In a reminder of the fun the Riviera Family enjoyed prior to restrictions on boating – and is looking forward to enjoying again – R Marine SA hosted its annual Port Lincoln Experience where sheltered anchorages, first-class food and wine, and impeccable service made it one of the most memorable yet. Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst joined another 120 friends and family aboard 33 Riviera luxury motor yachts for a sumptuous long weekend done in the best kind of style, the Riviera lifestyle.
More than 120 friends and family including Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst relished a sumptuous long weekend in the waters of the seafood capital of Australia.
Hosted by R Marine SA and held on the second weekend of March, before restrictions to boating were introduced, the three-day Experience coincided with the Port Lincoln Cup, where the Riviera family kicked the weekend off under the Marina Hotel Marquee.
After a day’s punting and a good night’s rest, the fleet of 33 gleaming Riviera motor yachts left port on the Saturday morning, taking a leisurely five nautical mile run across the bay to Engine Point at Cape Donington. Once anchored, the R Marine SA team ferried their guests ashore. They were greeted with a glass of Moet or a cold beer to accompany them on a stroll up to the historic Donington Cottage for a long afternoon of lunching.
It was Mike and Jeanette Rankin’s first Experience on their Riviera 525 SUV Joker, and they were more than impressed by the level of service provided by the R Marine SA team.
“It was magnificent,” says Jeannette. “The way the whole weekend was put together was absolutely fantastic. Everything was laid on for us; tickets to the races, water taxis, catering – the team did a wonderful job. We just rolled up and had a party! The lunch on Saturday was unbelievable.”
Seafood lovers were in paradise at Donington Cottage where the chefs from the Line & Label (the Eyre Peninsula’s destination restaurant) plated up fresh Bluefin tuna, kingfish, sashimi, paella, and garlic and chilli prawns.
“It was our first opportunity to be part of one of these Experiences and it won’t be our last. It was for everyone, not just couples; there were families, grandparents and grandchildren. We definitely made some lasting connections and we needed a couple of days to recover after!” says Jeannette.
Also needing time to recoup from the weekend’s revelries were Greg and Marissa Cunningham, who brought their 45 Open Flybridge Isobar from Adelaide, detouring to Kangaroo Island and Wedge Island on the way.
“We had some big swell on the final 70-kilometre stretch from Kangaroo Island to Wedge Island and we hadn’t been in seas like that before, but the boat handled it no worries. It’s a great boat, very practical. You can have it as a day boat or do serious fishing on it; it’s very versatile,” says Greg.
After a day at the races followed by a day of ‘phenomenal food’ at Donington Cottage, the Cunninghams overnighted with the rest of the fleet at Engine Point. In the morning, they awoke to a pleasant surprise.
“The R Marine SA crew delivered the Sunday papers to all the boats; it was pretty cool,” says Greg. “From there we headed to Fishermans Point for lunch. I was amazed at the food they came up with on the beach; it was fantastic. There was fillet mignon, panko prawns, lamb cutlets, sashimi, all done on the beach under awnings. The day was awesome.”
More than 140 guests arrived to Fishermans Point on the Sunday, where a two-piece band played for the afternoon, leaving everyone full, merry and a little sunburned.
The Cunninghams say Rivera’s level of service and the sense of camaraderie with other Riviera owners is second to none.
“Riviera in Queensland and the team down here in South Australia can’t do enough for you. You don’t get the same level of service or backup from any other brand of boat,” says Greg. “Everyone is really great at sharing the experiences they’ve had, tips about their boats, where to anchor and even fishing spots. The locals in Port Lincoln were also so welcoming and friendly – over in Adelaide people don’t give away their fishing spots!”
Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst’s two sons also had a terrific time fishing aboard Russell and Gabi’s Riviera 52 Flybridge Majesnik, catching, cooking and devouring their fill of King George whiting.
One local who was pleased to meet the Longhursts, and share a fishing tip or two, was veteran Riviera enthusiast, Tim Forster. Tim came out for the weekend – his eighth Experience with R Marine SA – with a crew of eight on his 3600 Sport Yacht Gotcha.
“It’s always good to meet new people and we all have a common interest in boating, Riviera and having fun,” says Tim, whose family has owned 10 Riviera motor yachts over the years. “It was great to meet Rodney and see his love and passion for boating.”
With Gotcha based in Port Lincoln, Tim says he can enjoy these trips any day of the week, and the R Marine SA crew make sure the Experience is memorable every time.
“They always pick a fantastic mooring that caters to everyone’s experience, so it’s a fun and safe time. We didn’t need to travel far from the marina and had a very enjoyable weekend.”