Expert opinions on 51 Enclosed Flybridge with IPS
From Ocean Magazine Issue 29 (Jan/Feb 2010).
"Riviera Flybridge models have earned a popular following and virtual hero status in the Australian boating world. The 51 has been one of the stars of the fleet as a versatile offshore performer - in either open or enclosed flybridge guises - and is equally capable of being used as a serious sports fishing machine or simply a most comfortable long-range cruiser.
"The Volvo IPS powered Riviera 51 has noticeably greater acceleration, much lower noise levels, more direct turn performance (and the ease of effortless slow speed docking with the IPS joystick), together with fuel economy at least 30 per cent better than the shaft drive model preceding it.
"From my experience behind the helm of this boat, I think one of the more important improvements of this IPS driven boat over traditional shaft drive models is the more neutral cruising attitude of the big 51, now several degrees flatter under full throttle acceleration and also in cruise...the boat is now much more efficient in transforming horsepower into on-water performance. And the more pronounced nose down attitude of the hull when underway provides a better cruising attitude, with clearer view ahead and improved comfort for passengers aboard.
"Not only the engine and drive technology aboard the Riviera 51 is new, with the interior of the saloon presenting a fresh, contemporary look with quality gloss timber cabinetry, warm woolen carpeting in neutral tones, thoughtful recessed grab-rails in the headliner, discreet air-conditioning outlets and the speakers for the Bose audio visual entertainment system are recessed in stylish pelmets on either side of the saloon.
"The launch IPS Riviera 51 that I first reviewed was an enclosed flybridge model. The flybridge is quite stunning and a marked improvement over the first series of this model. It features an advanced helm with twin chairs set forward, and opening hatches in the ceiling to let in the breeze. Guest seating on the fly is tremendous with a curved lounge along the port side and diamond-shaped folding drinks table, behind which is a wet bar and fridge on the aft portion of the bridge. To starboard behind the helm is the internal stairway to the saloon below, and furthest aft is another stainless helm wheel with IPS throttle and gear controls, with joystick for ease of docking, and for a clear view aft when either fishing or tying up at the marina.
"The open flybridge option is a different configuration, geared more to the leisure cruising market, rather than serious fishing or long offshore passages. It features an aft helm station with large u-shaped lounge forward of it all the way to the windshield - a most comfortable space to while away the hours cruising on a sunny afternoon.
"As the three Volvo Penta engines sit side-by-side under the aft cockpit deck, directly above their triple IPS drive units, the new technology has freed up this additional area for cavernous storage space. The standard layout uses the area and so on. You could even keep a wine cellar in there if you wished.
"If you're in the market for the latest in boating propulsion technology but are set on the traditional benefits inherent in a great Australian flybridge convertible, then look no further. The Riviera 51 IPS could be just the ticket, blending classic Riviera styling with the latest propulsion technology, coupled with the elevated experience of cruising the seas from the vantage point of a flybridge."
From Go Boating Magazine Issue December 2009.
"As we left the marina and began to power up, the absence of engine is almost overpowering as we quickly achieve perfect balance and planing speed.
"What is even more impressive is the running angle of the hull. There is absolutely no evidence of hull drag as the 51 uses its entire hull length to achieve an almost perfect plane. Top marks to the combined engineering genius of Volvo and Riviera as I had considered the extra weight of a third big engine would outweigh the benefits of the added propulsion and manoeuvrability the IPS drive system delivers. But not so - this was a most impressive performance by a well proven model embracing the benefit of modern propulsion technology.
"Add to these running capabilities, the unparalleled manoeuvrability of Volvo's IPS joystick technology and Riviera have delivered one of the most impressive cruisers I've been aboard for some time.
"What has made the Riviera 51 such a popular model is its all round capability for fishing, sports performance or family cruising.
"Traditional Riviera attention to detail means the cockpit has built-in spot lights, deck wash down, ice boxes in the transom and on the saloon bulkhead and plenty of tackle storage. A remote IPS joystick for manoeuvring when dockside has been installed to starboard of the saloon entry.
"One of the many advantages with a Volvo IPS installation is the room gained as compared to a conventional shaft drive engine room.
"As on all Rivieras, the internal fitout is simply magnificent...This is one of the most liveable and practical layouts I have seen on a modern day cruiser. It lacks nothing from quality carpet to well positioned downlights and assured privacy for each cabin.
"I very much appreciate internal stairways for flybridge access as it means that the elderly or those with less mobility don't have to negotiate a flybridge ladder.
"Overall, a most impressive convertible cruiser in every aspect. There is no doubt the Riviera 51 is a proven performer which just gets better with every new build. Clearly, a proven hull design, revolutionary economical Volvo IPS power plant with unmatched manoeuvrability and performance makes this an exceptional cruiser."
Click to enlarge image:
Ocean Magazine - Issue 29 review of 51 Enclosed Flybridge with IPS (cover image courtesy of Ocean Magazine)
Go Boating Magazine - Issue December 2009 review of 51 Enclosed Flybridge with IPS (image courtesy of Go Boating Magazine)
The 51 with IPS boasts greater acceleration with lower noise levels
The 51's enclosed flybridge has been described as 'stunning'
The helm features twin chairs and opening hatches in the ceiling to let breezes through