Written by Scott Alle
It was a year of achievement in 2020 for Riviera, who celebrated 40 years of boatbuilding.
While the challenges were evident throughout the year, global demand for Riviera accelerated from June as the company received a record number of forward orders.
Riviera’s range of motor yachts is renowned for its sea-keeping qualities, advanced engineering and luxurious interior finishes.
Riviera debuted three models in 2020 – the 505 SUV, the 64 Sports Motor Yacht and the 50 Sports Motor Yacht – together with new expressions of the 72 Sports Motor Yacht and the Belize 54 Daybridge.
A culture of flexibility and resilience has seen Riviera not only continue to produce outstanding, world-class designs but pivot to meet altered preferences and market conditions. More new models and a major factory expansion are part of the company’s course into the future.
Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst spoke with Ocean about the milestones achieved in such a testing year, and what the company has planned moving forward.
Ocean magazine: Rodney, thanks for taking the time to update Ocean on Riviera’s plans. A brace of new models has arrived and more are coming. What can we expect?
Rodney Longhurst: We have inspired boating enthusiasts this year with a series of brilliant new luxury motor yacht premieres. In February, we showcased the 505 SUV, followed by the 64 Sports Motor Yacht in June and then the 50 SMY in September. Finally, in October, we celebrated the release of the latest expression of our flagship 72 Sports Motor Yacht at Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
We are immensely proud of the considerable acceptance of these new yachts, which truly highlights the significant advances that Riviera has made in design, engineering, performance and luxury. Boating with Riviera today is a very evolved experience, and our advances have made boating easier and even more pleasurable.
This evolution is allowing owners to enjoy extended periods aboard and voyage further afield, enriching our owners’ lives with incredible new experiences and adventures. Of course, our new elegant and luxury interiors, together with unique design enhancements such as the alfresco deck and foredeck relaxation zones, allow owners to escape for a weekend or the adventure of their lifetime.
Next from Riviera, you can expect this same level of world-class design and quality, expressed in a series of different and innovative yachts that are now in design and development. Stand by.
What will be the major focus for Riviera in 2021?
The continued pace and drive of our yacht development program will continue to create more exceptional new yachts for our owners.
The refinement and expansion of our 16.8-hectare facility on the Gold Coast will allow us to keep growing to meet our forward order commitments and deliver to our owners their beautiful yachts as soon as possible.
In addition, the growth and development of our highly skilled team alongside the training of our next-generation boat builders, our 85-strong apprentices. And finally, the expansion of our owner care programs.
How are you preparing for boat shows next year?
Clearly, the boat show landscape for 2021 is yet to be defined as we work through these challenging times. However, our focus for the shows we will be attending will be to maintain a premium presentation of our latest yachts that showcases over 40 years of evolution and our very latest designs. In our home region, our display in May at Sanctuary Cove will be our largest for 2021.
You and your senior management team have steered the company back into a strong position. What positive changes have come about as a result of COVID?
Thank you for recognising the incredible efforts not just by our senior team, but by our entire team.
This year we have adapted and changed in many positive ways, and we are grateful that we have been able to continue to operate throughout this year.
As a result, we have expanded our owner care programs to allow our owners to enjoy their boating fully.
With our new model premieres this year, we have adapted by creating bespoke and private experiences and VIP events. We have also hosted a world tour for the 64 Sports Motor Yacht, which allowed personal and individual inspection opportunities. Finally, we have initiated digital, personalised tours and premieres of our new yachts, which has brought the Riviera family together at a time when we couldn’t be together physically.
We work every day to create the very best yachts we can. Our team has introduced new technologies across the boatbuilding process from design to development, construction, engineering and finishing that are all enhancing our precision boatbuilding, the results of which you see today in the best ever Riviera yachts.
How do you think our boating habits have shifted?
Our owners are enjoying their yachts even more now, taking the opportunity to spend extended time aboard and, in many cases, travelling further afield. With a greater ability to work remotely and with many travel restrictions still in place, the opportunities that boating offers has been seized by the Riviera family.
Pure relaxation, access to a diverse range of healthy outdoor watersports activities, the ability to bring families and friends together, the chance to create memorable moments and adventures has never been more valued or embraced.