The new sight in scenic Seychelles
Boating World’s Derrick Levy travelled to Seychelles to deliver a top-of-the-range Riviera 43 to her new owners. We had the exclusive opportunity to hear Derrick’s first-hand experience on what the Riviera is like as a boat, and why this tranquil, enchanting boating Mecca is the perfect match. Derrick explains…
When a long-time client flew down to Cape Town to meet us at the Boating World Granger office, I had a feeling that they were serious about investing in a Riviera. Having previously purchased a 60-foot sailing catamaran for charter work from the Wharf Hotel marina in Seychelles (situated directly across from the popular Bravo restaurant at the picturesque Eden Island), the client wanted to complete his fleet with the addition of one of our prestigious Riviera’s.
The mandate for the new boat was for serious game fishing as well as luxury cruising, and it was not long before we pinpointed the new top-of-the-line sport fishing and cruising vessel, the Riviera 43 with IPS drives as the perfect option for their needs.
The idea was that the Riviera 43, now named “uShaka”, would be based in the Seychelles and to be used in the newly formed Charter Company “Seychelles Yacht Charters,” along with their sailing Cat and other charter boats.
The new Riviera 43 was ordered with all the bells and whistles and state-of-the-art options for some hardcore Marlin and game fishing, or cruising for those charter clients, who prefer a leisurely cruise around the scenic Seychelles Islands.
Once the Riviera was completed, she was shipped from the Riviera factory in Australia on an armed guard vessel and shipped directly to Mahe Island. Modern-day pirates were expected along the way, but fortunately, there were no delays.
She arrived at the port just after Christmas, and the Boating World team (consisting of myself, my wife Suzanne, Greg Alice and Mike Wade) along with the excited owner, boarded Air Seychelles excitedly anxious to see this magnificent vessel in all her glory.
We arrived at 20h00 and immediately drove down to the marina where we met Francis (the new Riviera skipper), and Aaron the deckhand – who has vast fishing experience and has even fished with well-known Silan Naicker from Lowrance and ASFN.
Arriving at the Wharf Hotel, the Riviera 43 immediately caught our eye. Even though it was already dark, uShaka was brightly lit. Blue LED underwater lights at the transom brought the water behind the boat to life as a huge amount of fish life converged – like a beautiful, big aquarium! The massive Teak deck with her spacious cockpit was also illuminated, this time with soft white LED lights. The interior lights were on too, showing the stunningly beautiful saloon, and combined with the blue mood lights, she really was an amazing sight to see.
Once Mike had hooked up the shore power, we headed for the luxurious Maison chalet in Eden Island – which belongs to Charlie and Ray Backlund, the proud owners of a Fairline Phantom 40.
We spent time on the Riviera 43 going through her many options and trained the skipper on her attributes. After that, we cruised to the fuel bay and filled the
1 800-litre fuel tank. The Riviera also comes with an optional 300-litre, factory-fitted forward fuel tank.
We departed and headed for Parlin Island, which at 22 km/h (12 knots) cruising, took us an hour. We were fortunate to have perfect weather, gorgeous flat waters and eye-grabbing scenery.
What impressed me about this Riviera 43 was the quietness of the Volvo IPS motors, allowing one to talk easily on the cockpit deck or in the saloon. With zero vibration and no diesel smoke, the ride was not only comfortable, but a breath of fresh air too! This is a huge improvement as even with the best of technology in the older models, some smoke would eventually blacken the transom.
We spent the day cruising around Parlin and La Digue Islands, where we stopped and swam in the pristine Indian Ocean. The warm tropical azure water and immaculate white beaches almost gave us a new outlook on life.
This Riviera 43 has a full size swim platform, to give maximum space for enjoyment at the stern. Of course, Marlin fishing is best without any platform at all for when you need to back up onto the fish. However, the extra large platform was carefully selected for comfort and space.
But don’t think for a second that the Riviera has lost her fishing capabilities. For angling, a Reelax 80 lbs fighting chair has been fitted and doesn’t compromise on space in the large cockpit. The huge live bait well replaces the magnificent entertainment centre and braai. Instead a removable, factory fitted braai was chosen.
Easy-to-maintain Reelax outriggers with silver spear ends are located in the gunwhales and rocket launcher rod holders are fitted onto the flybridge. A centre rig wasn’t selected, but that can be easily fitted at a later stage.
A great option of this craft is the Volvo IPS Fish mode, which makes the craft a little more agile when backing up on a fish. In my experience, it is really effective for fishing those big Marlin or other gamefish.
We left La Digue’s stunning beach and headed back, having given uShaka her first five hour run – and how enjoyable she had been.
We decided to circumnavigate around Mahe Island. On this gorgeous day, we cruised at 20-25 knots passing several beautiful beaches. We decided to test the fishing for an hour and used five rods with 2 x 80 Shimano’s, 2 x 50 Shimano’s and 2 x 30 Shimano’s. It wasn’t long before we were having fun fighting large East Coast Africa Bonnie’s which put up a good fight. Francis the skipper soon got the swing of the IPS drive, while Aaron showed us his skill as a fishing deckhand – which didn’t look anything like they do on ‘Deadliest Catch’!
We rounded Mahe Island and got back to the mooring at 18h00. After arrival, Suzanne got out the champagne and we blessed and Christened uShaka with happy sailing to all those that sail on her.
The Riviera’s elated owner thanked our Boating World Team for a professional hand over, and we couldn’t have been happier to present the Riviera 43 Flybridge to her new owner. Day three and four proved exciting as Derrick and his team head out in extreme conditions to put the boat through her paces in search of great fishing opportunities. Don’t miss the second part of this story in Leisure Boating’s April 2012 edition.
To charter this Riviera 43 or 60 Fountain Pajot in the lovely Seychelles, contact Jessica at Boating World on (021) 418 0840. To purchase your own Riviera, contact Derrick on (021) 418 0840.