Experience counts

Craig Barnett | VOLUME 31, ISSUE 2
Making a scene … Riviera’s 5400 Sport Yacht – and guests – at rest.
Riviera’s 5400 Sport Yacht is greater than the sum of its parts.

Riviera has been producing high-quality motor and fishing yachts from its Gold Coast base for more than three decades, but the Aussie boatbuilder has also been turning heads overseas.

The Miami International Boat Show, in February this year, saw the world debut of Riv’s 5400 Sport Yacht and by the time the marquees were packed up, the Riviera team had signed the papers on an astonishing 19 units.

It was time to check out the 5400 Sport Yacht for myself. On inspection, the first impression that hits is the flawless, gel-coated exterior, wrapping modern lines that continued to grow on me.

While some might consider this sophisticated cruiser cedes ground to flashy European models in the aesthetic stakes, the 5400 unreservedly blows them away in terms of intelligence, reliability and practical creativity.

Let’s examine her role as tender and toy carriage, for example. The expansive hydraulic bathing platform, with its integrated swimladder, can easily carry a PWC and, once lowered, the 3.3m tender can then slip out from its concealed garage. Functional? Certainly. Ingenious? Definitely.


On our test boat, the cockpit featured an aft banquette and a large table to starboard that serves an L-shaped lounge. This table can also be lowered to create a large daybed or rear sunpad.

While guest comfort is obviously well addressed, Riviera’s expertise in yachting is there for those who know where to look. Features such as deep fender lockers hidden in the banquette’s armrests; the heavy-duty hand-laid hull; sturdy guard rails with invisible welding; and the rear helm station for docking – they’re all intelligently and effortlessly incorporated.

The most impressive integration aboard the 5400 Sport Yacht, however, is the seamless social flow between indoor and outdoor living. A large glass door and awning window to starboard allows the galley – located in the aft quarter of the saloon – to serve both internal and external guest spaces. Arranged on a single level, the cockpit becomes an effective extension of the saloon, and vice versa.

Guest catering is made easy with a wet bar, plus double Kenyon grille, refrigerator and ice-maker, all set to port of the cockpit, and perfectly positioned to serve those occupying the sofa and dinette.

Thanks to a solid, retractable sunroof in the aft hardtop, occupants can be sheltered from, or open to, the elements as the weather dictates. Another sunroof in the forward section of the saloon completes the ‘open’ feel of this highly versatile cruiser.


Before heading inside the 5400, we first confidently passed along foot-wide side decks to the foredeck solarium. High up forward, occupants of the double sunpad will enjoy the best of any cooling breeze while the boat is at anchor. But if the sun’s rays prove too much, respite is at hand via a neat folding bimini shade.

Forward of the sunpad, we noted sturdy Muir windlasses coupled to a remote control unit paying the galvanised chain into a deep locker with fresh and raw-water washdown points. It’s a simple system that ensures even inexperienced boaters can contribute to the Riviera’s operation with confidence.

While on the subject of owner confidence and guest comfort, Riviera’s installation of a fully integrated CZone package aboard the 5400 Sport Yacht brings full control to your fingertips – whether they be on the yacht, or anywhere else on the planet.

CZone amalgamates all the yacht’s primary entertainment, environmental and operational systems into a digital user interface. Whether you’re switching TV channels, turning on lights, turning up the AC, checking battery and tank levels, or monitoring engine performance, it can all be done from a tablet.

What’s more, if the yacht is further fitted with satellite capability, these systems can be accessed remotely. The benefits are extensive; it allows owners to activate pre-programmed modes such as ‘Dock Unattended’ when leaving the yacht, turn on the refrigeration and check levels prior to arrival – or even permits Riviera to patch in remotely and run diagnostic programs should issues arise … as they did for one owner recently cruising the Great Barrier Reef.


Complementing Riviera’s enthusiastic embrace of the digital age is its fitting of Volvo Penta’s Glass Cockpit system at the helm, located just forward of the open-plan saloon.

Touchscreen displays gather all vital navigation functions and present them in a manner that is intuitive for any operator. The system also integrates with Volvo’s IPS Electronic Vessel Control, providing joystick manoeuvrability and Dynamic Positioning to hold the yacht in place while waiting for a bridge, preparing fenders, or even fishing a favourite ledge.

The culmination of almost 40 years of intelligent boatbuilding is apparent throughout the Riviera 5400 Sport Yacht, but nowhere is this more evident than in the engine room. With 1.98m of headroom inside, the primary systems are well spaced out and easily accessible, and all wiring is laid out in coded and numbered looms.

Taking pride of place belowdecks are the twin IPS2-800 D11 units that produce 626hp each, coupled to pod drives. By dressing the pods with 316-marine-grade stainless line cutters, Riviera has protected the props and shaft sealing from any flotsam.

However this has certainly not affected performance. The 5400 will achieve a top speed of more than 34 knots (63km/h) fully loaded (with optional 725hp engines fitted), and also deliver a range of 347nm cruising at 28 knots (52km/h).


To fully appreciate the additional interior volume delivered by the combination of IPS propulsion and a clever exterior, one has to visit the accommodation space. Accessed via a companionway to starboard, the lower deck lobby remains remarkably bright thanks to a high overhead atrium.

The master stateroom is located athwartships and makes full use of the 4.8m beam – it’s remarkably generous for a yacht of this size. Light pours through lateral portholes and fresh air through opening sections; these are alarmed to ensure water doesn’t also pour in while underway.

With two full-length cedar-lined lockers, a divan to starboard and vanity/bureau to port, plus a well-proportioned en suite with seated shower, this a very comfortable space, indeed.

In the forepeak a roomy VIP cabin makes full use of the almost vertical hull lines that carry the yacht’s volume well forward, and occupants share the head and shower with the portside twin bunk cabin.


Throughout this Riviera 5400 Sport Yacht, the level of fit and finish are commensurate with the exacting standards of equipment and materials used.

Perhaps one of the defining factors that contributes to this standard of refinement is the level of input the shipyard receives from its owners.

In addition to listening diligently to their customers during the many social events Riviera organises, the company also forms an ‘owner’s panel’ prior to designing a new model. The feedback from these boaties, who make extensive use of their product, is realised in the myriad small details that make the 5400 such a potent family or entertainer’s yacht.

If you’re in the market in this range then it’s certainly one we’d recommend considering. And who knows, maybe you’ll be contributing to the evolution of Riviera’s next new model?


Length overall: 17.29m

Beam: 4.88m

Draft: 1.28m

Weight: 21,700kg (dry)

Power as tested: 2x Volvo Penta IPS950 725hp

Fuel capacity: 3000lt

Water capacity: 800lt

Berths/capacity: six

Price from: $1,575,000

Price as tested: $1,629,000 (upgraded engine package)

More information: Riviera Australia, tel (07) 5502 5555. Web: Riviera.com.au.