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Riviera explores new technologies to help make boating easier and safer

Edition 4 - 2017

Riviera explores new technologies to help make boating easier and safer


Riviera prides itself on providing innovative technologies that enhance the beautifully crafted and sturdy motor yachts built at the company’s facility in Coomera on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Many of the technologies the company implements are developed and honed with the input and even testing by experienced owners well prior to their introduction to production.

So when Jason Squire contacted Paul Harrop at R Marine South Australia with a vision for an extended cruising lifestyle and a Riviera 6000 Sport Yacht, Paul immediately called on the expertise from the company’s head office team at Coomera in south-east Queensland.

Jason Squire’s Riviera 6000 Sport Yacht The Silver Fox.

Jason is a technology leader, having built and operated a highly successful online retail business. He also owns a Tesla electric car that he can monitor and control remotely from an app on his smartphone.

Together, Jason, Paul and Riviera’s Electrical/Electronics Manager Greig Payne began to develop systems on board Jason’s 6000 Sport Yacht named The Silver Fox that would allow him to voyage long distances in safety, style and comfort while staying in touch with his business, his family, the R Marine team and Riviera.

The systems being trialled on board The Silver Fox also allow Jason to monitor every aspect of the motor yacht’s performance. Paul Harrop has internet connection to the monitoring system and regularly discusses The Silver Fox’s performance with Jason as he is cruising. The system is also connected to a detailed world map showing The Silver Fox’s location, speed and direction.

Jason Squire aboard his Riviera 6000 Sport Yacht The Silver Fox.

“I can’t hide from Paul!” says Jason.

“The systems give me a level of information and control that is completely new in the field of luxury motor yachts,” says Jason.

“When I am preparing to head out on the water, I can switch on lights in the boat, switch on the air conditioning from my home so that it is at the right temperature when we arrive. I can monitor battery state and charge rate and I can run up the gyro stabiliser, ready for us to cast off. A gyro stabiliser takes at least 30 minutes to reach performance speed. Having it ready to go when we arrive means less time waiting at the marina and more time on the water – in a stable condition.”

This level of information sharing is achieved through a complex interconnection linking The Silver Fox’s CZone and engine electronics as well as the entire electrical system on board. The data is transmitted through a web browser, allowing Jason – and anyone else to whom he gives permission –  to monitor many aspects of his motor yacht through a laptop computer from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. He can even receive an alarm if the shore power is disconnected or the boat moves from its berth.

While on board, he can monitor every aspect of the motor yacht’s performance, from engine and genset to fuel consumption and oil temperatures and pressures from a single computer screen.

The Silver Fox cruising safely in the Gordon River in Tasmania.

The system keeps a log of activities and performance of systems across time, an important capability in giving Jason historical information along an entire voyage as well as the capacity to help diagnose any issues that may arise.

As well as a technology enthusiast, Jason is a keen and skilled diver and photographer. His first trip was north from the Riviera facility where he took delivery of The Silver Fox. He embarked on a 2,000 nautical mile shakedown cruise to explore Queensland’s northern Great Barrier Reef and Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea, about 70 nautical miles north-east of Cooktown.

Communication is vital and can be life-saving for anyone on an extended blue-water voyage. The Silver Fox is connected to the internet at all times and Jason has installed back-up systems. Internet and satellite phone connection is supplemented by an installed Iridium satellite phone system.

The Silver Fox’s targa bristles with communications devices.

Most people are happy with a hand-held Iridium phone, but Jason insisted on the more robust installed system.

The cruise not only gave Jason the opportunity to indulge his diving and photography passions; it was also an important test for the technologies newly installed on the motor yacht.

“Monitoring performance both in real time and historically is vital,” says Jason. “If anything occurs, this provides us with an accurate chart over time. For example, while on a voyage, I noticed that the starboard engine was consuming more fuel than the port engine. I assumed that seaweed was caught on the propeller. A quick dive overboard revealed that I had slightly damaged the prop. I called Paul. He sourced a repairer at our next port of call, so the problem was quickly fixed.”

Not only is Jason testing the new information systems, he is also working on the very limits of The Silver Fox’s Garmin navigation screens. Jason can split each of the two 17-inch screens into four panes, providing up to eight separate sets of data at any one time while under way. According to Greig Payne, Jason’s desire to test technology is providing both Riviera and Garmin with valuable data to continue systems enhancement.

Technology and breathtaking scenery at Bathurst Harbour in Tasmania.

After exploring Osprey Reef and northern Queensland’s coast, Jason and The Silver Fox returned to his home in Adelaide. That first cruise took him more than 3,500 nautical miles. Jason has now owned The Silver Fox for just 18 months and already he has voyaged 10,000 nautical miles with 800 engine hours.

Now he is preparing for a significant blue-water cruise that will take him and The Silver Fox to New Caledonia and to the Fiji islands.

Preparing for this epic voyage, he has cruised from Adelaide to Riviera’s facility at Coomera to add even more new technology. He also used the opportunity to further test the systems during a circumnavigation of Tasmania. We will detail this voyage in the next edition of the Riviera Experience magazine.

Technology gets you there. Then it’s time to relax.

While The Silver Fox is lying at the Riviera facility, Jason has also arranged for Riviera Aftermarket to fit Garmin’s new Panoptix RealVü downward and FrontVü forward-looking sonar.

The new system will allow Jason to view the ocean floor as a three-dimensional image up to 90 metres ahead of the boat at eight to 10 times the motor yacht’s current water depth.

“As well as an important navigation safety feature, allowing me to see bommies and reefs in three dimensions, this will allow me to search for the best dive locations,” says Jason.

The new Garmin Panoptix FrontVu sonar system fitted to The Silver Fox.

With thousands of nautical miles and hundreds of engine hours under the keel and a large amount of data at his fingertips, Jason is relaxed about the 800 nautical mile first ocean leg of his Pacific voyage.

“We know The Silver Fox is so strong and seaworthy that she and I can handle just about any weather conditions,” he says. “We have the technology in place for me to make accurate decisions and we are in touch with shore-based expertise and support at all times.

“It is going to be a great adventure and I know we are in safe hands.”



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