Once Riviera’s new Belize 66 Sedan was well beyond the Port Everglades jetties, the sea state settled into a succession of sun-washed, white-capped 6-footers. Just the sort of weather the Aussies on board were totally cool with. We were heading east, into the rollers, loping along at 20 knots, with nary a drop of seawater on the windshield.
I fed a quartering turn into the electric steering system and noted that the boat continued to perform comfortably in big-time side seas. Then I bumped ‘er up to 28 knots. “You Australians know how to build rough-water boats,” I said, shooting a glance toward Chris McCafferty, Riviera’s international sales director, a momentary act that revealed two, big express-style vessels going our way.
The mini-race that ensued was short, but sweet. Turning an average top end of 33.7 knots while holding a wholly optimal running attitude of just 3 degree, the 66 blew the doors off the competition in about two minutes flat.
Earlier in the day, dockside in Ft. Lauderdale, I’d had a chance to check out the essentials behind such a rousing performance. For starters, there was a marketing spiel that promised a fine entry forward, wide down-turned chines from stem to stern, an effective, deep-V-type transom deadrise and a long, substantial keel—all features aligned with fast, dry bee-lining through sporty seas.
Then there was the engine-room tour I’d taken with Wes Moxey, Riviera CEO and co-founder of Belize. “We’re building this boat in the ISO-certified Kha Shing yard in Taiwan,” he’d said as he undogged the ER’s fiberglass door. “Kha Shing has a great reputation for solid, high-quality craftsmanship.”
ation I was now looking at that heralded the boat’s sea-chomping personality. Her 1,000-hp Volvo Penta D13 diesels were staggered, raceboat-style. The port engine was mounted well forward and connected to its IPS unit via a long, shrouded steel jackshaft. The starboard engine was mounted well aft and close-coupled. The setup facilitated a low, centerline-centric weight distribution as well as a perfect LCG (Longitudinal Center of Gravity) placement, features that tend to optimize running attitudes and seakeeping stability at speed.
My subsequent tour of the 66’s interior was also enlightening. In general, the configuration of both upper and lower decks was conventional, with a U-shaped galley, a dinette and full-beam helm area in the salon topside and a highly finished accommodation space below. Riviera factors a sizable number of modifications into the latter envelope, however. Our test boat, for example, featured a full-beam amidships master with a walkaround king-sized berth, two large hanging lockers, an office area, two lounges, a TV on the forward bulkhead and an en suite with a shower stall and twin vanities.
I got off the boat at Harbortown Marina in Dania. And as she pulled away, I had a chance to carefully examine her profile. Is the Belize 66 wholly a creature of the sea? Sure. But then, her lines seem at least loosely aligned with modern, low-slung, luxury cars as well. And the effect, I have to admit, is truly lithe, eye-catching and unique. —Capt. Bill Pike
Displ.: 83,776 lbs.
Fuel: 1,188 gal.
Water: 185 gal.
Power: 2/1,000-hp Volvo Penta D13-IPS1350
Price: $3.15 million
Cruise Speed: 25 knots
Top Speed: 34 knots