Sydney, NSW, Australia: Chartered accountant Graham Swan (Swanny) says the first thing his wife Kath bought when they took delivery of their new Belize 54 Daybridge in Sydney in October 2014 was … an ironing board.
“You know your wife is happy when that happens,” laughs Swanny.
Based in Perth, the couple have spent the past five months flying across the continent getting to know their timelessly classic Belize better.
They joined Riviera dealer R Marine Riley on a spectacular summer Jervis Bay Experience cruising in the company of fellow Riviera owners, and have also undertaken regular cruises around scenic Sydney Harbour and beautiful Broken Bay.
And now they are nearing the start of what can only be described as the trip of a lifetime.
The plan: take in the wonderful Whitsundays off the Queensland coast, and then ship their beautiful new Belize 54 – BISON – to Turkey for five years of meandering around the magnificent Mediterranean Sea.
R Marine Sydney have been assisting with preparing BISON for the trip organising engine and generator services and taking care of minor maintenance issues including ensuring that it has a nice clean hull.
“We plan to cast off from Sydney Harbour in early May and we will wander up the New South Wales coastline – stopping in places like Newcastle, Port Stephens, Coffs Harbour and Yamba to arrive on the Gold Coast in time for the Riviera Festival of Boating (21-24 May 2015)” he says.
“Swanny” says the luxury marque’s truly unique festival of fun and learning is a terrific opportunity for experienced yacht owners to hone their nautical skills and to better understand their boats and onboard systems.
“We are hoping to go to as many festival events as we can – I’m really looking forward to Offshore Seamanship with Captain Bob Jones and generator and water-maker maintenance … while Kath is very keen on the Women’s Skipper seminar,” he says.
“We have done a fair amount of cruising, and Kath is terrific at provisioning, but we are hoping to pick up as many tips as we can, especially about people’s experiences in the Whitsundays.
“We are also really looking forward to the fun social events with people who share our passion for luxury cruising.”
Riviera – which offers the Belize series as one of four luxury model collections – stages its truly unique festival each May to help motor yacht owners, and those who aspire to take the helm, to achieve ‘the ultimate boating experience’.
It appears this rings true for Swanny, who says BISON is the boat he has always wanted.
“My Dad was in the Navy and retired an Admiral and I love the sea and the sense of freedom I get when I’m out on the water,” he says.
Riviera is represented in some 60 countries by a global dealer network committed to the care of its owners so selecting a Belize was an easy decision for Swanny and Kath as they prepared for their amazing voyage.
“We’ve owned a couple of custom boats – a Bracken 36 and a Griffin 44 – but it’s very difficult when there’s no back-up in terms of after-sales support and service,” says Swanny.
“With the Belize, you have that peace of mind knowing that you have access to a worldwide organisation in the unlikely event that anything should go wrong.”
Swanny says the plan is to base BISON at a friend’s marina in Marmaris, Turkey, and to travel there regularly to enjoy their dream cruising experience.
“We’ve done extensive cruising in Turkey, the Greek Islands, Croatia & Italy – and we feel the Belize is ideally suited for the Med especially given its air conditioning and the choice of the flybridge or saloon helm stations” he says.
“I am approaching retirement and this is something we have always wanted to do and it’s more preferable for us to ship our Belize across than doing further bareboat chartering as we can leave the boat provisioned with clothes and other live aboard necessities enabling us to travel with airline carry-on.”
Swanny says there are many practical features they like about the stylish Belize 54 – the four refrigeration units plus freezer, ‘phenomenal’ storage space, state-of-the-art technology such as C-Zone digital switching, the laundry and … the ice-maker.
“The people who put the Belize together really understood what they have done – ice is a very scarce commodity in the Mediterranean and we do like to enjoy an icy-cold drink as we watch the sun go down,” he says.
“And when you open up the engine room everything is labelled, so although everything is very reliable we know that it won’t be a major issue if we do run into any problems, and if we do we have the full support of the Riviera network – in fact the Riviera team is even helping us to ship our boat to Turkey.
“Our entire experience since we bought the Belize has been fantastic.”
- Your Experience magazine will follow the Swan’s Mediterranean cruising adventures in future editions.