Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia: As a seasoned sailor and previous shaft drive owners, West Australian-based oil and gas executive John Edwards made sure he did a lot of research before selecting pod drive propulsion for his latest luxurious Riviera.
After a lifetime of sailing, John and his wife Jane decided in 2005 to experience the pleasures of power boating, purchasing a 48ft shaft-drive yacht. In 2014, they went to Sydney International Boat Show with the intention of buying a specific 50ft shaft-drive motor yacht … but discovered the red-carpet Riviera display and started his journey towards owning a new 52 Enclosed Flybridge.
Now, after taking delivery of the impressive Voodoo in May, John says couldn’t be more pleased with his decision in every respect, particularly in terms of his yacht’s drive package.
“I have found the pods to be very responsive, pleasingly quick to get up on the plane … and the boat is incredibly agile at speed,” he told Riviera’s Experience magazine.
“They also seem to lack the vibration and noise often associated with shaft drives … and the obvious space-saving benefits of pod propulsion certainly come in handy too.”
The stately Voodoo, now moored at Abell Point Marina at Queensland’s Airlie Beach, was purchased through R Marine Perth and features the very fuel-efficient twin Volvo Penta D11 engines and IPS2-950 pod drives with forward-facing propellers, a sea-taming gyroscopic stabiliser as well as a range of lifestyle options that truly personalise her.
“This is a sensational boat in so many ways,” says John. “The interior design is a big winner in our eyes, especially the space and various features in the galley where there is a huge amount of refrigeration and storage … and we love the way the chefs of the day are able to interact with those in the saloon and in the cockpit all at the same time – it’s a very clever design.”
Voodoo’s maiden voyage was not a gentle cruise around the Gold Coast Broadwater but a full shakedown test of the yacht and all her systems over a five-day voyage from Southport to Airlie Beach in the fabled boating playground of the wonderful Whitsundays.
“We followed that up with a month cruising around the Whitsundays and a couple of trips to the outer reef,” says John.
“Throughout the trip north and pottering around the islands we experienced every weather element Queensland can dish up, from 40-knot south easterlies and four-metre seas to flat calm, fog (yes fog), warm sunshine and driving rain.
“Voodoo performed impeccably in all conditions and in particular in the rougher weather where she proved to be very stable and able to maintain good speed safely.”
John says Volvo Penta’s IPS propulsion package removes the stress from the challenges of bringing a luxury motor yacht into unfamiliar ports and marinas.
“Anchoring and picking up moorings is so much easier and now Jane drives the boat with confidence while I do the bow work … there is absolutely no yelling and screaming,” he says. “It’s a very relaxed approach to boating.”
John says his passion for boating was sparked as a youngster, when he was ‘always messing about in boats’, mostly fishing boats and tinnies.
“Later in life I started sailing and, in the mid-1970s, I was a crew member on a number of sailing boats up to 70 feet in races and charters along the Queensland coast.
“In my early twenties I owned a 50ft ketch with three mates from my local rugby club and we sailed her throughout the Great Barrier Reef and then on to New Caledonia, New Hebrides, the Solomons and Papua New Guinea. This was in the late 70s when not many were venturing that far … and pre-GPS – in fact I still have my sextant!”
John and Jane took a break from boat ownership whilst they were living and working abroad but continued to charter in various locations around the world, including the British Virgin Islands.
However, the boating life continued to beckon.
In 2004, they purchased a 66ft sailing yacht – the first Voodoo – and sailed extensively throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean. They also raced her in the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers), finishing first in their class and first overall. They sold her in 2007, having already made the shift to power boating.
So, what’s next for the very impressive Riviera, Voodoo?
“Eventually we plan to cruise around to Western Australia, perhaps in 2017 – we hope to take our time and probably do the voyage in a number of legs, returning to Perth (WA) in between each leg.
“We are both really interested in seeing as much of the Australian coastline as we can, including the complete Gulf of Carpentaria (top-end of Australia between Queensland and the Northern Territory) and, of course, the Kimberley (top-end of Western Australia).
“I am a very keen fisherman so that will certainly be a focus, and I have a close friend who has done the trip before … so it will be great to get his input and ideas as part of the planning.”
John and Jane’s Top 5 features of the Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge, Voodoo:
- The power train and IPS
- The galley design
- The massive cockpit and its clever interaction with the galley
- The stateroom hull windows
- The flybridge layout