Beauty, brains and brawn

Mark Rothfield | VOLUME 29, ISSUE 5
Riviera's new 6000 Sport Yacht is an elegant, sophisticated and capable addition to the company's stylish cruiser line-up.
Riviera's new 6000 Sport Yacht is an elegant, sophisticated and capable addition to the company's stylish cruiser line-up.

Some are born with beauty, brains, athleticism and wealth, while others have it thrust upon them. The new Riviera 6000 Sport Yacht is both.

As the immaculately conceived, genetically engineered offspring of the five-year-old 5800SY - the prettiest thing to come out of Australia since Elle Macpherson - the 6000 started life in excellent shape.

In fact, such is the 6000's level of sophistication that it arguably transcends its status as a 'boat' and becomes a 'craft', in the same manner that Dame Joan Sutherland was more diva than mere opera singer.

The 6000 also spans the globe in terms of its British-inspired styling, Swedish motors and air-conditioning, Swiss electronics, Dutch sunroofs and electrical systems, Italian leather seats and an American generator. It's truly a world boat.

The 6000 shares a common hull and various other aspects with the 5800. The garage is unchanged, swallowing a 3.2-metre RIB, while the aft boarding platform lowers for launching. At anchor it doubles as a teak-lined beach, a place to park the deckchairs while water laps your toes.

Wide walkways also remain. Once forward, there's an integrated anchor system with Muir windlass that is both practical and eye-pleasing. A spacious sunbed offers elevated backrests.

Well keeled

Hull refinements include a keel - Volvo originally spurned this, but Riviera has since crafted a keel that doesn't interfere with the pods. Turning and tracking are tighter and at rest the hull rides true to the pick.

New swept-back topside windows afford a sportier look, complementing the superstructure's lines.

Where the barbecue was previously positioned forward and to starboard, the designers gained 300mm of space by placing it aft in place of the rear lounge, bringing the total cockpit area to a Strictly Ballroom-like 10.5sq m. The hardtop overhang has been extended and incorporates a new electric sunroof.

Step inside and the galley has been moved to port, with dishwasher drawers beneath and fridge/freezer in the starboard cabinet directly opposite. Other features include a convection microwave, four-ring electric stove and soft-closing drawers.

The test boat was rendered in satin-finished walnut accompanied by light vinyl flooring, biscuit-coloured furnishings and charcoal accents; more Jaguar than Holden Commodore.

Skylit saloon

Skylights now richly illuminate the aft of the saloon. For night there are LED downlights throughout, plus concealed blue mood lighting. Forward is a Webasto sliding sunroof that, with the addition of opening side windows and the aft hopper window, creates one big, breathy indoor/outdoor world.

Also new is the bar to starboard. A table and two seats make a nook for laptop work or a light breakfast, yet by swinging the table into the settee base it converts quickly into a three-seater lounge. There's also a 40-inch LCD TV and an elevated U-shaped dinette to port.

Moving below, the VIP cabin is forward, boasting a queen-sized island bed, en suite with walk-in shower, generous robes and angular timber bedhead panels that can be mood-lit for added romance. Cue Barry White.

To starboard is the day head, shared via two-way doors with the 'midship cabin - here, in turn, you find twin single berths.

Choice below

Layout choices exist for the atrium lounge adjacent. It can be an enclosed fourth cabin with Pullman berths; it can be an office space; or a lower galley for those who prefer more saloon space. On the test boat it was devoted to a lounge that converts to a spare bed. The laundry is also located here.

The entire portside area of the master cabin is consumed by the bathroom, which is resplendent with high-class tapware, heated towel rail, Italian ceramic tiles and a frameless glass shower door.

Indulgent touches include a king-sized bed and a Samsung home theatre. From a practical sense there's now walk-in access to the utility room (cum crew cab) and onwards through a water-tight door to the engine room.

Peace in a pod

The early 5800SYs sported triple IPS 600s, but the introduction of the 10.8lt 950 (725hp) option has allowed a twin installation. It's a vastly superior power package, with more servicing access.

The 950s simply purr when the 6000 is underway. Even at 31 knots (57.5km/h), pulling 2570 revs and with the sunroof agape, there's barely any noise; just conversation and sweet fresh air.

At 19 knots (35km/h), with the diesels spinning at 1900rpm and drinking just 150lt/hr in total, it remains whisper quiet at the helm. Throttle response, too, is sharp and the high-sided hull brushed aside some sloppy seas off Sydney Heads.

Those considering ocean legs may be disappointed in the modest (250 to 300 nautical mile) range from the 2650lt tank, but it reflects the fact that sport yachts are often embraced by buyers who are inclined to coastal hop.

A clever flip-up cockpit docking station incorporates a joystick that allows high-speed steering in lieu of the helm.
An automated trim tab system remains vigilantly active, adjusting the ride to counter swells and gusts.

The automotive-style dash bears no analogue gauges; just two 17in screens representing the latest Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit technology. It's as elegant as it is simple, integrating Electronic Vessel Control systems with navigation data, depth, autopilot function and remote camera.

Similarly, the electrical management is centralised and simplified, with the use of CZone panels located at the saloon door, helm station and master suite. Hit 'dock unattended' as you leave and it switches off all non-vital systems... another thing less to fret about.

Best and fairest

The 6000 Sport Yacht heralds a new era in sports yachts and a new area for Riviera. It's a boat the company could only have dreamed about several years ago whilst in receivership. Now, people are again viewing sports cruisers as viable alternatives to waterfront duplex weekenders.

The 6000 reflects the construction quality and dealer backing for which Australia is renowned, plus the best of British styling. I wondered, though, has it forsaken its Riviera roots to the point of alienating domestic fans? Is it, dare I say, too 'Pom' for its own good?

For this conundrum, I invited the most 'ocker' bloke I know to take a final look over the 6000. He's a plumbing salesman who, style-wise, is the juxtaposition to the 6000; the yin to its yang. The man commits the fashion faux pas of combining slippers, socks and track pants, however he is also an enthusiastic fisherman and dyed-in-the-wool Riviera flybridge tragic.

"So what do you think?" I asked, after a lingering lap of the interior. He scratched his bald head, drank in the saloon then replied: "It doesn't look like a Riv, but it feels like one... I think I want my ashes spread from it."

LOA: 19.3m
Beam: 5.38m
Displacement (dry): 25,750kg
Fuel capacity: 2650lt
Water capacity: 800lt
Power: Twin Volvo Penta IPS 950 diesels (725hp)
Priced from: $2,130,000
Price as tested: $2,258,000
For more information, contact: Riviera Australia, tel: (07) 5502 5555 or