After more than two years of research, design and development, construction of the first Riviera Sports Motor Yacht is now well advanced at our world-class facility on Australia’s Gold Coast. The long-range and luxurious Sports Motor Yacht will be available in both 68 and 72ft models, each with up to four luxurious staterooms and optional crew accommodation.
In this issue, we take you behind the scenes for an insight into the detailed design and development processes and the initial stages of construction of this significant new luxury motor yacht range.
The 68 Sports Motor Yacht will make her World Premiere at the Riviera Festival of Boating from 25-28 May 2017. By the time she is launched, over 650 working days will have been employed by an extensive and highly skilled team in creating, developing, building and refining this outstanding new Riviera.
The design brief
Riviera’s highly awarded in-house design team conducts extensive consultations with the international Riviera Family of boating enthusiasts as the very first step toward developing every new world-class motor yacht.
This process provides a unique understanding of the aspirations of our valued owners of their ultimate dream yacht.
What we repeatedly heard was that many wish to take their boating even further afield, and for extended periods, and that they wish to still be able to fish effectively and enjoy myriad other water sports pursuits, including diving, snorkelling and kayaking – all in luxurious comfort.
Our experienced in-house design team then began drafting detailed preliminary designs for discussion with the wider new model development team, which included engineers, master craftsmen and senior management. When all were in agreement, these preliminary designs were presented to experienced Riviera owners for further feedback. The process of continual refinement will continue throughout the development and build process and will ensure the Sports Motor Yacht will be of an immensely high calibre.
The first steps
The next development phase involved several key processes all taking place in tandem. Using 3D technology, we then put to purpose every millimetre of onboard space.
Our team searches the globe for the best systems technology and materials that will make owning a Sports Motor Yacht a sheer pleasure. We then put every innovation through a testing process prior to selecting it either as a feature or an option.
This process decided everything from the selection of the Sports Motor Yacht’s MAN V12 engines as base power, Aquamet 22 Sea Torque oil-filled shafts, struts and glands to connect the Twin Disc remote-mounted Quickshift gearboxes which integrate with the Express Joystick System … right through to the use of Blum soft-close runners for the cabinetry drawers, and the selection of premium timber finish for the drawer interiors.
We also partnered with world-leading high-speed motor yacht naval architects Mulder Design in the Netherlands who are the three-time designers of the Fastest Motor Yacht in the World.
Please press the play button above to view video of the tank testing of the Riviera Sports Motor Yacht.
For the Sports Motor Yacht hull, we commissioned tank-testing at the Wolfson Institute Unit for Marine Technology & Industrial Dynamics at the University of Southampton, England.
The very impressive test results demonstrate that this new Riviera hull will be supremely capable at varying speeds, and in a wide range of offshore conditions.
At the same time as tank-testing, the Riviera new product development team constructed a full-scale interior prototype where our designers and our owners could physically walk through the new Sports Motor Yacht and get a true feel for the onboard spaces and ergonomics.
Throughout the 2016 Festival of Boating, we listened and learned from the experiences and observations of our experienced boat owners, and we incorporated many of their suggestions into the design – ultimately deciding on 68ft and 72ft models to suit individual cruising applications.
The interior prototype will eventually be a detailed replica of an actual yacht interior, with much of the major componentry for a finished yacht, fitted from the varnished timber cabinetry and lounges to the galley appliances and saloon details.
This prototype will remain open for viewing by prospective Sports Motor Yacht owners until after the 2017 Sydney International Boat Show (3-7 August 2017).
Building the plugs
Tooling for the Sports Motor Yacht’s hull, deck, hardtop and flybridge commenced in November 2015 with the precision cutting of polystyrene foam using Computer Numerical Control (CNC) routers.
The CNC routers ensure immense levels of accuracy in the translation from our designers’ Computer Aided Design (CAD) files to the finished part.
This foam is then coated and hardened with an epoxy glass and tooling paste before being honed with a five-axis CNC router for a highly detailed finish.
Next comes the hand-assembly of the master tooling and the hand-crafting process known as fairing, where the tooling is painted with a dark-grey Duratech paint and hand-sanded by our master craftsmen over many days with a number of different sanding grit levels to achieve an ultra-smooth mirror finish.
A multitude of smaller parts are temporarily fitted at this stage of development to ensure everything works exactly the way it should – everything from locker hatches to the transom barbecue, the mezzanine seating and saloon cabinetry … even the optional fold-out seating for the Sports Motor Yacht’s expansive forward deck.
Tooling for the main deck, flybridge and hardtop moulds continues in our NPD facility. Tooling is also being completed for various independent compartments such as the heads and the utility room/crew cabin.
The inner flybridge plug from design through to assembly took a total of 110 working days for the team, after which it was temporarily fitted to the deck to ensure a perfect match.
The outer flybridge tooling – when complete – will have taken a total of 190 team working days, including a comprehensive interior flybridge helm dash full-scale mock-up involving a team of up to 10 people. Work also continues on creating tooling for the fuel and water tanks as well as small parts.
Once tooling is complete, the moulds can then be created. These moulds enable us to replicate the master design with great consistency.
Crafting the moulds
Preparation of the hull mould involves assembly of precision-cut timber for bracing and foam to create a perfectly aligned shape, a layer up to 25mm of vinylester matting is then applied over the core, and then finished with a green tooling gel.
The hull’s impressive mould was the first to be completed, having been released from the tooling in August and lamination of the first hull is well advanced. This involved gelcoating the outer layer and then hand-laying vinylester matting to a predetermined laminate schedule – 15mm laminate with 25mm core on the topsides, and a solid GRP hull bottom for superior strength. The laminate is hand-rolled to extrude any small air pockets and remove any imperfections.
Bulkheads of composite and high-strength material are now being fitted throughout the hull, and the structure put in place for the shaft tunnels.
Engine and transverse bearers are being installed into position for further hull strength. There is great skill employed here as the tolerances for the engineering requirements when the engines and shafts are installed is extremely fine.
As with every Riviera, the Sports Motor Yacht hull will feature a watertight collision bulkhead immediately aft of the stem for safety whilst under way.
The inner moulds for the deck and heads have also now been completed, while the main deck mould commences at the end of October and the flybridge mould a week later.
Join us next month
The team at Riviera will proudly provide further production insights regarding the build progress of our 68 and 72 Sports Motor Yachts in your Riviera Experience Magazine, Edition 9.