In past editions of R-experience we have tracked progress of the latest SUV to join the Riviera family ahead of her world premiere at the Riviera Festival of Boating from May 22-25.
Results from her first sea trial were very pleasing, with the IPS 800s having her cruising at 28 knots with a top speed of 32 knots under full load (full fuel and water).
The 515 SUV is now sitting confidently in the water at the Riviera headquarters at Coomera on the Gold Coast as she is polished and preened in preparation for her public debut.
During the sea trial, all systems were operated and checked with full data collection on performance and fuel rates. Both Riviera’s engineers and independent engine companies collect this data and document the results from the sea trial and the boat requires both parties to sign off on the installation and overall performance. From this intensive sea trial process, minor enhancements and adjustments are made to perfect the vessel.
This is an exciting time for the skilled Riviera craftsmen who have meticulously pieced together this sleek, stylish and sporty model – they can now admire the fruits of their labour as a brand new boat is born.
For the past few weeks they have been fitting all the bespoke joinery with Riviera’s rich-heritage in mind, creating a vessel like no other.
The 515 SUV is the third model in the popular new SUV collection which combines the features of the Sport Yacht and Flybridge to create a unique new cross-over model series which is both a blue-water performer, long-range cruiser and a single-level entertaining vessel with large cockpit all in one.
Long before construction began, Riviera’s world-class engineers and designers undertook an extensive concept design process using the Unigraphics CAD system. This state-of-the-art software has enabled designers to map out the location and routes of all the plumbing, electrical and hardware components and analyse the structure for the desired strength characteristics.
Once the design direction, styling features, interior layout, specifications and engineering components were finalised, the 515 SUV was then designed in 3D, including the interior spaces, access points, plumbing and the location of all components. Performance predictions such as speed, fuel rate and range were also calculated based on predetermined targets.
A full interior mock-up was then created to finetune the ergonomics inside the boat and to garner feedback from prospective owners.
Then, and only then, was the interior design process finalised.
In parallel, the manufacture of the tooling process began. The plug was created using Computer Numerical Control (CNC) – a process that is accurate to within 1mm over a 10 metre square area, ensuring a highly accurate execution of the new design. Once the plug work was complete, Riviera’s master craftsmen then created moulds ready for construction of the first hull and deck.
The hull was hand-laid and features core in the deck, cabin sides and hard top to reduce excess weight. Independent compartments throughout the hull were created and the water-tight collision bulkhead forward was installed to aid buoyancy. Isophthalic gelcoat was used on the exterior. This surface finish is a hard coating offering flexibility and impact-resistance. It is highly resistant to cracking and provides excellent water and weather protection to the hull. Solid GRP keel, chines and pod leg penetration areas provide a strong laminate to the hull bottom, adding great strength to the structure of the 515 SUV. Vinylester resin was used in the first outer layer of hull because of its ability to withstand water absorption.
Following on from lamination, the engines, generator, plumbing, electrical and hardware systems and components were fitted in the first stage of production, prior to joining the hull and deck. During this stage, the new 515 SUV deck underwent intensive detailing and quality control prior to being joined to the hull.
The joining process involved gluing and bolting the hull and deck together and then fibreglassing the join internally to create one very strong vessel. This time-proven process has been around since Riviera’s inception 34 years ago and is one of the reasons why Riviera boats are renowned for their integral structural qualities and offshore performance.
Once Stage One was complete and before the boat moved into Stage Two fitout, Riviera’s designers, engineers and master craftsmen undertook a series of pre-delivery inspections (PDI) to test all the powered and non-powered systems including the bilge pumps, battery charges, fuel systems, electric pumps and sanitation systems. Here, fuel was added and pressure-tested, the water tanks were filled and tested, and all plumbing and connections were checked. Riviera undertakes extensive testing of all components at each stage of production to ensure quality standards are met and to rectify any issues prior to the next stage of construction.
The 515 features impressive engineering and hull number one is powered by twin Volvo Penta IPS 800 (625hp) but there’s also the option of IPS 950s (700hp). Standard power is the new generation twin Cummins QSC Zeus 600 pod drives. All options have joystick controls for easy docking.
Acoustic and thermal insulation linings are installed into the engine room and machinery spaces have been installed. Emergency fuel shut-off valves are installed and can be accessed from outside the engine room for added safety. Special engine mounts reduce vibration and provide a smooth, quiet ride. Riviera is very particular about the quality and installation of hose clamps and fittings to all hull skin and fittings. These are all double hose-clamped to provide added safety. Four automatic and manual bilge pumps are located at various points in the hull of the boat for added peace of mind.
When the 515 SUV moved into Stage Two, the cabinetry that had been meticulously constructed and varnished to a very high standard began the installation process and the interior began to take shape. Other items installed during this stage included the flooring, upholstery, electrical components such as lighting, kitchen appliances and white goods, as well as electronics and navigation equipment.
In his stage, Riviera’s master craftsmen also installed the joinery items, such as headliners, bulkheads, window pelmets, hanging lockers, and bed bases. The ensuite and day head were completed with cabinetry, showers and hand basins installed while the team fitted the headliner panels in the aft master stateroom and forward stateroom.
The result of all this hard work has new 515 SUV bristling with innovative design and technological advancements, including the hardtop’s two impressive Webasto sunroofs above the saloon area that open electrically with the push of a button. The incorporation of this new sunroof design marks another exciting development in the 515 SUV’s DNA.
The elevated helm area is a further new development, which provides excellent visibility for the skipper and dash space for two 16-inch screens, as well as a steering wheel positioned just off the boat’s centre line. The helm features two Navigator low-back helm chairs.
Digital C-Zone switching is another feature that allows all onboard electrical equipment to be operated at the push of a button from a digital DC circuit control, which can operate and control timer circuits, light dimming, LCD displays and touchscreens.
Now, she is truly ready for her world premiere.
The bar and serving area includes the C-Zone digital control system which allows the skipper to set and save favourite settings right throughout the boat and activate them with just the touch of a button.