Port Lincoln, South Australia: When iconic Australian luxury yacht builder Riviera hosts an Experience event at any of the world’s idyllic destinations, you can be assured it’s going to be one filled with many a special memories, new friendships … and a whole lot of family fun.
This was certainly the case at the recent Port Lincoln Experience, when 37 luxury motor yachts, one amphibious inflatable boat, one drone and one helicopter participated in the largest Riviera blue-water cruising-in-company event ever held in South Australian waters.
Sensational sunset beach barbecue
Hosted by Riviera’s Adelaide-based dealer, R Marine South Australia, the fleet was blessed with superb weather for four days of fun and camaraderie, beginning with dry feet on Friday courtesy of a Sealegs amphibious taxi shuttle to a secluded and fully catered sunset beach dinner on the foreshore of Fisherman’s Point, in the beautiful Lincoln National Park.
Catered by well-known and respected Port Lincoln local Damien Mrjden, the dinner featured the finest seafood, meats and produce for which the region is renowned. To help savour this fantastic fare, guests were treated to R Marine SA’s trademark French champagne and a selection of outstanding Australian shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc wines.
Dealer Principal Paul Harrop said the weather was balmy and absolutely calm, with a beautiful sunset and the lights of Port Lincoln in the distance, while incredible photographic images were captured by the remote-controlled drone.
“It really was a delightful feast and, as the evening slowly wound down and guests were ferried back for a perfect night in this amazing cove,” he said.
Riviera 51 Enclosed Flybridge owner Glenn Spear – a fourth time Riviera owner and secretary of the Riviera Owners Club in Adelaide – said the quality and presentation of fresh local produce and champagne was excellent.
“It was cooked and served to perfection and it was a balmy evening with great camaraderie,” said Glenn, whose boat is christened Lifetsyle. “And being picked up and ferried to the beach in the Sealegs amphibious boat was a nice touch too – it meant the ladies did not have to get their toes wet.”
Fishing …and then fantastic fun
With plenty to see and do – and fish to chase – guests started Saturday with the Adelaide Advertiser delivered to their yachts before enjoying some free time.
Late in the afternoon, 100 Experience participants gathered again 5 nautical miles from Port Lincoln at the “Swim with the Tuna” floating pontoon and, after again being collected by the Riviera team or coming across from Port Lincoln by ferry, they were then treated to more fun and live entertainment, from renowned Port Lincoln band Ethnic Cowboys, with the bar supplied courtesy of R Marine SA.
The pontoon is a unique experience where visitors have the chance to get up close and personal with the fast southern blue fin tuna and collection of other southern ocean marine life.
“It was a huge night of entertainment, with plenty of people singing along and dancing thanks to Riviera 42 Flybridge owner Russell Bianco, who got lots of people up and joining in,” said Paul.
“I knew I’d have to answer for that at some stage,” said Russell, who moors his yacht Majessnik at Port Lincoln. “It really was a great night – a live band and great people in the middle of the ocean.”
Chiming in with chocolate
Sunday began with the Sealegs delivering the Sunday Mail to all boats moored around the Swim with the Tuna pontoon, Port Lincoln marina and waterways … along with chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs.
“The entire Experience trip was fantastic – everything from the friendships to the food ,” said Russell.
“R Marine SA really does go to a lot of effort with some special touches to the trip that reflects the fact they are willing to go the extra mile to make everyone feel welcome.”
Mid-morning saw the Riviera flotilla point their bows toward the Sir Joseph Banks Group of islands – named in honour of the wealthy English botanist who was aboard Captain James Cook’s 1770 Endeavour voyage to track the transit of Venus, which eventually led to the first recorded chart of Australia’s east coast.
Riding high at Reevesby
After an afternoon and evening of leisure, the final event of the Port Lincoln Experience was a beach barbecue at Reevesby Island.
It was here, after anchoring in a tranquil cove at Reevesby Island, that Riviera 445 SUV owner Owen Mace had an experience he will remember for a lifetime – his first ride in a helicopter.
“As an ex-engineer I’ve worked on helicopters but I’ve never been up for a flight – it was a real highlight for me. What a fabulous view of the fleet, the bay and the island.” The helicopter flights were an extra feature to the trip organised by R Marine South Australia for the Monday afternoon beach barbecue, which was held on Reevesby Island, also in perfect weather.
“But I have to say the entire trip was great,” said Mr Mace, speaking aboard his sporty and adventurous Riviera 445 SUV Esprit (strictly speaking: l’Esprit de la Mare – ‘the spirit of the sea’) as he was cruising with his wife Delia at 21.7 knots from Port Lincoln home to Adelaide, a journey of 162nm.
“R Marine South Australia were once again absolutely stupendous – they really do go above and beyond to ensure everyone enjoys themselves. We were lucky enough to have our son, Nicholas, visiting from London and he came along with us for the Experience and thoroughly enjoyed it
“The level of service I receive from R Marine South Australia is absolutely superb and that was reflected in the Experience trip – we didn’t even get our feet wet on the Friday night barbecue because they picked us up in the Sealegs amphibious boat.”
The second-time Riviera owner – he previously owned a 4000 Offshore – says cruising in company across the blue waters of the Great Australian Bight provides a welcome feeling of security.
“You could say I’ve graduated from sailing to power, so I’m somewhat of a novice,” Owen said.
“Having fellow Riviera owners within close proximity as you undertake extended passages is something very reassuring – they are right there if anything did go wrong.”
Many of the Rivieras and owners then returned to Port Lincoln for the annual Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic – run by Riviera owner Peter Teakle and also held in great weather – which was keenly contested and resulted in a total of 324 southern blue fin tuna being tagged and released.
R Marine team goes above and beyond
For Glenn Spear, however, there was one thing that perhaps best summed up the level of service and customer care, and he wrote about this in a letter to Riviera’s chairman and owner, Rodney Longhurst.
Glenn noted that one owner had experienced some engine issues on the way to Port Lincoln and, although repairs were effected, Ross Almond (R Marine South Australia director) flew back to Port Lincoln on Easter Sunday to help bring the boat back to Adelaide.
“I think that level of service goes well beyond any expected service from anyone these days,” he said. “I won’t rave on about how good your team is here in Adelaide – I have purchased four Rivieras, and the effort from Ross and the rest of the R Marine South Australia team was exceptional, to say the least.
“There is no doubt that Ross’s business experience and customer service expectations are an invaluable asset to Riviera.”
Now it’s stories like that which remind Riviera and our dealer network why we strive to help our owners achieve ‘the ultimate boating experience’.
Riviera’s Australia-wide R Marine network hosts regular Experience events at locations right around Australia, including voyages to Rottnest Island in Western Australia and extended journeys to the Whitsundays in Queensland and also to discovering the treasures of Tasmania, as well as throughout the Americas and South Africa. Further details are available at the Riviera website www.riviera.com.au.
R Marine South Australia’s next Experience trip is to Kangaroo Island from 3-5 October 2015. For further information, please contact R Marine South Australia via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +61 8 8295 9000.