Record Riviera raft-up at Reevesby Island

Riviera luxury motor yachts have rafted-up in record numbers in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula in celebration of a very special Easter cruising ‘eggs-perience’.

The impressive line-up of 24 Rivieras – worth some $25 million – was the largest number ever for an Experience raft-up.

It was one of many inspiring highlights for a truly memorable long weekend attended by over 130 members of Riviera’s flourishing South Australian family of owners.

Hosted annually by Riviera and Belize dealer R Marine South Australia, the Port Lincoln Easter Experience is part of the marque’s global calendar of catered cruising events filled with fun, family, friends and festivities.

“We actually had a total of 35 yachts take part in a number of organised activities throughout the weekend,” said R Marine South Australia dealer principal, Paul Harrop.

“For our team, it’s incredibly satisfying to see our clients enjoying themselves and using their yachts to their full potential,” he said.

Spectacular start

Guests began to arrive and anchor at Fishermen’s Point from early in the afternoon on Good Friday, wetting a line and whetting their appetites ahead of collection by the ‘Riviera Taxi’ – an 8-metre Sealegs amphibious RIB – for the first of a series of scheduled activities.

“We started ferrying people on to the beach from about 6pm for a fully catered by local company Damien & Co, with gourmet steak and seafood feast and then a toast to a sensational sunset over Boston Bay,” said Mr Harrop.

“It was a great night and a really nice dinner – everyone enjoyed themselves immensely.”

Ray Baddeley, who with his wife Anne owns the Riviera 51 Enclosed Flybridge Reel Action, said the Port Lincoln locals were quite impressed with such a large line-up luxury Rivieras.

“The whole town was buzzing,” he said. “They were saying: ‘Look at all those Rivieras’.

“It really was a great sight and it was great to catch up with people you only get to see once every 12 months.”

Riviera record

Saturday morning saw the early delivery of Adelaide Advertiser newspapers to all yachts as the allure of the fertile Southern Ocean fishing grounds stimulated the senses of avid anglers.

“The temptation was too much for some of our owners and they headed out to chase the prized southern bluefin tuna while the rest undertook a casual cruise in convoy to Reevesby Island,” said Mr Harrop.

“We chartered the 25-metre trawler Challenge and, filled with provisions, she dropped her 400-kilogram anchor for us to rope off and begin to raft up – it really was a spectacular sight.”

Drew Sellick, who with his wife Genni own the Riviera 445 SUV Day Job, said the raft-up was an incredible experience, in fact a highlight of the many Experience events the couple has attended.

“It all sounds so simplistic but when you consider it all revolves around the tide, you begin to realise why timing is so critical,” he said.

Mr Baddeley said he had participated in smaller raft-ups, but nothing ever so large.

“I’ve never been involved in anything like it,” he said. “It was really well done.”

Whilst enjoying lunch, guests took the opportunity to fish for whiting with a great deal of success or enjoy a spot of kayaking, while a drone was launched to capture the historic occasion.

Sunday fun day

Sunday was a day of leisure – with the R Marine South Australia crew once again ensuring a great start with newspaper deliveries and VIP ferry for the hard-working Easter Bunny to deliver choc-filled fare.

Then, in the evening, guests began to arrive via the ‘Riviera Taxi’ to board Port Lincoln’s oldest fishing boat, Tacoma, for what Mr Harrop describes as an Hawaiian Party ‘like no other’.

“It as the biggest party we’ve ever had,” he said.

“Over 100 people celebrated until the early hours, with live music from popular local band The Ethnic Cowboys … and then a few battling on with karaoke.

“The prize for best-dressed was won by guests Gerry and Di Leaver – they certainly went all out.”

Flying high

The final activity for the Experience, Monday’s fully catered beach barbecue, was also well-attended and guests came in on their own tenders to sample the cruisers’ cuisine and take advantage of the Helistar Aviation chopper joy flights over their yachts, and the picturesque landscape and islands surrounding Port Lincoln.

Leslee Findlay, who with her husband Brian own the Riviera 445 SUV Ya Think paid tribute to the R Marine South Australia crew.

“They do such a great job and are genuinely nice people – so unassuming and so knowledgeable,” she said.

“The food and drinks were truly spectacular and the team is just so focused on ensuring you have an incredible experience.

“As owners we see how hard they work and we are aware they are spending time away from their families to help us enjoy such a special weekend.”

Mr Sellick said many owners often comment that they would buy another boat from R Marine South Australia just for the service.

“The crew is switched ‘on’ all weekend and nothing is ever a challenge,” he said.

“We loved it – the location is perfect and the way the crew goes above and beyond to do anything for anyone is a real credit to them.”

Mr Harrop thanked the R Marine South Australia crew – Daniel Westbury, Brendan Lange, Ross Le Frank and owner Ross Almond – for ensuring the event’s overwhelming success.

“Our next event is a R Marine South Australia Drinks Night at the end of April,” he said.

“We will be announcing the winner of the Easter Experience photo competition and providing information on the upcoming Riviera Festival of Boating’s educational and social events on the Gold Coast from 19-22 May.”