Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge

From Down Under to your dock.

by Capt. Tom Serio
You would have to imagine that a boat builder, based on an island, would figure out quickly how to craft a vessel that could tame the surrounding seas.


  • LOA: 56'8"
  • Beam: 16'5"
  • Draft: 3'11"
  • Weight: 57,600 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 925 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 198 gals.
  • Power: T-Volvo Penta IPS950 725 hp Diesel Engines
  • Price: $1,562,000


Riviera, from the “Land Down Under,” has proven time and again they have mastered the ability to build yachts that can ply pretty much any water. And their latest offering, the new Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge, proves that point yet again.

Having built yachts for more than 35 years, Riviera creates a plethora of sea-going yachts, from 36 to 77 feet of pure Aussie goodness. From their 14-hectare (that’s 35 acres to you and me) factory in Coomera, Queensland (go ahead and Google it, I did), Riviera now exports more than half of their annual production to their global dealership network in more than 60 countries. Apparently their yachts are welcome worldwide. Looking at the 52 Enclosed Flybridge, I can see why.

Command bridge

For any flybridge yacht, the bridge should be a focal point of control and comfort. Riviera covers both and then some. From the indoor flybridge staircase with “floating” teak steps, to the twin plush Pompanette helm chairs, and the L-shaped settee with table, Riviera certainly makes the flybridge a central gathering point. On the comfort front, the settee is aft to port, offering commanding views of where you have been. The fiberglass table makes for easy cleaning and has built-in cup holders.

Comfort abounds forward with a lounge seat to starboard, great for chatting it up with the captain or stretching your legs while looking forward. To port is a wet bar with an Isotherm fridge, a sink, an Ambassador hot/cold folding faucet and a prep area. Opt for the 26-inch flat screen LED TV.

Control is a relative term, so let’s start at the helm that’s forward to port. With the Volvo Penta IPS950 725-hp twin engines comes the Volvo joystick controller and Volvo Glass Cockpit — a fully integrated touch-screen, multi-function system that incorporates engine and navigation information into several displays. Set for left hand usage on the left arm console, the joystick is easy to get used to and is very responsive. I not only pirouetted the 52 EF a few times around the docks (much to the chagrin of the onlookers, I didn’t hit anything), but also gingerly docked this beast side-to. The console is large enough for three 15-inch displays, yet is not obtrusive to the line of sight. A Czone LED display allows you to control all systems on-board from one unit (or iPad). For backing down on fish, Riviera also has a second control station on the fly with a joystick and engine control display aft starboard, offering a clear view of the action below. Opt for a third setup in the cockpit.

It’s an enclosed bridge and Riviera does it a bit different; they enclose it on three sides with a full hardtop. Twin forward windshields with pantograph wipers and tinted side windows that slide open offer great visibility. On the fourth side, there’s a full-length, wrap-around strata glass curtain that makes up the aft wall. It’s not only a fully-enclosed area that’s environmentally controlled, but you can also clearly see in every direction. The hardtop features an electric sunroof with shade, flush lighting and grabrails that pretty much ring the area.

No skimping

Don’t think the creature comforts stop there; that’s just the beginning. The main deck is adorned in a classic and easy to maintain high-gloss cherry wood. Underfoot is Kentucky Oak flooring. The salon includes a 40-inch LED TV, liquor cabinet and portside U-shaped leather settee with convertible dining table that folds, swivels and lowers into a coffee table. Straight across is a three-person settee; the center seat pulls out as an ottoman and can be used as an extra seat for dining. Filling the void in the settee is a flip-up table that essentially creates two additional dining seats on each end, booth style. Riviera deserves kudos for this utilization of space and functionality.

The salon side windows can be ordered as fixed or with opening sliders — for no change of cost. If you go with fixed sliders, there are two 12,000 BTU AC systems. For more chills, upgrade to the Tropical AC package, which includes an upgraded generator and a heat reflective film on windows.

Rest easy

Accommodations below are just as nice as the rest of the 52 EF. You can decide if the forward stateroom or mid-ship should be designated as the master. With a standard layout of a mid-ship master stateroom, the queen walk-around berth is off-center to port, with end tables, a 12,000 BTU AC system, four lockers, a 26-inch LED TV and a large hullside window with porthole. The private en-suite head has a separate shower stall with a seat and a frameless glass door, a head, a vanity, a basin sink and an overhead hatch.

Forward, the guest stateroom is in the peak, with a centerline walk-around queen berth, tables, hull windows and two overhead hatches. The en-suite head is also the dayhead and has a basin sink and shower stall. A third stateroom has twin bunks and houses the washer/dryer unit.

Power play

As mentioned, the Riviera 52 EF is powered by twin Volvo Penta D11 IPS950 diesel engines, producing 725 hp each, with forward-facing pods. It’s the pods that help to keep the draft to a mere 3-foot, 11-inch depth. With a full fiberglass hull below the waterline, solid keel and chines, the 52 EF tracks true when at speed and responds quickly when close-in. Running at varying speeds, I found my rpm/speed numbers to be in line with Riviera’s performance spec sheet — maybe even a touch better. Cruising at 2,250 rpm will burn 55 gallons per hour (gph) with a range of 378 nautical miles (nm). Pull back to a conservative 8 knots and use 9 gph with a range of 764 nm. Sometimes you have to go all out to beat a storm, and the 52 EF tops around 32.5 knots burning 75 gph. If I have to run out weather systems, I don’t usually care what it takes — I just need to find shelter.    

Thanks to the anti-vibration engine mounts, acoustic insulation, solid construction and a smooth hull surface, extraneous noise is kept to a bare minimum. While conversing with Chris McCafferty, the international sales director for Riviera, we were able to speak in normal tones, like we were sitting at home.

Cockpit creativity

McCafferty pointed out the features of the 106- square-foot cockpit. Our test boat had the optional canvas awning and teak sole, which are both nice touches. There’s a three-seat mezzanine settee, great for watching lines or the view with a teak table for dining. Behind the mezzanine is a large top-loading freezer/fridge, and to starboard is an outdoor galley with twin Kenyon electric grills, a Vitrifrigo fridge, a sink and a waste bin.

The deck has hatches for fish boxes, access to each pod drive (a great idea) and a center lazarette locker for storage. The 52 EF is not a fishing boat to be used for cruising, but rather a cruiser that can be optioned to fish. Add in outriggers, rod holders and padded combing to trick it out.

Socially, the cockpit is the place to be. I was curious about the double transom doors and swim platform railings; McCafferty explained that with guests on-board and transom doors open, the platform now becomes a usable piece of real estate, circling the aft transom lounge settee.

Gathering place

Serving crew and/or guests is easy, as the galley is just inside to port. From the cockpit, there appears to be a glass window on the aft bulkhead. But the huge stainless steel-framed glass awning opens out and over the cockpit. Along with the large sliding glass door, the awning blends the indoor and outdoor areas together, whereby the galley becomes the central hub of the yacht.

With a U-shaped layout, the galley has everything needed to feed the masses. A Kenyon two-burner cooktop, a Miele microwave oven, a Fisher & Paykel dishwasher, two fridge/freezer drawers (two additional drawers are under the staircase), and more storage areas than you can count make this a very functional area for short or long cruises.

Not to be outdone, the engine room is a full, stand-up space, with access to filters, strainers and other preventive maintenance items. Getting to the Onan EQD 17.0kw generator, shore cable, AC compressors and just about any system is fairly easy.

Riviera has taken yachting to the next level with their 52 Enclosed Flybridge. Let them bring one to your corner of the world.


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