PORT LINCOLN, SOUTH AUSTRALIA – “For years we had heard about the Port Lincoln Experience from friends at the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia,” said Vlad Humeniuk. “This year we were able to find out – and all the rumours were more than true! It was a sensational weekend.”
R Marine South Australia’s annual Port Lincoln Experience brought together 34 motor yachts and 135 excited guests for a weekend of fine food and fun in a boating haven on the west coast of South Australia.
For most, the weekend began early with a voyage from Adelaide, about 150 nautical miles across sometimes challenging open waters.
The crossing gave Geoff Boetcher, Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia (CYCSA), an opportunity to test the navigation systems on board his Riviera 445 SUV Tender Business.
“Everything worked perfectly,” said Geoff. “We chose a weather window in the days before the Experience and made the crossing with ease.”
Geoff said he, too, heard about the Experience from fellow club members and was looking forward to sharing the event with wife Sue.
“We missed last year’s event, so this would be our first,” said Geoff. “We heard the dinner on the beach would be special. It more than lived up to our expectations,” he said.
Geoff is a highly experienced sailor, having won handicap honours in the 2010 Sydney to Hobart yacht race on board his yacht Secret Men’s Business.
Phil and Julie Trigg also joined the Experience for the first time aboard their Riviera 51 Enclosed Flybridge, Filz Good.
“This is what Rivieras are meant to be used for,” said Phil. “We really appreciated that we were able to be a part of such a wonderful experience – from the dinner on the beach on Friday through to the Sunday evening party.”
On Friday evening, the team at R Marine South Australia organised a pop-up restaurant with two long tables for guests at Fisherman’s Point, a remote beach south of Port Lincoln.
Some guests came ashore in their tenders while most took advantage of the R Marine SA ferry service.
“This was the maiden event for our new pontoon boat, Poonie, built specially to ferry people to and from shore,” explained R Marine SA Dealer Principal Paul Harrop. “Working along with our Sealegs tender, Poonie brought everyone to the beach and home to their motor yachts at the end of the evening with ease.”
Many guests took advantage of the warm weather and calm water to begin Friday evening by standing in the shallows of the beach and cooling off while enjoying a glass of bubbles.
Phil Trigg said: “The catering on the beach on Friday evening was beyond amazing. The service and cuisine were first class. Local Riviera owner and wine-maker Peter Teakle generously donated some beautiful red and white wines to the dinner.”
For Julie Trigg, the weekend was a special experience.
“We spent three nights on board. I had not stayed overnight on Filz Good before and it was a great getaway. I had the chance to meet many of the other ladies and it was fantastic to learn from them and swap stories.
“I loved every minute of the weekend.”
Guests were greeted on Saturday morning by glassy sea conditions, perfect for a convoy run to Revesby Island, 20 nautical miles north of their beach anchorage, and a 21-boat raft-up.
Vlad Humeniuk described the raft-up as the highlight of a special weekend.
He and wife Pamela have been boating for decades. They bought their first Riviera, a 37 Fybridge, Splendido, late last year.
“We rafted up in perfect conditions,” said Vlad. “Then the socialising began. We could move from one boat to the next and visit all our friends and meet new people. It was fantastic.”
A slow-running tide allowed the Rivieras to remain in the raft up throughout the afternoon.
Guests took full advantage of the conditions to share drinks, nibbles and exchange information, inspect one another’s Riviera or to swim, fish and dance in the cockpits and on the swim platforms.
After a quiet night on board, guests woke to very different conditions on Sunday and a planned pirate-themed evening party on the beach was quickly re-scheduled.
“The pirate theme was great fun,” said Phil Trigg. “It gave us all a chance to laugh with one another. We were told that anyone who did not dress up would have to walk the plank!”
The flotilla moved to the Port Lincoln marina where buses took the pirate party-goers to the Peninsula Club.
“We all brought platters of food and some drinks and it was great to share,” said Phil Trigg. “The sense of camaraderie and fun continued through the evening.”
Even the entertainers, a local band called the Ethnic Cowboys, dressed up to embrace the pirate theme of the evening as they provided dance music to have guests on the dance floor well into the night.