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Accidentally isolated in Quindalup Bay aboard a Riviera Sport Yacht

Adventures, Edition 13 - 2020

Accidentally isolated in Quindalup Bay aboard a Riviera Sport Yacht


Riviera motor yacht owners made the most of 2020 during the lockdown, and often enjoyed an entirely different boating experience. This is one of three stories in this month’s edition of Experience magazine that shows how some of us coped in the year of COVID-19.

On 26 March 2020, the team at R Marine Perth received an email from Leone Harris. “We’re still floating around down here in Quindalup Bay,” Leone wrote, “incredibly lucky to be self-isolated by coincidence for weeks.”

At the start of March, Derek and Leone Harris had thrown the ropes from Priority, the couple’s Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht, at their Dolphin Quay Marina mooring in Mandurah. At the time, the only curve that concerned them was that of the isobars on the day’s weather report – and they were looking good.

Leone and Derek floating about happily

“It was as flat as a tack,” says Derek. “We weren’t in any hurry and on the way sat between 8 to 10 knots with the occasional 15-knot run to mix things up. We cooked ourselves a barbecue breakfast and it was the perfect cruise.”

Before taking the boat south, Leone had driven her car down to have handy at Dunsborough and ‘visit all the lovely wineries’.

“We had no definite thoughts about how long we’d be away for, as long as the weather stayed lovely,” says Leone.

They quickly relaxed into luxury boat life under ‘absolutely beautiful’ autumn skies. Early in the month, they invited friends aboard for a few nights. Later they met up with friends who came on their own boat. Then they cruised solo.

“We were a world away from it all and chose not to watch too much news. That’s the whole point of being on the boat, to relax and enjoy.”

Leone Harris

“We have two staterooms and two designer bathrooms on Priority and there’s plenty of room for us to have friends aboard and entertain. We have a big family with four children, their spouses and 11 grandchildren and there’s room enough for everyone, at least for a day trip!” says Leone.

Meanwhile, a domino effect of restrictions was under way from country to country to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“We were a world away from it all and chose not to watch too much news. That’s the whole point of being on the boat, to relax and enjoy. So, we felt very much far from it.”

Priority moored at Port Geographe Marina in Busselton near Quindalup

But the news was inescapable. Leone is a volunteer ambulance officer and she began to receive messages from her colleagues. Within four days of sending the email to the team at R Marine Perth, they were forced to cruise back to Mandurah due to new restrictions and an uncertain future.

“We learned the regional borders were set to close on April 1 and we would’ve been able to bring the boat back, but not the car. Had it not been for the car we probably would’ve stayed,” says Leone.

“We’d stocked the boat well and we have a fabulous freezer in the companionway. We could have stayed out quite happily for another month. But we didn’t know how long restrictions would go on for.”


Their time at sea was not the only thing to be paused. Leone and Derek at the time were also looking forward to an east coast trip to visit friends and family at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show which was postponed.

Leone, a seventh-generation Australian from a family of Gosford shipwrights, believes her husband has a case of ‘foot disease’ when it comes to boats, and the boat show would have been the cure.

“Everyone I know needs the next size up, they need a foot bigger! And it’s the luxury and the build quality that sets Riviera apart.”

While a trip east was not possible, Leone and Derek rode out Western Australia’s social distancing measures, spending much of their time ‘boat dreaming’.  Looking back at trip photos and remembering the good times helped tide them over until restrictions were eased.


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