Standing proud

Riviera is one of the Australian marine industry’s most well-known exports, and the addition of the all-new 585 SUV is only going to enhance that reputation.

Written by Kyle Barnes

06 April 2024


Walking around the 16-hectare Coomera yard, it’s easy to see how Riviera has secured its position as Australia’s biggest boatbuilder.

Outputting more than 160 yachts a year from the 39 Open Flybridge to the 78 Motor Yacht – and having recently benefited from an AU$10-million makeover – the facility is testament to Riviera’s craftsmanship and investment in R&D that has put it on the map.

As I tour the yard with Riviera’s Brand and Communications Director Stephen Milne before taking the all-new 585 SUV out for a spin, I also learn of a staggering milestone the company is about to pass.

“We’ve built over 5,900 motor yachts in our 43-year heritage,” says Milne, “and we’re preparing to launch our 6,000th boat later this year.

“To see and experience this is a powerful message and, as Australians, it’s something we should all be damn proud of.”


Whether that milestone launch will be a 585 remains to be seen, but it would certainly be worthy of the attention.

She boasts a fine point of entry below the waterline that bluffs out as it rises to meet the deck, and along the smooth hull aft there are brushless electric- drive Humphree stabiliser fins, followed by the Volvo Penta IPS running gear with line- cutters between counter-rotating props. On Runaway Bay, we got a chance to see what that meant in terms of performance and handling.

My first and lasting impression was that this practical cruiser is a beautifully appointed and mild-mannered machine but with attitude when you want it!

Her lines are sleek and, as you walk aboard, the generous beam of the cockpit reveals itself – a size that’s almost doubled at anchor when the tender is launched from the electric-lift swim platform and the rear handrails are fitted. Combined with the double transom doors, the area becomes a great play space for kids.

Back in the cockpit, no space has been wasted with underfloor bins for live bait tanks or to store toys, and there’s a hidden twin- plate barbecue and small sink combo, all of which are undercover. To starboard, there’s a unit with a refrigerated cool box and ice-maker, and on both sides there’s a concealed joystick control that makes docking or backing down a breeze, with plenty of visibility.

The saloon features an aft galley set-up that links with the cockpit via a portside door and a sliding rear window that opens up the interior while also acting as a servery for the cockpit. The galley is fresh with sleek lines, solid benchtops and all the mod cons.

There are clever touches like power points that magically appear from the benchtop and pop-up and fixed television screens around the saloon that can be seen from most vantage points. There are also multiple handholds around the deckhead – a sure sign not only of the expected cruising habits of her owners but also the capabilities of this SUV.

The Swiss-army knife of a saloon proper offers multiple spaces to find comfort – there’s a sunroof for creating that alfresco feeling inside, and the starboard-side lounges are plush, modern and comfortable.

The helm station is forward to port with two solidly anchored and fully adjustable seats. Visibility is good, and the helm boasts triple Garmin multifunction displays for radar, charting, sonar and other functions, offering the skipper full ship management from his or her perch. Manoeuvring is made easy thanks to the DPS system that gives you time to sort or stow lines and fenders when coming to or leaving the dock.

Below, there are three cabins accessed from the centreline stair. To port, there’s a twin that can convert to a double at the push of a button – it gets its own head and shower room across the passageway, which also serves as the day head. Forward, there’s a bow VIP with an inviting island berth and a generous ensuite, with daylight coming from hull ports and two skylights.

The master suite is located amidships, super quiet and sound-deadened to an impressive degree and, on our test boat, finished in a deluxe Scandi-style design.

The bed is an opulent king and, to starboard, a table and chairs under the hull port that could serve equally as a private breakfast spot or a small office. The ensuite is generous, and there’s plenty of locker and wardrobe space for all your gear. The sound insulation of the lower deck accommodation is helped by the addition of a full-beam space between the master cabin and the engine room, which can be specified either as a flexible storage/utility room or a serviceable crew cabin.

The engine room itself is an impressive 1.8 metres high, meaning mechanical inspections or accessing the utility room/crew cabin through the forward door won’t result in instant scalping. On our test boat, it housed twin Volvo Penta D13 IPS 1350s, rated at 1,000 hp (735 kW) each; there’s also the option for Volvo Penta D13 1200 engines. The 585 comes with a 4,500-litre fuel capacity split between wing tanks and is stored nice and low.

The portside batteries’ switch panel is on the bulkhead, with everything beautifully labelled. Controlled by the vessel’s brain, CZone, there are power modes such as cruising, dock unattended, entertaining, sleep and service. Each mode is fully customisable and programmable and, when used to shut down and flash up clusters of electronics, lights and entertainment systems, makes power-balancing effortless.

All below-waterline hoses and skin fittings are double-clamped and torque-marked for safety. The 240V AC requirements are met while cruising via the 22.5 kW Cummins Onan generator, and there are also solar panels mounted on the roof for added battery top-up.

Out on the Broadwater, the work of Riviera’s 30-plus design team quickly became evident. With the interceptor trim tabs and Humphree stabilisers working in perfect harmony, we blasted out at 35 knots, yet with the main saloon dogged down, the interior was super quiet – you can have a conversation with a normal talking voice, even at wide-open throttle.

Pulling back to the most economical cruise on the plane, we sat at around 19 knots with the engines purring at 1,700 rpm, giving a projected range of 435 nautical miles. At 35 knots, our trials suggested that you could expect a range of 388 nautical miles with the engines sitting at a surprisingly quiet 2,470 rpm.

Out in the seaway, where we were greeted by a messy 1-metre southeasterly swell, we sat at 22 knots to avoid any whales. The swell also gave us a chance to try the stabilisers at slow and zero speed and, sure enough, while sat beam-on to the waves, the fins quickly mitigated the movement.

The automatic trim tabs ensure there’s minimal time with the bow in the air while getting on the plane, and then the 585 runs flat and true.

Rounding a mark on the Broadwater at 35 knots felt like an impressive feat of cooperation between the electric steering, the stabilisers and the trim tabs, and it’s fair to say that in those conditions, the 585 corners like it’s on rails.

All in all, the 585 is another impressive addition to Riviera’s comprehensive range. That the brand also has broad appeal way beyond the borders of Australia speaks to the capabilities of the yachts and the team that designs them.

As the yard approaches its big milestone in launches, this new family member serves as another reminder of the quality that Australia’s largest boatbuilder is outputting. She’s not just a fine yacht – she is, to borrow from Milne, something that as Australians we should be damn proud of.



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