Riviera 5400 Sport Yacht

The sport car has just met its match.

by Captain Tom Serio
You know that feeling when you’re driving a great car and the tires stick to the road like glue, the forces of nature push you a little deeper into the seat, the steering wheel is so responsive that it becomes an extension of your being and your adrenaline pushes you into a euphoric high?


  • LOA: 57'3"
  • Beam: 16'
  • Draft: 4'2"
  • Weight: 54,600 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 845 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 211 gals.
  • Power: T-Volvo Penta IPS800 625 hp diesel engines
  • Price: Contact dealer


And when you’re done, you can’t wait for the next time you’ll be behind the wheel, throwing caution to the wind and leaving the stresses of life at the curb.

Yeah, I get it. Been there, done that. The issue is that you usually have to leave that feeling shoreside when you get on your boat, unless you have one of those go-fast gas guzzlers (gold chains optional).

Leave it to our friends from Down Under to package those sensations into a classy yacht that also allows you to let loose. I’m talking about the Riviera 5400 Sport Yacht. This could very well be the sportiest yacht with an automobile spirit.

Hang on

My captain for the sea trial was none other than Chris McCafferty, international sales director for Riviera Yachts, the company guy here in the U.S. I could ask him any question about the 5400 and he would answer it in detail and then some. It was also good to have him as captain because I wanted to not only test the boat but also stress it a little.

As we discussed the turning radius, McCafferty exclaimed that it’s about the tightest you can get in a yacht this size. Not quite believing him, I needed to be shown. And show he did. While running just over 20 knots, McCafferty wheeled the 5400 hard over and fast, creating a tight circle that we quickly ran right back up on. Now, a couple of things here: I let McCafferty do this so if he broke the yacht it would be his issue, not mine; I never want to go back to my editor and ask them to cover a repair. Also, McCafferty was so sure of the performance and handling of the 5400, he had no doubt that at that speed and with that maneuver, this yacht would do as told.

The 5400 leaned well into the turn, not out of it. Even though we heeled over in excess of 20 degrees (my unscientific measurement), the hull had a good bite on the water, not slipping out from underneath or skipping. There was no lugging from the twin Volvo Penta IPS 950 (725-hp) diesel blocks with pod drives. Cruising speed dials in around 28 knots — a comfortable speed for this size pleasurecraft. Visibility stays constant, as there is very little bow rise as you accelerate. The powerplants also spun up to offer a WOT of 32.9 knots at 2550 rpm (measured in one direction). If Riviera can combine this much control, maneuverability and oomph, heck, they could build whatever they want on top and I would buy it.

Take the con

To my pleasure and hopefully yours, the rest of the 5400 features fine craftsmanship, space management and a sporty style. The helm has a pod style with a simple layout that doesn’t impede on the living space. But simple doesn’t mean minimal.

Finished in wrapped leather and wood trim, the helm blends nicely with the overall décor. All electronics are here, including dual 15-inch Volvo Penta Glass Bridge displays, an engine display, a CZone system monitor, a sport-style wheel, a Garmin VHF and more. A right-hand side console holds the Volvo throttle controls and optional joystick, a chartplotter controller pad (to eliminate hunching over the console) and wiper controls. Those wipers clear the three tempered glass windshield panes. Left of the helm is a large, L-shaped companion settee keeping the crowd and captain together.

Sleep well

Access to the staterooms is via a staircase to the right of the helm. From the lower foyer, there’s access to all three quarters. Forward in the peak is the VIP with a queen walkaround berth, hullside windows, cabinets and a 24-inch LED TV. To port is a twin bunk stateroom featuring upper/lower berths, cabinets, an overhead hatch and a cedar locker. Both staterooms share a common head to starboard, complete with a basin sink, a freshwater head and a shower stall with bench seat. If you don’t desire the twin bunk stateroom, you can opt for an open lounge area.

Midship is the full-beam master stateroom, with creature comforts like a king-size berth, hull windows with portholes, a 32-inch LED TV, cedar lockers and plenty of drawers. The starboard side contoured lounge seat is the perfect spot to sneak away with a book. The ensuite head has a basin sink, vinyl flooring, a porthole, a freshwater head and a shower stall with frameless glass door.

Main Street

The main deck is the place to be. With ingenuity, Riviera designed plenty of living space inside, which blends well with the valuable real estate outside. Slide open the aft glass door and lift the aft window to expand the party space; now, the galley that was once aft is centered in the middle of the main deck social areas, making meal prep and serving much easier while keeping the chef the center of attention.

Open to all areas, the starboard U-shaped galley is large enough to prepare a sit-down dinner, with plenty of cool spaces for provisions. I counted four Isotherm fridge/freezer drawers, dual flat cooktop burners, one Fisher & Paykel dishwasher, one Miele microwave convection oven, one wine cooler, numerous overhead cabinets, one stainless steel sink and drop-in refuse. Riviera also built a dedicated slot below the sink to store the sink cover — good thinking!

The portside L-shaped leather salon dinette with wood table and twin stools along the forward side of the galley counter offers plenty of seating at mealtime. Add in the forward helm settee, aft deck L-shaped lounge across the aft bulkhead and transom lounge seating for more seating than you know what to do with. Don’t forget about the aft deck wetbar station, which includes a fridge, icemaker, sink and electric barbecue. You’ll be mere inches away from anything you may need.

I was confused to see the 40-inch LED TV in the salon tucked away in the aft corner. McCafferty showed me that with a click of a button, the TV swings out 90 degrees so anyone inside can see the screen. It also tucks away nicely when not in use.

Out and about

Does all this interior room equate to narrow, trip-over-your-feet side decks? Nay! I found ample sidewalks measuring in at 11.8 inches wide; that’s enough to get both feet planted side-by-side. The superstructure also has upper and lower hand grips molded in along the side for added safety. Side and bow railings cap above the knees, which helps when transiting to the forward sunpad lounge.

It’s all about appearances, and the 5400 has a look similar to a muscle car. With a sleek, low-slung profile and the superstructure overhang that can resemble angry eyebrows, the 5400 will be noticed for her prowess and style. Within the integrated fiberglass superstructure are side windows with sliders and an overhead electric sunroof with tinted glass.  

The Riviera 5400 Sport Yacht is a smooth handling, fully appointed, classy vessel with the pedigree of its Australian-based builder to back it up. Take your adrenaline rush from the seat of your car to the seat of this yacht — don’t leave it at the dock.  



South Shore JUN17
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