Riviera owner returns to summer Refuge

Riviera owner returns to summer Refuge

Yaringa to Port Franklin, VIC: Riviera owner Des Berry embarked on the 130 nautical mile voyage from Yaringa in Victoria to Port Franklin where he will berth his Riviera 36 Open Flybridge Single Cabin during the summer months.

Des took delivery of his 36 in August this year and looks forward to taking his wife, Gail, three children and six grandchildren on many wonderful adventures to his favourite anchorage at Refuge Bay located in Wilsons Promontory, Victoria. The multiple Riviera owner said he enjoyed the adventure of cruising to Refuge Cove and Corner Inlet.

“The purpose of this trip was to take the boat to its summer residence in Port Franklin because I believe some of the best boating areas in Victoria are around Wilsons Promontory, which is approximately 35 nautical miles from my jetty in Port Franklin,” he said.

“Port Franklin is a glorious, quaint little place and I anticipate some great family adventures on board my new Riv, which is proving to be an excellent sea boat.

“Sea-keeping ability is one of the main things I look for in a boat because I like to feel confident and safe when cruising into Bass Strait as you are a long way from any help should something go wrong.


“Prior to departure we pulled the 36 out of the water for a full hull inspection, clean and polish. We checked all systems, current weather conditions along the route and at our destination, we ensured the life raft would automatically inflate, that it had been recently serviced and we checked our EPIRB and flares. Before departing San Remo we undertook a second systems check, as well as routine checks while underway.

“Boating in protected waterways and bays is reasonably safe as there are plenty of places to run for shelter and rescue services are close at hand. However, once offshore in Bass Strait, it is very different. Once a boat departs the protected waterways, there is no safe haven until Refuge Cove and rescue services are not close so it will take them some time to get to the scene if there is a problem, which is why it is important to be vigilant with systems checks.”

On October 23, Des and his work colleague Rod who is an experienced seafarer, set off from Yaringa with a five knot easterly and sunny skies for the 95 nautical mile journey to their overnight anchorage at Refuge Cove.

“We experienced larger swell and difficult offshore conditions until we progressed across Waratah Bay where the sea state steadily reduced to 1-1.5 metres and in the middle of the bay a pod of dolphins came speeding across to the boat. We reduced to 1000 rpm and they formed up under the bow. At one stage there were 10 dolphins cavorting under the bow riding the pressure wave,” he said.

“At 14:50 we were inside the Promontory Islands and the sea swell reduced further until at the small cove on the eastern side of Great Glennie Island – the sea was glassy, there was no wind and the sun was out. This is a most serene and beautiful little cove to visit. However, we pressed on to round the bottom of Wilsons Promontory and as we approached Wattle Island, the sea state built steadily to 3 metres with strong currents running and wave reflection off the rocky shoreline, which created quite rough and difficult conditions.”

Des said as they turned east toward South East Point, a ‘ghostly sea mist closed in, reducing visibility to 100 metres’.

“We could not see the islands or the shoreline so we gave the coast and islands some healthy sea room and navigated entirely on instruments and pressed on at reduced rpm. It was eerie in the sea mist but it was only five nautical miles to South East Point where we turned north east toward Cape Wellington.

“The sea was behind us now running under the boat and we surfed down the occasional wave as we neared our next waypoint.

“A following sea running under the rear quarter of the boat is the most troublesome for a planing hull, however our Riv 36 handled the conditions very well – tracking true as we occasionally surfed down the front of a wave. We are very pleased with the sea keeping performance of this hull.

“The run up to Refuge was quite tense with no sight of land since rounding Wattle Island. Giving the Cape a wide berth we circled around to line up with the entrance to Refuge Cove, which is 300 metres across and we could only just make out the rocks as we entered the bay.

“At 16:15 we motored quietly into South Beach and amazingly the mist cleared and the sun emerged as we set the anchor. The mist eerily wafted across the boat lifting as it neared the beach.

Refuge Cove

“Refuge Cove is one of the most beautiful places to visit by boat and the name reflects the pristine wilderness of this natural boating harbour. After settling and securing the anchor we went ashore to inspect the beach.”

After a peaceful night’s anchor they departed Refuge Cove at 9am and motored slowly up the coast entering Miranda Cove at 9:40am. They cruised up past Monkey Point, Johnny Souey Point/Cove, Three Mile Point and Three Mile Beach.

“Off Lighthouse Point, the chart indicated a depth of 2-3 metres and not having travelled here for several years, we were unsure about the position of the ever shifting sand bars of the Lewis Channel. Motoring slowly and checking the depth as we passed Entrance Point and the Corner Inlet main channel. We had to wait two hours before we could run up the Bennison and Franklin River channels on high tide and in the stiff westerly we decided to motor back behind Entrance Point to anchor while we wait.

“The Franklin River channel is narrow, very shallow and the channel markers are not always at the edge of the channel so the navigation must be precise. The depth sounder is an important navigation aid in shallow waters such as this and can be used to run along the channel edge.

“Navigating the channel was extremely tricky with markers spaced quite far apart, the depth was less than 2 metres and the channel has sweeping curves so you can’t steer from marker to marker but at 12:40 we entered the river from the bay and by 13:00 we had arrived at our jetty.

“The Riviera 36 handled the sea conditions very well and I am extremely pleased with her performance and I look forward to returning to Port Franklin and exploring Wilsons Promontory and Refuge Cove with my family over the summer holidays.”


Des’s safety checklist before departing the dock: Instructions to ALL crew members

  1. Ensure there is a life raft on the front deck and that it will release and launch automatically if the boat goes underwater. The life raft can be released manually if required.
  2. If the weather becomes rough get out the lifejackets and put them on if it becomes serious. If you are forced to leave the boat make sure you are wearing a lifejacket and only leave the boat if the Captain orders you to do so.
  3. Make sure you know where the lifejackets are stored.
  4. In southern Victoria the water is cold – it will take about 15 minutes before hyperthermia sets in and you lose consciousness.
  5. If you have to leave the boat while in the ocean, make sure you take the EPIRB with you. The 406 Mhz EPRB will notify Marine Safety within 10 minutes and send them your GPS location. Demonstrate how to set off the EPIRB and how to test the battery to all crew members.
  6. Make sure you know how to turn the boat batteries on and off.
  7. Ensure you know how to start and stop the engines.
  8. Show fuel emergency stop to all crew.
  9. Demonstrate electric switches for 12v and 240v circuits.
  10. Demonstrate how to engage/disengage the autopilot.
  11. Demonstrate how to operate the chart plotter and check where you are heading.


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