Connie and Tony Borgia bought their Riviera 3600 Sport Yacht, Aqua Bella, just two weeks before the R Marine Jones Winter Weekend Experience to Moreton Bay, south-east Queensland.
“We were so excited to be joining the Riviera family and going on our first Experience,” said Connie.
Tony said: “This was our first overnight trip on our new boat and we were made to feel very welcome by everyone.”
Connie and Tony joined 24 other Rivieras and 72 equally excited members of the Riviera family, including 11 children, for the Winter Experience over a long weekend at the end of April. The event would see the fleet travel north from the Gold Coast Broadwater into the expanses of Moreton Bay to the north.
The fleet assembled off the Sovereign Islands at the mouth of the Coomera River on the Friday morning of the long weekend and cruised sedately north to their first destination at the Canaipa Passage that separates Russell Island from the large sand island of North Stradbroke at the southern tip of Moreton Bay.
Waking to a sparkling, beautiful morning on Saturday, the fleet cruised north again, headed for Blakeslys Anchorage on North Stradbroke Island with its pleasant beach, ideal for bringing tenders ashore.
Here tables and a shelter were set up for the Second Annual Cheese/Antipasto Platter and the Wine Presentation competitions.
The Cheese/Antipasto competition was hotly contested as Keith and Kathy Hornman from Riviera 4700 Sport Yacht K&K offered a plate of lollies while a raft-up team from Velocita, a 5400 Sport Yacht, and Shelly 2, a Riviera 53 Enclosed Flybridge, presented two platters of sausage rolls. Despite their valiant efforts, Vicki and Mark Baigent, guests aboard Vicky’s parents’ Riviera 525 SUV Off the Hook, won over the judges – everyone – with a carefully sourced antipasto platter.
The Wine Presentation competition was divided into two divisions: under and over $20. Chris Haack aboard Riviera 5000 Sport Yacht Impetuous took out the “under $20” prize while Ted Edwards took the “over $20” section with a stunning Australian-produced bubbly, aptly name Riviera Royal with its specially-printed wine label.
For those still spritely enough for more competition, beach cricket and soccer filled in the afternoon, although many chose simply to spend the time with nibbles and wine, making new friends and catching up with old friends. Glassy waters and a stunning sunset completed the day.
Sunday began with a casual fleet cruise north to Myora where all the boats anchored.
The R Marine Jones team brought everyone ashore for lunch at the Little Ship Club restaurant on North Stradbroke Island. The ferries were the flybridge Riv 1, a 5400 Sport Yacht Fansea and a 6.5 metre RIB provided by Rib Force Inflatables.
“This was the highlight of the entire weekend,” said Connie Borgia. “We were taken ashore aboard R Marine Jones’ Riviera 51 Flybridge Riv 1. The lunch at the Little Ship Club was fabulous. Meeting and talking with so many Riviera owners was fantastic.”
Kathy Hornman and husband Keith also enjoyed the Little Ship lunch.
“It was delightful,” said Kathy. “It is a beautiful setting with great views across Moreton Bay.”
According to Dale and Kathy Cash from Riviera 47 Flybridge Low Range, being out on the water with like-minded companions was the highlight of the weekend. They shared the Experience with neighbours and spent much of the time simply relaxing on deck.
“The water was not warm enough for swimming. It was great simply to spend time on board.” Dale explained.
On Monday, the fleet dispersed, some returning to the Gold Coast at their own pace while others chose to remain and explore more of Moreton Bay.