While it helped that the US market was (and is) demanding more single-level express cruisers, the trend in Australia was well established when Riviera introduced this Offshore Express design in 2006. Riviera had previously used the Express designation for some models, but this offered a new slant on the approach and has since proved a winner for the Aussie boatbuilder.
The 16.4m size is a great compromise, being large enough to offer generous accommodation for both day and night, but still compact enough to be easily handled. The size and contemporary style is impressive too for those who need — or want — at least a hint of prestige.
WHAT CAN IT DO?
While the 48 Offshore Express is entirely capable of some serious angling adventures, it is also very comfortable for cruising and entertainment. The single level, from saloon to cockpit, avoids the separation of activities and people that a flybridge can involve, and this cruiser delivers it all with a welcoming blend of luxury and practicality.
Compared with other Riviera designs, sea trials of this model showed its higher topsides and generously flared bow section gave a drier ride and very efficient running angle. The lack of a flybridge gives a lower centre of gravity for extra stability in rougher conditions, while the shaft-driven props are in tunnel-recesses for a lower and therefore more effective thrust angle, which also helps the overall efficiency and aids the impressive seakeeping ability of the design.
Heading aboard this 2009 Offshore Express, a transom door leads into a large teak-lined cockpit with generous storage below and across the inner transom. The aft side decks have clear space underneath for toe-room and offer thigh support above if you do want to fight a feisty gamefish. There are bait and kill tanks aft, Reelax outriggers and rod holders, a fridge/freezer with pump-out, salt-water deck wash and a cold-water sink.
The cockpit facilities include an icemaker, bar fridge and Clarion stereo. It flows easily into the saloon where generous lounges face both aft and forward, the latter forming part of L-shaped seating around a day-table dinette, and the teak flooring continues uninterrupted to emphasise the ‘oneness’ of the whole area. There’s a 40-inch Sony TV and, for an extra overnight guest, over the lounge is a drop-down double bunk.
The heavily raked windscreen and large side windows make the saloon bright and give excellent visibility. A central Pompanette helm chair has a matching first mate seat over to port and both face an impressive array of electronics across the dash panel. In front of the first mate is a pair of 16-inch Simrad multi-function displays while the stainless wheel has the throttle/shifts on the right and the bow thruster on the left. Other controls are handily located including the autopilot and Muir chain counter.
Forward, a hatch lifts on gas struts for good entry into the clinical engine bay wherein resides a pair of C12 Caterpillar diesels with aftercoolers and heat exchangers rated at 715hp each. The service history is up to date and there’s enough power to take this 48 to over 30kt when all is on the top line. Sea trials have seen this model Riv amble around bays and harbours for relaxed scenic cruising at around 700rpm and a tad over 7kt. Running out to say 1,750rpm will bring up about 20kt with just on 140L/h coming out of the 3,500L tankage. That gives a conservative cruising range of 450 nautical miles.
The below-decks accommodations have pleasantly high ceilings and very attractive cabinetry. The master stateroom forward has an island queen bed, a TV, good hanging and general storage capacity and a lovely ensuite — there’s also a head off the galley. An aft cabin has a king-sized single berth as well as a single bunk.
The L-shaped galley is to starboard at the bottom of the companionway and includes a dual-burner electric cooktop, a Sharp Carousel convection microwave, a twin-drawer fridge and a twin-drawer freezer plus a sink and plenty of Corian benchtop-workspace. Attractively finished cabinets provide lots of storage.
Overall, this Riviera 48 Offshore Express has a great deal to offer with its design presenting versatility that ranges all the way from being a mobile waterfront apartment through an inshore relaxed entertainer to a serious long-range cruiser or very capable fishing platform. The fit and finish is to popular Riviera standards and the cruiser is turn-key ready to go.
Location: Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast
Length Overall: 16.4m (53ft 9in)
Beam: 4.9m (16ft 1in)
Draft: 1.3m (4ft 3in)
Weight: 19,500kg dry
Sleeping Capacity: 5
Generator: Onan 13.5kW
Engines: Twin Cat C12 715hp
Engine Hours: 750
Top speed: 37kt
BMS Gold Coast
44a The Promenade
Sanctuary Cove, QLD 4212
P 07 5514 8628