South-east Queensland's Moreton Bay beckoned for 74 excited members of the Riviera family on the R Marine Jones Winter Weekend Experience in late April.
The event attracted 25 Rivieras for the cruise from the Gold Coast Broadwater to the expanse of Moreton Bay to the north.
Connie and Tony Borgia purchased their Riviera 3600 Sport Yacht, Aqua Bella, just two weeks before the Winter Weekend.
"We were so excited to be joining the Riviera family and going on our first Experience," said Connie.
Tony said: "This was our first overnight trip on our new boat and we were made to feel very welcome by everyone."
The fleet assembled off the Sovereign Islands on the Broadwater at the mouth of the Coomera River on the Friday morning of the long weekend and cruised sedately north. Their first port of call was at the Canaipa Passage that separates Russell Island from the large sand island of North Stradbroke at the southern tip of Moreton Bay.
Waking to a sparkling morning on Saturday, the fleet cruised north again, headed for Blakeslys Anchorage on North Stradbroke Island with its pleasant beach, ideal for bringing tenders ashore.
Here, tables and a shelter were set up for the Second Annual Cheese/Antipasto Platter and the Wine Presentation competitions.
The Cheese/Antipasto competition was hotly contested as Keith and Kathy Hornman offered a plate of lollies while a raft-up team from Velocita, a 5400 Sport Yacht, and Shelly 2, a Riviera 53 Enclosed Flybridge, presented two platters of sausage rolls. Despite their valiant efforts, Vicki and Mark Baigent from Riviera 525 SUV Off the Hook won over the judges - everyone - with a carefully sourced antipasto platter.
The Wine Presentation competition was divided into two divisions: under and over $20. Chris Haack aboard Riviera 5000 Sport Yacht Impetuous took out the "under $20" prize while Ted Edwards took the "over $20" section with a stunning Australian-produced bubbly, aptly name Riviera Royal with its specially-printed wine label.
For those still spritely enough for more competition, beach cricket and soccer filled in the afternoon, although many chose simply to spend the time with nibbles and wine, making new friends and catching up with old friends. Glassy waters and and a stunning sunset completed the day.
Sunday began with a casual fleet cruise north to Myora where all the boats anchored.
The R Marine Jones team brought everyone ashore for lunch at the Little Ship Club restaurant on North Stradbroke Island. The ferries were R Marine Jones’ Riviera 51 Flybridge Riv 1, a 5400 Sport Yacht Fansea and a 6.5 metre RIB provided by Rib Force Inflatables.
“This was the highlight of the entire weekend,” said Connie Borgia. “We were taken ashore aboard Riv 1. The lunch at the Little Ship Club was fabulous. Meeting and talking with so many Riviera owners was fantastic.”
Kathy Hornman and husband Keith also enjoyed the Little Ship lunch.
"It was delightful," said Kathy. "It is a beautiful setting with great views across Moreton Bay."
According to Dale and Kathy Cash from Riviera 47 Flybridge Low Range, being out on the water with like-minded companions was the highlight of the weekend. They shared the Experience with neighbours and spent much of the time simply relaxing on deck.
"The water was not warm enough for swimming. It was great simply to spend time on board," Dale explained.
On Monday, the fleet dispersed, some returning to the Gold Coast at their own pace while others chose to remain and explore more of Moreton Bay.
The R Marine Jones Winter Weekend fleet.
Even the dogs got involved in beach cricket at Blakeslys Anchorage.
Relaxing on the beach at Blakeslys Anchorage.
Riviera 5400 Sport Yacht Fansea, one of the ferries for the Little Ship lunch.
Ferrying ashore to the Little Ship aboard a RIB.
The ferries gather to take everyone to the Little Ship Club.
A warming fire, a sunset and friends on the beach.
The kids loved the weekend as much as their parents.
Late afternoon at Blakeslys Anchorage.
Ferry Riv 1.
The R Marine Jones Winter Weekend team.
Enjoying lunch at the Little Ship Club restaurant.
A highlight was lunch at the Little Ship Club restaurant.
Sharing Riviera stories during lunch at the Little Ship Club restaurant.
Lunch under umbrellas at the Little Ship Club.
Sunset on Saturday.
Mirror-like waters for the fleet at anchor.
77 Enclosed Flybridge - Shaft Drive
|Length:||24.74 m (81' 2")||Beam:||6.32 m (20' 9")|
|Draft:||1.76 m (5' 9")||Standard Power x 2:||1,397 kW (1,900 hp each)|
|Range:||556 nm @ 26.4 knt||Sleeping Capacity:||8 persons|