- Colorado couple Bob and Nancy Card take delivery of their new 52 Enclosed Flybridge at the Riviera facility
- The Australia Experience is offered to international Riviera owners
- Highlights included cruising to Lady Musgrave Island on the Great Barrier Reef
- Nancy also took time to tour several more of Australia’s iconic destinations
- Bob says his new Riviera 52 is “a work of art”
- The couple is planning a 1200-nautical mile passage to Glacier Bay, Alaska
When Colorado’s Bob Card retired after a successful career as an international corporate engineering and construction executive, he vowed to wait six months before making any major decisions for the future.
Then he laid eyes on the Australian-built Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge … and everything changed in an instant.
“Bob flipped totally as soon as he stepped aboard,” laughs his wife, Nancy.
“We were at the 2015 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in Florida researching our first-ever boat – we didn’t plan on walking away as proud owners of a brand-new motor yacht.”
However, once the couple stepped aboard the Riviera 52, they quickly realized she was ideal to help them fulfill their shared aspirations of adventure.
“Bob reasoned you only get so many years of active life in retirement so to wait just one boating season before purchasing what really is the perfect boat would mean missing out on a big percentage of that time,” says Nancy. “He can be very convincing at times.”
Bob admits he was attracted to the 52’s spacious interior design, Riviera’s legendary sea-keeping capabilities and all the state-of-the-art technology that today makes the Riviera life afloat so much easier and vastly more enjoyable.
“Being able to come to the factory to take delivery of our new Riviera, to speak with the people who designed and built her … you can appreciate that the 52 really is a work of art,” she says.
“Then to take her for a shakedown cruise to some amazing places like Tangalooma’s shipwrecks, Fraser Island and, of course, Lady Musgrave Island … and really test everything out – it really was the opportunity of a lifetime.
“Our yacht really does feel like home now.”
Riviera, based at Queensland’s tourism hotspot of the Gold Coast, offers a selection of special Australian Experiences through their global dealer network that spans some 60 countries.
These tailored experiences have grown in popularity over the past 36 years, throughout which Riviera has launched almost 5200 motor yachts that today can be seen cruising the great lakes, rivers, seas and oceans of the world.
While this is the first yacht of their own, Bob and Nancy Card have chartered extensively over many years, cruising the waters around Seattle and dreaming of undertaking the 1200-nautical mile passage to Glacier Bay, Alaska – a passage they are now planning in their new Riviera 52.
However, they readily admit they have never experienced anything quite like cruising the east coast of Australia.
“It’s just so beautiful,” says Nancy. “White sandy beaches, lots of fish and millions of really cool crabs – I’ve never seen anything like them before – and then Lady Musgrave Island … it’s such a special place in the world with its circular reef where you can snorkel three times a day in amongst amazing coral.
“If someone could imagine such a place we would have to say to them: ‘You have to go!’”
Nancy combined the Australian Experience with a trip with her daughter, to Uluru, hiking through Kings Canyon and then the Blue Mountains, as well as a brief stay in Cairns.
“It was so special being able to share time with her and then onboard with our son Chris (Card) and my brother Joe (Krenowicz),” she says.
“They have never been on a yacht this size and they absolutely loved using the joystick to control her.”
“The Volvo IPS pod drives really are amazing.”
Local knowledge is key
The couple had commissioned Australian captain Jimmy Thorn for the week-long cruise along the Queensland coast, and the excitement began as soon as they departed the Riviera factory at Coomera and began sliding through the shallow channels of the Gold Coast Broadwater.
“Jimmy was an expert tour guide and watched the weather for us – two days we had up to 25-knot winds creating major sea spray over the boat and bouts of driving rain,” says Bob. “We were very happy to discover ours is not a wet boat.”
“I’m also really happy we took the option of the gyro (stabilizer). It made a huge difference, especially given we dropped anchor in a 1.5-metre swell at Moreton Island – there were heaping gobs of waves … but we always felt really safe.”
Luxury lifestyle by design
Just hours ahead of their flight home to the United States – and having just spent a week enjoying their shakedown cruise in Australian waters – Bob and Nancy Card are completely relaxed and refreshed in the spacious salon of their new 52 Enclosed Flybridge, which they have christened Discworld.
Bob points out the 52’s high headroom and cushioned leatherette lining above, while Nancy makes note of the slide-open side windows that draw in natural light and fresh air, as well as the awning window aft that opens from the galley to the cockpit, seamlessly bringing the outdoors in.
“I really wanted something that has long-range cruising capabilities at around 25 knots and could comfortably sleep six people in beds,” says Bob.
“However, when you include the flybridge layout and the fact the salon table lowers to create more sleeping berths, you can really sleep up to 10 people.”
“Everything is so open,” adds Nancy. “When you go below into the engine room everything is so clean and well organised, and labelled so it is easy to find with just basic directions.
“Everything is very well set up and really well thought out … it’s a quality you just can’t see until you step aboard. “And there’s so much storage!”
Bob – a self-confessed technology aficionado – says he was also attracted to Riviera’s ‘leading edge’ approach to innovations, and welcomed his challenge of integrating lithium ion batteries for the first time into the build.
“Riviera not only endorsed it, they were actually excited by the challenge,” he says.
“We also love the CZone digital switching which makes the entire yacht easier to operate – in fact it’s easier than my entertainment system at home – and the total integration of the Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit system.”
Emerald Pacific Yachts dealer principal Rob Scott was on the Gold Coast when the Cards undertook their Experience holiday, and says the option of coming to the factory and cruising the Queensland coast is an extremely attractive incentive for North West US clients.
“I had a long-term client fly out a month ago for a walk-through of his sixth new Riviera and he was absolutely blown away at the prospect of coming to spend some time learning to use his new yacht with the very experienced team at Riviera,” says Rob.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity – a real lifetime adventure for the family with options for anywhere between one week and one entire month … and the bonus is you have a great luxury motor yacht to take home with you.”
The Cards, meanwhile, are now looking forward to their first US Riviera Rendezvous in the San Juan Islands from 10-11 June 2016, hosted by Riviera and Belize dealers Emerald Pacific Yachts and Van Isle Marina. “It looks amazing and we are really looking forward to meeting other members of the Riviera family,” says Bob.
Rob Scott adds: “If any Australian Riviera owners wish to come along for the Rendezvous, please get in touch and we will do all we can to make them feel a part of our US Riviera family.”
- If you would like more information on Riviera’s unique Australian Experience, please visit www.rivieraaustralia.com to contact your nearest Riviera and Belize dealer.
- If you would like more information on the Riviera Rendezvous, please visit www.rivierayachtswest.com