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.
The Hobart-based family keeps Manta Ray on the east coast of Tasmania at the small fishing village of Triabunna. They’re used to long weekend getaways but, like most boating families in Australia, that changed when restrictions to boating were introduced.
After travelling through congested airports in the middle of March and chatting with a friend who is a surgeon, Sam and Amanda Tapping were persuaded to self-isolate their family ahead of the general community. Coincidentally, Manta Ray was booked in for maintenance in Hobart at the end of March, so the Tappings headed up the coast to retrieve their boat and cruised their way down over three days.
“We made the decision to keep the kids at home at that early stage, before online learning was available,” says Amanda. Son Howard is 16 years old and daughter Olive is 14 years old – both are keen yachts people.
“They were feeling a bit behind in the classroom and were wanting to keep up with everyone. So, while we brought the boat down to Hobart, they did their school work while I worked on the back deck or up on the flybridge with Sam.”
“It’s fabulous working from the boat, the best way really.”Amanda Tapping
The best way to work
Working on Manta Ray is nothing new to Amanda, who happens to sell medical equipment to hospitals.
“I often work from the boat over summer. Sam can take time off in January, but I work for myself and it doesn’t seem to stop. It’s fabulous working from the boat, the best way really. I get up early and work in the mornings. I’m lucky I can do a lot of it remotely, although I’ve been caught out on teleconferences with the kids fishing in the background yelling, ‘Mum, mum, I caught a squid!”
Recognising the benefits of boating for mental and physical wellbeing, on April 8, Marine and Safety Tasmania updated its guidelines by restricting recreational boat owners to launch within the municipality of their primary residential address, and for day trips only. Naturally, the Tappings decided to keep Manta Ray in Hobart.
“We were lucky we brought the boat down when we did,” says Amanda. “And we thought it would be handy to have as a place to quarantine if we needed,” adds Sam.
Long weekend trips away
While the Tappings are used to long weekend trips away on Manta Ray, they were ever grateful to be able to head out locally for the day.
“Amanda and I were still working, but for the kids just getting out for a drive in the car was heaven, so you can imagine what boating was like for them,” says Sam.
“We’d been using it for day trips, one weekend with another Riviera and another friend’s boat. We didn’t raft up, but managed a triangle anchor-off with the duckboards facing about five metres away from each other. It was great to be able to see our friends from afar and it was cool for the kids to be able to see and talk to their friends too.”
Olive especially had been desperate to get back in the water in her little yacht. When the yacht club was closed, Manta Ray acted as a support vessel. The Riviera also came in handy as a support vessel when Howard helmed the Hutchins School Sailing Academy SB20 in the Australian nationals at the end of March.
After enjoying day trips and Friday night takeouts at the marina during the lockdown, the Tappings are now planning week-long summertime adventures aboard their Riviera.
Discover the Riviera 43 Open Flybridge