Riviera introduced the first 3600 Sport Yacht

Riviera introduced the first 3600 Sport Yacht in 2007 and now has introduced the series II for 2018. While the two 3600SY are similar in dimensions, LOA 38-feet 6-inches and a beam of 12-feet 7-inches, the series II has been redesigned to capitalize on the performance increase, weight and space savings the Volvo IPS offers. In 2007, the original 3600 SY was powered with a pair of Cummins QSB5.9 330 horsepower inboards shoehorned into the engine room and she weighed in at a hefty 19,800 pounds. The series II with twin Volvo IPS2-400 300 horsepower D4 IPS now checks in at a trim 16,000 pounds dry and provides more than enough space in the engine room for a junior sumo wrestler to check the fluids. The 3600 is the smallest in this family of Sport Yachts with her bigger sisters being the 4800SY, 5400SY and the 6000SY. All of the Sport Yacht models come standard with Volvo IPS second generation propulsion and the design heavily influenced by the now six-year relationship between Volvo and Riviera engineers share on seven different models and hundreds of yachts.

Boarding the sport yacht from the extra large teak covered swim step is safe and easy with the strategically placed hand holds and the beautiful mondo-sized, highly-polished stainless steel staple; which, by the way, has a built in mount for the optional electric BBQ and tender chalks. Riviera thoughtfully placed a molded fender holder to port, large trunk amidships and the cockpit entrance hatch to starboard.

In the nearly 67 square-foot cockpit, we find the standard teak sole that opens hydraulically at the touch of a switch to provide excellent access to the engine room for checks and service. If you do not want to wait for the hydraulic lift and need only to check fluids, the day hatch is smaller and provides adequate access for prestart fluid checks.

In the cockpit we find tons of storage in the large and deep combing storage lockers on both sides of the transom. At the aft end of the cockpit we have the forward facing cushioned seat and the folding two leaf table on a polished pedestal. This is the perfect spot for that afternoon glass of Port and fine cigar. Forward and to port is the 12V refrigerator under a bar sink and faucet. To starboard we find another storage locker under a small countertop and a step up to the walk around side deck.

Like the competition in this class of yacht, the 3600SY offers a wide cockpit with awning to protect most of the cockpit from adverse weather and excess sun. Looking forward we see the polished stainless steel framed opening hatch to starboard which leads into the large saloon with the galley to starboard, generous table seating to port and the helm forward and to starboard. Lock the door open and lift the gas cylinder assisted awning window and the cockpit becomes part of the saloon.

The dinette seats 5 comfortably with the L-shaped lounge and the table can be manually adjusted to several levels. At the forward end of the lounge area is the flat screen TV hidden away in a locker with an electric lift.

Standard equipment below the solid surface countertops consist of the polished stainless steel sink with designer faucet, convection microwave oven, a recessed single burner electric cook top and a large drawer refrigerator with freezer compartment. Overhead there is a handrail running from the sliding entry door all the way to the companionway leading to the accommodations space. Nice touch but expected from a blue water yacht builder.

At the helm and looking aft through the saloon we get full appreciation of the large awning window that opens out and over the cockpit. Combined with the outward opening main entry door we invite the outdoors in and create a free flowing feel from the swimstep to the helm.

Just forward of the galley on the starboard side is the helm with a single, extra wide, leather seat that adjusts fore and aft and has a flip up bolster. Comfort for just about anyone whether standing or sitting is assured. At first I thought the placement of the IPS joystick control was not well thought out until I flipped up the seat bolster and stood at the helm. Then the design was apparent, perfect positioning for close quarter maneuvering while standing, not sitting. With the integration of the Volvo engine controls and the Garmin glass bridge display the helm is clean and uncluttered. A sliding side window along with two overhead opening hatches, provide good ventilation and, if needed, the air conditioning and window defogging vents are just forward.


Below Decks

Forward and down the companionway are the sleeping quarters with the master stateroom forward and an easily accessed centerline double berth with storage outboard on both sides and a cedar lined hanging locker to port. For ventilation there is operable overhead hatch. One big surprise is the headroom in this stateroom. A six-footer can stand tall and not muss up the hair.

The large hanging locker, recessed LED lighting, and access to the head complete the large master stateroom.

For a 36-foot vessel the head is large and has a contemporary design featuring solid surface countertops and integral sink. The modern VacuFlush head and glass shower partition with frameless glass shower door provide a roomy feeling. Another Riviera surprise is the polished stainless steel opening porthole that is alarmed to the helm in case it is left open.

The guest stateroom features an athwarthships double berth as well as a single berth running fore and aft. An abundance of natural light enters this cabin through long hull windows on both sides. Fresh air is via a stainless steel opening porthole also alarmed at the helm in case it is left open. We also find two cedar-lined hanging lockers and a set of large drawers.



Completing our tour we take a look up front and find a sun pad with integrated pillows and stainless steel handrails for safety. The vertical windlass is located up front in a molded bowsprit while the 150-feet of chain and line stow in separate anchor locker compartments. The foredeck is complete with anchor foot switches and a raw water wash down bib and deep chain locker.


Sea Trial - Driving Miss Clara

Being the second generation of the 3600 Sport Yacht and fitted with the second generation of Volvo IPS drives, my performance expectations are high and once again Riviera did not disappoint. With Leslie and Richard in the camera boat and the new owner and I in the sport yacht, our plan is to head over to McCovey Cove for some stills and then race as fast as we can along the San Francisco city front to the Golden Gate Bridge. From there we plan to continue our tour of the Bay by transiting Raccoon Strait, across Hurricane Gulch north of Treasure Island, under the new span of the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge and returning to Alameda. We agree with the camera boat on stopping for stills as necessary while getting as many underway shots as possible. After all, anyone can take still photos of a boat, it is the high speed running shots I want. Idling from the Richard Boland Yachts’ docks in Alameda, the 3600 demonstrates rock solid slow speed handling with almost no need for the IPS joystick. Making our way down the Estuary directional stability is solid with almost no bow wandering. My last comment to Richard before departing the no wake zone, try to keep up!

Once past Schnitzers turning basin and the Bay Ship Dry dock, I bring our sport yacht up to a comfortable cruise speed of 24 knots while heading across the always available ferry and crew boat wakes. The 3600 takes them all in stride with the spray going everywhere but on our boat. A glance to my left and I see the owner is all smiles.

Our first destination is the vicinity of the Yerba Buena Lighthouse for some stills and performance shots. We keep our leisurely pace of 24 knots allowing time for Richard and Leslie in the camera boat to catch up and maneuver around us to take up station for the photos.

With the camera boat a few hundred feet south of the new Bay Bridge we set up and make several high speed passes at our wide open speed of nearly 32 knots. The water in the area is fairly calm but with no surprise, the 3600 slices thru the light chop as the Volvo’s climb easily to WOT.

Departing the vicinity of Yerba Buena Island we head straight across the anchorage at wide open throttle towards AT&T park with the camera boat taking up a distant second place. By the time we arrive, get positioned in McCovey Cove, and set the Dynamic Positioning System, the camera boat scoots into position.

Prior to our sea trial and day of thrashing the SUV around the Bay she had been sold. Thanks to the new owners as they agreed to let us use the boat for this article and were along for the ride around San Francisco Bay. When we first boarded Miss Clara in Alameda, she had just over 18 hours on the clocks. When we secured her back at her berth in Marina Village she had 22 hours. Hard to believe that we put almost four hours running around the Bay at 30+, time flies when the boat does too.

Although it was a calm day in San Francisco as afternoons go, the 3600 demonstrated a great deal of composure everywhere we went. Only a few times did I back down the throttles when approaching a 4-foot ferry wake and once passed I realized that I probably did not need to. I tried as hard as I could to get spray on the windscreen and was finally successful crossing Hurricane Gulch at WOT with a beam sea and hit the wake of a tug. David reached over to click on the wipers and all it took was one swipe of the oversized wipers to clear off the spray. With a smile of agreement David commented that I finally got his new boat wet.


Measured Performance With

Three-Quarters Fuel Tanks And Two Person On Board

Time to plane - less than 5 seconds

Max speed - 31.8 kts burning 27 GPH

total and WOT of 3630 RPM

Best cruise speed - anywhere from 10.5 to 32 knots


Performance By The Numbers

1500 RPM 8.0 kts 5.0 GPH 1.6 MPG

1900 RPM 10.9 kts 10 GPH 1.0 MPG

- minimum plane speed

2300 RPM 13.9 kts 13 GPH 1.0 MPG

2500 RPM 16.1 kts 16 GPH 1.0 MPG

2700 RPM 18.8 kts 17 GPH 1.1 MPG

3000 RPM 22.9 kts 21 GPH 1.1 MPG

3160 RPM 25.2 kts 22 GPH 1.1 MPG

- 80% engine load cruise speed

3630 RPM 31.8 kts 28 GPH 1.1 MPG



Based on my data, the fuel economy in nautical miles per gallon is nearly the same from her 11 knots minimum planning speed to wide open throttle speed of nearly 32 knots. The most efficient cruise RPM is 3160 making 25.2 knots. Volvo guidelines for continuous maximum operating RPM is 3000. According to engine management system the engine load at 3160 RPM was 80% and there is no measureable penalty in fuel consumption, but with another 2.3 knots in cruise SOG. All performance data was taken in Anchorage 8 with a 1 knot current. Data was taken in both directions and averaged. Trim tabs were used at speeds up to 16 knots to optimize performance and trim.


2018 Riviera 3600 Sport Yacht Specifications:

LOA - 38.5-feet with standard swim platform

Fuel - 211 gallons

Beam - 12-feet 7-inches

Potable water - 103 gallons

Draft - 3.5-feet

Black water - 21 gallons

Air clearance - 8.5-feet waterline to anchor


Power - Twin Volvo IPS400

Displacement - Approx. 16,000 lbs.

Maximum measured speed - 31.8 kts


Manufacturing on Australia’s Gold Coast, Riviera has been building yachts since 1980 and has delivered more than 5,200 yachts around the world. Riviera is a world class builder of luxury motoryachts and is well known for their blue water sea keeping ability, technology and luxury. Other models in the Sport Yacht line include the 4800SY, 5400SY and the 6000SY.

For more information or to arrange for your own personal test ride, contact Richard Boland Yachts in Alameda. Anyone exploring top-caliber options in the luxury express cruiser category should certainly include the Riviera 3600 Sport Yacht among their comparisons. This boat will definitely impress and Riviera has carried on the tradition of building high performance yachts.

At the end of another hard day at the office and an additional 4 hours on the clocks, our sport yacht is put to bed at Marina Village.

In the past few years I have had the opportunity to sea trial or deliver a half dozen of these under 40-foot, high quality express cruisers with the open and airy floor plans that tie the cockpit and galley together. Riviera has definitely raised the bar with their high quality craftsmanship, attention to detail, and superb fit and finish.

Finally, a special welcome and thank you to my new photographer, Leslie. She endured a day of cold winds, bouncy seas, and having the bejesus waked out of her while sitting still in a 21-foot workboat with some fool in a brand new sport yacht racing straight at her at 32 knots then turning away in the last 50-feet. She got some excellent photos and I think has a new appreciation of how hard my job is. Where is my cigar darlin’?

Time for me to sit back with a fine cigar and glass of port while I dream about thrashing around San Francisco Bay with another new yacht attempting to spray the new photographer. Until next month please keep those letters coming. Do you have a good story to tell, I love a good story and with permission I would love to run it in the Bay & Delta Yachtsman. Have good photos of right and wrong, please send them and I will include them in next edition of “is it right or is it wrong” patcarson@yachtsmanmagazine.com H

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