Riviera 4800 Sport Yacht

A perfect yacht for an imperfect world.

by Capt. Tom Serio
In a perfect world, scheduling sea trials would go as initially planned.


  • LOA: 50’
  • Beam: 15’1”
  • Draft: 3’10”
  • Weight: 42,000 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 555 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 106 gals.
  • Power: T-Volvo Penta D8-IPS800 600-hp engines
  • Price: Contact dealer


Trying to get on the Riviera 4800 Sport Yacht proved a daunting trial in itself. The scheduling was delayed, the yacht was not in the planned location, the yacht was needed at the Miami Boat Show, the company rep was out of town, etc. Alas, I was able to get on-board a mere two days before the story’s deadline. The aforementioned issues actually afforded me two things: To meet the local dealer who was a wealth of Riviera information and to test the 4800 on a not-so-spectacular day. That in itself was gold as I was able to see first-hand the attributes of the 4800 in 4- to 5-foot seas, as well as in calm waters.

With an eye on the white-capped sea as we headed towards the inlet, I told Rick Young — general manager of Grande Yachts International in Dania, Florida (with additional locations in Jupiter, Miami and Deerfield Beach) and my new friend who bailed me out — to forget it as I didn’t want to bang up his yacht. I might as well have been speaking to a deaf guy. Young pointed the 4800 square into the confusion, telling me how the yacht will handle the mess. You know what, the 4800 performed exactly as Young described. It wasn’t a white knuckled ride but rather a sure-footed, solid and quiet ride. 

Numbers game

While sitting next to Young in the portside dual helm leather bucket seats, I did not detect any creaking, squeaking or other sounds that would indicate inferior construction, even from below. Entry into the charging waves was soft without pounding or bone-jarring. When I asked how the yacht was able to run in these conditions, Young explained that Riviera properly balanced the hull by pushing the twin 600-hp Volvo D8-IPS800 engines farther forward for better weight distribution, with the pods connected via jackshafts. The engine locations also allow for a large garage that can house a tender.

Grabbing a few speed numbers, the 4800 was running within range of Riviera’s performance chart. Mind you these were not the best conditions for getting numbers and I did not run reciprocal courses, but Young hit 1,940 rpm for a speed of 15.1 knots and 28 gph combined. Pushing the Volvo throttles, we saw 23.2 knots at 2,430 rpm with 42 gph, and 31.4 knots at 3,000 rpm and 64 gph. Checking the Volvo Penta engine display, Young pointed out that once the 4800 is up and running, the IPS drives with forward-facing props, and the “distance remaining” display stays pretty constant as rpm changes. You can run to your favorite destination knowing how far you can go without drastic swings.

Stately rooms

Riviera has designed the flush main deck and lower accommodations with families, cruising couples and owner/operators in mind — with a few surprises. Below are the staterooms, with a master in the forward peak. Satin varnished walnut cabinetry surrounds the walkaround queen berth. Hullside windows bring in ambient light. A cedar-lined hanging locker is to starboard. An ensuite head includes a glass shower stall with teak-capped seat, basin sink and Vacuflush head.

The guest stateroom is midship with three single beds (the two on the port side can slide together for a double bed). It’s a neat addition for an extra couple or a few kids. This full-beam stateroom has hullside windows with portholes on both sides. Guests can use the dayhead, with glass shower stall, Vacuflush head and basin sink. Swap the linen closet with an optional washer/dryer.

The atrium lounge Riviera designed into the center area of the lower level is a nice surprise. With more than 6 feet of headroom and light pouring in from the open staircase and hull windows, the L-settee is the perfect place to hide out below deck without having to be in a stateroom. Stretch out with a book, lazily gaze out the window, watch TV or enjoy your own “time out,” away from the activity above. Of course you can relegate the kids to the atrium while the adults enjoy up top.

The main attraction

Speaking of up top, the flush main deck is enclosed and can be opened to enjoy those spectacular days on the water. Side salon windows open, the aft door slides to port and a large bulkhead awning window swings up. The electric sunroof over the helm also slides open and allows for air flow through the salon. Essentially, you can have the wind in your hair and enjoy the outdoors while inside. The aft deck is covered by an extended awning with side curtains that help to reduce wraparound spray. Seating is across the transom bench settee or on the starboard L-settee with hi-low electric table. All seats are well padded with comfortable backrests. To port is a wetbar with an Isotherm icemaker and Vitrifrigo fridge, sink and Corian countertop. Access the transom grill station from the hydraulic swim platform; here you’ll find dual cooktops, a food prep area, a backsplash and hatch-mounted lights for evening use. Keep your balance with the stainless grabrail that runs the width of the area. 

Grand central

For additional meal prep, there’s a portside galley just inside the salon. With the 4800 opened up, this becomes the entertainment focal point. Any meal can be crafted in this galley that’s complete with high-end appliances, including a Frigidaire convection microwave oven, a Fisher & Paykel dishwasher, a Whale two-burner electric cooktop, three Isotherm fridge/freezer drawers, a deep stainless steel sink and plenty of Corian counter space. Riviera designed dedicated drawer space for the eight-person dining set. Crystal water, wine and rocks glasses have dedicated space in the cocktail cabinet.

Interior dining takes place at the starboard leather U-settee with wood table. It’s on a raised platform that allows for better views out the windows and adds a little height to the guest stateroom below. Location is everything, and the forward part of the dinette is across from the portside helm, allowing for the operator to stay engaged with their guests.

At the con 

Tucked forward to port is the helm station. Riviera’s in- house design team did a great job designing the ergonomic station, with exceptional line of sight and access to the controls and Volvo Penta dual Glass Bridge multifunction displays. Throttle, joystick and Garmin mouse are on the left arm console, with the 7-inch Volvo Penta engine monitor display to the right. It’s a clean design with flush, lighted buttons for key operations like horn, bilges, sunroof and lights. What adds to the ease is the CZone digital switching system that replaces switches and fuse panels, making operations like getting ready to cruise or departing the yacht essentially a single button effort.  

As previously mentioned, the twin Volvo Penta engines are set forward in the engine room. But it still affords some room to get below and have full access to the fuel filters, raw water strainers, pumps and other maintenance items. A 17kw Cummins Onan generator is centered between the engines.

Other niceties on the 4800 are the second control station on the port aft deck, large sun loungers on the bow with a fold-away sun awning and timber finish Royal Oak flooring inside.

As Rick Young put it, this yacht is designed for everybody, from those coming down from larger yachts to owner/operators and newbies to yachting. With joystick operation, there’s a quick learning curve. And with the Riviera pedigree built into every yacht, it may just make your world a little more perfect. 

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