Boat Reviews

Riviera 43

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In February this year, we reviewed the Riviera 43 Offshore Express in Leisure Boating. Playing around in Hout Bay harbour on a perfect cruising day was fun, and of course just one facet of the Riviera range. However, the Riviera range has a second, definite raison d’etre … as a legendary, hardcore, fishing machine!
Leisure Boating tags along for the filming of the ASFN team on the hunt for Tuna.

The 43 Offshore Express is built so that she can be used as often as possible, and enjoyed by everyone in the family. She’s perfect for those leisurely, lengthy trips. So whether you want to spend the day off Clifton, or take a run up to Richard’s Bay from Durban harbour, you most certainly can! Plus, you can easily and comfortably stay onboard for a few nights in class and luxury, and still do a little light fishing to catch the freshest of dinners. (For more information on her luxury cruiser appeal, you can request the review from us as done earlier this year.)
But, when the fish are on the bite, best believe that the Riviera 43 transforms into an extreme fisher in no time!

Deck layout

Riviera 43 - Leisure Boating Magazine

What’s great about the Offshore Express is that it doesn’t have to either be kitted out for leisure, or fishing time. She’s got plenty of storage around the craft to keep all your equipment neatly packed away until you need it.
At the stern, there is an option to fit a few choices of fighting chairs, depending on your style.
The deck is made from chic teak wood, and is more than resilient enough to be easily cleaned and maintained to keep the classy-look.
During filming, there were about six crew members at the stern fighting area at the same time. With two fish on the end of the lines, there was still enough space to be able to angle, and not get in each other’s way.

Teaching a man to fish

After a soft and comfortable ride out to the long liners (comfortable enough for some crew to catch a few more Z’s!), the lines went into the water. This didn’t work for us, as it seemed all the other boats had started leaving one-by-one. Owner of this 43 Offshore Express and skipper for the day, Paul Anley, had a hunch on where we could hook in, and would take us around 30 minutes to get there. The sun was now coming out from behind the clouds and the water was beginning to lose its chill at around 18 degrees.

Riviera 43 - Leisure Boating Magazine

In wasn’t a moment after lines were in that the first bit of sardine got noshed, and the reel started to scream blue murder — Carolien van Rooijen was up first for the fight. I thought she was brave since it was going to be a mammoth task!
All on board estimated the fish to be around the 45 kg mark – probably a decent Long Fin tuna, but wasn’t convinced. My guess was a 75-80 kg Yellow Tail.
Paul Anley used the Offshore Express’s refined IPS drives to keep the fish side on as the fish swam far out from the craft. For those that might not know; the IPS drive is a joystick at the helm that moves in any direction, as well as twists. The movement on this joystick turns the propeller unit 360 degrees. Twisting the control makes the craft do a full on axis turn in either direction. This, of course makes docking and manoeuvering in tight spots infinitely easier. While on this, bow thrusters also work efficiently when they are needed at the docking process.

Back to the fight; and the heat is on. As the anglers became slowly worn down one by one, the estimates of the fish were starting to get bigger. At about the hour mark, estimates of the fish were now a decent Yellow Tail, around 50 kg’s. I maintained my 75-80 kg educated guess.
With Paul Bedford stepping in to help Carolien, and the cameraman to take over from Paul Bedford, and a fourth pro to take over from there, this fish was not going to go quietly into the night!
After 2,5 hours, we started seeing the colours of the fish. And in this case, the licence plate of the bus. After a little longer, she was brought on deck for a few trophy photographs. She was a magnificent species, with her beautiful yellow tail and silver undertones — measuring in at 161 cm from fork to snout. The ASFN team claims the estimated weight of the fish at 90.1 kilograms. She was safely returned to the water and showed no signs of stress.

Riviera 43 - Leisure Boating MagazineA few of the Riviera’s great qualities came into play to make it all possible on the day. Aside from what I have already mentioned — once the fish was on, the angler was easily able to fight the fish as the craft bobbed in the water, stable as can be. High gunwales allow the fisherman (and fisherwoman!) to rest their gear comfortably along the sides, and not feel as though falling out is an option. The extended roof from the helm helps to keep the sun off you in the mid afternoon, keeping you protected and allowing you to stay cool and fight the fish for a longer period.
The on board generator meant the engines could be turned off, and someone could still heat up their packed lunch. Once Paul Bedford was easily able to grab the leader of the line (since he was standing on the swim platform section), the tail has snatched from out of the water — and brought on board through the 43’s stern doorway (with a lockable door). Huge fish hatches on board meant that we could easily have taken the beast back home — but she was too magnificent to keep.

This Yellow Tail tuna was caught using a (((XXXXXXXXXXXX))) rod and reel, with (((XXXXXXX))) pound line. A flashing Green Eska at the end of the line makes this kind of fishing easy. Eskas are available in green and blue, and react in salt water to flash in a certain series to attract the big fish.
When the day was said and done, we headed for home, just as the fog started to roll into Hout Bay. So stable was the craft, that while running home at around 25 knots, I was easily able to walk around the craft without having to grab onto anything to aid me. With the clear shield up, the engine noise became much quieter (and I wouldn’t say it was particularly noisy to begin with!), and the warmth in the cabin was appreciated by all.

With full heads and sleeping space for those on board, the 43 Offshore Express didn’t disappoint on any fronts!

Finishing touches

Riviera 43 - Leisure Boating MagazineThe Riviera 43 Offshore Express comes with an extensive list of standard features. Of course, there’s an equally long list of add-ons depending on your needs, be it high-class living facilities or catering for your extreme angler needs.
Riviera boats are known for their high level of quality finishings, and this 43 footer is no exception. On her own, she looks brilliant — even better when she’s moving! And with your fishing gear stowed, she takes on the role as a serious fish hunter.
Our review craft was upholstered in suede. Although the skipper regularly takes her on fishing trips, his trick is to simply place a canvas on the aft seating. Having landed as many fish as I imagine Paul has, it’s great to see that it doesn’t take much to keep the craft looking like a few million bucks!


Riviera 43 - Leisure Boating Magazine

For a 43 Offshore Express such as one for this review, you can expect to pay around (((R??????????????.))) To me, she’s worth more than her weight in gold! Just don’t expect to be able to find a pre-owned example around every corner as I’m sure this craft is sure to be one of those vessels that people just never want to sell!
For more information, contact Boating World on 0861 324 754, or email


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