The Riviera family in South Australia has celebrated the motor yachting life in style at the annual R Marine South Australia Port Lincoln Experience.
“Five-star hospitality on a beach in the middle of nowhere!” said Geraldine Cox, discussing the first evening party at R Marine South Australia’s pop-up Sands Hotel. “Amazing. The catering was fantastic and the R Marine SA team were so helpful. Nothing was too much for them. They tendered us all ashore in two huge inflatables and then made sure we were safely home on board at the end of the evening.”
Geraldine and husband Chris took delivery their first Riviera, a 525 SUV Gerry K III, in November last year and were delighted with her performance.
“We went across to Port Lincoln with a couple of other Rivieras the week before the Experience and, as is often the case with the Southern Ocean, it was lumpy but Gerry K III took it in her stride. It gave us great confidence.”
In bright sunshine on the Friday afternoon a total of 37 motor yachts assembled in the bay at Fisherman’s Point a few nautical miles south of Port Lincoln for the start of festivities.
“It was our largest Experience fleet ever,” said R Marine South Australia dealer principal Paul Harrop. “It is fantastic that so many of our owners are getting together to share the lifestyle.”
Riviera Taxis – a pair of large inflatables – ferried revellers to the beach for the evening festivities.
Professional caterers were kept busy serving a five-star menu as the R Marine team set up the pop-up Sands Hotel with an amazing 75-metre-long single 160-seat table on the beach.
“We thought it would be a great idea to bring everyone together,” Paul Harrop explained. “The table was certainly a talking point.
Trevor Bishop is looking forward to the day he will purchase a Riviera 4800 Sport Yacht.
“In the meantime, the R Marine team has welcomed us into the family,” he said. “I live locally and this is my third R Marine Port Lincoln Experience. I am 100 percent into the Riviera lifestyle!”
David Baker was full of admiration for the effort by the R Marine South Australia team.
“We had newspapers delivered to our boats each morning, the events ran like clockwork and it all was done with a smile,” he said.
After breakfast on Saturday, 35 motor yachts assembled for a line-astern circumnavigation of Boston Island, a few nautical miles north of the overnight anchorage. At a sedate eight knots, the fleet completed the voyage in one and a half hours.
“I was struck by the magnitude of the line-astern fleet as we rounded Boston Island on Saturday,” said David. “We were near the rear and saw the full effect of the fleet. It was a dramatic statement about the popularity of the Riviera brand in South Australia and the way the R Marine team looks after us.”
The circumnavigation complete, the fleet returned to the anchorage for five-boat raft-ups.
For Trevor Gould, the raft-up was a highlight of the Experience.
“It is something owners don’t get to do often and it worked out so well. Some people planned to get together but, for us, it was spontaneous. We rafted with a couple of owners who are new to the Experience and it was a great way to meet them.”
Port Lincoln is the home of fishing and the harbour is known world-wide for its super-fresh seafood. As soon as the motor yachts were securely rafted, Paul and his team delivered platters of Coffin Bay oysters and Port Lincoln prawns to help get the party started.
Rob Cumming agreed that the raft-up gave people an opportunity to meet and mingle with new friends.
“These events are all about bringing us together to share our knowledge and experiences and the unique Riviera lifestyle. And what better way than over some wonderful seafood and great wine?”
Sunday held a special early-morning treat as the R Marine team delivered chocolates as well as newspapers.
“Our Port Lincoln Experience has coincided with Easter in the past,” Paul explained. “Of course, that meant delivering Easter eggs on Sunday. We could not disappoint anyone this time, so they all received a great package of chocolate.”
The day saw many of the fleet explore Spalding Cove and the local bays of Port Lincoln, while others stayed at anchor enjoying a lazy Sunday before returning to the marina ahead of the Sunday night party.
The R Marine team had prepared a fabulous Sunday evening of festivities at the beach with a ’70s Gilligan’s Island rocking music theme. The weather gods had other ideas.
David Baker and Geraldine Cox were equally impressed how quickly the R Marine team adapted to changing conditions.
“The weather was against them during much of the weekend, yet they simply and quickly altered course and kept a great event going without a hitch,” said David.
When the conditions ruled out a beach party, the event was smoothly moved to the Peninsula Club just outside the town of Port Lincoln where guests enjoyed delicious food and fine wines and then danced through the evening.
Rob Cumming said the change was smooth. “We would not have known it was not pre-planned. The R Marine team did a wonderful job and it was seamless.”
Paul Harrop summed up the weekend: “Our aim is always to give our owners the opportunity both to experience more about their boats, to explore the bays and islands of our great coastline and, most of all, to meet like-minded motor yachting enthusiasts.”