Riviera 45 Flybridge

High Flyer. Cross into the blue.

With 147,766 Btus of controlled explosive firepower being unleashed every 60 seconds, 39,400 pounds of fiberglass and stainless-steel rise out of the water, surging us from a dead standstill to full steam ahead. I wait to hear the roar of the twin 715-bhp diesels...and wait and wait. By the time we've busted over the hump and hit 38.0 mph, I'm still waiting. Instead of the usual bellow from the engine room's big iron, wind noise is the dominant sound at the helm. Because on the Riviera 45 Flybridge your comfort is part of the design, and 84 dB-A is the loudest it gets as you make your advance toward the canyons.

Relax

Since building its new plant in Aussie-land, Riviera has managed to produce one vastly improved model after another, and the new 45 Flybridge continues this unbroken chain of progression. The heavily insulated engine room, just one example of the improved attitude, keeps noise levels well below the competition. Consider Bertram's 450 (about $1.1 million), which puts out 91 dB-A at full throttle, or Cabo's 43 (a hair under $1 million), which emits 89 dB-A.

Another improvement can be seen in the stairway to the bridge; no scrambling up and down ladders on this boat. And Riviera designed it so it doesn't eat away cabin space. You'll lose one of the common slots for a cockpit unit, sure, but it's a worthy tradeoff, and there's a bulk stowage space underneath. Besides, there are plenty of units to port: A sink/bait prep station, a bait freezer, and a stowage compartment provide you with plenty of cockpit organizing capabilities. In fact, this boat also has gunwale compartments, which are perfect for stowing your mooring lines. And there's a lighted livewell with a viewing port, plus recessed toekicks along the sides. Two improvements could be made, however: The starboard-side fishbox is embarrassingly small -- even Roland Martin catches fish too big to fit in there -- and the gas-assist struts on the center deck hatch are flimsy and need to be upgraded.

Dreamland

Much as I loved the quiet operation of this boat, an even bigger comfort boost comes in the cabin. And no, I'm not just talking about the full galley with a dishware rack, Amtico sole, and under-counter refrigerator, freezer, and microwave/convection oven. Nor am I talking about the washer/dryer, a feature commonly found on larger boats, built into the companionway. I'm not even talking about the leather settee, liquor cabinet with icemaker, electric-opening overhead rodbox, or dedicated midship machinery room, which boosts the accessibility of the air conditioning handlers, water heater, shower sump, battery chargers, and freshwater manifolds. So I must be referring to the three-stateroom layout, which provides privacy for six, unusual in a boat of this size? Nope. The coolest comfort booster on Riviera's 45 Flybridge is the massive aft salon window -- because the entire thing is hinged and secured with huge stainless-steel dogs. Swing it open, let the ocean breezes flow, and enjoy the great outdoors from the indoors.