Athree-day sojourn from the Gold Coast to Moreton Island has given the owners and friends of 35 Riviera and Belize luxury motor yachts a chance to shake off the blues from isolation and return to the cruising lifestyle they so love.
Held from June 19 to 21, not even a dubious weather forecast deterred locals from the Riviera Family from getting out on the water. Newcomers to the family were especially thrilled.
For the first time joining an event organised by R Marine Jones was Lee and Saruul Passmore and their children Jessica, 12, and Aidan, 6. The family members were thrilled to be aboard their new 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition, Colleen, which arrived just in time for Christmas last year.
The crystal blue waters off Tangalooma on Moreton Island near Brisbane was the destination for the R Marine Jones Winter Weekend escape
“Being part of a group was great,” Lee says. “As a fleet we were a real spectacle, especially cruising past Cabbage Tree Point where everyone on the shore was out filming us.”
The 35-strong convoy left Sovereign Islands at 9am, and while enjoying calm waters, headed north through the Broadwater in a single file led by the R Marine Jones team.
“They really looked after us, and nothing was too much trouble. On the radio they continually updated us with our location, our heading, and our speed in consideration of nearby boaters and waterway speed limits.”
“We’re new in the boating world and these events are a big part of why we bought a Riviera; it’s great to join experienced people.”
Two-and-a-half hours later they arrived at Blakesley’s Anchorage at North Stradbroke Island and settled in for a casual Friday lunch.
As the sun broke through mid-afternoon, crews gathered on the beach for a get-together with social distancing measures in place.
“One of the reasons that we chose a Riviera was because of these trips. It’s an opportunity to meet people who have similar interests, that you can talk to and learn from. The professionalism of the R Marine Jones team, how comfortable they made us feel, how well organised it was, well, we can’t wait for the next trip! I doubt I’d buy any brand other than Riviera, I’m so impressed with the whole thing.
“Colleen is so easy to operate, especially going from a 46-footer to a 54. With the joystick located at the helm and in the cockpit it’s so easy. Everything is functional, thoughtfully designed and beautiful. Rivieras look so stylish. It’s a great way of life.”
Equally impressed with the Riviera lifestyle, and bringing up the rear of the convoy on Maximus 2, a Riviera M370 Sports Cruiser, was Gavin and Lydia Skinner. The Skinners joined a group that sailed to Tangalooma, Moreton Island, on the Saturday.
“We’re new in the boating world and these events are a big part of why we bought a Riviera,” Lydia says. “It’s great to join experienced people.”
Time out for the Riviera Family to enjoy a casual Friday lunch at Blakesley’s on North Stradbroke Island
“The convoy up to Moreton and back was the best part for me,” Gavin says. “It was mind-blowing to see the line-up of boats in front of us; quite majestic. For us, just being a part of it was special.
“We’d never gone up to Tangalooma, so this experience gave us an idea of where to go when it’s rough because the weather and south-westerly winds weren’t really in our favour. It gave us more confidence on our boat, which we’re loving by the way. The peacefulness of being on the water, its design, the storage space and generator…it’s like a boutique hotel. We’ve worked on cruise ships a lot, so we’re used to being out on the water, but having your own boat gives you more control.”
“And he likes to be called captain!” Lydia quips. “But she’s still the boss!” Gavin replies.
For Mark Sonter, an experienced boater at the helm of his friend’s Belize 54, Kattegatt, Blakesley’s Anchorage held great appeal.
“We’ve done quite a bit of discovery around Moreton Island, but to go to Blakesley’s Anchorage added a new dimension to the trip; it was good to find something away from the weather we hadn’t before visited,” Mark says.
“I’d never travelled in a flotilla like that before – you have to have a lot of trust in the people around you following the line.
“Being around different boats and boat owners is great. You’re always wanting to improve your experience and anything you can do for that is positive. I have a genuine appreciation for the organising team; it wouldn’t happen without them!”
Swayed by Sunday’s clear skies and calm anchorage, a handful of yachts chose to stay another night, while the rest cruised south, following the R Marine Jones team homeward bound and already thinking about their next Riviera experience.