Boat builders often say a new model is an evolution of the last, and that certainly appears to be true with the new Riviera 50 Enclosed Flybridge, which showcases some of the best features found on the Riviera 53 launched just a few years ago—along with a few surprises. Like the 53, the 50 was developed after the company spent two years talking with boat owners around the world, to learn just what they’d want to see in a new convertible of this size. The answer was a vessel built tough, with more living space, the flexibility to both cruise and fish, and efficient performance.

riviera 50

To enhance performance, the Riviera 50 is designed for pod drives.

Interestingly, this boat can be ordered with either Volvo IPS or Zeus pod drives. That’s a nice option to have, since some owners are more comfortable with the traditional aft-facing props on a Zeus drive, while others prefer the forward-facing wheels on IPS. The Zeus option gets coupled to a pair of 600-hp Cummins QSC diesels. The Volvo drives offered are 600-hp IPS 800s and 725-hp IPS 950s. According to Riviera, the 50 should get 32 knots at top end with the 600-hp engines, and cruises between 25 and 28 knots.

Those pod drives do their part to increase living space, as they’re installed farther aft than conventional inboards, and that’s a hot asset on a boat designed to be part cruiser. Pod drives free up an additional 5’6”. That may not sound like much, but it can make or break the level of comfort achieved in a given area. The builder further maximized space by employing CAD CAM software. These efforts pay off in places like the staterooms. There are three on board, and in the two larger cabins, there’s full standing headroom.

In a first for Riviera, the owner gets to choose the cabin he wants as a master. He or she can drop the sea bag in the forward stateroom, set up with a double berth, cedar-lined wardrobe, built-in bedside tables, and timber vanity. Or, the owner can claim the stateroom to port. The benefits of this location include sleeping in a more stable part of the boat and a big hull window that offers views of the horizon upon waking in the morning. Both staterooms are large and have an en suite head with separate shower stall.

Riviera carefully manages space on the 50, and makes an interesting choice in the saloon, where there’s a staircase to starboard, opposite the galley. While pretty and nautical with its teak treads, it does eat up a chunk of the entertaining area. But the stairs offer all-weather comfort and easy access to the bridge—much easier, in fact, than a conventional ladder installed in the cockpit. Personally, I’d prefer to ascend the interior stairs in a seaway, particularly if carrying food and grub to the crew gathered above.

riviera 50

The Riviera 50 Enclosed Bridge is finished to yacht-quality standards, inside the cabin; note the staircase to the bridge, eliminating the need to scramble up a ladder in the cockpit.

And gather above they will, since the bridge is one nice place to be with its curved lounge, dining table, wet bar and two pedestal seats at the helm. All is enclosed in fiberglass on three sides. If the weather gets downright nasty, put up the isinglass curtain; otherwise, leave the aft end open to the ocean breezes. The open aft end will also make it easier for the skipper to communicate with crew in the cockpit when backing down on a billfish. Note, the helm station is forward, which isn’t ideal if you plan to do some serious fishing on this convertible. However, the boat is offered with an optional second control station that mounts on the aft rail of the bridge. Also optional is a helm station for the saloon. But by installing it, you’ll lose a lot of entertaining space in that section of the boat.
Displacement57,607 lbs
Fuel capacity793 gal.
Water capacity198 gal.

The cockpit of the 50 resembles that of the 53 and other Rivieras. It too opens directly to the galley in the saloon, and there’s a mezzanine seat. The seat here is lower, though, allowing the builder to use the space between the galley and the cockpit for a refrigerator and freezer. Those appliances, coupled with the grill on the transom, make this area very cruising-friendly. (Although before planning a big gathering, know that the mezzanine is the only built-in cushioned seat here. Extra guests will have to get comfortable on folding chairs or the gunwales.) Anglers can still cast lines from the cockpit, but if you’re serious about fishing, think about swapping that grill for the optional bait station, talk to the dealer about ordering rodholders, and consider losing the swim platform. Whether you fish or cruise it, though, the Riviera 50 should offer up a solid and safe offshore experience, as have its predecessors. It represents an evolution, after all.

Other Choices: The Ovation 52 is another flybridge cruiser which can be fished, although it leans more towards relaxing aboard than trolling.

See Riviera 50 listings.

For more information, visit Riviera.

Written by: Jeanne Craig
Jeanne Craig has been covering powerboats since 1988. She spent ten years as a senior editor at Boating magazine and ten more as executive editor at Motor Boating. She’s now an independent writer based in Rowayton, Connecticut, where she’s close to the cruising grounds she most enjoys.