SYDNEY – Sunshine sparkling off the water, light breezes and the promise of a great weekend greeted 25 happy Riviera and Belize owners and their families as they prepared for the R Marine Pittwater Winter Koolewong Experience.
The motor yachts headed north through the gleaming Pittwater in Sydney’s northern beaches, some under their own steam, some in a convoy headed by R Marine Pittwater’s Dealer Principal Scott Dillon.
At the helm of a Belize 54 daybridge, Scott guided his convoy through the sometimes difficult channel that takes boats from the wide and deep expanse of Broken Bay to the meandering Brisbane Water and Koolewong Marina.
Those not familiar with the channel, known locally as the “Iron Ladders”, were asked to gather close to the entrance. Ominously, skippers were informed that some port markers were actually sitting on top of the sand bar. A regular sight for motor yacht crews entering the channel is surf breaking over the sand bar to port.
James Tutt joined the convoy with his family aboard their Riviera 48 Enclosed Flybridge C-gem.
“I had not ventured into Brisbane Water before,” said James. “So travelling in convoy behind Scott was reassuring. In the end it was comfortable. Now we have found a new waterway to explore!”
Janelle Groenhyde and husband Michael aboard their Riviera 39 Open Flybridge Bad Habits set off early. They know the waterways of northern Sydney and the central coast very well.
“It was a fantastic day,” said Janelle excitedly. “everything was perfect.”
The Groenhydes have owned their Riviera for 13 years and rarely miss an R Marine event.
“Scott and his team are so well organised. They make us feel as if we have not a care in the world,” said Janelle.
By midday the fleet had filled the Koolewong Marina and guests enjoyed a light lunch on the dock.
“My family really enjoys the social aspects of R Marine events,” said James Tutt. “We now have a great group of friends on these waterways simply by meeting them at the Experiences. It was good to catch up with many of them during the weekend.
“The facilities at Koolewong were great. It was an eye-opener for the family. ”
Saturday afternoon offered the options of a visit to the Gosford Classic Car Museum. With 450 vehicles on display, it is the largest museum of its type in the southern hemisphere.
If cars did not excite, guests were invited to view the work of local landscape artists Ken Duncan, including a 20-minute “The Light Reflections” audiovisual experience.
James Tutt and family chose the museum.
“What a fantastic collection of vehicles,” said James. “I particularly enjoyed the collections from the 1950s through to the ’80s. Many of the group had memories from the vehicles on display.”
Many guests chose simply to enjoy the bright, sunny day and enjoy fellowship on their boats with a glass of wine.
Saturday evening began with sundowner drinks and then a delicious three-course meal at the marina’s Boathouse Restaurant.
Waking to another perfect day on Sunday, guests were treated to bacon and egg rolls for breakfast before making their way home, filled with the satisfaction of making new friendships and the rewards of cruising in company.