You Are Reading

The 505 SUV: a Riviera made for New Zealand

Adventures, Edition 12 - 2020

The 505 SUV: a Riviera made for New Zealand


It was with friends on an African safari last year that Ron and Jenny Halls’ retirement from boating was one evening called into question. They put it to the vote. Happily, the result was a return to the sea. Swahili for ‘the sea’, Bahari is the Halls’ seventh motor yacht, their first Riviera and New Zealand’s first 505 SUV.

Soon after their safari, they took a virtual tour of the 505 SUV at the Miami International Boat Show.

“We bought the boat off the video, really,” Ron says, speaking from their Auckland home. “We didn’t see it completed and didn’t have a sea trial, but we were very confident, which says a lot about Riviera’s reputation.

Ron and Jenny Halls with their Riviera 505 SUV, Bahari

“The 505 SUV was the first model that we thought really catered to the New Zealand lifestyle. It’s got the alfresco deck area for indoor and outdoor living, that was number one. Number two, the new hull design – it’s good in a following sea and is the perfect hull shape for New Zealand conditions. You need a boat that can handle the conditions, particularly with swell from one direction and chop from the other. And number three, Riviera’s after-sales reputation is second to none; no one in the boating industry in New Zealand matches the R Marine Flagship after-sales service.”

Jenny was drawn in by the prospects of alfresco entertaining and by the exquisitely appointed full-beam master stateroom.

Bahari at home in Auckland Harbour

“The alfresco deck was the main attraction,” Jenny says. “When we first saw the 505 on video, I said to myself, that’s the type of people we are; we enjoy the outdoor aspect of dining. The next attraction was the galley and its position [aft], so that you can interact with friends aboard. And then the really big attraction was the master stateroom; it’s very well done with plenty of space, a walk-in robe and an en suite.

“We did think about its resale value,” she adds, “for when our time’s up and we want to sell it. Kiwis are definitely Riviera people.”


First impressions count

The Halls were impressed with their first weeks at the helm of Bahari, experiencing moderate seas.

“We’ve had no issues,” Ron says. “We chose the Volvo IPS 950 package and it’s incredibly smooth. The engines match the boat, so you never feel that they’re under too much strain. I think the benefits of years of production of boat building at Riviera are really starting to show through the way things are integrated.”

Jenny noted Bahari’s seakeeping quality and the dryness of the ride.


“Sitting up at the helm, I found the boat to be very smooth in comparison to what I’m used to,” she says.

“It has a wider operating window,” Ron explains, “which means you can run it between 20 to 28 knots cruising and it’s happy, so you can drive to the conditions and not the operating window of the boat.”

Complete with a washing machine and dryer, a water maker, ‘spectacular’ fridge and freezer capacity and a 3,300-litre capacity diesel tank, the Halls say they’re set for multi-week trips away. The Hauraki Gulf is on their doorstep, also Great Barrier Island, plus the Bay of Islands and the North Cape further afield.

Great Barrier Island is a favourite destination for Ron and Jenny Halls aboard their 505 SUV, Bahari

All hands on deck

With no history at the helm, Jenny looked to Dean Horgan for support. The principal at R Marine Flagship organises Women on Water courses that build capacity and confidence.

“I feel this boat is more sophisticated, it’s slightly bigger and has water makers, bigger engines, bigger generators,” Jenny says. “We’re both getting older and I thought it would be good to take a more active role in case I needed to do anything in an emergency.”

Conducted over five nights, 30 ladies took the training with Jenny.

Bahari at R Marine Flagship’s marina – she was the first Riviera 505 SUV to touch the waters of New Zealand

“It was thorough and hands on. We learned to navigate at night, the different aspects of anchoring, using emergency equipment, CZone operation and docking. We’ve never had a joystick before, only bow and stern thrusters, so this is a different way of docking. I’m confident enough now to bring it in, at least to give it a go!

“Overall the course was extremely professional and very well organised.”

So impressed were the Halls that they offered Bahari to use in the course.

“Dean has been tremendous in encouraging Jenny,” Ron says. “Having Bahari available was an easy decision. After buying boats in the US, this is another level of service. It’s fantastic that a New Zealand company is offering this level of after-sales service – and it is spectacular.”


Discover the Riviera 505 SUV