Published: Monday, 01 June 2015

“There’s nothing quite like owning a Riviera… I wouldn’t own any other boat!” is an oft-repeated phrase amongst members of the marque’s worldwide family of luxury yacht owners. It portrays perfectly the pride and the passion – the unparalleled cachet – that the Riviera family acknowledges as: The R Factor.

Indeed, the growing affection for Australia’s most-awarded builder of luxury motor yachts cannot be understated – you could see it sparkle in the eyes of almost 1,000 owners from around Australia and the world as they inspected Riviera’s largest-ever Australian on-water showcase of luxurious new models, and as they greeted fellow ‘family’ members at the Festival of Boating held May 21-24 on the Gold Coast.

Rivieras R Factor Shines At Annual Festival

The beaming smiles – also worn by the 430-strong Riviera team and the excited R Marine dealers from around Australia and New Zealand – reflected far more than the fact everyone was enjoying four fantastic days of fun and learning. They were also a clear expression of just how proud they were of Riviera’s growing global success.

But then there was also a genuine appreciation for the unique way Riviera values every member of the ‘family’, and the way the company goes above and beyond in every respect to help its owners achieve ‘the ultimate boating experience’.

Just ask any of these owners at the Festival … for they were all proud and willing ambassadors for the revered Riviera marque and all that it means to be part of the welcoming and rewarding Riviera ‘family’.

Held at the world-class Riviera facility at Coomera – and right in the heart of the 2015 Gold Coast International Marine Expo – Riviera’s festival united owners for sensational, spectacular and exclusive social events, in addition to a vast array of free educational seminars and workshops designed to fine tune their knowledge of their yachts and onboard systems.

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Many of those in attendance were already experienced boaters, and many were also long-term Riviera owners making sure the newer family members felt welcome and relaxed. Some came just for the social events, and some came to see the latest in design and innovation at the marque’s largest-ever Australian on-water display.

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All came to experience the very special R Factor.

“As relatively new boat owners, we found that we were able to get some extra skills to give us more confidence when we use our 4400 Sport Yacht,” says Perth visitor Peter Alp, who attended for the first-time with his wife, Dale. “We came home with a lot of new information and new ideas… and then there was the social side which was wonderful. We were really impressed with the Tips of the Trade seminar, as well Skippers on Water and electrical – it means we will not be concerned if anything minor happens.

“And I commend Riviera’s apprentices who attended the Dock of the Bay function on the marina – really nice young people who were very proud to work for Riviera.”

Melbourne-based Riviera 43 Open Flybridge owner Phil Ridgeway and his wife Victoria say it was great to be able to speak with the Volvo and Raymarine representatives at the Expo. “I really enjoyed Offshore Seamanship with Riviera Captain Bob Jones, as well as Understanding the Weather, Offshore Navigation and Victoria liked the Ladies Skipper programme. It was a great experience and the social events gave us a chance to catch up with people we know, and also to meet other owners for the first time.”

These comments were echoed by Brisbane’s Robyn Duffield, who enjoyed the Fragrance Masterclass with several friends on the Festival Friday while her husband Alastair brushed up on his nautical knowledge at the new educational events. They own a Riviera 42 Open Flybridge.

“We had such a wonderful time – we go every year and this was certainly one of the best,” she says. “But then everything Riviera does is thoroughly enjoyable. I also attended some of the educational courses and they were well worth it too.”

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Down on the waterfront, owners could celebrate the success of a new luxury yacht purchase with exclusive access to the at the Riviera Motor Yacht Club restaurant and bar, or even toast the rise of Riviera on the world stage while overlooking the massive Expo and especially the stunning A$22.5 million red-carpet, on-water showcase of the latest in design, luxury and innovation from Riviera.

By the end of the Expo, 12 new Riviera yachts had been sold, including an order for the new 67 Sports Motor Yacht announced just days prior and designed for those aspiring for long-range cruising in luxury. Then, of course, there are still many more (both existing and new) Riviera owners eager to take the helm and sea-trial the impressive range of new models in coming weeks.

And then there was one more very special reason to celebrate: Riviera just days prior received two of the highest accolades at the Australian Marine Export and Superyacht Awards, securing both the 2015 Best Export Performance (large exporter), and the 2015 Australian Marine Industry Exporter of the Year.

The awards reflect both a 100 per cent increase in yachts bound for international ports and the growing number of Riviera owners throughout the Americas, the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Europe, South Africa and the Middle East.

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And celebrate in style they did – in true Riviera style – throughout the entire four-day festival, and also at three separate and unique social events.

Fragrance Masterclass: The ladies enjoyed the Fragrance Masterclass & Luncheon on the Friday of the Festival, delving into the world of perfume perfection and learning about fragrance families whilst enjoying French champagne and cosmopolitan cuisine, and even preparing their own special scent to take home as a personal gift from Riviera.

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Dock of the Bay: Over 400 owners and guests enjoyed sumptuous seafood fresh from the trawler and soothing sounds at the red-carpet Dock of the Bay cocktail and marina party on Friday evening, surrounded by Riviera’s stunning A$22.5 million showcase of luxurious motor yachts.

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The R Factor: Riviera’s Saturday night gala dinner and show is always highly anticipated – and this year was certainly a spectacular surprise as guests stepped from the factory concourse into a giant ballroom, finely decorated and with a 60-metres long stage where some of the strongest voices in Australia battled it out for supremacy before joining together and raising the roof and the spirits with a sensational finale.

Riviera owner and chairman Rodney Longhurst says he is proud of the team at Coomera, the entire Festival programme and of the latest new model releases.

“This a really special time for all the of the Riviera family,” he says. “Riviera has a hallmark passion for excellence, one that has grown over 35 years and one that is proudly reflected in each of the 5,100 yachts we have built.

“Our commitment to our valued family of owners from Australia, New Zealand and from right around the world, is that we will keep getting better – we will continue to grow our high-quality team and we will continue to build innovative, practical and high-quality luxury motor yachts that have positioned Riviera as being amongst the best in the world.”

The 2016 Festival of Boating will be held from May 19-22, and will again align with the Gold Coast International Marine Expo.