on your own, but a high quality stainless steel gas strut does all the work, opening the area up nicely in the process.

Crew won’t need to traipse through the saloon to access drinks either, as there is a refrigerator and drinks shelf in the port side of the cockpit liner, while extra shade is provided by a soft awning fixed to the saloon roof.

Four hatches in the cockpit liner secrete mooring lines and one also houses the battery control station and shore power socket – one of two installed on the 3600. It has an LED light inside, along with a 240v power point and circuit breaker. The space available in the cockpit has come about due to the removal of the table and chairs that were supplied with the earlier model – items that market surveys revealed the majority of buyers did not want.

Walking through the starboard side transom door, one steps out onto a very wide, full-beam swim platform. This features a heavy duty hitching rail across its aft end, on which a BBQ could be installed in the post holes provided. There would be ample space here on its side to lash down a small inflatable dinghy, while in the stern there is room for secure stowage of two fenders, with a huge locker midships providing still more storage space.


The engineroom fits squarely under the cockpit deck and the full hatch is opened with an electronic ram, while routine inspections may be made via a forward hatch.

The IPS system delivers a wonderfully uncluttered engineroom. With no shafts or bulky gearboxes to worry about, the coupled units fit snugly into a small space. There’s easy access down into the bilge and one may easily move between the two IPS400 Volvo Penta engines to access any equipment requiring servicing or maintenance. With the engine hatch removed, the engines can be lifted vertically out of the hold for major work or replacement, without having to contend with working around the superstructure. Battery banks are fitted against the forward and starboard bulkheads and strainers are within easy reach for cleaning.

At the helm, the other glaring highlight of IPS becomes evident – exacting manoeuvrability at slow speeds, the likes of which you will not experience with most other steering or thruster systems, and all via two-finger operation of the IPS joystick.

The 3600’s electronic main steering and gearshift system is as smooth as they come, and the fitted engines provide more than enough acceleration out of the hole and throughout the throttle range, delivering surprising torque into the bargain.

Gleaning results from the official sea trials of this boat at Surfers Paradise, you can expect to get 60km/h (32.7 knots) at a WOT of 3500rpm for a fuel consumption of both engines of 113lt/hr, while 2500rpm will give you 32km/h (17.2 knots) with a fuel burn of 72lt/hr.

At 36ft, this boat has both the space and features you would normally expect from a boat of substantially larger dimensions.

For more information, call Riviera, tel (07) 5502 5555, or visit:


LOA: 11.73m (incl. swim platform)

Beam: 3.83m

Displacement: 8900kg

Engines: Volvo Penta IPS400

Fuel capacity: 800lt

Freshwater tank: 390lt

Options fitted: Stainless steel rail on swim platform, BBQ, blue hull paint, air-con split to aft cabin, rear awning, saloon Roman blinds, soft furnishing package, interior carpet upgrade, Raymarine package

Price as tested: $552,378

NB: As recently reported, Riviera has been placed in voluntary receivership and is currently undergoing restructuring. At the time of going to press, the company was continuing to manufacture and market boats from its Coomera, Qld headquarters.