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.”