Issue: January/February 2006
Worth The Effort. She may be inexpensive to buy but she lacks none of the creature comforts of her rivals.
It is obvious that a lot of time and effort by Riviera’s R&D team has gone into the M360 Sports Cruiser. As well as developing a brand new hull for the M360, the team has included a lot of little things that make a boat a lot more comfortable to live with.
According to Randall Jones, from Riviera Sports Gold Coast at Coomera, the brief was to build the biggest boat possible that didn’t cost a fortune and was easy to maintain and look after.
The M360 is right on the mark. The creative use of space both below and in the cockpit makes her ideal for a family of four to get a way for the weekend, or for a bigger party of say 10 people on a day cruise.
The cockpit has a similar layout to the bigger M400. It’s on the one level and there’s a big lounge and surrounding bench seat with a foldout table, a sink and a cockpit fridge with its own icemaker on the opposite side.
The helm station comes in one complete moulded section with hydraulic steering, bow thruster and a Navman Trackfish 1600 and Mercury’s Digital Throttle System (DTS) controls as standard. It’s a neat package and there is even a mimic to show if the bilge pumps are working and what navigation lights are on.
The switch to operate the discharge pump for the holding tank is also located on the dash. Don’t go operating this in harbour though, or in enclosed waters, or you will be in a lot of strife from the authorities that take a very dim view of such things. Wait until you get well to sea where this boat is happy.
The boat comes with a hardtop with a couple of hatches in the top and inlets in the front with a race car-style spoiler on the trailing edge. So if the weather is a bit ordinary it can be closed up with the Strataglass clears without the fear of exhaust fumes being drawn into the cabin. With the clears off, the boat is opened right up with plenty of air circulating, great on a hot day.
There are six down-lights in the lined hardtop and a red light over the helm station for night vision.
There is also a substantial handrail down the middle of the hardtop to hang onto if a bigger boat goes past and puts up a bit of a wash, as they do.
A flat-screen TV bracket has been located over the cockpit sink. There are about six other similar brackets, so the flat screen can be moved around the boat.
On the bow is a well-padded sun lounge with an inbuilt headrest and a weatherproof cover to stop it flying off. Getting up to the bow is safe with the 150m-wide side decks and the handholds on the top of the hardtop.
The M400 set the style with its contemporary treatment below decks and the M360 follows suit, although the layout is a little different to make use of the available space.
The main cabin is finished in a semi-gloss beechwood with a set of wide teak stairs. Amtico has been used on the floor. It’s synthetic finish, which is more durable than teak, and spills, especially around the galley, can be wiped up with a damp cloth.
The galley is fairly basic with a sink that has a moulded draining board and a single burner cooktop. Microwave and a hot and cold water mixer with a gauge showing how full the water tanks are behind it, another good idea.
The rest of the decor is simple with a leather lounge and wooden Venetian blinds on the windows. The footstool has a reversible top that becomes a small table with plenty of storage under it for wine and spirits and any other odd bits and pieces you can’t find a ready home for.
The owner’s cabin with its island berth can be closed off with two doors that feature opaque in-fills. This decor is carried through into the main cabin.
There is definitely a woman’s touch evident in the bathroom. Centre piece is the big vanity cupboard with a mirror on the door. But inside there is a glass holder for toothbrushes and toothpaste and a 240V power point for a hair dryer or an electric shaver.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Access to the MerCruiser 6.2, 320hp V8 Horizons with Bravo III legs is through the day hatch via a ladder. The whole aft cockpit floor, complete with table and lounge, also lifts for even easier access.
Out on the water the M360 is easy to drive and the Mercury Digital Throttle System is a delight to use.
From rest the boat was on the plane in 11.4 seconds. It’s not speedboat stuff but quite quick for a boat that weighs in at 6500kg dry weight. No trim was needed until the speed reached about 25 knots and then a little trim tab brought the bow down a little.
In nil wind conditions it sat on the plane, just, at 3000rpm and 14 knots. Given a head wind and a lumpy sea it would need a few more revs, say around 3500 where we recorded a speed of 19.3 knots and a fuel flow of 48lt per hour, just before we dropped off the plane.
The best cruising speed was around 4000rpm with the GPC recording 25.5 knots. At this speed the Navman engine management system indicated an economical fuel flow of 60lt per hour. At wide open throttle the GPS showed 34.5 knots at 4900rpm.
She sat into a tight turn nicely and had exceptionally good manners. The wooden steering wheel felt right on this boat.
The M360 is a dry boat, even when driving over the wash from one of the big whale-watching cats there was not a hint of water coming over the front. I would liked to have tried it in a more lumpy seaway to see what it did, but who’s to complain. The day was one of those days we all wish for on the water, and a perfect day to enjoy on a boat like the M360. It is a pity we didn’t take a picnic lunch with us. Randall, take note for next time.
A base boat starts at $345,000. As tested with extras including a spotlight, air-conditioning, upgraded upholstery, rear swim platform rail and an electric barbecue is $366,000. The Onan 6kVa genset is standard.
Today’s Riviera boats are about the passion of the people who build them and that’s shared by the people who own them. They are built with state-of-the-art technology and an inner drive from some of the industry’s most gifted craftsmen and women.
Each boat is constructed with a strong, solid fiberglass hull. Various sections of the hull are stiffened with core mat, end grain balsa or other lightweight materials, which are resin impregnated and hand-laid.
For peace of mind, there’s a collision bulkhead forward and separate compartments throughout the hull.
The Riviera M360 was powered by twin 6.2lt, 320hp V8 MerCruiser Horizons driving through Bravo III legs, which are standard.
In calm conditions with two adults onboard the M360 produced the following performance figures.
KNOTS – RPM
14 – 3000
25.5 – 4000
34.5 – 4900
DRY WEIGHT: 6500kg
FUEL CAPACITY: 800lt
WORDS : KEVAN WOLFE
+ Stylish cruising boat; Value for the price
– Nothing to Report