Coca-Cola overseas doesn't taste like it does stateside. Valparaiso, Port Au Prince, Bangkok... the "Real Thing" from another country is real... but it's also often slightly, intriguingly different.

I was reminded of this phenomenon while testing an Australian-built sportfisherman recently- Riviera Marine's 36 Flybridge Convertible. Certainly, the pretty little battlewagon, with two staterooms, one head, and expansive flying bridge and a decent-sized cockpit (approximately 10' by 7'), looked a lot like an American sportfishing machine, especially an angular, traditionally styled 80's model. But there were some differences- the boat was extra rough-and-ready, two-fisted, down-underly, if you will. For example, the flying bridge had lots more stainless-steel rails than a stateside sled. And the tempered-glass windshield was seemingly wrist-thick and molded into a beefy fiberglass receiver. Tough stuff.

I drank a Coke -it was high noon at Miami Beach Marina- then climbed into the bilge where I could get a handle on the basics of construction. Four major, highly tooled moldings go into each 36-solid-glass hull, liner, deck and flying bridge. When assembled, three of these pieces---hull, liner and deck-are stainless-steel bolted and glassed together. To further solidify things, Riviera incorporates three watertight bulkheads (a collision bulkhead and two more bulkheads on either side of the machinery spaces) as well as a stringer/floor matrix of foam-filled fiberglass with glassed-in aluminum barstock engine bearers, drilled and tapped.

Riviera 36 Flybridge Fuel Consumption and PerformanceVery impressive, especially for a boat that stacks up nicely in terms of price. Retail for the 36 with test engines is $234,532. An all-American boat, the Luhrs Tournament 350, with about the same layout (but no lower helm station) and a bit less horsepower (340-hp Caterpillar 3116s), bases for $235,500.

After I'd spent an hour in the bilge, the look of the 36's interior was right up my alley. Although most surfaces are easy-to-clean-and maintain fiberglass, teak cabinet doors, a teak dinette table and a teak lower helm station, as well as an optional leather sofa ($2,125) create a traditionally nautical ambiance. And the U-shaped food prep area amidships has all the cuisine-fiend goodies.

Machinery spaces? Swing-away cabinet access in the cockpit is excellent, although belowdecks, in the ER itself, getting to the optional Kohler generator forward ($11,114) was difficult and laying hands on the batteries, between port engine and generator, was darn near impossible. I also noticed a couple of through-hulls that should have been double-clamped.

Up forward, there was a glitch in the anchor locker as well, along the seam in the bow pulpit, which is not fiberglassed like the rest of the boat's hull-to-deck joint. Due to an improper rubrail fit, daylight was worming its way through a small crack. Sealant, of course, is the fastest fix here, although a finer fix would be a finer fit.

We wrung out the 36 in open ocean. Four-to-sixes. The boat ran like a kangaroo on steroids, a testimony to a wave-splitting bottom (transom deadrise: 16 degrees) with a Hatteras-like keel, dry-riding reversed chines and lift-enhancing running strakes that stretch almost to the shaft logs. A little different? Sure. But variety, mate, is the spice of life.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OTHER RIVIERA YACHTS CURRENTLY FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

This review/article originally appeared in Boating Magazine, December 1995 and is written by Bill Pike. For more great yacht reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: http://subscriptions.boatingmag.com/

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