There are many factors to consider when looking to invest in a boat; visual appeal, comfort versus luxury, practicality versus pizzazz, layout, and overall performance. However, a really key matter not always given enough thought is how easy is the boat to dock? More than a few boat owners think twice before taking out their vessel because they’re worried about the potential dramas of putting it back to bed afterwards, especially if wind or tide are challenging.
Those concerns are not applicable with the Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht as it is powered by twin Volvo IPS 600 diesels with full joystick control. IPS stands for Inboard Performance System, where Volvo cleverly packages a 5.5-litre inline 6-cylinder turbo-charged 435hp diesel with through-hull connection to a fully steerable pod drive that has forward-facing counter-rotating props. With twin such power packs, the available control is superb.
Volvo further interfaces throttle and directional control into its Electronic Vessel Control (EVC) system so that intuitive movements of a single joystick direct the boat exactly where required. It’s a joy to use and an especial relief-valve for new skippers. As well as handling benefits, the EVC provides a reassuring level of protection and diagnostics for both the engines and transmissions.
Those forward-facing props are remarkably efficient and IPS installations typically see, when compared with shaft drive equivalents, significant benefits in higher speed, longer range, reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions. As well, the IPS package saves onboard space, facilitates maintenance, and can be quieter and smoother in operation. When efficiently integrated with the hull, as with this 4400 (which was among the first in the world to be specifically designed for IPS power), the overall result is most beneficial.
Combine that powering effectiveness with the smooth styling and welcoming interior of this popular Riviera model, and the result is a very desirable sport cruiser. Entry aboard the cockpit is via a starboard passageway from the extra-large teak-planked transom platform that is equipped with a stainless safety rail topped by rodholders and a baitboard. Within the cockpit, a comfortable lounge extends all the way to port from the passageway with an adjustable-height, teak-matched table that is thoughtfully inset with drink holders. Steps either side lead on to wide sidedecks with good guardrails for safe movement forward.
The teak flooring theme continues into the saloon and emphasises the freedom of movement through the 4400. The galley is aft to starboard where it can conveniently serve both inside and outside dining and entertaining areas. Refrigeration and freezer spaces are plentiful and the galley has a two-burner electric cooktop, microwave oven and Dometic fridge; there’s also a custom-optioned separate fridge and freezer fitted into the companionway locker. An Horizon water maker is included in a generous equipment list along with an 11kVA Onan Genset, a Victron Energy 3kW inverter, a Victron 30A automatic battery charger and triple Cruisair air conditioner systems for comfort throughout the 4400.
An L-shaped lounge extends forward from opposite the galley with another height-adjustable table. Entertainment includes a TV and Fusion stereo system. Further forward and back across to starboard is the helm position with luxuriously upholstered twin chairs so that the first mate, navigator or a privileged guest can keep the skipper company.
A sporty wood-rimmed wheel has adjacent throttle/shift controls lower to the right. The IPS joystick is centrally positioned on a flat section of the impressive dash panel above an angled-for-easy-viewing Raymarine E120 GPS Plotter. Other navigation aids include a Raymarine autopilot and Icom VHF radio.
Sea trials of this model Riviera with the same IPS 435hp engines indicate easy cruising at 22 knots with a top speed around 33 knots depending on load and conditions. Fuel capacity of 1500 litres gives a useful range.
Belowdecks accommodations comprise a forward master cabin with island double berth whilst a second cabin, located full-beam amidships, also has a double plus a single. Both cabins are delightfully furnished, as is the rest of the 4400, with generous hanging space and storage, and both have their own ensuite bathrooms. As well, the saloon table can convert to another berth if needed.
The decks have sensibly sized and located hardware for mooring and the foredeck is fitted with a Muir electric windlass. The forward cabin roof has a large sunpad for relaxing when the conditions are just right.
Judging from comments such as "fantastic use of space" and "great accommodations" that are often heard from owners and guests, the Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht offers a very pleasing combination of style and performance. The open flow from cockpit to saloon and the facilities in both areas with that centrally positioned galley are ideal for simple relaxation and engaging entertainment. The twin cabins make overnighting and longer stays onboard a true delight.
Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht
Location Sanctuary Cove, Qld
Length overall 15.12m (49ft 7in)
Beam 4.58m (15ft)
Draft 1.11m (3ft 8in)
Dry weight (approx.) 13,850kg
Sleeping capacity 5 plus convertible dinette
Generator Onan 11kVA
Engines Twin Volvo IPS600 435hp
Engine hours 770
P 07 5514 8628
44A The Promenade