Riviera 39 Sports Motor Yacht Boat Test

April 9, 2019, by , under Powerboat Reviews

I’ve been impressed by Riviera’s Sports Motor Yacht (SMY) line since two years back in Sydney, when I tested the 68 SMY (a 72 in U.S. markets) and found a rugged, smooth-riding hull matched with a well-thought-out interior, and outdoor spaces designed for relaxation and adventure. So when I stepped aboard the 39 Sports Motor Yacht last summer, again in Sydney, it had some big shoes to fill.

How’d it do? The 39 falls right in line with the Sports Motor Yacht line’s ethos of blending typical Australian seaworthiness with the style of European builders.

On test day, the Pacific lofted 6- to 7-foot rollers at us, and the 39’s hand-laid hull sliced cleanly through the head sea at 17 mph, and picked it up to 25 mph on the way back without surfing in the following sea. These are rough conditions, even for a boat of this size, but Riviera builds vessels for these kinds of seaways — after all, Australia is an island. Top speed with the standard twin 435 hp Volvo D6s is reported to be 39 mph, though I didn’t quite feel right about ­hammering the throttle in those conditions myself.

On board, the 39 offers two staterooms including a forepeak master and an amidships guest. Not surprisingly, the master is the highlight here, with stowage galore, including a 5-foot-tall hanging locker to port, four drawers below the island queen berth, and two cabinets to both sides of that berth. This stowage space belies the Riviera’s long-­distance cruising cred.

The main deck has an aft galley to better serve both the cockpit and the salon. The soft-close drawers here feature monogrammed Riviera cup and plate cutouts to keep everything in place in a seaway. Forward of that, the builder had the foresight to make all salon seating high enough to see out of the windows — a detail that is surprisingly not universal in vessels of this size and class. Stitching in the leathers found throughout the deck is even and intricate, and indicative of the pride in craft Riviera imbues in all its boats.

The 39 Sports Motor Yacht had big shoes to fill indeed — but it made them fit, and now the vessel is ready to run.

High Points

  • Galley’s flip-up window makes service easier, because it fully opens to connect the cockpit and salon.
  • Convertible flybridge helm seating creates a U-shaped lounge space.
  • That hull — this 39-footer proved solid and smooth in 7-foot seas.

Low Points

  • Ladder up to the bridge is a bit steep and not particularly user-friendly.
  • Single burner on the galley’s cooktop could prove to be the chef’s ire.
  • Commendable engine access requires a larger hatch in the cockpit sole.

Toughest Competitor
Riviera specifically designed the 39 to compete stylistically with European builders, so check out the Ferretti 450 ($945,000 with twin 480 hp Cummins diesels) which is 2 feet longer. Test both boats in a healthy seaway and see how things shake out for you.

Price: $818,000 (base)

Available Power: Pod Drive

How We Tested
Engines: Twin 435 hp Volvo Penta D6 diesels
Drive/Props: T4 bronze propsets
Gear Ratio: 1.94:1
Fuel Load: 396 gal.
Water on Board: 60 gal.
Crew Weight: 800 lb.

Riviera – Sydney, Australia; 772-872-7260; rivieraaustralia.com


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