Ron finally finds his ‘Sea Pearl’
Bundaberg, QLD, Australia: After a Great Escape, Ron Hancock has finally found his Sea Pearl, a Riviera 53 Enclosed Flybridge.
The avid sailor has owned five boats under 25 feet and four 40-53 foot boats over the past 20 to 25 years but his love affair with the ocean began in his early 20s when he bought his first boat, a 15 foot ski boat.
Now 50 years on and after celebrating his 70th birthday, Ron has taken delivery of his brand new Riviera 53 Enclosed Flybridge, which he aptly named Sea Pearl.
This is Ron’s second Riviera, his first being a 51 Open Flybridge named Great Escape.
Ron first laid eyes on the new 53 Enclosed Flybridge at the 2011 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show and within a couple of weeks he had ordered his Sea Pearl, which was handed over to Ron on December 22 some six months after it was ordered.
“We just fell in love with the design and the layout and we liked how the Volvo drives give you so much more room and capacity,” he said.
“The master cabin is quite something and everyone who looks at the boat can’t believe how much room you get from having the IPS drive mounted in the rear of the boat.
“Even the saloon has big windows out the front. It is bright and airy and we can see 360 degrees. The flybridge windows open right up and we thought the sunroof was a great idea because you can have it open as you are driving along.
“We were pretty excited when we took delivery of Sea Pearl. She was exactly what we had envisaged and she has gone like a dream.”
Ron and his wife, Lorraine, took delivery at Riviera’s Coomera headquarters on December 22 and then prepared Sea Pearl for her maiden voyage home to Bundaberg.
R Marine Queensland sales executive, Troy Hughes joined Ron and his crew on the maiden voyage, which was an easy two day journey.
Ron said they left Coomera at 6am on the Sunday and were met with two to three metre swells but they enjoyed a comfortable cruise 146 nautical miles north to Fraser Island.
“We got to the Wide Bay Bar at about 2.15pm and again we had a two to three metre swell on our stern but by 4.30pm we were at Fraser Island and anchored at Kingfisher Bay.
“Around Moreton Island and Double Island Point we experienced some rough patches and we had no concerns what so ever. In a boat that size and in those conditions, to sit on 17 to 20 knots with everyone in the flybridge says something about the quality of the boat.”
The next leg of the journey was 65 nautical miles from Kingfisher Bay (Fraser Island) to Bundaberg Marina.
“We were tied up to Bundaberg Marina on Monday morning. Sea Pearl’s maiden voyage gave her a good trial and everyone was very impressed,” Ron said.
Ron and Lorraine have lived in Bundaberg their whole lives and enjoy boating in and around the tropical north Queensland waters including Lady Musgrave, Fitzroy Reef, and the Burnett River.
“We do a lot of cruising to Lady Musgrave and Fitzroy reef as they both have a big lagoon that you can anchor up at night and are quite safe.
“They both have a narrow entrance and you are surrounded by the reef, particularly when the tide drops you don’t get much swell at all inside.”
Ron said the first trip they did as a family on board Sea Pearl was to Lady Musgrave with his wife, daughter Sharyn, son-in-law and granddaughter Tayla.
“We did a lot of snorkeling around the bommies, which are lumps of rock and coral and some even come out of the water at low tide so there is plenty of coral and fish life.
“We spent the first day in the lagoon and did some snorkeling and fishing but unfortunately there was a weather warning which forced us back into port earlier than expected. Despite the 15 to 20 knot winds, Sea Pearl handled it superbly.”
Ron said January was not the best time of year for boating due to the tropical weather conditions and storms but he was looking forward to cruising around his favourite anchorages in March, April and May when the weather improves.
“We usually go out for four or five days and the weather is absolutely perfect at that time of year and the seas are good.”
Ron and Lorraine have two sons, Tony and Dale; one daughter, Sharyn and five grand children.
He said boating, fishing, crabbing and snorkeling had been the family’s main activities for more than 30 years.
“Its great spending time together as a family and we are all very close. As the old saying goes ‘the family who plays together, stays together’.
Click to enlarge image:
Ron and Lorraine on board Sea Pearl
Ron and Lorraine celebrate taking delivery of their new 53 Enclosed Flybridge
The family enjoys snorkelling around the lagoon
Ron and Lorraine's daughter Sharyn, enjoying the ride
The entrance to Lady Musgrave Lagoon
Shane at the entrance to Lady Musgrave Lagoon
Sharyn at the entrance to Lady Musgrave Lagoon
Shane and Tayla on board as they head towards Lady Musgrave