SAN JUAN ISLAND, WASHINGTON – Pretty Roche Harbor on San Juan Island in the north-west United States echoed to the sounds of “Yee-haw” and the cracking of stock whips as 165 enthusiastic Riviera owners and friends celebrated the annual Roche Harbor Experience recently.
Our representatives Emerald Pacific Yachts and Van Isle Marina came together to host the wild-west themed weekend, complete with camp fires, fun and games.
For Mike and Diane Holmes, this was their first Riviera Experience, having joined the Riviera Family late last year when they took delivery of their brand new 5400 Sport Yacht Wire Less at the Riviera facility in Australia.
The couple cruised Wire Less to the Whitsunday Islands on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef before returning to Seattle to await delivery of their motor yacht to home waters.
“Meeting so many great people at Roche Harbor was the highlight of the entire weekend for us,” said Mike. “There is a great commonality among the motor yachts so many of us spent some time walking along the docks and chatting, exchanging thoughts and ideas.
“Everyone was so helpful. We learned a great deal more about Wire Less. I even picked up a great idea for a flagpole!”
Joe Peterson arrived aboard his Riviera 40 Open Flybridge, Gunk.
“Ours is the very last Riviera 40 ever built – number 288,” he said. “Very special.”
Joe immediately entered the theme of the weekend by donning chaps and a cowboy hat.
“The ladies pulled me into a line dancing exercise. In was great fun,” he said.
“The pot luck on Friday evening is always special. We offered a great plate of freshly-caught prawns.”
The highlight of the pot luck, however, was the entry by Nelson and Kathy Goodsell with their beautifully-decorated “Riviera Rustler Ribs”.
“Nelson and Kathy win every year,” explained Kristen Brace. “They are exceptional cooks.”
Kristen, her husband Steve and their 16-year-old son Drew came to Roche Harbor aboard their 45 Open Flybridge, Strait Shot.
“Riviera owners are the nicest people,” said Kristen. “Each year we catch up with some of the Roche Harbor veterans as well as being able to meet new people. So many of them become close friends.”
Joe Peterson said the dock at Roche Harbor is a spectacular sight.
“I am always impressed here to see so many Rivieras together,” he said.
The Saturday evening dinner is always special at Roche Harbor and this year the hosts maintained the wild west theme for the evening with a huge steak spit roasted over an open fire.
“Our hosts also made up some great cocktails,” said Joe.
“We also enjoyed the band who entertained us on Saturday.”
Diane Holmes said activities for the kids were well organised and obviously all had a lot of fun.
“There were a lot of games, some for the young ones and some hilarious events for the adults,” she said.
“We had a great time watching all the antics,” said Mike. “And we did get involved in the dancing.”
Joe Peterson has been to 14 events with Emerald Pacific Yachts and echoed the sentiment of everyone.
“This event is a must for us every year,” he said.